Tuesday, January 15, 2019

picanha dreams

So, as you might know, I'm a huge fan of picanha, the staple meat in Brazilian barbecue, Chorrasco.

 If you've gone to a Brazilian restaurant, you've probably had picanha (pee-kahn-ya). It comes from the sirloin cut, but a cut generally not found in the US, the sirloin cap. Generally, it's just easier to buy a picanha at a Brazilian grocery store. They're not expensive, $25-30 for the whole cut, which will easily feed a half-dozen people or three dedicated fatasses like me.

If you look at the picture, the picanha comes from the top of the cow's hip. This is NOT a famously tender cut... but it can be.

 First, the cut. Picanha comes in a 3-cornered cut, like tri-tip, with one half of the cut thicker than the other, and a cap of fat, that you need to keep. A full picanha is about a foot across. Do not trim the fat. You need to cut perpendicular to the striations in the meat. cross-cut to the grain, in other words. Generally, Brazilians refer to finger widths as the unit of measurement. I like a 2-finger cut to make a medium-rare steak for myself. My wife and kid like a 1-finger cut, to get medium to medium well. This will leave steaks from steak tip sized to about 8-oz with a big rind of fat on one side.

 Salt. You need large-grained salt, at least 1/8" coarse crystals if you can.  30-60 minutes before cooking, you sprinkle the salt liberally on both sides. The cru (coarse) salt will tenderize the meat wonderfully. Fine-cut salt, like table salt, will penetrate the meat without tenderizing it much, and your meat will be horribly over salted.

 Once your meat has been tenderized, you throw it on the grill at high temperature and close the grill up. Check it every few minutes, until the fat catches fire, and it will.
Note: these instructions are for a gas grill. Charcoal or wood fire, you just cook it like any other steak.

 The fat fire caused by burning picanha fat is where the cooking gets done. When the fat catches fire, you will probably want to shut off the gas and start shifting the not-on-fire steaks into the neighborhood of the fire. Turn the steaks as needed, and don't overcook them. The VERY hot fat fire will cook a steak to medium in just 2-3 minutes per side. When done, the picanha will have a smallish to medium-sized fat rind... which is incredibly delicious.

 It literally is... take a cow and add fire.  And when done right, it is as tender as prime rib and more flavorful.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

rough week for shipping

Well, damn I seem to have come back to work during a rough week internationally.

 The tanker AULAC FORTUNE had an explosion and is on fire off of Hong Kong.  They were preparing to take on bunkers when something happened, and blew the hell up instead.

 At least one dead, but most of the crew was safely evacuated.

   Also in Hong Kong, a Maersk ship had a major bunker spill.

  That one, it's not hard to see what happened. Fuel oil from an overfilling tank or tanks, for whatever reason.  I've been part of that before. Could be caused by many things, but often enough human error. Either way, I have bad dreams about causing something like this and getting into international news.

  The Hapag-Lloyd container ship "Yantian Express"  is on fire and was abandoned after several days days of unsuccessful firefighting attempts. She is currently adrift about 1000 miles northeast of Bermuda.

 The container ship 'MSC ZOE'  lost 270 containers over the side in heavy weather, also in the Atlantic.

 Stay safe out there everyone!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Lsat day

Well, it was a quick 12 days. I'm flying back out tomorrow.  This was a sort of maintenance vacation. I went home sick, and lost a good 10 days to illness, and although I did do things, there wasn't much flavor to it. The last few days I've been busy and enjoying myself, but mostly running down the honey-do list getting everything in order for another absence. So it goes. Not every time home can be Fiddler's Green.

 Still, I got some cool stuff done and had a nice time with the fam. Today is mostly packing, cleaning up the shop and such.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 starts with Irish Medicine

   Well, this is an inauspicious start to 2019. I'm sick AND also hung over.

         The flu bug I've been dealing with has manifested in an upper AND lower respiratory infection but I'm starting to see the end of it now. Today is the first day I haven't felt worse than the day before.

 Since I was couchbound, and Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife is still recovering from her own surgery and has a baseline pain level that is still limiting her activity, we spent New Years Eve pretty much on the couch. I'm not a sickly person, so I don't do well when ill- (read: whiny). I decided to heavily dose myself with traditional Irish medicine, the Hot Toddy, which is a  highly-effective cough suppressant, fever reducer and sleep aid.

 Problem is, I don't like mixing honey, lemon or tea with my Jamison, so I chose to focus on the active ingredient, and added ice. I call it the Cold Toddy. Take ice, cover with whisky, drink.

 So I woke up this morning to the birds singing too loud, the sun shining too bright and my mouth too dry. But you know, I am not coughing nearly as much, and although I have a decent headache, my sinuses are pretty clear. I may have burnt the virus out of my system. It won't take much for things to get better from here.