Mini Pommes Anna, Wagyu Beef and a Meal of Decadence

Mini Pommes Anna

Mini Pommes Anna with Thyme

I am a sucker for cute food. Usually there are two ways to make normal culinary treats adorable. The first step is to miniaturize, which leads directly to the success of the second part — individualize. Sure a cheesecake can be beautiful, but shrink it down and give each person their own? Adorable! This is why I was completely unable to resist the idea of these mini herbed Pommes Anna from the November issue of Bon Appetit.

These buttery little things were part of a seriously decadent meal that I made for my husband last week. The star of the show was actually a Wagyu bavette that I had bought from work. A quick meaty lesson for you about Wagyu beef, commonly referred to in the states simply as Kobe beef. I won’t bore you with what Japanese Kobe beef actually is — I’m sure you all are well versed — but American Kobe beef is slightly different.

Instead of being full-blood Wagyu, it is usually produced from a cross breeding of Angus and Wagyu. In order to be considered “pure bred” the mix must contain 51% Wagyu (which seems to be a fallacy but hey, that’s how it goes). This beef was from a full-blood 100% Wagyu animal raised in Washington, whose lineage can be traced back five generations. My company bought two of three animals available from the rancher and we were all ecstatic at the opportunity to see and taste the beef.

At work, we did a “food porn” photo shoot with the meat after it was butchered. Click here to see the various cuts in all their glory — they are drool-worthy! We also seared off a bottom round (usually a braising cut) which melted in our mouths like beef-flavored butter. The fat actually will melt at room temperature which I have never seen before. It was truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten — even prepared with just salt and pepper — and I was super excited to bring some home to share with my husband (and a few friends).

After all, what better way to say I love you than with fatty fabulous beef?

Whole sirloin flap or bavette steak

Whole sirloin flap or bavette steak

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One Loaf to Rule Them All: Cheese-Studded Kobe Meatloaf

No Need for Ketchup Glaze Here

Usually I am a pretty healthy eater. I eat a lot of raw veggies, dine frequently on farro and try to avoid fried foods (unless I’ve been drinking *ahem*). So when I pulled a pack of ground Kobe beef from my freezer a while ago, I had already made my peace with eating some seriously fatty meaty goodness. And when you’ve come that far, it’s best to just don a pair of sweatpants and embrace it.

So I did exactly that.

While the beef thawed, I rooted around in my massive recipe binder for something new to try. It seemed sinful to waste Kobe beef on something like burritos or spaghetti, though I have no doubts it would have been delicious in either. Then I found the perfect recipe — one I had been dying to make for quite some time and had just been waiting for the heat of summer to dissipate. Which, let me tell you, has certainly happened here in rainy Portland. If there was ever a time for some “hibernation food,” it’s now.

So I set to work on making this masterpiece: Meatloaf with Creamy Onion Gravy from the Nov. 2011 issue of Food & Wine. And oh, sweet Jesus, am I glad I did. I thought I made good meatloaf before — I always make it with sautéed onions, carrots and celery and I often use grated Parmesan cheese in it for extra goodness.

But this meatloaf…it was divine. It was magical. I used the entire three pounds of meat and I think it was gone in a two days. I don’t know what happened. Oh wait — I know. It looked like this:

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