Sticking with the food themes…
My favorite things to cook tend to be those that are a combination of art and science. As a logical thinker with a finance background, who is also anal retentive and slightly OCD, I tend to be into organized processes, and that follows into my cooking. Sao I like to follow recipes. However, I am also pretty creative (especially for a logical thinker with a finance background), and I tend to think visually, so recipes with pictures help as does visualizing a creative plating or presentation of the dish.
So one thing I love to cook is risotto. Risotto hits all the points: You have to follow the recipe and cook with extreme care and precision for the rice to come out edible; but you also are able to be creative with the ingredients, and the presentation; it can be a main dish or side dish; it can be a social event, taking turns stirring the rice. There is also an art to know when the rice is “done” and everyone has an opinion about how firm or soft they like their rice.
I also like making scallops. Scallops are challenging, but if you follow a good recipe you will be fine. You can also serve many ways. And scallops highlight another thing I care about which is quality ingredients and allowing them to stand out without trying to “fix” them. Sounds like a good talent strategy at work, but that’s a different blog post…
I used to have difficulty making steaks well. As a perfectionist it was frustrating to seemingly cook steaks the same way twice but have the results be a woefully rare steak one time and a piece of overcooked rubber the next. Here I applied some of my other learnings, and had a bit of luck. First, I started focusing on the ingredients, using a butcher to ensure I bought four steaks that were the same quality and thickness and did it consistently. Then a friend put me on to a recipe that has turned out to be foolproof (see end of post). I actually had never even thought of a recipe for steaks, I thought cooking steaks was something you were innately born to do. Sounds like an analogy for leadership, but again that’s a different blog post…
“Foolproof” recipe for filet mignon
- 1.5-2” thick steaks, brought to room temperature and seasoned with salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Olive oil and butter into saute pan, heat over high heat until oil and butter are hot and bubbly
- Steaks cook in pan for 1.5-2 minutes per side, depending on thinkness.
- Then transfer pan to oven, cook another 7-10 minutes, depending on desired doneness
- Let steaks rest several minutes when done