We have had a couple of busy weeks and now a short lull in the action and we have a break to put something down.

For those who know me this revelation will come as little or no surprise, I am obsessed with food and cooking! I myself am a pretty simple man, don't get me wrong I do love the finer things in life, foie gras and sweetbreads to name a few. But for the most part my day to day diet is relatively pedestrian. I love a good burger, sorry to everyone else but Lunch box Laboratory has everyone else beat. A great slice of pizza, which I can't have anymore, a simple pasta, a well cooked steak, medium rare to medium depending on the cut. Simple food.

How does one cook a perfect steak? Well that depends on the steak and what cooking equipment you have access to. A nice grill works best for me but a pan seared steak also has it 's charm. If you are going to grill make sure your grill is clean and you either sprayed a little pan spray on the grates or a paper towel with a little olive oil will work too. Now season your steak with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. If your steak is fatty, a rib eye or a new york with a large fat cap, you will need to trim some of the fat off so you can avoid flair ups.

Place the steak on the grill and leave it alone. The biggest mistake people make is futzing with their meat. After 2 or 3 minutes, depending on your temp. preference and the thickness of meat. Give your steak a 90* turn and leave it for another couple of minutes. When a up to the surface it's time to turn it over. Again just leave your steak be! This bit of patientce will give you a beautiful cross hatch marks. Now if you have a fatty steak you could move it a bit or use a water mister to keep the flames down, you really don't want to be roaring around your steak, it leaves a bitter carbonized flavor on the meat.

To determine done ness, DON'T POKE IT WITH A THERMOMETER! That just ruins a steak, it lets out a lot of juices that keep it moist. Instead use the touch method, used by chefs and cooks. To help learn the temps. practice by using your hand. Place your hand knuckles up poke your hand between your thumb and index finger and poke the flesh with your hand completely relaxed. This will be what a rare steak will feel like. Now close your hand and make a fist. Poke in the same place and the bit of resistance you feel there will be what a medium steak should feel like. If you clench your fist tightly and feel the same spot it will be firm, with very little give. This is what a well done steak should feel like. Now it will take a bit of practice, but this is the best way to temp. a steak without cutting your steak or poking it with a thermometer.

I also wanted to add my favorite marinade/rub to this post. I got the original idea from my friend Shawn, the chef at Bis on Main in Bellevue. I had eaten there for my birthday one year. I had the steak and loved it so much I asked for the secret. I modified it a bit but it is pretty close to their rub. Try it you won't be disappointed.

Make enough for 4 steaks:

1 pack of dried mushrooms

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup mushroom soy-in asian markets

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Cracked black pepper

In a coffee/spice grinder add dried mushrooms and dried thyme and grind to a fine powder. Place in a large non-reactive bowl, add garlic, mushroom soy, balsamic vinegar and ground mushrooms and thyme. Mix completly, it should be a fairly thick paste.

Season steaks liberally with fresh cracked pepper. Coat each steak with mushroom mixture. Wrap each steak tightly with plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least 24 hours.

When you are ready to cook your steak remove the rub from the steak. Your steak should have a reddish brown tint to the flesh, this is what you want. In the restaurant we would save the marinade/rub to start the next round of steaks, but unless you cook steaks very often just go ahead and toss it. If you want to be frugal put it in an airtight container and put it in your freezer.

Now your steak is ready to be cooked, either in a saute pan or on the grill. It will caramelize a little quicker because of the marinade so don't fear just remember to touch temp. it and you'll be fine, cheers!