The Beggars take your questions, part 4


As we approach the end of summer, I think it’s important to look back and think about all that we’ve accomplished.  Tina and I have had an incredibly busy time, spending weekends with friends we haven’t seen in ages, attending the weddings of so many great couples, and kicking off the planning of our own.

It’s been a lot, but we don’t want anyone to think we’re neglecting you.  So even while we wage private wars with liquor brands and somehow find ourselves lucky enough to get invited to 10-course meals, we want you to know that we’ve been listening… and we care.

That’s why we couldn’t let another month go by without checking in on those intrepid souls who found us via Google, plugging their inquisitive, detailed and sometimes emotionally charged questions into the internet in the hopes of a meaningful answer.  While we might not have had all the information those folks needed, we can at least provide the answers now, for those generations to come.

Let’s dive in!

how to cook flank steak for fajitas?

This is a really good question, because flank steak is one of those tricky cuts that’s easy to over-cook, and steak fajitas are an easy meal to ruin with tough meat.

Cook the beef too rare?  You end up with stringy meat that stretches out and is impenetrable to even the most ferocious teeth.  Cook the beef well-done?  Anyone eating their fajita should expect to simply pull all the meat out on the first bite, and then chew for a good ten minutes or so.

It’s a delicate balance, considering that fajitas are supposed to be one of those “fun” meals where you “build your own” and it’s “okay to make a mess” — which is “a good thing” because “they always make a god damned mess” — and one that a mindful cook should be aware of.

So to that end, I personally recommend cooking your steak medium-rare:  not so cooked that the ends of the flank will be complete dried out, but not so rare that you’ll end up with meat that will be hard to break up on a bite. If you’re patient and let the beef rest long enough when it comes off the grill, you’ll be aces.

The most important thing about flank steak, though, isn’t how well it’s done — it’s how you slice it.  Get that knife in there and slice that meat as thin as you can manage: Cut on an angle across the grain, go slow and careful, and you’ll end up with meat that contributes flavor without adding a challenge.

bud light lime for women?  is bud light lime good for first time drinker?

This is actually two questions, but for some reason I think they’re both asking the same questions.  Namely:  Is Bud Light Lime as disgusting as Bud Light?  Do I have any chance of offering some to my girlfriend?  Does this taste dissimilar enough from beer that I might like it?

The answer is, to all these questions, no.  Since we reviewed Bud Light Lime a while ago, we’ve had a chance to enjoy it a little more, and if anything we’re happier with it now than when we first tried it.  But it’s still light beer, for all its glory.

The key things to know about Bud Light Lime are:

  1. The portions are smaller than your usual bottle of beer
  2. The lime flavor is light but unmistakable, adding badly-needed personality to diet beers
  3. It’s roughly twice as expensive as run-of-the-mill beers (a 24-case ran us a little more than $50)
  4. But damn is it ever good when it’s hot outside

If you’ve never had beer before, Bud Light Lime isn’t a bad place to start.  The lime offsets some of the funkier aspects that usually chase first-time drinkers (or girls) away from beer, while still delivering most of the experience.

On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who has tried lagers or ales in the past and couldn’t stand them, this is not the one to turn the tide for you.  If you’re desperate to acquire a taste for beer, start with a cider and work yourself in that way.

is smirnoff tuscan lemonade good?

Aw, people love to lob me softballs.

No, Smirnoff Tuscan Lemonade (with Limoncello!) is terrible.  It is not a good value for your money, you can do better with  a jumbo bottle of vodka and some Country Time, and we stand by that.

Feel free to argue with us in the comments about it, though!  We literally never get tired of discussing it.

how to handle ground chicken burgers and keep hand cleans?

I love that we’re attracting such responsible, slightly paranoid chefs and hosts to our site.  You mimic our own fears!  You mirror Mike’s anxiety in particular about germs on flat surfaces, and Tina’s horror at the thought of cross-contamination!

The trick to handling any kind of chicken is to do it in the near proximity of a sink, and to wash your hands any time you’re about to touch something that isn’t the chicken or the surface chicken will be resting on.  As long as you’re careful about what you touch before and after handling poultry, ensuring that a hot-water handwashing stands in-between, you should be okay.

In case anyone gets all up in your fries about being over-sensitive on this subject, ask them the last time they had a 24-hour stomach flu.  As they start to respond, “Well, I–” you can cut them off with the fact that it’s been well-established that there’s no such thing:  24-hour flus are actually caused by various forms of food poisoning, including salmonella.

And then wash your hands, pointedly.

i hate the barefoot contessa

I just like to point these out, sometimes.  A person out there in the world suddenly felt so swollen up with hostility that they had to pour this sentiment out into the Google search field, just to see what would happen.

What could lead to this?  Did some unhappy soul get stuck watching Barefoot Contessa’s The Basics one afternoon and just blow their rage into their laptop, muttering profanities and hoping to find a kindred spirit?  What did they hope to uncover?

Of course, they found an article I wrote where I did much the same thing, except that mine is enshrined forever on the internet, but hey.  It’s cute anyway.

would lamb and goat cheese go together?

Oh yes, yes they would.  Like peas and carrots, they do; like happiness and sunshine, they do.

Let’s think about the characteristics of lamb, when it’s done properly:  it’s tender, sweet, delicate and yet has a distinctive flavor; now, let’s consider goat cheese, with its creamy texture and its sharp tangy edges.  Individually they’re both engaging and pleasing to the palette, but when they’re combined they represent the potential for complex richness.

Yes, we have tried it before, and yes, it was a complete success.

what happends if you drink coronna light and your 13?

Oh my God, Mom and Dad are gonna FREAK.

As will your friends.  Don’t ever tell them that your first illicit drinking experience was a discount cerveza, particular the light variety — at the very least, pretend that you got hammered on peach schnapps and threw up properly, like everyone else does.

But to answer the question:  You lose the ability to spell words with the letter N, apparently.

And that’s it for this time around, folks! I am hopeful that you got something out of this at least, and if nothing else have learned that it is always a good time to peel back the covers and see what crazy shit people are looking for on the internet.

Until next time, keep asking those questions!

  • Tina

    Okay, so the chicken burger question? Let’s talk about proper hand washing procedures. We know that we’re supposed to wash our hands in warm/hot soapy water, right? And that we’re supposed to wash them up to the elbow, even though it was only your fingertips handling the chicken. But did you know that the recommended length of time per hand washing is 20 seconds? That’s about the same amount of time that it takes to sing “happy birthday”….which seems like a REALLY long time underneath a running faucet.

    So, now I know that despite my trepidation, misgivings, and general OCD style hand washing, I still don’t cut the mustard in a hygiene sense. Huh. Watch my inherent paranoia sky rocket in 5…4….3…2………..