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Your Cooking Questions, Answered

The Martha Stewart Show, March 2009

In early 2009, we posted a survey asking people about their kitchen skills. As it turned out, the majority of those who took it needed a primer on knives and more practice in the art of cooking a perfect steak.

Now, Nikki Elkins, head chef and kitchen manager for "The Martha Stewart Show," answers these common questions.

The Perfect Steak
Begin by letting the meat come to room temperature. Season the meat heavily with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over high heat, then lower to medium-high. Simple, decorative grill marks will enhance your presentation. To "mark" your meat, place it on the hot grill pan at an angle; when marks appear, rotate the steak one quarter turn, flip, and repeat.

The thickness of a steak determines its cooking time -- for a 1-inch-thick steak, grill about 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare meat. A digital thermometer can be used to check the meat's internal temperature, which should be 125 degrees. (For more information on meat temperatures, download this temperature chart from "Martha Stewart's Cooking School.") Remove steak from heat, and let rest. Slice steak across grain.

There are at least three must-have knives: a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife. Basic cuts are easy to perfect with a little practice. To slice, push the knife away from you in a quick, downward motion. When chopping, rock the knife up and down, raising its heel no more than an inch.

GE Monogram
People are always asking what appliances we use on "The Martha Stewart Show." Here at the studio, we use a GE Monogram pro range.

Get more valuable cooking tips with these Cooking School Lessons.

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