"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Beef Tenderloin Steaks

I remember the time when I had a conversation with my mother-in-law. My hubby had told her on another occasion that I was a good cook, "but I miss the simple steak/boiled potatoes/boiled veggies." That conversation made me realize that indeed, what I have been trying to do with the meals I serve were too complicated (sauteeing, adding sauce). I likened that food preference to what we Filipinos would consider an everyday simple meal: pritong isda (fried fish), Kamatis (raw tomatoes) with patis or patis-mansi (patis combined with calamansi juice) with blanched kamote (sweet potato) tops (the young leaves with the tender stems), and plain rice. So whenever I feel too lazy to cook, I cook steaks. Or when I crave for something Pinoy like pancit or munggo guisado, I cook steaks only for my husband. And beef tenderloin steaks are the best cuts.

cooking tenderloins on a heavy cast-iron skilletUsing cast-iron skillet heated on high with 1 tbsp of oil, beef tenderloin takes only about 5 minutes per side to cook for well-done steaks. That's how my hubby likes it. For some who like it medium-rare it may take as short as 2 minutes.

Served while hot and juicy (overcooking will dry it up) with A-1 regular steak sauce, boiled veggies and boiled potatoes is how my husband prefers it. I can serve this to him anytime and expect a heartfelt thank-you kiss after the meal. This to him is the typical good American meal, which to most Filipinos would be considered good beef tenderloin steaks with boiled veggies and boiled potatoesbut expensive (beef is very expensive in the Philippines) and usually only available in high-class restaurants or hotels, not in wet markets where most Pinoys get their supplies of fresh meat.

Since my in-laws raise the cattle for our own yearly supply of beef, it is indeed the cheapest (and best considering that it is grass-fed and we know exactly how it was raised. This type of beef can command a high price if sold, and a lot of consumers concerned about the food they eat would grab at the opportunity to get a hold of this grass-fed cow even at a high price). We pay only $1 per pound to the butcher, no matter what cut (good steaks in the grocery stores can range from $4 to $8 per pound). The rest of the "cost" is into the labor we/my in-laws put into raising the cattle. Since we divide a whole cow into 1/4 (four families), we get to shell out only $250 per year for butchering. Not bad eh? However, for the whole year, from our share of the cow, we only get around 4 lbs of tenderloin steaks. So when we run out of tenderloins, I cook other steak cuts like porterhouse, t-bone, rib-eye, etc. I will post on how I prefer to cook these other cuts in the future. A related post about beef is found here. To know more about beef cuts, click here. (I noticed that I have rarely posted about these meals that are common in my kitchen now that I am where I am.)Posted by Hello

I mentioned to my Filipino dr-friends here about our grass-fed cows and the benefits of eating grazing animals, as compared to grain-fed. They were very interested in buying if my in-laws would sell the beef. I talked recently with my in-laws. My brother-IL is taking over the herd, and they plan to sell, but the selling is by the half: 1/2 or 2 halves or 3 halves of the cow. Not 1/4 , not 20 pounds, etc. The cost would be, regardless of the cut, $1.75 per pound to my in-laws, $0.50/lb to the butcher (I think they might have had an arrangement with the butcher that by bringing him more butchering jobs, he lowered his labor costs), which will come to around $500 per half of the cow. Not bad, considering the quality of the meat and the price that is very competetive against those available in the grocery stores. But my brother-IL would be selling only 1 cow this year's fall (yes, there is that timing. Not this winter, spring nor summer.) . I hope more local farmers would go into that. Not only would it bring income to the local farmers and to the local community, it would also benefit the community in the fight against obesity and its complications (which we can now see as having its roots from the processed and refined foods that are so ubiquitous).

If you are also worried about the beef you buy from the grocery store, consider looking for a local farmer in your area who is also into the same kind of business. Not only are you using your money wisely, you are also doing your body a favor by giving it real good food. If you have no choice but to buy from the grocery stores, here's a good resource for guidelines.


  1. You really honor me.

    I'm glad to see the word spread about the benefits of grass-fed livestock. If more people demand it, maybe the supply of it will increase, and the price decrease :)

    ... and, god, your steaks look succulent.

  2. What an informative post! It is kind of weird how we took these things for granted, but when I was growing up in the Philippines, this kind (grass fed) is the only kind of beef we had. My grandparents raised them and would butcher as needed.

    Great idea about checking with local farmers, I never thought of that before. I'll have to look into it now.

  3. fanatic,

    I am very grateful for YOUR enlightening post.


    I have been reading in magazines the increasing movement by people of creating some sort of a local market where people can invest in a farm, have someone tasked with the labor, divide the produce amongst the investors, and so on...Many are getting interested because they have been getting too worried about the quality of produce sold in the grocery stores. When you think of it, those foods which we know how exactly they were raised/processed bring us peace of mind. I can't recall the names of the organizations doing that, but they are spreading.

    The other night I was watching History channel and the feature was on butchering history of beef. Local traditional butchers now are an endangered species in bigger cities. I am glad we still have them here. I just hope the government will not be so repressive on these small businesses. Nowadays such small-sized businesses find a hard time to comply with all the regulations considering the costs of licensing and equipment, you'd wonder if it's worth putting up the business and at how they manage to survive...we can give them support.

    WE have run out of milk supply from our own cattles, but my MIL found a young couple who sells pasteurized unhomogenized milk, and we buy our milk from them directly. I tell you, the milk from the grocery stores can't compare to the taste! Plus, if you don't want too much fat, just let the milk sit in the fridge overnight and scoop out the cream that separates on top. WE are getting good milk and we have a sense of fulfillment having helped that young couple in their business. You might also find that with the local farmers there.

  4. Oh,manang!
    Beef here are very expensive,most are imported from the U.S(before the beef scare,BSE)and from Australia,called Aussie beef here.
    Ever heard of Kobe beef? A pound can cost as much as three hundred dollars. The cows are said to be fed with beer and massaged to relieve stress (less stress for the cows means good,tender,juicy meat,they say).

    Happy luv day!


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