Fame Bites goes inside the belly of the entertainment beast. We're dishing out where the celebrities are eating, what they're eating and who they're eating with.
Though he lives in Colorado now, Jeff Austin will always call Chicago home, and that, perhaps, is a rather unlikely place to spawn a professional mandolin player. On the other hand, the Windy City is ripe for churning out foodies, and if you follow Jeff on Twitter, you’ll know that food is one of his favorite topics.
Most people, however, simply know him as one-fourth of the Nederland, Colorado-based Yonder Mountain String Band with which he tirelessly tours to audiences around the world.
When the progressive bluegrass band rolled through Atlanta on their current Cabin Fever Tour, CNN joined Jeff for dinner at Rathbun Steak where we managed to order probably enough food to heartily feed everyone in attendance at their sold out show at The Tabernacle. Alas, nothing was left but bones...
You chose dinner tonight. Why Kevin Rathbun Steak?
Explain – if you can – just what the hell we ate tonight.
How do you like your steak?
Do you have any food rituals before you go on stage?
What are your special requests for catering backstage?
Where did you develop your culinary interests?
We also lived in a homeless shelter; I lived in St. Sylvester's Catholic Charity Shelter in Chicago. My mom was working four jobs and places were still too expensive to live. It really made me appreciate food in a big way. I ate from the city pantry very often. You know, you go down to the Rolling Meadows pantry and you walk in and you show your Catholic charity's "we're poor" card and they give you your bag and you fill it up and that's your food. That's why now when somebody asks, "Would you like more truffle butter?" I not only say yes, but I genuinely understand what it means to be without.
What are your guilty pleasures on the bus?
When the tour ends do you cook at home?
You live in Colorado, but are from Chicago originally. What do you miss from home?
Do you have any food addictions?
What's the strangest thing you've ever put in your mouth? Food.
Do you have a simple recipe you can share.
I know these may sound like fancy ingredients from a fancy place, but, you can get these from pretty much any general grocery store or organic market. I recommend a ribeye cut - dry-aged - however, a basic grocery store cut ribeye will work perfectly.
Rub whatever cut you have with intention with the steak rub and let it come to almost room temperature on your kitchen counter - almost 45 minutes or so.
I know it may seem like a long time but allowing your meat to warm up for a while will stop it from overcooking; the less temperature stress on your steak, the better.
Grill your 1-inch to 1-1/2-inch steak at the highest heat possible on your grill for a total of 7-8 minutes - 4 minutes max per side. Time is your friend. Remember, your beef will continue to cook while it rests so don't overdo it, OK?
Once you are done grilling, try this salad dressing alongside your steak:
Pinch of tarragon
Combine in a shallow bowl and whisk until combined. Best if tossed with watercress or baby arugula.
Allow steak to rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve salad alongside for the perfect pre-show meal or a great steak night for two.
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