Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventures in Cooking Meat: Episode Steak. I've been craving red meat like crazy lately, but I'm also trying to be a little more thoughtful about where my meat is coming from. Grass-fed, locally raised beef sounds a lot better than a big old slab of artificially-red steak from Key Foods... but it's also quite a bit more expensive. Compromising, I bought this london broil from one of the meat vendors at the greenmarket - a cheaper cut than the strip steak or porterhouse I might splurge on at the supermarket, but not super intimidating.

Sure, I had to ask some more seasoned chefs de boeuf for advice, but it was actually pretty easy to cook - a quick marinade in olive oil, vinegar and rosemary, then a super-hot quick sear and a ten minute rest. Upon slicing, I was greeted by lovely, perfectly pink beef - feral and minerally and so exactly what I wanted.

Alongside, some nutty zephyr squash sauteed in a bit of butter and swiss chard topped with a slice of pistachio and honey-flavored goat cheese. Oh, hell yes.

Oh, and those pickles from last week? Amazing. Dill-pickled kohlrabi in the back, smoked salt-pickled turnips at the front. They're crisp and sweet and refreshing, a great foil to anything rich and savory, and a pretty awesome snack just solo.

"What the frig is quinoa?" says just about everyone who doesn't know what the frig quinoa is. (For the record, it's a seed that's sorta more like a grain - full of protein and fiber and all of that other great stuff that makes nutritionists excited, but also tasty and versatile.) This warm quinoa salad was a great clean-out-the-pantry meal: quinoa, beet greens, garlic scapes and feta cheese with lemon and olive oil dressing.) The feta cheese was leftover from a kale, feta and lemon saute - no pictures of that, though. Sorry, Prentice!

This mint iced tea is probably not as visually exciting as it would have been with actual mint leaves floating around. Rest assured, though, it was full of refreshing minty goodness.

This is the second Beth-inspired recipe in today's blog. (The first was the kale and feta concoction.) Beth's nearly-vegan dinner party blew my mind on many levels, but this zucchini ribbon salad was the one dish that I've become absolutely obsessed with. It's so simple but so sophisticated - you run a raw zucchini through the thinnest setting of your mandoline, making paper-thin zucchini ribbons which you then heap on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and herbs - and then you eat it. Avocado slices are optional, but obviously make everything even better. This is the kind of dinner you make when it's eight o'clock at night and eighty-four degrees in your kitchen and all you wanna do is stop being hungry so you can take a cold shower and go to bed.

Except you never just want to stop being hungry - if that was the case, you could just grab a floppy slice of pizza from next door. No, you want to be sated. You want to be full of fresh, local vegetables. You want something worth savoring. No ovens involved. This salad? It's exactly what you want.

Also great for those no-cook nights? Heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. With lots of salt. Lots and lots of salt.

And finally, I leave you with this komatsuna and egg scramble, served on buttered Bread Alone sourdough. Komatsuna is a Japanese mustard spinach that I keep calling Korematsu by mistake. (Which is probably funnier if you went to law school or have some other reason to know about Korematsu vs. United States. Oh, law nerd jokes on a cooking blog!) Anyway, the lightly bitter greens combined with the rich, unctuous yolks of the local eggs, the sweetness of the butter and the slight sour tang of the bread made this perfect little lunch treat. I know it's really ridiculous and corny, but as I ate this, I thought about how lucky I am to be able to enjoy my food so much - that I have so much access to so much good food and that I'm able to eat it with such pleasure.

So, thanks, Prospect Heights CSA and Brooklyn greenmarkets and friends who throw dinner parties and folks who know how to cook a steak properly and officemates who remind me to buy tomatoes! Y'all make this little quasi-locavore* very very happy.

(*I can't call myself a locavore with a straight face. Real talk, I ate KFC for lunch today. And there is a 50/50 chance that I will eat Arby's for lunch tomorrow. Every time someone mentions Horsey sauce, it sets a little alarm clock inside my brain: must eat Arby's within 72 hours or else!)


  1. Beautiful!! I really want you to invite us to eat at your house, but that would mean a 29 hour drive... If we left today at 1 this afternoon, we'd be there (deo volente) around six tomorrow night. ;-) Now I want a london broil and a caprisi salad for breakfast.

  2. Six tomorrow night? Just in time for dinner! :)