Archive for ‘Beef’

November 11, 2010

Spicy Skirt Steak with Far Eastern Flair

Cherub was at school this morning so I had time to peruse the aisles at New Asian Supermarket without worrying that she would try to “pet” a fish in the tanks or topple a display of gigantic bottles of Squid brand fish sauce.  Good times. 

But as I was doing this, I was realizing just how important it is for anyone with a desire to eat well, but on a budget, to become friendly with their local ethnic grocery stores.  Oh.my.gosh.  People!  Such a resource for inspiration and flavor and ingredients!  I saw some gorgeous Chinese noodles (it felt like a three-pound package, or at least 12 servings) for $2.49.  The three bands of Japanese noodles, made in Australia, I pick up at Fresh Market (God love ’em) are $4.99.  I suck at math, but that’s way cheaper.  And there are things you can find in the produce section that you can’t find other places.  The baby bok choy was real baby bok choy.  We were at Whole Foods a bit later and saw what was called baby bok choy and it was four times the size. 

I’m not suggesting that you go all non-local with all your produce shopping.  Not at all.  You know P loves her local farmers.  But for a change every once in a while, take a stroll through the aisles of your local market and see what you can find that gets you excited.  Don’t know what to do with it?  PK tip: Get it anyway.  Do a bit of Googling or heck, send me an e-mail.  I love a challenge.  Let’s get cooking!

Tonight’s dinner was a quick one.  (I was fortunate to be invited to a little lunch with super chef and super nice guy David Tanis who’s on a tour for his new book The Heart of the Artichoke.  I’ll post about that in full later.)  Anyhoodle, I marinated some grass-fed steak in vegetable oil, lemon grass all bashed up, ginger, garlic and Chinese chili paste.  This was served with some fresh mung beans (remember the just buy it advice???) and that baby bok choy that was pickled.  Awesome.

Quick Spicy Skirt Steak with Fresh Mung Beans and Pickled Baby Bok Choy

For the steak:

2/3 to 3/4 pound skirt steak (this was grass fed from White Oak Pastures, available at Whole Foods)

1 stalk lemon grass, cut crosswise in thirds and then bashed thoroughly (soooo satisfying)

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October 21, 2010

Pub Night: Steak Pie with Mushy Peas

We have a love for just about all things English in this house: Shaun and Ed, Brit rock, Liberty fabrics, English comedy (the original Office, please), Chelsea football, Stilton, the Queen, English gardens, and the concept of a “local.”  Give me some grass-fed beef and I’ll give you a pie.  I could have used some kidneys to throw in there, too.  Next time.  I like to serve that lovely pie with some mushy peas.  These peas are the easiest side dish of all time: two ingredients, one of which is frozen peas.  While I didn’t use marrowfat peas as a traditional recipe calls, a good organic frozen variety pinch hits nicely.  Add in a bit of English cheddar to the peas and you’re laughing. 

A PK tip: this is a great meal for a Saturday afternoon; you need time, but not much of it is hands on time.  Plus it goes very well with beer.

Who Ate All The (Meat) Pie?

For the Pie

2 pounds (grass-fed, organic) chuck roast, cut in large cubed, bones reserved

small handful baby leeks, chopped (or 1 small onion, or 1 large leek)

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October 19, 2010

Cocktails at the Rossi with Maia

Maia and I enjoyed cocktails and dinner at The Rossi tonight.  Maia is rather worldly and has been just about everywhere in this fair city of ours.  I love that about her.  She can order with the pros.

I started with a Ohio Apple Pie cocktail with some Brothers Drake mead because I just recently tasted all their fall releases.  The Rossi is one of the swanky places that carries this fine stuff.  Nicolene, the creative barkeep at Rossi, pairs Brothers Drake Apple Pie mead with another local libation, OYO vodka, and finishes it off with a garnish of cinnamon and sugar.  Really nice pairing.

Maia had the Fletcher and Bligh with Ten Cane rum, key lime juice, some maraschino liqueur.  The beautifully presented martini glass is kissed with vanilla bean sugar and looks like a frosted winter present, albeit one of delicious alcohol.

Being from Texas, I can’t pass up an opportunity to try an enchilada in any form, and

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October 17, 2010

Sunday Dinner: Lasagna, Meatballs, Sausage and “Gravy”

For those of you who have been following the goings on in Persephone’s Kitchen, you’ll know most important things to me are techniques, tradition and family.  I’m determined not to lose the family history that is contained in recipes handed down generation to generation. 

As a result, Persephone doesn’t always do the cooking.  This morning, while the marathoners made their way to the finish line, I sat in Rhea‘s kitchen and watched her start the involved process of a big Italian-American Sunday dinner.  Her lasagna and meatballs require the patient efforts of a Thanksgiving dinner.  So when she decides to make Italian, everybody gathers ’round.  Cronus is especially happy.  All day the sausages and homemade meatballs braised in scratch tomato sauce.  The long day’s work meant that tonight we were treated to her homemade gravy (for those of you not from Jersey, that’s the tomato sauce), meatballs, sausage and lasagna.  Food coma heaven.  And Cronus, bless him, broke out a Red from A.D. 1991 to properly celebrate Mom’s hard work.

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October 13, 2010

Juniper Rubbed Sirloin with Balsamic Dressed Potatoes

Weeknight meals aren’t super complicated around here.  That doesn’t mean they have to be the same old boring flavors that make you want to tear your hair out.  Ok, maybe that’s just me that gets worked up like that.  But I digress.  Today I’m not going to give you so much of a recipe as

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October 6, 2010

“Eat at a Locally-Minded Restaurant”: Let’s go to Skillet!

A great suggestion for one of the things you can do to participate in local foods week is eat at a “locally-minded” restaurant.  So to make sure we touched as many points on the Eat Local Challenge Pledge Card as we could this week, my family visited the cheerful Caskey family at Skillet for lunch today.  Even home-body Persephone loves a good meal out.  

Hades started with the Red Beans and Rice.  Chef Kevin Caskey really nailed the smokey, French Quarter flavor of this creole classic.  Sadly, we dug in too quickly and have no photo to prove its existence.

Mommy told Cherub the grilled cheese was a real winner.  So she ordered the grilled cheese and pumpkin and black bean soup for herself (she’s a very confident three-year-old).    

While we have worked hard to make sure she tries all types of foods with different flavors and textures, I have to say, I was shocked to see how much soup she vacuumed up.  Then I tasted it.  Well, of course.  It’s a fantastic combination: silky pumpkin with perfectly cooked and seasoned black beans.  What’s not to love?

I am no stranger to Flying J Farms beef.  It’s some of the best we’ve tasted.  I had to order the Diner Burger: made with ground beef from Flying J Farm‘s grass-fed and finished cows, on grilled brioche, topped with fontina,  a fried egg and peppery arugula.  The egg still had a delicious thick yolkiness, that  further “sauced” the burger (and my shirt, since Persephone is nothing if not a graceful eater).  It was tremendously good.  But what really set it off was the lovely tomato marmalade.  In a word: finesse. 

Hades ordered the Fried Green Tomato BLT, topped with a fried yard egg, a pretty ruffle of frisee and oo-wee sauce.  Let me tell you: oo-wee, it’s good sauce and a good sandwich.  I think fried green tomatoes can be kind of pain to do right.  And Chef Caskey does them right.  Nice, thick, meaty tomato (you can easily screw them up and make them mushy, not so here), along with thick, meaty bacon made a wonderful fare-the-well to summer sandwich.

Both Hades and I had small sides of different, but perfectly paired, potato salads.  His a homestyle and mine a cold German-style. 

All sandwiches were $9.  Not much for locally sourced, creatively conceived and downright delicious fare.

I really do love this restaurant.  It’s the kind of place that if we go out, which is rarely, we want to go here.  Make sure you visit them this week.

October 4, 2010

Dinner, Day Three: Braised Short Ribs from Flying J Farm

I can’t tell you how much I love short ribs.  They’re cheap, they’re easy to prepare, and with a little forward planning, they’ll give you more flavor than cuts that are five times the price.  Unfortunately, they’re also terribly underutilized in the home kitchen.  Even if you aren’t that comfy in the kitchen, they are very forgiving.  So go ahead and keep your filets – this unsung cut is the one for me.

For this dish I used grass-fed short ribs from Flying J Farm, which were second to none.  They were dense and meaty, with just the right amount of fat for succulence.  And marvelously bordering on just a bit wild tasting because of the grass diet.  Just remember: low heat, long time, and you’ll have a smile on your face at the dinner table.

Braised Short Ribs with Red Pepper Gravy and Sweet Potato Mash

3 pounds of grass-fed, Flying J short ribs, or grass-fed if you’re not from Ohio

1 T of bacon fat (Curly Tail Farm)

2 green onions, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, diced

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 medium red bell peppers

1 small, red, spicy chili

2 T of flour

3 cups of stock, 3 cups of water

Salt/pepper

To get started add a thwack (that would be a heaping tablespoon, more or less) of bacon fat to a large, heavy-lidded roasting pan.  Turn up the heat pretty high.  Generously salt and pepper the ribs, then add them to the pan, searing on both sides.  I must emphasize two points here: 1.  Sear them until they begin to brown, and 2.  Do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan.  I will repeat:  do not crowd the pan.  Stack your ribs on a plate and set them aside.

Turn the heat way down, and add the onion, the chili, and the garlic.  Scrape the bottom of the pan somewhat obsessively to release all that goodness.  When soft, then add the peppers and tomatoes, and soften them somewhat.  Then put the ribs back in, along with any juices on the plate.  With flair, sprinkle everything with the flour, then add the liquid.

PK Tip:  After last night’s Chicken dish, we had leftover bones.  While cleaning up, I put them in a pasta pot, filled it with water along with some vegetable trimmings (like leek tops, carrot tops, radish tops, the odd tomato), bay, thyme and peppercorns, brought it to a boil, and simmered over low heat for 45 minutes.  Voila…stock.  In all honesty, if at this stage you don’t have stock made this way (or something similar), I would say just use all water and not a boxed stock.

Back to the show:  Place the lid on the pot and place in the oven at 300˚.  Two and a half hours is an absolute minimum.  Three is better, Four better still.  When it’s done, pull out the bones (won’t be hard – and save them!  That’s beef stock!), skim/remove any fat, and pull the meat apart with two forks.  Lovely.

Meanwhile, you’ll have plenty of time to make the sweet potato mash.  That’s one mammoth Beauregard sweet potato (thank you Northridge Organics), cubed, boiled, drained and mashed.  Add heavy cream, milk, salt and pepper to taste.  At the risk of repeating myself, lovely.  If you’ve got some fresh corriander (that’s cilantro), chop it and sprinkle it over the top, it’s fantastic.

According to James Beard, short ribs are best served with beer.  As a rule, you should never, ever disagree with James Beard.  So Columbus Brewing Company’s Scottish Ale it was.

Playlist included Bloodbuzz Ohio, by The National.  God, I love his voice.

Complete sourcing for local produce used in this meal can be found on the Farms and Producers page.

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