Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Giant Steak Can be Good for You!

Red meat is, okay, not the healthiest choice.  It's high in fat, high in cholesterol, and has been linked to colon cancer, breast cancer and Alzheimer.  What the hell?

On the other hand, it's high in iron (and I'm anemic, so that's a plus), zinc (which is good for the immune system), and protein.

I'm not a doctor.  (Oh, gosh, had you not realized that yet?  Seriously, I'm not.  From a medical perspective this website is even less helpful than WebMD - the Wikipedia of Medicine!), but here's my problem with studies on the negatives of red meat.  All the studies I've seen compare the "Western Diet" (burgers, french fries, fried chicken), to the "Mediterranean Diet" (fish, grains, olive oil).  Yeah, the Mediterranean Diet is going to win!  But, what if the problem isn't the red meat?  What if the problem is the fact that our meat is being fed crazy antibiotics and ground up animal byproducts and god knows what else.  What if the problem is that it's being cooked in pure trans fat?  There's too much to separate.

In the end, everything is bad for you.  Yeah, I'm probably going to die of cancer.  But I'm also going to die of cancer because I like to garden in a tank top without putting on sunscreen.  Or because there was asbestos in my high school.    Or because of the aluminum in my deodorant, or in my aluminum cans.  There's too much to worry about.  If we don't all die of cancer, it's probably only because the terrorists won.  I can try to be healthy, but that's the best I can do.

1 giant-ass T-bone.  My husband and I shared this for dinner.
And that's what this post is about.  It's about the fact that I have recently found that I really like steak.  It is about my desire, with that realization, to eat steak.  And it is about the fact that, when eating steak, my husband seems to think that bigger = better.

My realization about my love for steak was slow to come about.  I've said before that real meat - that is to say, local food from a local farm - tastes different than meat from a grocery store.  I didn't think I liked beef, unless it had been slow cooked to the point of melting in your mouth.  I didn't understand when people said that a steak melted in their mouth.  Steaks don't melt - they're chewy.  Like chewing on people, I have said in the past.  Too fleshy.

And then I realized, bad meat = bad.  Cheap meat = bad.  Processed meat with fillers and added solutions = bad.  Happy cow, killed humanely, processed properly and minimally, and prepared well = amazing.

I'm not worried about eating too much red meat.  Red meat is expensive.  If it's not, you probably shouldn't be buying it.  Try the real thing... or don't.  Once you do, you may never be able to go back.

I justify the cost of red meat, and the possible health consequences, by making sure the rest of the meal is full of healthy, inexpensive, vegetably choices. 

A good steak has it's own flavor.  The best recipe is this:

Take steak (L).  Season generously with salt and pepper, and maybe a little minced garlic (L).  Sear on a grill over high heat, until medium rare.  Cook it any more than that, and I will find you and punch you in the neck.

A good steak meal, in my mind, is about the side dishes.  They should complement the steak and fill you up.  I was very happy with both of these.  The salad was especially good, and even my husband - who I think tends to see salad mostly as a filler item - was really happy with it.  The greens were a last minute addition to the potatoes, but they were a little peppery and I really enjoyed them.  You can't tell so much from the pictures, but I used a combination of red, Yukon gold, and purple potatoes.
Still a lot of steak...

Grilled Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Honey Vinaigrette

For the Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tbsp minced shallots (L)
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinigar
  • 1/2 cup raw honey (L)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (L*), minced
  • 1 clove garlic (L), minced
  • 3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
For the salad:
  • 2 lbs whole beets (L)
  • 1/4 cup water (L)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sage leaves (L*), minced
  • 3 sprigs time (L*), minced
  • 1 sprig rosemary (L*), minced
  • 1 bayleaf
  • salt and pepper
  • mixed greens (L)
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half or quartered (L*)
  • Crumbled goat cheese (L)
Combine dressing ingredients and shake vigorously.  

Wash well and chop beets into 1/2 inch pieces (I learned there is no need to peel them).  Place into the center of a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the edges to make a "boat."

The first piece of foil I used was too small :(

 Pour in water, olive oil, sage, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.  Fold up to create a "packet."  Grill packet over medium high heat, until beets are cooked through and soft, about 30 minutes.  Top mixed greens with beets, tomatoes, and goat cheese, and dress with honey vinaigrette.  The dressing saves well, but you will need to pull it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving, because the olive oil will congeal.
Beets in their packet

Finished salad.  So pretty!

Pan Fried Potatoes with Beet Greens
  • 1 lb potatoes (L) - I used a mix of Yukon, red, and purple, but you could use anything you wanted.  Unpeeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp butter (L)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (L)
  • Greens from 2 lbs beets, sliced into 1 inch strips (L)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place potatoes into a large pot, and just cover with cold water.  Salt water, and bring to a boil, cooking at a gentle boil until potatoes just start to be tender.  Drain.

Meanwhile, add butter to a large skillet and melt over medium high heat.  Add garlic, and saute for about two minutes.  Add potatoes and greens, and cook until greens are well wilted, and potatoes are cooked through and golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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