Friday, October 15, 2010

Food in Review

Steak was the order of the week since my grama handed me, no joke, six packages steaks at the family lunch on Sunday.  Each package had two steaks each of varying types from t-bones to ribeyes.  Oh, and all of the packages had already been thawed.  She’d intended them to be used at the barbecue, but as usual, she grossly overestimated what we should consume in any one meal.  So, I convinced her to leave them raw, as I can do more with thin steaks raw than I can pre-cooked.  Thin steaks do not reheat very well.  With that, bring on the meat!

Sunday: Determined that I had screwed up The Healthy Everythingtarian’s 4 Ingredient Pizza Dough on the first go round by not having enough “regular” flour and so substituting bread flour, I gave it another go!  This time the flour of choice was whole wheat pastry flour.  I thought that if pastry flour came out tough too, then perhaps it wasn’t me.  Nope!  It was me.  This dough was supple!  I used the dough setting on my Cuisinart to slowly add the beer (this time it was New Belgium’s Hoptoberfest).  Then I kneaded by hand until smooth.  I rolled it out (using the empty beer bottle….yeah, classy!) as thin as I could get it.  The “pizza sauce” was a sundried tomato mixture of crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan pulsed in my mini processor.  Next went sliced baby bellas, white onion, and grilled ribeye.  The remainder of our smoked cheddar cheese covered the top and into a 400 degree oven it went until golden.   Now, I know what you’re thinking….steak on pizza?!  Hey, don’t knock it till you try it.  It was extremely good.  I was skeptical, as those ingredients were about as weird as they can be, but thankfully, it totally worked.

Monday: For my birthday dinner, I decided to make a shepherd’s pie, steak style.  I usually use a ground meat of some kind, but I think little cuts of meat would be a bit more traditional.  I cut and boiled Yukon gold potatoes first.  For the filling, I chopped up two very fatty sirloin steaks, removing as much of the fat as possible.  Then I seared them in a hot skillet.  Once seared, I added flour to the olive oil and fat that the steak had rendered.  Here’s where I did something I usually do not do.  I was on the phone with our best man.  He was wishing me a happy birthday and chatting.  So, my brain was not entirely on my cooking tasks.  I usually use stock for the hearty gravy of the pie, but I grabbed the milk instead.  I had a slight panic, but realized that creamy gravy probably wasn’t a bad thing.    I thinned it with some veggie stock and threw in some thyme, salt, and pepper.  Frozen pearl onions and peas were added to the simmering gravy mixture.  Filling done!  For my mashed toppers, I added low fat buttermilk to the drained potatoes and mashed away with salt and pepper.  Trust me; even the fattiest of fatty mashed potatoes have nothing on my healthy version.  My husband is an avid mashed potato lover, and he loves these.  The filling was layered into my individual casseroles then topped with mash and a little mozzarella (but any cheese is works great for this….it’s a texture thing).  I baked them until some of the cheese was browned on top.  While I actually prefer this dish with ground meat, it was still very satisfying and the flavors were perfect.  

Tuesday:  I’m steaked out!  So, we had a veggie dish.  I fully intended to put steak in this, but just couldn’t do it.  The dish was inspired by some beautiful whole wheat rigatoni I found on sale at Whole Foods.  These were seriously fat rigatoni!  Seems like the shapes I usually find are kind of puny, so I snapped these up!  While that boiled away, I sautéed an entire crown of broccoli and a small yellow onion in olive oil.  After the broccoli showed signs of caramelization, I added about four generous handfuls of organic spinach and two cloves of minced garlic.  By that time, the pasta was ready to be drained.  I added an entire jar of Whole Foods Roasted Red Pepper pasta sauce and my veggies to the pasta and plopped it into a large casserole.  Nope, scratch that.  A large and a medium casserole!  I made the whole box so that we could have left overs for lunches.  Mozzarella was heavily layered onto the pasta mixture and baked for about 10-15 minutes at 325.  I undercooked the pasta just a bit so that it wasn’t a mushy mess once done.  This was some ooey-gooey goodness!  I loved everything about it, but my husband asked that I leave out the spinach next time.  The texture bothered him.  So, double up on the broccoli?  Yeah, I can totally do that!  

Wednesday:  Fail, fail, fail!  I was SO disappointed in myself over this meal.  I was actually visibly upset.  I almost cried.  Yeah, I get angry when I screw up dinner.  It’s sort of pathetic.  I couldn’t help it though.  I wasted food.  I HATE wasting food.  So much so that I ended up in a fight with my entire family on Thanksgiving day last year because, even though I pleaded with them to be mindful of wastage and portion sizes, they still brought more food than three times as many people could eat.  So, yeah, I hate seeing food go to waste so much that I FOUGHT with my grama!  That doesn’t happen.  Anyhow, back to dinner.  I cooked up two thin sirloins to make steak sandwiches and as soon as I smelled them cooking I knew they were bad.  So, I had to throw them in the trash and start over with more of the steaks that my grama had thawed and then entrusted me with “using up”.  Turns out a family of two who are mindful of portions really cannot use up that much steak!  Right, so in the process of re-making dinner, I managed to pull the sweet potato fries out of the oven and stick the buns under the broiler to toast…..and couldn’t get them out in time for tending the steaks and sandwich sauce.  I burned them and had to start over with fresh rolls.  Okay, I’m going to go ahead and admit it.  I pretty much threw a tantrum in my kitchen at that point.  Two wasted steaks.  Two wasted buns.  One very unhappy cook.  Somehow I still managed to plate and serve dinner, only to find out that everything had gotten cold.  The steak (even though it was cooked way later in the process than it should have been) was cold.  The sweet potato fries were downright frosty.  My sweet, sweet husband ate the entire thing while reassuring me that it tasted fine….better than fine…..while I sat there with watery eyes trying to choke down a dinner that I was SO DONE with.  All that being said, steak sandwiches are usually one of my favorite ways to have steak, so I’m just going to call it a bad mood and move on.  

Thursday: The remaining (good steak - yes, more are seeing the trashcan) was sliced and added to sauteed green bell peppers and yellow onions.  I wrap lovely, handmade Central Market whole wheat tortillas around around the steak, pepper, and onion mixture, added jack cheese and grilled ever so slightly to melt the cheese.  Served, of course, with sour cream and salsa.  These were a delicious marriage of fajita, taco, and quesadilla all in one.  I could have eaten FAR more than the two on my plate.  Thank goodness I only made enough for five total because portion control would have been out the window.  

And Riley snuggles for Friday!

Have a great one!

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