Sunday, August 2, 2009

Steak It To The Man!

I blame it, to some degree, on degrees. Rather, the lack of high ones. Yes, the summer season has so far been outright chilly. Foods that would normally leave me feeling overheated, that would make much more sense in the fall or winter, seem perfectly logical. Foods like steak & root vegetables. I don't mean a grilled steak with a side of potato chips, I mean things like:

Grass-fed round-tip steak sauced with mushrooms & bacon
in a red wine reduction,
with wilted mustard greens & parsnip-potato mash.

Or perhaps something a little more on the unassuming, but still unseasonable side:

Grass-fed round-tip steak frites with caramelized "candy" onion & sauteed dino kale.

But an unusually (delightfully) mild summer isn't the only factor pushing me towards the comfortable embrace of steak. Compared to last summer's Challenge period, my social calendar is much more full & my wallet considerably less so. The round-tip from Thousand Hills really fits the bill; inexpensive, flavorful, & sanely portioned. Finally, there's the fact that it's cryovac-sealed, meaning that one can purchase it & essentially forget about it until one needs it. It's a very lean, unmarbled cut, so care (above & beyond that normally shown towards grass-fed beef) should be taken when cooking it. Essentially, "rare" is equivalent to what we think of as "medium-rare" in the corn-fed steak world.

More than either temperature or tight finances, though, I think I've just been playing it safe. As Liz admits, I too have found myself off to a comparatively sluggish start. Last year saw me eating somewhere around 80-90% Local, starting in June. This year, I'm well above 60-70% since June, but perhaps because of the new structures at the Market (both literal & figurative) & changes in my personal life, I'm simply not approaching the Challenge with the same sheer intensity. Is my sense of adventure diminished? Where did the time & energy I had to braise things for hours & invent all-vegetable meals go? What's with all the comfort foods? This shouldn't be about comfort- it's The Challenge, for crying out loud!

It's a self-challenge, on the honor system, however. We are each encouraged to do the best we can. Some may observe me bemoaning my "meager" 60-something percentage & think, "Sheesh, this sounds impossible!" Please don't. Whether approached full-bore, or nibbled at the edges, eating locally has real benefits. & real positive ramifications for our health, our local economy, & our agricultural future.

No matter how one slices that, it's delicious.

- nano out.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Yeah, Fall comfort foods seem to be the thing so far with my challenge, too. Mashed potatoes, biscuits, beans, etc. I haven't had a salad yet! Weird!?!

Everything looks good, but those fries look ridiculously good!