Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Timmy's Alphabet Soup

The cook: Timmy

The ingredients: Short cut rump steak, cauliflower, milk, Monterrey Jack cheese, thyme, angel hair pasta, olive oil, parmesan cheese

The recipe: Pan-sear the steak, boil and mash the cauliflower and mix in Jack cheese and thyme, boil the pasta and toss with olive oil and parmesan.

The goal: Eat the entire alphabet in meal form, starting with A (angel hair), B (beef), and C (cauliflower).

Shopping: I didn't even know I was going to do this project when I went grocery shopping yesterday, but I was able to get it done. I usually buy a steak every Sunday to eat either that night or the next (the rump steak won out this week because, like all the steaks I end up choosing, it was on sale). I had bought a head (is that what it's called?) of cauliflower at Haymarket for a dollar last weekend, and mashed them last Wednesday. (Almost a week in the fridge, and it was still good. Incredible!) And I had less than half a box of angel hair left, which is truly fortunate, because that's not enough for its own meal, and it probably would have sat in my cabinet forever.

The Results: Good! I've really gotten the hang of cooking steaks in my cast iron pan (which I love dearly). The mashed cauliflower was, understandably, better when I ate it the first time, but it generally was a revelation. With a little cornstarch, it could really have the same consistency as mashed potatoes, and I'm sure cauliflower is better for you than potatoes. Even though I don't think there's anything wrong with potatoes. And what can I say about angel hair? It takes like, ten seconds to make. Best pasta ever!

Dessert: A bag of frozen strawberries. I'm not gonna hold myself over the coals w/r/t the alphabet thing for dessert.

Next time: D, E, and F!

Monday, August 24, 2009


The Cooks: Rob & Michelle

The Ingredients: Steak, Green Beans, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Olive Oil

Recipe: Saute steaks, boil beans, saute sweet corn, slice tomatoes, drizzle oil oil

The Goal: Local, sustainable

Shopping: I bought my vegetables at the Union Square Green Market. I should have bought my steak there as well, but I had some extra errands to do that afternoon and didn't want a thawing steak in my handbag. I figured I could find a steak in Brooklyn that would meet my expectations. That was the big mistake of the meal. I went to four grocery stores in search of an organic, grass-fed, semi-local cut of meat. What I ended up with was a shell steak from Creekstone Farms. The packaging promised it was "Natural" which was defined as "lightly processed" with no added hormones or antibiotics, and that it was 100% vegetarian raised. I could choose between the shell steak from Canada or the U.S.A. I choose the U.S.A. steak. I think our steak came from a cow in Arkansas, but I can't be sure.

The Results: It was a tasty, summery meal. After a sweltering week in Brooklyn, it finally cooled off a little in the evening. The simple, fresh veggies tasted great (even Rob, notorious veggie hater, cleaned his plate). The steak was a hit, taste wise, even if it didn't quite live up to the standards I was aiming for.

Dessert: Blueberry ice-cream from Ronnybrook Farm. Local cows, local berries, entirely delicious.

Next time: I'll plan further in advance and make sure I can have the meat meet the standards of the rest of the meal.