Saturday, August 22, 2009

In Non-Food News

Our third baby arrived on Thursday (needless to say that my menu planning went mainly to waste, though my husband did cook us the roast). Meals every other day from our church will start tomorrow and last for three weeks. As much as I love cooking, eating without preparation is pretty nice too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Marination Idea: Flat Steak

This works great for flat iron steak, or any long thin (and tough) piece of meat (seen here is a "round" steak).

Puncture meat all over with a fork. Cover with sea salt, pepper, and whatever herbs sound good to you (here I have used basil just dried from the garden), as well as extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also added some raw apple cider vinegar.

Let sit at least 15 minutes, and up to an hour (but cover with something to keep bugs and dust away).

Broil for 5 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes (based on 1" thickness), or grill for 2.5 minutes per side and then let stand 5 minutes .

You can slice this into steak servings, cut it thin for fajitas, and make sure to save any leftovers for steak Caesar salad later.

Monday, August 17, 2009

CSA Report: 3rd Week of August

Not pictured: A lovely 100yr old variety of muskmelon that was quickly devoured for dessert

Menu Plan Monday

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I am trying to restore some routines before the baby comes, so I am launching again into Menu Plan Monday's hosted by orgjunkie.com. Our CSA box came today, as well as our grocery delivery from Azure Standard, so I am working with a decently stocked pantry. However, we are still on a bit of a pantry challenge this summer trying to see how well we can live off the cow we bought last spring, our CSA box, and our weekly trip to the farm for raw milk and eggs. Please keep that in mind as there is nothing but beef, veggies, and eggs on the menu because a lot of our meals look a little like the photo below.


Monday
B: Eggs and buttered toast, raw milk
L: Individual "pizzas" (bread, tomatoes, hormone and nitrate free pepperoni, and mozzarella), plums from the back yard, raw milk, kombucha
D: Burger patties, fresh salad, sauted zuchinni, raw milk
Dessert: Muskmelon and nectarines
To Do: Soak oats for porridge, defrost roast, culture buttermilk,

Tuesday
B: Oatmeal porridge with raisins, cinnamon and nectarines, raw milk
L: PB&Honey, carrots, nectarine, raw milk, kombucha
D: Steak, salad, sauteed chard, raw milk
To Do: Start new batch of Kombucha, soak oats for porridge, marinate roast in buttermilk, soak flour for bread, start new sourdough mother, make quiche & pie dough, start another batch of beet kvass, culture sour cream

Wednesday
B: Oatmeal porridge with raisins, cinnamon, and butter, fresh squeezed orange juice, raw milk
L: PB&Honey, nectarines, carrots, raw milk, kombucha
D: Quiche, Salad, sauted greens, raw milk
Dessert: Nectarine pie
To Do: Soak flour for orange cake, make bread, separate cream cheese and whey, feed sourdough, soak oats for porridge, soak flour for pizza, preserve garden beans and sauerkraut, start beef bone broth, make mayonnaise

Thursday
B: Oatmeal porridge with raisins, cinnamon, and butter, raw milk
L: Grilled cheese, carrots, nectarine, raw milk, kombucha
D: Pizza, potato salad, Steamed salted and buttered yellow wax beans, raw milk
To Do: Make pizza sauce, feed sourdough, soak oats for porridge, cook and begin fermenting orange cake

Friday
B: Oatmeal porridge with raisins, cinnamon, and butter, raw milk
L: PB&Honey, Carrots, Nectarine, Raw milk, Kombucha
D: Roast with potatoes and carrots, salad, sauted zucchini, raw milk
To Do: Soak flour for Carrot Cake, Feed sourdough, soak oats for porridge, make ice cream, make tart dough

Saturday (Soren's 4th birthday party & some friends' wedding)
B: Oatmeal porridge with raisins, cinnamon, and butter, raw milk, orange juice
L: Pizza, potato salad, carrot cake, orange cake, strawberry tart, ice cream, raw milk, kombucha
D: Eat at friend's wedding
To Do: morning: Cook Carrot cake, make cream cheese icing, assemble tart, feed sourdough mother

Sunday
B: Eggs, sauted zucchini, hash browns, raw milk, orange juice
L: Leftovers from week
D: Steak, salad, slow roasted beets
To Do: Soak oats for porridge, feed sourdough mother

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Challenge: Marinate!

In keeping with last December's "bite-sized steps to a nutrient dense diet" this month's challenge is to develop the habit of marinating your meats, especially red meats. August is a busy and lazy month. As such any new "challenges" should be low-key. Marination is not time, nor labor, intensive, but like so many aspects of traditional cooking, it is forethought intensive.

For example, I have a pot roast that I punctured all over with my meat thermometer marinating in homemade buttermilk right now. It has been marinating for nearly two days, and I plan to cook the roast tomorrow. Some things take less time. I typically marinate steaks or ground meats at room temperature in olive oil and vinegar with spices for 15-45 minutes on the counter. Lamb shanks and some roasts I leave in a nice red wine for 12-24 hours.

The science behind marination is that raw and cultured mediums (buttermilk, extra virgin olive oil, vinegars, wine) will start eating, or pre-digesting, the meat for you which leaves less digestion work for your body to absorb the nutrients. Additionally, it imparts flavor and tenderizes the meat making it more satisfying on the palate. Marination is a not-so-secret technique of all good cooks. Biting into something flavorful, tender, and easy on the stomach later leaves any guest wanting to eat from your table again.

There is also creative joy when blending various herbs and spices to compliment meats. One of my favorite discoveries is cumin, fennel, salt and pepper in an olive oil base on lamb or pork chops. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes on the counter and then scrape off the fennel and broil them (or pan fry) for 4 minutes a side (estimated for a 1" thick cut).

Challenge for the month:
Plan for marination. Try something new or use your nose to create a new blend that gets your mouth watering in anticipation. Do you already have a favorite marinade? Please share it!

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