Foodie Tuesday: Mixed Grill Girl

I’m married to a person whose fondness for vegetables is, shall we say, somewhat limited. Fruits, yes; starches, yes; seafoods and meats, yes and yes. Veg, not so much. He’ll eat some quite willingly, but he’d make a fairly poor version of a vegetarian. Me, I love many kinds of vegetables, along with all of the other foods, but I am a pescetarian and carnivore as well, so I don’t mind having the occasional festival of meat kind of meal.photo

We had a friend join us for dinner today, a person whose leanings are not far different from my spousal-person’s, so it seemed like a fine time to indulge in a freezer-freeing festival of the mainly meat sort. I had a small but solid hunk of grass-fed beef waiting to be enjoyed, a quartet of all-natural bratwurst all ready for a taste test, and the goofy woven square of bacon lying atop my cheesy potato-mash dish in the freezer drawer in quiescent quiet to prepare for use as well. Now I have a lot of space that I didn’t have in the freezer. Of course, I’ve got quite a bit less space in my innards at the moment than before. Yup.photo

So we had our mixed-grill meal together and had fun. Bratwurst, simmered for a long time in a bottle of Shiner Bock, until the beer was syrupy and the sausages fully cooked. The potato mash was quickly heated through and ready to go to table. The beef got cut up into small steaks and pan-seared in avocado oil, with just a little sea salt. Yes, we did in fact have a vegetable, too: peas. Tiny peas, steamed and served with lemon-mint butter, sweet salted butter mixed with minced fresh mint leaves and grated lemon zest.

All of this certainly sated the hunger for savories. That can, in turn, trigger the sweet tooth response. So there was dessert. Probably the richest version of a chocolate pudding I’ve concocted to date, dressed with honeyed peach slices.photo

Rich Chocolate Pudding & Peaches

Pudding: blend 3/4 to one cup each of whole milk yogurt and coconut milk, about 1/4 cup of raw honey, a pinch of salt, a splash each of orange liqueur (homemade months ago from mandarins, juice and zest both, with toasted coconut and brown sugar and vodka), vanilla and almond extracts, and three large eggs, and cook them gently until thickened. Add a bunch of yummy dark chocolate pieces and melt them down. I used 14 pieces of Dove dark chocolate, and just let the residual heat of the thickened custard melt them as I stirred. The coconut milk left the mixture just a tad less than perfectly smooth, so I used the stick blender to make it all silky. A stint in the fridge before dessert time finished the thickening and glossing and it was all ready to serve.

With topping. I took 2 cups of sliced frozen peaches and cooked them gently with a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons each of butter and honey, a teaspoon of almond extract, and spices to taste (I used allspice and cardamom). Spooned at room temperature over the chilled pudding, they gave just enough brightness and freshness to jazz up the rich pudding and fool me into thinking I wasn’t overindulging in dessert after overindulging in dinner. My style entirely, and I think you do know what I mean. Sorry? Not the teeniest whit.

Foodie Tuesday: Keeping the Tank Full Makes Me Thankful

Let’s just say I’m not the most compliant or enthusiastic when it comes to trying to eat what I think I ought to eat. It’s not that I don’t love eating practically everything–it’s that I do–limiting my choices to what’s right at the moment seems amazingly hard to manage when I’d rather just eat what I feel like eating, in the largest possible quantities and whenever I’m so moved. Sadly, this is what gradually moves me toward the zaftig and less ‘peep show’ sexy than that of a Marshmallow Peep. While its High Season of springtime is ever nearer on the calendar, I don’t really fancy being the latter shape no matter how popular the treat is with other people as sweet-toothed as I am. In fact, I’d have nightmares about being chased around by lust crazed Sugar Zombies in a yellow snowstorm. The very thought!

So I’m going to see if I can’t reduce my carbohydrate footprint, so to speak, and eat things that stay with me in a more kindly manner, that is, in the form of longer-lasting energy and higher nutritive value and deeper savory satisfaction. Frankly, I’m not as worried about fats as I am about the quantity and quality of sugars I’m capable of packing away and have no real need of, nutritionally. So pardon me while I butter myself up, as long as I can learn to more nearly kick the carb habit.

Today I went for an easy start: steak and eggs, Tex-Mex style. I put a couple of cuts of steak in the Sous Vide cooker last night just before bedtime, and when we got going (at our respective times) today, each of us had a piece of medium-rare beef to sear off in the skillet when we were ready to eat. I browned mine in butter and while it rested momentarily on the plate, deglazed the skillet with some of the bone broth from the last batch, handily waiting for the summons from the fridge, and while the broth cooked down to a thin gravy I poached an egg in it. I topped it with a little gussied up salsa: I often buy a jar of Pace Picante Chunky salsa–a pretty mild type–and stick-blend part of it with a (yes, one) chipotle en Adobo, mixing all together for a slightly smoky kick. Then a spoonful of sour cream (didn’t have real crema on hand) and a spiff each of smoked paprika and some lovely crunchy Maldon sea salt flakes, and immediately stuck my fork in and got to work.

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I'm just a Steak and Egg sort of cowgirl, I guess . . .

Thankfully, such a hearty brunch (I won’t lie to you about when I got up) holds up well when it comes to that Work thing, so I’m contentedly looking toward a 7 pm supper with nary a twitch. Well, okay, there is that completely hunger-unrelated humming in my candy molars . . .