Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dark Days Challenge Week 1: Steak, Roasted Potatoes, and Kale

I was supposed to make falafel this weekend, but due to changes in plans I ended up letting the dried chickpeas soak so long that they got all foamy with a bad smell. After doing some research, I determined this was definitely not good, so I threw them out. Chickpeas really only need to soak 12 hours, but you can keep them soaking up to 36 hours. I think the key is to rinse them out and put them in fresh water every 12 hours to prevent bad smell.

To replace the falafel endeavor for dinner tonight, I pulled a steak out of the freezer. We finally tried out the new meat vendor Elysian Fields Farm at our greenmarket that offers organic, grass fed heritage beef, pork, and chicken - we took home a sirloin steak that we grilled and served with colorful roasted potatoes and sauteed kale tonight for a romantic, gourmet meal at home. The steak was disappointly tough, but wikipedia tells me that's because sirloin is typically tougher than other premium steaks.

As an appetizer, we enjoyed slices of fresh baked bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This was my second attempt at baking a whole wheat loaf based on the Loaf for Learning in the Laurel's Kitchen Guide to Whole Grain Bread Baking, and it came out moister and more flavorful than last time. I had read that a longer rise creates a better flavor, but I didn't believe it until I tried it today - I let the bread rise slowly at room temperature throughout the day (7 hours start to finish!) and it worked out beautifully. Next time I'll make two loaves at a time so I can gobble it up fresh out of the oven and still have enough left for the rest of the week.

I tried to improve on my usual sauteed kale with onion and garlic by steaming it in a light sauce: 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp water, 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. This sauce produced a subtly sweet and spicy flavor that made the kale go down easier (I still don't love kale, except in colcannon, but it's good for me and it's one of the few season vegetables still available).

These beautiful potatoes - Adirondack reds and Adirondack blues - were chopped into small pieces, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary, and then roasted for 45 minutes. We've noticed that these potatoes actually cook up faster and softer than ordinary yukon golds.

To top things off, Jesse picked up a bottle of red wine at Uva, which was decidedly unlocal. We haven't officially gone local/organic with alcohol, but I chastised him nonetheless for not thinking to buy an organic bottle. Regardless, Diano d'Alba le Cecche 2004 from Italy's Piemonte region was a pleasant dry red wine that went well with our steak and vegetables. I've decided to start recording wines here too so that I'll actually be able to enjoy repeat wine experiences. I can never remember the names of wines I like. Who can? Everytime I go to a wine store I'm overwhelmed by the new names around me.

This post is part of the Dark Days Challenge, in which I prepare at least one meal each week comprised of mostly local ingredients. Below is a summary of food mileage for this meal:

Sirloin - Elysian Fields Farm, Sloansville, NY - 190 miles
Kale and Onion - Garden of Eve Farm, Riverhead, NY - 76 miles
Garlic and Potatoes - unknown farm at greenmarket - under 300 miles
Rosemary - dried from unknown farm at greenmarket, Goshen, NY - 73 miles
Fall Flower Honey - Natures Way Farm, Lowman, NY - 236 miles
Arrowhead Mills Organic Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour; Annie's organic mustard, salt, pepper - unknown
Whole Foods 365 Organic Olive Oil; balsamic vinegar - Italy

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sophie - great post! Try cooking your steak a little less done than you're used to. We've found that the grass fed steaks in our freezer are best cooked no more than medium.