Last night, in celebration of the completion of the Great Repair on our Chevy Venture van, we had a special dinner to celebrate. In reality, it was extremely simple, but it featured beef, something we eat very little of in the course of a year.
Why don’t we eat beef?
On the Gulf Coast, beef is very expensive compared to chicken, turkey, pork, seafood, and fish. Like many other people, we’re suffering under the economic crunch, and beef’s price keeps us buying very little of it. In addition, reading an article recently describing how ground beef was treated with ammonia, at least at one producer’s facility, to eliminate beef carried bacteria, was pretty horrifying to me. It’s going to be quite a while before I can consider putting a burger into my mouth! (Here’s some of the articles: 1, 2, 3 & 4 and much to my horror there are many more articles describing this lovely concept.)
GM (my beloved partner), however, has a lot in common with Jack Benny. He likes to make a penny scream in agony before he turns loose of it. So we were shopping for the featured guest at our dinner, the beef, and he’s not wanting to purchase a steak, and opts for hamburger himself.
With one steak and a pound of hamburger in our shopping cart, we also purchased a couple of bulbs of fresh garlic, a fat red onion, and some sliced (yes, I was being lazy) baby portabella mushrooms to accompany our meal.
Because of GM’s inability to cope with onions in his digestive system, the only way I can safely feed him an onion dish without dosing him with Beano prior to dinner, is to caramelize them. For some reason, they then do not cause flatulence. So that’s how the meal began, I thinly sliced the onion and then caramelized them in a combination of vegetable oil and butter, minus any salt.
While the onion was caramelizing, I minced about half a bulb of garlic and chopped half an orange bell pepper. (For those who suffer from indigestion from bell peppers, purchase ripe-red, orange or yellow peppers. These ripe bell peppers are sweeter and more mellow in flavor and rarely cause indigestion like the green ones do.) The steak was rubbed down with fresh garlic and a dash of liquid smoke flavoring, since it was being prepared in a skillet.
When the onions were done, the pound of hamburger was divided into thirds, and formed into patties. The patties then had liberal amounts of minced garlic pressed into both sides, and went into the skillet as soon as the onions were removed for later finishing. They were then cooked until they were medium well done, as GM doesn’t like undercooked burgers and I figure cooking has got to reduce the amount of ammonia left in the meat, right?
When the burgers were about done, they were moved to the edge of the skillet where they were going to continue cooking slowly and stay hot. The steak, with its liberal spread of minced garlic,was then placed in the hot skillet. When I determined that it was done to medium to rare, the meat was removed from the skillet and the remaining garlic, chopped bell peppers and mushrooms were added to the onions that I put back into the skillet. Our vegetable, a steam-in-the-bag frozen broccoli, was cooked in the microwave. Condiments, bread, and butter were placed on the table, and as soon as the mushrooms were done…voila, we had a ridiculously large amount of beef to consume with broccoli and rye bread.
We gorged ourselves, much to our regret. Unused to eating beef very often, the excessive amount we consumed during our feasting didn’t set well on our stomachs either. I personally find beef hard to digest and that I am more prone to indigestion when its the featured meat of the dinner, in any larger quantity than what I would use in a stew or a pot of chili with beans.
Did we enjoy it? Very much so! Often, a simple meal can be as elegant as something with elaborate dishes. We had opted for a home-cooked dinner instead of going out to a restaurant, saving a few dollars as well. (Entire meal was under $20, a vast sum by our weekly grocery bill but still much less than a steak dinner at a restaurant for 2 would be!)
Tonight’s dinner will feature radiatore pasta with a tomato sauce featuring lots of veggies and some turkey Italian sausage, served alongside some great fresh Italian bread.