Beefing up my Repertoire

Beef Cuts - Wikipedia

I don’t eat a lot of red meat.  Studies suggest high intake leads to increased risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, and heart disease.  Additionally, eating less red meat is better for the environment; livestock production is associated with pollution, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  With enough evidence for this burgeoning sustainable dietitian to shun red meat all together, it’s a wonder I picked up a substantial plank of meat from Landisdale Farms.  Perhaps it was the lure of the label singing, “grass-fed” and “antibiotic-free.”  Perhaps it was sympathy and appreciation for the farmers who endured a considerable drive punctuated with snow drifts and 30 degree weather.   Or perhaps, just perhaps, I was craving a steak, and J was craving one too.

Without getting into the physiology of food cravings, there’s one cliché that just doesn’t get old – everything in moderation.  With so many different types of cuts available, beef can be challenging to incorporate as part of a healthful diet.  Be sure to watch portions (think the size of a deck of cards) and as a quick-tip, anything labeled “loin” or “round” is pretty lean.   The seven leanest cuts are: eye round, top round, round tip, top sirloin, bottom round, top loin, and tenderloin.  With a choice of the Sirloin steak from Landisdale Farm’s cooler, I was sold.  For $9.99.  Not bad considering it fed two, plus leftovers to top a salad for later in the week.

Sirloin steak is a multi-muscled steak from the sirloin section. Sirloin cuts are naturally lean and full of flavor.  They can be a bit chewy and best when prepared on the grill.  I enjoyed this PDF pictorial which is a chart of the cuts and their preferred cooking methods, since fat content factors into how the meat should be cooked for optimal tenderness and flavor.

I chose to grill using my indoor grill pan (marvelous registry gift for small condo dwellers, too bad I can’t remember from whom; reference my rant on Thank You cards).  I seasoned both sides with salt, pepper and a generous dose of steak seasoning.  I sprayed the grill with PAM and heated for a few minutes on medium-high heat prior to cooking.  The recommended grilling times of “4-5 minutes on each side” were a bit too conservative; this steak was probably close to one inch thick, so I cooked for about 10 minutes on each side.

My thermometer gave me a bit of anxiety at a reading of 135 degrees when the meat looked very well grilled, so I finished off in the oven at 425 degrees to ensure it was cooked through.  I added a bit of beef broth to the bottom of a 5 x10  pan and covered with tinfoil for 10 minutes (15 for J).   I have yet to master the touch test but this edged the thermometer up to 150 so I was satisfied.  I let the meat rest for 10 minutes before serving.

I complemented the steak with some Greensgrow broccoli, cooked on the stove top in a small amount of water to let the steam cook through.  Once they were tender, I transferred to the grill and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  I also made oven-baked potato fries, using one purple potato and one white potato.  After squaring the potatoes and cutting them into rectangles, I tossed with two sliced shallots, some olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and popped in the 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.

It was a delicious, well-rounded meal that satisfied cravings for not only beef, but local foods as well.

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4 responses to “Beefing up my Repertoire

  1. This looks like a meal my husband would love to eat! He’s a farm boy. He requires meat at almost every meal.

    I was successful in taking him to a vegetarian restaurant for dinner last night since it was a Friday and it’s Lent.

    • J is a farm boy, too! We actually heated some crab cakes from a Farmer’s Market in Reading Friday night in honor of lent. I don’t know if I could ever get him to a vegetarian restaurant, though!

  2. FYI – I think I’ve heard that it’s best not to put salt on steak till after it’s cooked. I can’t remember why it was, but I think it might have something to do with drawing out the flavor or juice. Perhaps that something you might like to explore for the rest of us…..but it sure did look yummy!

    • There’s actually two schools of thought on salting before/after – salt draws moisture so some believe it can dry the meat out; but salt also acts as a tenderizer and helps draw the flavor through… I will have to try salting afterward and see which I like better! Thanks for the idea 🙂

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