Sunday, January 17, 2010

A dinner to celebrate

To celebrate our engagement, I whipped up a romantic dinner for two: grass-fed flank steak, glazed carrots, and potatoes fried in duck fat and truffle oil. With a bottle of '99 Heitz Zinfandel. Not a cheap dinner by any stretch of the imagination--but I put it together for a third of what we would have paid in a restaurant, and we got to eat it in our pajamas.

After a particularly gruesome duel bout of food poisoning caused by cheap ground beef, I've vowed never again to eat cheap ground beef. Meaning: I don't know where it comes from. Most ground beef is cobbled together from different animals, sometimes even different factories. Add to that the fact that most beef is soaked in bleach--yes, bleach--to kill the germs, and that still doesn't kill them all. So I've switched to grass-fed beef. True grass-fed beef (meaning it was raised entirely on grass, not just during its last days--that's "grass-finished beef") has two-thirds less saturated fat than corn-fed beef and 85% less E. coli. Plus it tastes a whole lot better. It's leaner, juicier, and actually tastes like beef should. The downside is that it's expensive--the one flank steak cost me $22. But you know what? I'd rather eat that beef once in a while than the cheap crap all the time.

The other benefit is that you don't need to do anything to it. Just bring it up to room temperature, broil it a couple of minutes on each side, let sit about 15 minutes, and serve. That's it. I put a little salt on it, but you don' t need sauce or seasonings or even a grill. Slice along the grain and serve. The taste speaks for itself.

The glazed carrots were super easy--I peeled them, then started a sauce of a couple tablespoons of butter, Grand Marnier and beef broth with a pinch of sugar. I added the carrots and let everything cook down until the sauce was a nice syrupy glaze. The potatoes are the best potatoes ever. Slice and boil for a minute, then finish by frying in duck fat and truffle oil. Serve with a good salt. We drank martinis while we cooked, then popped open the good wine for dinner.

Granted, even with the flank steak being $22, the whole meal cost less than $25. Duck fat and truffle oil are a little expensive at first, but they last a while. You don't need much for the potatoes. Bacon fat would work, too, if you can't find duck fat. The wine was a different story, that shot the total cost of the meal into triple digits. But hey--what's the point of having good wine if you don't drink it?

No comments:

Post a Comment