Good Heavens – Steak!

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Food, glorious food (Oliver!)

Good heavens – you do go on about gardening & food a lot. At least in the section of your blog I’m reading lately. Terrible thing to read in the middle of a fast. Actually it would be better named an abstention. If one tried a full fast for 6-8 weeks at a time the next service that would be attended would be a funeral. Anywho, what the prots in this country seem to miss when they read scripture is that Our Lord did not say “well, IF you fast…” He said (red letters for the fundies) “WHEN you fast…” It works, you know, when coupled with prayer. Kind of a jazzed up supercharger type effect.

I have a favorite snack in the evening – cheese and olives. I’m particularly fond of a Cretan mix of olives. Any good Mediterranean olives are ok, but I don’t like Spanish. Yeah – I know that they produce more olives than anyone else in the world – but since when do I go with the majority? Any really good cheese, but lately the food Nazi insists that white cheese is better than yellow for old farts. There is a Vermont white cheddar that is pretty good. Or Feta is always nice. One of the things I like about this combo of cheese and olives is that this particular goodie has large connections through Classical Greece into antiquity. There is something comforting about the tie in with the rise of civilization and eating the meal of Homer, Odysseus, Sophocles, and all the other cool guys.

I have to confess that thoughts do turn to a nicely done steak: Take a beef tenderloin, trim the fat and silverskin. (There should be some marbling, we want some fat in there, just not much on the outside). Cut into 1½” thick steaks. Any thinner & they don’t cook right. Bag individually, freeze. Take one each person (they should run about 6-8 oz each) out the night before and let thaw gently in the refrigerator. Pat dry. Coat with salt and pepper to taste (Kosher salt or sea salt – not table salt and FRESHLY ground pepper). Fairly thick on the pepper. Heat an iron skillet (I have 6 from 4” to 18”) with olive oil and good salted butter. There is nothing in the world that cooks as good as a really old and loved iron skillet. Dammitall though – the 18 incher is beginning to be too heavy for one handed use anymore. Old guys need two hands for this monster.

Medium heat. 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. 5 minutes if you’re a wus. Any more is shoe leather and might as well be hamburger. Gently set aside under foil tent. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons pan juice. Add 1/3 cup decent but not great brandy with pan off the fire (this stuff will flame). Christian Bros VS just fine. VSOJ or better would be a foolish waste of money. Wisk like crazy & get all pan bits in the mix. Flame any leftover volatiles. Add ¼ cup heavy cream or crème fraish. Wisk gently over low heat (don’t boil it) until it gets nice & thick. Soak steaks in the pan for about 45 seconds per side. Plate & pour excess sauce over steaks. Add salad or fresh veggies or whatever. The sauce is also nice with veggies. I make extra because the wife likes it so much. The woman practically has a culinary orgasm. If mama’s happy, I’m happy. Slice thin on the bias or it’s tough since the grain runs longways in the tenderloin. Ambrosia.

A rather nice go-with is Russian style potatoes. Just about any old potato will do, but I like russets or Yukon Golds. Whack up the pots into nice wedges (one to two bite size). Leave the skin on, of course. Slowly fry them in olive oil and/or butter. When they get almost done, add good Kosher or sea salt and FRESH chopped dill to taste. Finish them up. Serve. Enjoy.

I don’t know about for anybody else, but for old guys, meals become more important as the middle spreads and the rest slows down.

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