I admit, it’s been a tough summer for me and food. Not only am I not cooking, I’m not eating well, either. Pizza has become so much more justifiable, and breakfast is either a bagel, banana, or nada. I nosh on the cheese in the cooler more than anything, and have a new respect for late night Ramen.
But summer is almost over, and it’s time to get back to it. I mean, I don’t have time, energy, or life enough to be the me I was last summer (tear) but I can certainly throw together a weeknight meal that nourishes more than just our bodies.
Such was life the other night. Our friends at Local recently acquired an entire grassfed cow, and I called dibs very early on the flank. I knew it was time the other night, when I had been working for days on end, including my day off, to get ready to fly to NY this week for the wedding of two very old, very dear friends. I stopped by the shop on my way home, ready to attack that flank in some fabulous way. J had picked up an incredible blue cheese on his last gig trip to Wisconsin, and it was begging for use other than smeared on a well-deserving baguette.
But you see, going to Local hungry and tired tends to be a really bad move for me. P and E basically taunt and tease me with a case full of fresh farm-picked produce, meats, and more, and I tend to get overwhelmed and buy more than I need. But when I realized they had a hangar steak from their particular new cow, I was in. Big time. I wound up taking home the flank, the hangar, a pint of freshly picked, brand spanking new cherry tomatoes, 4 baby fennel heads, and a brain full of fun ideas.
I needed greens, not just steak. I needed greens and fruit and to pretend that the entire thing of blue cheese could be balanced by other ingredients. After working from home all day (which incidentally, allowed me to get more done than I’ve been able to in months) and seeing the “please don’t make me cook or grill” look on J’s face, I decided I needed to regain control of the kitchen.
I liberally seasoned the steak with salt and pepper, heated a good amount of olive oil in a skillet over high-ish heat, and placed the steak in. It browned, and then it cooked, and about 15 minutes later, we had a beautiful medium rare hangar steak, seasoned to perfection.
While the steak cooked, I assembled a salad of local lettuces and arugula, thinly sliced baby fennel, a ton of fresh blueberries and crumbled blue. I sliced half an onion, thinly, and threw them in with the steak for a mere 75 seconds before pulling them. Once they cooled, I added them to the salad.
When the steak had rested, and was clearly begging to be eaten, we thinly sliced it (against the grain OF COURSE) and sprinkled coarse sea salt on the pieces. I dressed the salad portion with a basic balsamic vinegar, plated it, and put the steak on top.
It took all of 20 minutes, in a not too hot kitchen. But the results reminded me what life was like last summer, when I had time to can and garden and create.
It was just the pop J and I both needed to remind us that there is actually life beyond sausage pizza.