Crunch-Time Cooking

Wednesday night’s dinner happened so fast I didn’t have time to think about it, let alone properly chronicle it for posterity. Between rushing home from errand-running and delivering The Middle-Schooler to his band concert, I had roughly one hour to prepare, cook, serve, and eat. Here, then, is an attempt to reconstruct what happened.

I got home from the farmers market just before 6 pm with $3 worth of potatoes. Why potatoes? The Youngest One had been asking for steak. We had bought some at Safeway the other day (I know, I’m such a Welfare Queen), and that was the way I wanted to go that night. Steak and potatoes, right? Sounds great. So, I took the package of steak from the fridge to let it warm up a bit. Cooking cold meat isn’t the best method; it should really be closer to room temperature. 20 minutes on the counter is usually enough, but even 5 minutes helps. Then, I preheated the oven to 375 deg. and the cast-iron skillet to medium-high. It was right around 6 pm.

Next, I dusted both sides of the meat with a blend of black pepper, salt, and chili powder that I have reserved for just such occasions, and got to work on the potatoes. Half, quarter, quarter, quarter…I made steak fries. I used probably 2 pounds’ worth. I doused them with olive oil, dusted them with black pepper, and then sprinkled them with rosemary and kosher salt; tossed them ’round and ’round in a big mixing bowl, then spread them out on a cookie sheet and into the oven they went. By now, it was maybe 6:05.

The cast-iron skillet was starting to smoke now, and I knew it was time to “drop the steak,” as they say in the biz. Onto the heat for a good searing, 5 minutes or so per side (we like our steak on the rare, you see). Meanwhile, I realized the need for a green vegetable side. What do we have? Hmmm…ooh! Zucchini and onions! Chop chop, slice and dice. By the time the steak is ready to come out of the pan and rest, I’ve got a pile of delicious ready for cooking. I open the oven and stir the potato slices a bit, reveling in the heady aroma. It is now 6:15.

More oil in the pan; toss the veggies in the remnants of the steak fry dressing; onto the iron they go. SSSSSSS!!!! OOPS! don’t forget the garlic! I quickly mince a big clove and mix it in with the rest, adding some basil, oregano, and black pepper. Stir, cook, stir. Check the potatoes; scrape and stir; sniff and salivate. Yum. They’re still pretty firm, though, and need another few minutes to be properly done. 6:25 now; veggies are nearly cooked, steak is ready to slice, and it’s time for a splash of wine. Aah. Now THAT’S local color. By the time I get the steak sliced and plated and the zucchini and onions into a serving bowl, it’s time for the fries to come out. 30 minutes at 375 degrees is just right, and I’ve used that time as a reference point for the rest of the meal.

“BOYS! COME EAT!” That’s one thing I never have to say twice, unless they are in cyberspace. We pretty much roll downhill from there, munching rare steak and hot fries, packing some to go for My Dear Wife, whom I have to pick up after I drop The Young Musician at school to prep for the show. It’s something of a whirlwind, but tonight it went without a hitch. 



About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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8 Responses to Crunch-Time Cooking

  1. Joyce Adrian says:

    Sounds like a really great Dad to me.

  2. Slowvelder says:

    my word – I think you need to take a holiday and come cook for us here 🙂

  3. I love how you captured the rhythm of dinner. Nothing like it.

  4. Magnificent site. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it to a few friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks for your sweat!

  5. poorlocavore says:

    Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. the photos on your site are very nice.

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