I am an exercise in contradictions. I realize that. I said in my 2013 goals post that I really wanted to focus on getting back to vegetarianism. Then I ate a steak for the first time in years last night.
And it was, sadly, delicious.
Considering we just moved to a new apartment, put a big down payment on our car lease in order to transition to financing it, and booked a Jamaican vacation, Chris and I decided to keep Valentine’s Day low key this year.
I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the man some steak. He’s such a healthy eater, and he puts up with all my strange dietary impositions, but he really loves some red meat now and then. And, who doesn’t love a home cooked meal?
I briefly contemplated making him a steak and me something else a little more veg-friendly, but nothing kills a food buzz quicker than looking up from your dead animal to see someone eating a head of broccoli and becoming overwhelmed with guilt. We were either doing this or we weren’t.
If I was going to cook and eat a steak, I wanted it to be from a cow who had a really good life. Morally, I don’t have a problem with eating animals. I have a problem with the way animals raised for consumption are treated in this country. I do believe there are humane ways to raise animals who will eventually be slaughtered for food, and I don’t think it’s right or fair to eat animals raised any other way.
So, I turned to my food source, Fresh Direct (we order all of our groceries there and their quality and customer service never cease to amaze me; I will never go to the grocery store again), to see what my humane options were like. They have an amazing selection of local, organic food, so I was not surprised to find 100% grass fed, local, organically raised beef from a family farm on the menu.
Our steaks came from Hardwick Beef in Johnson, NY and our cows were raised on one of two local family farms. After reading about them, I do believe our cows were treated humanely. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than most, and it made me feel comfortable about my purchase.
For the record, two filet mignons (about a pound of beef) were $37. That’s what humanely raised cattle cost. That’s the cost of treating animals with respect. Sort of makes you wonder what happens to cows that turn into McDonald’s hamburgers that cost $1. That’s a story for another day though.
I shared the price because I think it’s really important to recognize the implications that come along with it. We live in a country where you can have meat as the centerpiece of every meal of every day, but that doesn’t mean you should. The drive to lower the cost of meat and make it more available to the masses has led to cost cutting in an industry that deals with animals with thoughts and feelings and souls. Measures to keep prices artificially low and profits high are the main cause of the horrible conditions in most of the farming industry. I also personally believe the abundance of cheap, low-quality meat has contributed significantly to the obesity epidemic.
If everyone paid the real cost of their meat, we’d eat less meat which would result in healthier lives for us and them. Ok, I really didn’t mean to rant here, but if you’re interested in learning more about this topic, check out this article by Mark Bittman. And if you want to change the way you think about food forever, read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s in my top 5 favorite books of all time, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Moving on, we got our sustainable steaks, and I was so nervous to cook them! I looked up one million recipes, but ending up settling on pan searing the steaks and serving them with a red wine reduction (I added 2 tbsps of thyme along with the beef broth but otherwise followed this recipe exactly; it was amazing).
For the steaks, I rubbed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in a medium hot skillet. I seared each side for about 5 minutes a side then turned the heat down to low medium and cooked them through for about another 5 (we like them medium well; for rarer, 10 minutes is likely sufficient).
Despite appearances, we do not live in an abandoned insane asylum. We have pictures up, you just can’t see them from that angle. Also, our table is stuffed in a weird corner because we are working with 700 square feet, and we never use it. After this picture, I turned off the crazy bright light and we ate by candlelight. Just needed to clear that up.
For the sides, we had broccoli steamed in the microwave then drizzled with some balsamic vinegar, a salad, and garlic mashed potatoes using my girl Martha’s recipe. They were good, but missing a little something. Next time, I’d use red skin potatoes with the skin on.
After dinner, everyone passed on in a food coma.
Except Miles because demons don’t need to sleep. They do need to hold hands though.
As for me, I got the luckiest of all.
Chris snuck home during his lunch break to set up this lovely display of beautiful flowers and pictures! We’ve been talking about printing pictures for 100 years and have never done it, so he took initiative and printed and framed them! I love it. He printed a bunch of extras too, so I get to take some to work. How wonderful! I can’t even describe how sweet it was to come home to this. I was totally surprised!
I also got a sweet care package from my sister and chocolate covered pretzels from our building management. I just love Valentine’s Day!