Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Beefing Up

I don’t think we had really paid attention to the fact that beef has been dwindling in our diets until last night. I cook a lot of fish and chicken during the weeknight. However, beef, aside from one or two standby dishes each month (mainly tacos), is mysteriously absent.

Part of it is the fact that I do most of the weeknight cooking and aside from browning up ground beef on occasion I don’t tend to buy or cook beef often. It isn’t that I don’t like beef – I actually love beef, far more than chicken, which given complete power over my family would probably also become a rarity on our plates. But AB likes chicken breasts and the kids will eat chicken. So I cook chicken.

My husband tends to be a touch obsessive about how meat is cooked. By meat, I mean beef in general, large cuts of pork, chicken breasts (only ever grilled) and fish (though I can get away with searing tuna and halibut inside on my grill pan lately). Not only should most meat be cooked over hot charcoal according to AB, but it should also be of a certain quality and have a yet indescribable appearance to it - an appearance that I will likely never understand. I have only a touch more success picking out beef at the grocery store then I do fish.

Anyways, getting a meal on the table that came from a charcoal BBQ takes time – and my kids don’t like to wait for dinner on weeknights. I don’t like them to wait for dinner either because then I find myself being forced to say “No” repeatedly. “No you may not have fruit snacks”, “No you may not have cookies”, “No you may not fix soup or eggs”. Etc.

Last night I was making a quick jambalaya (Zatarains) for AB and I. My kids are wusses and cry when they eat anything hot. So tonight was a night when they got to pick their dinner. I asked Leif what he wanted.

“I want rice, corn, two crackers and a steak,” he declared.

I nearly stopped in my tracks. So just to confirm, I asked him:

“You want steak?” I asked.

See Leif is not a protein kid at all. He has never cared for meat and in the past couple years we have resorted to holding his dessert (i.e., his before bed snack intended to get food in his tummy so he doesn’t wake up at 2am hungry) hostage until he has eaten his meat. It is a battle every single night.

“Yes, I need steak,” he declared.

I picked up the cell phone knowing AB was on his way to Albertsons to get Andouille sausage.

“Hey, would you also pick up a small steak we can panfry for Leif, he says he wants steak,” I relay to AB.

“NOT a SMALL steak,” a voice came from the back seat of the car, “a BIG steak, I need a BIG steak.”

“Ok,” I tell AB, “you heard him, he wants a big steak.”

My kid was asking for a food he normally won’t eat well, I was going to indulge him.

AB also apparently decided that HE was going to indulge Leif as well. He brought home a 0.8 lb Ribeye. A big steak. And not only that, but a good steak. I tell you, AB has standards.

We then spent the next 20 minutes debating on how to cook the steak for Leif – seasonings and method, because we weren’t starting charcoal for the BBQ’er.

In the end it was seasoned with Alder smoked salt and pepper and then pan fried in my grill pan (which AB balked big time when I bought it from IKEA, but we actually use pretty regularly) with a little olive oil for about 1 minute on each side and finished in the oven for a nice medium rare finish.

And it was tasty! I almost wished I was eating steak instead of jambalaya.

Ok, I did wish I was eating steak instead of jambalaya.

Leif chowed his slices eating probably about a third of the steak. Another third AB and I nibbled at and we tossed the last part into the fridge. We talked briefly last night wondering if Leif was craving steak because he needed it, was he maybe anemic? We have fought anemia with Skadi for the last year. Maybe we just need to eat more red meat?

This morning when we got up I asked Leif what he wanted for breakfast today.

“Steak, eggs and a banana,” he answered.

So he had steak, eggs and a banana.

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