Thursday, October 15, 2009

Daddy's Home

James finally made it home from his job in Denver -- eating burgers and hotel restaurant food. The dogs (cat and birds too) are much happier now that he's back.
But, I've been so swamped on my job that I've hardly had time to think about dinner -- much less shop, so I needed a ready menu with little hands on time and ingredients I could scavenge from around the house.
The beans (Chinese Red Long Beans -- lima beans are coming up soon) in our garden have been growing like weeds -- everyday it seems there is another big bunch to pick. The remaining potatoes from our last harvest were wrapped in burlap in the garage. So the first thing I planned to make was long cooking but little effort needed, stewed green (well in this case red) beans with potatoes. I put some bacon (ummmm bacon!) in a cold pan and rendered out the fat over low heat -- then I stirred in one sliced onion and a clove of garlic, gave it a good stir in the bacon grease and let it cook slowly until the onions were nice and soft, added in the beans, covered them with chicken broth and allowed it all to simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. Then I added in the half-peeled potatoes (all small new potato size), covered and cooked another 30 minutes. After the potatoes were tender I left the pot half covered for about 15 minutes more to reduce the flavorful broth.
Digging through the freezer I found a couple sirloin steaks from the mound of Hearst Ranch grass fed beef we ordered in the spring. Since sirloin isn't exactly the most luxurious of cuts I wanted to give it a little flavor punch. So, while the beans cooked I marinated the beef in a mixture of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, red pepper, S&P, and a dash of our own backyard honey. Just before I uncovered the pot of beans to cook down the broth, I laid the steaks on the grill -- they only need 6-8 minutes with the lid closed (gas grill) -- and once they were cooked allowed the sirloins to rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly and topping with a little sweet butter. This dinner needed a little bit of toasty cornbread to sop up the "pot liker" from the beans. I happened to have half a pan waiting in the freezer from the last time we stewed beans. I toasted up a few slices and served up a "please don't go away again dinner": Maple Marinated Sirloin Steaks with Stewed Beans and Potatoes and Toasted Whole Kernel Cornbread.

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