Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Box Store AKA the $500.00 Store

Today was the monthly trek to the big box store, also known here as Costco and also known to me as the $500.00 store. Granted a lot of that is taken up with toilet paper, dish detergents, laundry detergent, snacks for the snack drawer (today was Kashi Bars, Snickers Bars and dried mango) well as that to wet the parched teenage mouth, Monster and Arizona Teas; but it also included meat. I always have a pretty well stocked pantry, if we were stuck in the house for a month, I think we could not only survive but we would eat rather well. But the freezer meat is sometimes left to dwindle down. If I find items in my local stores on sale, I'll buy it... like I did today with my chicken. And while I totally support making a smaller carbon footprint by buying local, substantially raised and organic when possible... my pocket book doesn't allow it; so Costco to the rescue. Today, along with my chicken, which I will deconstruct tomorrow and make my chicken stock; I also bought a whole beef tenderloin; pork tenderloin, tri-tip and trout. Each of these will be broken down into manageable portions, frozen in my seal-a-meal freezer safe bags, and put away until needed.

My thinking is this - it makes good economic sense to buy your food in bulk and then become your own butcher. Each chicken I bought (and I bought 8 of them) becomes at least 2 meals, one of boneless skinless chicken breasts,(and we all know how much you pay for boneless skinless chicken breasts right? About $5.99 ++ per pound, and I got mine for $1.39 per pound) a dinner of legs and thighs, (usually anywhere from $1.89 on up per pound if already cut up); and the wings for a snack... (how about wings on game day? Football season is almost here)...and then I still have the bones to make a great rich stock, that I can dress up with carrots, celery, noodles or rice and chopped chicken meat for a soup; flavor with lemongrass, green onions and ginger to make the base for Pho soup, or just make gravy . I'll talk more about making stock tomorrow when I talk about how easy it is to cut up a chicken. The tenderloin of beef, while the price is initially intimidating; about $50.00 makes at least 6 meals for my family, including steaks, a tenderloin roast, pieces of meat for a stir-fry and more pieces with the fat that can be processed in the food processor to make ground beef. But think about it for a minute, if you decide to have steak and go to the store to buy it, I know my fillet runs about $20.00 per pound, so to get if for $7.99 per pound and cut it yourself? Well, it's pretty self-explanatory . I was checking today, boneless center cut pork chops - already cut up - $2.99 per a whole roast - $1.89 per pound. And you are in charge...cut a proper portion...not the 10 ounce portions they cut for you...cut them thin for Wienerschnitzel, or thick and stuff are in control...and saving money too. What do you need to do this? A sharp knife...that's it.

So today, having this wonderful tenderloin now cut into portions, I'm going to make an easy Spice Rubbed Filet on Bruchetta with Heirloom Tomatoes. This and a simple salad and it's another easy tasty dinner; using lean, tender beef and heirloom tomatoes. Yum!

Let's start with the rub: In a bowl combine 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher preferred); 1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves (crumble them between your fingers into a fine powder); 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (also crumbled); 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.

You will also need 4 (about 4 ounce trimmed) tenderloin steaks

2 ripe heirloom tomatoes, diced

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 nice slices of French bread (about 1/2 to 1 inch thick)

Salt and pepper

Now rub the rub (and you might not need all the rub) all over the steaks, both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let them sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Put the diced tomatoes in a bowl, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, stir in the garlic and a nice pinch of salt and pepper, toss and let sit for 30 minutes.

Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil - set aside.

Lightly coat your grill with oil; set it to high. Put the steaks on the grill and grill about 3 minutes per side, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Letting the meat sit allows the juices to return to the center, that way when you cut into them, the redness doesn't come gushing out.

Put the bread on the grill and toast, turning until lightly toasted on both sides.

Place a slice of bread on each plate, top with 1/4 of the tomato mixture, using only the tomatoes, leave the juice in the bowl, you want crisp, not soggy. Put 1 steak on top and serve.

Per Serving: 293 Calories; 11g Fat; (3g Sat); 28g Protein; 20g Carbohydrates; 2g Dietary Fiber; 59mg Cholesterol; 469mg Sodium.

Serve with? CABERNET!

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