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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweet and Salty

Even though we've been eating mostly raw, I still wanted to toss in a beef meal to help my son's iron levels. This week I bought a sirloin tip from Caldwell Farms and then loooked through the cupboard for anything to add to it. I must admit, after being a vegetarian for 4 years, I have a really hard time cooking meat. I find I can't get the spices right, and I don't know if I should leave it bloody or not. So far, every meal has been alright, but if I could just get the cooking of the beef right, it would be great. Tonight falls into the mediocre category. The meal (aside from the beef) was perfect. The sauce on the beef was divine, but the beef itself was just alright. Then again, maybe I just don't like beef....Anyway, try this one out. And for those that cook meat often, please comment on tips for me to enjoy the darn stuff!

Sweet Candy Squash
1 small sweet dumpling squash
2 T local honey
1/3 C water
2 t Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Cut squash in 1/2 from top to bottom and scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into wedges, working from center, outwards, all the way around. Peel and place in a baking dish. Mix honey, water and cinnamon and pour over squash. Add more water if necessary to fill entire bottom of baking dish with a smidgen of sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes, watching carefully so it doesn't burn. If it's still a bit tough when you pull it out, bump up the oven temp to 425 and bake for another 5 minutes.

Sauteed Veggies
1/2 head of cabbage, cored and sliced
2 carrots, peeled, halved and sliced into sticks or half moons
4-6T unsalted butter
salt and pepper

While squash is cooking, melt butter in large skillet. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat until they start to brown. Add cabbage and stir thoroughly. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.

Beef Tip in Mushroom Sauce
1 lb sirloin tip
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
1 T oil
1/2 C mixed dried mushrooms (I used Oyster Creek's Maine Wild Mushroom Mix), reconstituted for 30 minutes in 1 C hot water (keep water after removing mushrooms)
3 T unsalted butter
2 T onions, minced
4 Cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1 T flour

In a cast iron skillet, while cabbage & squash is cooking, heat oil over medium heat. Heavily pepper sirloin tip on both sides and add to skillet when oil is hot. Place sliced onions over the top and cook 7-8 minutes. Flip over meat so onions are under it and cook 5 minutes. Pour 2/3 of the mushroom water over steak and cover, turning to low. Meanwhile in a saucepan melt butter and add minced onions and garlic. Chop mushrooms and toss into saucepan, stirring thoroughly. Add salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes to release flavors. Add remaining mushroom water and stir. Bring to boil and add flour then boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Remove beef from heat, keep covered until ready to serve.

To plate: Place squash in center of plate and add a cut of beef to the top, making sure to get some of the onions from the skillet. Top with a large dollop of mushroom sauce. On the side place a serving of cabbage and carrots. Enjoy the wonderful mix of sweet squash and salty beef and veggies. This was a very filling meal even though we split the tip between 4 people.

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