Monday, September 22, 2008

What a steak!

I've mentioned on many occasions that I'm out in the country every weekend, so I have such great access to all kinds of farm markets this time of year.

One of my many favorites is Green Valley Farm, on Route 23, somewhere between Sussex and Wantage. The stand is right on the farm, so you can really see exactly where your food came from. They also sell pies and honey and have a field full of cows.

About those cows...

Earlier this summer the stand had a big refrigerator in it with signs that said, "Coming soon - Our own beef." I was intrigued. While it's a little disturbing to think of those cows you seen contentedly grazing in the fields ending up on your plate, at least you know it didn't die in a commercial slaughterhouse. This was going to be beef closer to what nature intended. This was local cuisine that was as local as it could get (although I often remark how funny it is that I drive to NJ and Orange County in order to buy "local" food). I wanted to try a nice steak as soon as it was possible for me to do so.

Well, for various reasons, it hasn't been all that possible. Either I have other dinner plans where the steaks wouldn't really fit in, or I just haven't had time to go there and shop, or I'd be going by there on Sunday when they were closed. Sometimes I'd just forget a cooler to put them in for the long ride home.

This weekend I had a happy convergence of events. I was on the right road at the right time on the right day with a cooler full of ice in my car. I drove straight to Green Valley and bought myself a very reasonably priced NY Strip.

Come to Mama

Ever since I decided that I really wanted to buy a steak from Green Valley, I had made my decision as to how I would cook it. Green Valley began selling beef right around the same time I read this recipe on Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy for Ribeye Steaks with a Spicy, Smoky, Cocoa Nibs rub.

Yay. And Yum.

The cocoa nibs cost me more than the steak did I think, but at least they'll last longer. Danged Whole Foods and their fancypants brands.

I used the rub and cooked the steak according to Susan's directions. I was tempted to use butter instead of oil in the pan, but decided that just for once, I'd pretend I care about my ateries.

My results?

This steak is the best steak I've ever had. Pardon the cliches, but this steak could melt in your mouth. You barely needed a knife to cut it. (I guess a good steak cliche always works.) I was afraid the flavor might be weird because grass-fed beef can get that way. I can assure you this steak tasted better than any grain-fed or grass-fed steak that has ever been on my plate. Susan's fantastic rub made it that much better. (How can you beat chocolate steak? I guess chocolate bacon would be a close call.)

Potatoes are the best accompaniment to steaks of course, so I decided to let one of my fellow bloggers help me out once more with the ongoing cabinet clean out project. I made the amazing Nik of Nik Snacks Cornmeal-Crusted Fries. I also made some roasted local cauliflower.

The red blob on the plate is a dipping sauce I made for the fries that consisted of tomato paste, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and sriracha.

I only bought one steak with the intention of cutting it in half and having the other half the next night. I wish I hadn't done that. Forget about the calories. I want a whole steak each night.

Don't worry about Sir Pickypants. He didn't starve to death because I made a steak. I made him a pistachio-crusted flounder filet. I coated a flounder with a mixture of ground pistachios, lemon, shallots, and panko then sauteed it in a little butter and oil.

He loved the fish and the fries and the cauliflower, but the dish looked so bland with so little color. Still, he really raved about everything. (Nik gets credit from both of us for the fries at this point.) It was only a minor consolation after the Jets game last night though.


Peter M said...

Nicely done, medium rare and a fine cut of beef.

Adam said...

Um, we are NOT talking about the Jets game today :(

Great steak though! It looks perfectly done, and the corn meal fries are a perfect pair. Your hubby doesn't appreciate a good steak? He is sooo missing out

Lo said...

Looks awesome.

Have been craving steak... and the cocoa nibs sound like a nice addition. Might have to try that one soon!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

What a gorgeous steak! It looks perfect! I'm so glad that you liked the rub. The cacao nibs aren't cheap, but they're so worth it.

noble pig said...

This sounds amazing! How long did you put your steaks in the oven for?

Nik Snacks said...

Rachel! This is great! Yeah, "what a steak" is right. OK, so why were you randomly driving around with a cooler packed full of ice in New Jersey??? Hmmm?? And Whole Paycheck was the only place for cocoa nibs? Sadness. But HAPPYNESS because the steak looks great. Oh and how about that sriracha? LOL That brought a smile to my face.

I'm glad you guys liked the fries! They're my favorite. Everyone should eat them every day of their lives!

Emiline said...

Damn woman.

Can I come over?! This sounds fabulous.

Yeah, I can't imagine anything better than chocolate and steak.
Except for those fries, maybe. I thought those sounded good when she posted the recipe.

Dee said...

Oh, your steak looks sooo good!
I just went over to check the recipe out, and it does sound amazing. Just the thing to get me over my fear of good meat. Thank you so much for introducing me to this recipe.

Only one small problem - I can't find cocoa nibs in Malaysia, couldn't find it in Singapore, and Amazon won't deliver this to me. Sob. Never fear, I will make it happen.

Lore said...

Chocolate and steak make a perfect match (I just ate some steak on a chocolate brioche this morning ;) )!! It all looks so luscious!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Peter - Thanks. I hope I can get more of these in the future.

Adam - Sorry about the Jets. There is always this coming weekend.

Lo - Definitely try the rub. You will be beating your chest over it.

Susan- Thanks for your inspiration.

Cathy - I honestly didn't time the amount of time the steak was in the oven. I used a probe thermometer that alerts you to when the steaks are medium rare, in this case to 145 degrees.

Nik - It wasn't so random. These days I've learned my lesson and I don't drive around rural NJ without a cooler anymore. There is just too much good food out there in the sticks. I need to be prepared! Too bad the cocao nibs were so pricy at the Whole Paycheck, but I'm sure I'll find other uses for them (perhaps in a recipe that mixes them with sriracha).

Em - I'm sure you'll be back in NY in no time, so I'll see to it I have steak for you.

Dee - I'm wondering if this rub would work with just some cocoa powder. It wouldn't be as crunchy and the flavor not quite as strong, but it would be a very similar sort of taste.

Lore- Steak on chocolate brioche? I am so there!

Sue said...

Wow!!! I'm so glad that after all the thought and planning that went into that steak that it was even better than you hoped.

That's funny about the price of the cocoa nibs. And you were nice to make the flounder too.

Darius T. Williams said...

Looks good! Really it does...and we love Nik - don't we. Those cornmeal crusted fries look great!


Sue said...

Oh, one more thing. I've given you an award for your great blogging. Check it out and enjoy it!!!