Ask me what my favorite food is and I used to say meat. It is still up towards the top of my favorites list but I have rounded it out a bit. I like a bit of sauce with my meat. I know the joke about not climbing the food chain all the way to the top just to eat vegetables, but I do eat vegetables, too. But some vegetables really lend themselves to be stuffed with meat: Acorn Squash with Turkey, Pecan and Sage Hash or Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb, Pine Nuts and Feta, to name a just two. You can even stuff meat with more meat. I don’t get Turducken, meaning I probably will never make it. But I guess I do get it, I cannot argue with meat inside of meat, inside of meat.
I don’t want ruffle the feathers of any national organization, but my good friend Adam has a teeshirt which proclaims:
I tend to agree with this. I respect the fact that I am eating another animal. I also respect farmers, ranchers, hunters, butchers and grocers to name just a few of the people that make their livelihood helping to get meat into my kitchen. I also love the time-honored ethnic traditions and methods of utilizing every part of the animal. (Waste not, …). Hip new chefs have also espoused this with the Nose-to-Tail Eating movement. I thank my Dad to this day for being willing to try and offering me tastes of pickled pigs’ feet, sardines of all types, head cheese, sulze, and a lot of other “delicacies.”
I enjoy the aroma of cooking meat, the techniques of preparing it a multitude of ways and ultimately the texture and taste of meat. One of my favorite adult cooking classes to teach is Meat Market. In this class we discuss the different cuts and techniques of cooking beef, lamb, pork and chicken, then prepare a variety of recipes illustrating those techniques. Two other very popular classes are Red Meat with Red Wine and Beef and Bourbon. (The names say it all.)
There is one classic technique for cooking meat I wish to share. So often when someone either in a cooking class or at one of our dinners exclaims, “What did you do to this meat? It is so flavorful and juicy!” I respond, “It’s simple; salt, pepper and high heat.” So here is the technique for Pan-Seared Beef Strips.
Pan-Seared Beef Strips
1 pound sirloin, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Method: Combine the beef, pepper and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well to coat the beef. Let sit ten minutes at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator. Heat the skillet over high heat until smoking hot. Season the beef with the kosher salt and carefully and methodically add the strips to the pan. Sauté the strips to the desired degree of doneness, turning once.
Just to let you know, I do enjoy vegetables. I serve plenty of vegetables with my meat. I also love vegetarian pizza and usually pick that over a meat lover’s pizza. And I have come up with the best way to make vegetarian food fulfilling, tasty and good. Add meat.