Now that life is beginning to return to normal, we’ve been out and about more. Don’t misunderstand me, we were out and about before, but in secret. Things like dining in restaurants that appeared closed from the outside, but were serving up full menus to their dine-in clients behind drawn blinds. It’s funny how forbidden fruits just seem to taste better.
Next, with early spring came pleasant weather to be outdoors. Still, flea markets and vendor fairs were not yet returning, at least not in government controlled state and city parks. No permits, no public gatherings. But ranchers discovered that they could put on pop-up fairs in their back pastures, raise a little extra money and help out their crafty neighbors at the same time. We discovered a whole new, fun way to get out and be with like-minded people who said enough is enough. Pastures were cleared, tents and tables set up and people came to sell their wares. Everything from towel scarves to home-made jams. Driving out to these pop-up markets meant driving up into ranch country. Hubby and I noticed something on our weekend adventures – there were massive herds of cattle. Even the local livestock auction house was bursting with cattle. Their long-horn stock was amazing.
Why? What was driving such a large population explosion? California is in the grips of yet another drought. The Liberal Left are calling for the elimination of beef based on a 400-page report by Food and Agricultural organization. According to the report cattle are bad for the environment. They add to the pollution of our air emitting more than 100 different types of gasses. While cattle are the biggest contributors, the study says, all livestock emit gasses, including pigs and chickens. Red meat has been viewed by some as a dietary poison since the 1980s. It’s the reason McDonald’s invented Chicken McMuggets, to offer their customers an alternative to burgers.
California Ranchers have increased their herds because beef prices are up. The higher the price, the larger the herd to take advantage of the high cost of meats. This will be followed by a drop in price, and a thinning of the herds when supply and demand level things out. All I know is I see cows everywhere while ground beef can be as much as $7.00 a pound for the good stuff.
So we shop wisely, take advantage of those “deals” to get you in the door, and don’t waste the opportunity to cook up a delicious supper. We’ve had to make a few substitutions. Use New York Strips instead of Ribeye steaks simply because Ribeyes are hard to come by. Or a T-bone instead of a Porterhouse for the same reason. I don’t know where the better cuts of beef are going, since restaurants are only now able to reopen to dine-in customers. All I know is the better cuts are not making their way to the grocery stores.
Minute Steaks with Barbecue Butter Sauce
4 (5 oz) Boneless Top Sirloin Steaks
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
3/4 cup Beef Stock
2 tablespoons Barbecue Sauce
Habanero Hot Pepper Sauce
Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cold Butter
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Trim fat from steaks, reserve fat to prime the skillet.
Place each steak one at a time in a quart-size freezer bag. Place bag on a solid, flat surface. Firmly pound the steak with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Remove steak from bag, repeat with remaining steaks.
Generously season each steak with salt and ground black pepper. Set aside.
Combine beef stock, barbeque sauce, hot sauce, and black pepper in a bowl. Add chilled butter to stock mixture without stirring, set aside..
Place trimmed fat into a skillet over high heat. Let fat begin to prime the pan, rolling around to create black specks. Add oil to the skillet and heat until it just begins to smoke, about 1 minute. Place each steak in the pan; sear for 45 to 60 seconds on each side. Remove steaks from skillet, stack on a plate and cover with an inverted large metal bowl to rest.
Pour the stock mixture into the skillet and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir occasionally until butter is melted and incorporated, about 2 minutes.
Spoon buttery stock mixture over steak and serve. Perfect with a baked potato and Roasted Baby Carrots with Nutty Browned Butter. What a delicious supper!
Here’s a little tip for serving an oven baked potato without heating up the house at the hottest part of the day:
In the morning, scrub potato skins, cut an X in the top and place in the microwave for 8 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Once the potatoes have been par-cooked in the microwave, remove and rub the skins with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, place on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator. About 30 minutes before serving, let potatoes sit on the counter to come to room temperature. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap potatoes, place on a cookie sheet and warm for 10 to 15 minutes. You could also warm in the microwave, but the oven get the best results. Either way, that long cook takes place early in the morning, before the heat of the day. Restaurants do it all the time.