It’s been a while since I posted, and it’s been even longer since I’ve posted about cooking. So here we go, I’m getting back to the meat and potatoes of this site.
The good news is that I haven’t been completely disengaged. I’ve been cooking and occasionally taking pictures.
The bad news is that I can’t really remember when I made the dish in this post, so the details about cooking this meal are hazy. The recipe is from my Jamie Oliver cookbook. I’ve actually made this once before, but I don’t have much of a memory of cooking it that time, either. Wait, what was I talking about? Maybe that story about when I fought in WWII? Hey you damn kids, get off my lawn!
Jamie Oliver calls this “Grilled fillet steak with the creamiest white beans and leeks,” which I think it is a little wordy. Also, in this case, it’s inaccurate because the cut of beef I used was rib eye. The beef was the impetus behind this meal. I went to the Green City Market, which is known as the best farmers’ market in Chicago, I guess mainly because it’s probably the biggest. Also, the atmosphere is festive, with live music and chef demonstrations, and it’s located right in Lincoln Park. It was a beautiful day, so my girlfriend and I made our way over there.
We got there a little late so the stands were picked over or out of stock, but there was great looking meat from Heartland Meats. Heartland Meats is located in Mendota, Illinois, which is centrally located in the vast cornfield that is the rest of Illinois.
Their beef is from Piedmontese cows, which, as everyone knows, is the end result of breeding between the Aurochs and Zebu breeds. Apparently it’s lower in fat content, which Heartland used a selling point. But doesn’t fattier meat mean more taste?
I bought some anyways because, of all kinds of food, I like the idea of buying meat locally the best. Heartland feeds their cattle corn and not grass, but they grow the corn themselves, which is probably as close as I can realistically hope to get to buying meat from a farm that practices polyculture (that is, growing more than one kind of crop). I recently found out that one consequence of the industrialization of agriculture and the spread of monoculture, specifically when it comes to meat production, is that manure becomes a waste product rather than something to be cherished as God intended. This has led to vast poop lagoons, which are exactly what they sound like.
So, I bought two five ounce rib eyes. Here they are, frozen and vacuum-sealed:
It’d hard to get too excited about beef when it’s been packaged like that, but I guess it’s good for it.
Now, if memory serves me correctly, I made the “creamiest white beans and leeks” first.
First, take a couple leeks. I think the recipe called for two, but I demanded three.
Then I cut them up. Those are my arms, so I have to assume I took the picture with my foot. That’s a glass of wine in the lower left part of the photo. I drink while I cook so I bleed faster when I cut myself.
Um, I guess I then added thyme and two garlic cloves.
Hypothetical question: If you could only have butter or olive oil for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Thank God I don’t have to choose. Looking at that photo, I have the uncontrollable desire to put butter and olive oil in my water bottle. I won’t though, because you’re not supposed to refill your plastic bottles because of the chemicals the plastic releases.
Then I threw the leeks in. Jamie Oliver’s instructions were to “sweat” them, which at first I thought was some stupid British saying that we chose to abandon after we won the war, but which I later found out actually means to cook on very low heat for a long time so the vegetable cooks in its own moisture. They literally sweat.
After a period of time which I forget the length of:
The recipe didn’t call for wine. I was trying to refill my glass, but I was drunk and my aim was off.
The good news is that the wine was an excellent addition.
I used cannellini beans, because that’s what I had. The recipe calls for lima beans, which I remember being an issue the first time I made this. I couldn’t find lima beans anywhere. Doesn’t that seem weird? I used frozen fava beans that time.
Here I added parsley and crème fraîche. I definitely didn’t use crème fraîche last time. I can’t remember what I used instead, but I regret it. That’s right, crème fraîche made these beans taste so good that it made me regret something I have no memory of.
That was the end of the beans. They just hung out while I cooked the meat.
Here are the stages the beef went through:
Raw, room temperature beef
Seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil
Oh sweet Jesus no! Zombie cow! It’s back from the dead to avenge its murder! Everyone panic!
Just kidding. It put up very little fight in the pan. Here the steaks are, resting.
And here’s the final plate.
The steaks were terrific, although just a touch overcooked. My girlfriend is my meat-cooking conscience, and she’s the only reason these steaks didn’t end up rubbery and charred. Really, they could’ve used about 30-60 seconds less on the grill. Although I don’t remember the total time they were on there, so that’s completely unhelpful to both you and me.
Those beans, though. Whoa boy. Those are some good beans.
Stay tuned for some potato salad…
Sounds like a delicious meal! And to answer your question – I would choose butter. More flavorful for the most part, and can be used in solid or liquid form. Mmmm butter…
wow those beans look delicious. If you like local and you don’t want to trek out to lincoln park you should try irv and shelly’s fresh picks? http://www.freshpicks.com/cms/
I am a recent convert.
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