Sunday, November 7, 2010

Planning a Tasty Week, Lamenting a Short Weekend

I hurry. You hurry. We all hurry and we overlook important things along the way, or things that might make the day better or our frames of mind sweeter. Tonight's dinner is an example.

Tonight was supposed to have been a good dinner night and I made a very dumb mistake.
I had planned to have a grilled hunk o'beef with savory eggplant and potatoes au gratin. I had sliced and seasoned zuchinni, yellow squash, eggplant, red onion and portobello mushrooms to be grilled while the beef rested to use for another night.
The eggplant and potatoes were perfect - the one aromatic, the other golden - and the beef looked good.
The cut I had selected was, unfortunately, not the one I had intended. I had bought a hunk of top shoulder roast, which should be cooked slow-and-low, instead of chuck roast. I have done similar things before, thinking I grabbed a box of blackberry breakfast bars and discovering that blueberry bars were in my bag instead. My errors of Hurry are usually easily remedied. This one was Epic Fail.
When I applied my perfectly sharpened Rada knife to the rested beef, I detected a resistance that shouldn't have been so ...firm. I attributed that to the rareness of the meat. Beautiful, thinly cut slices of rare beef adorned our Fransicsan Apple plates. I had carefully positioned a portion of eggplant and scoop of potatoes before slicing the beef. These were pretty plates.
We enjoyed this aesthetically pleasing view until the time for eating began.
The beef was perfectly seasoned and grilled but tough as a boot - or as I would imagine one would be. We tried several different cutting methods (against the grain, with the grain, combo) and nothing helped.
The cats were delighted at their tiny bites of people food this mistake produced. We cut the rest into large chunks for the possums and raccoons who come to the back deck for meals and called it a win.
I'll serve the grilled vegetables with salmon filets this week so the grill wasn't fired for naught:)

Savory Eggplant
1 medium eggplant, topped and sliced lengthways
1 tin anchovies in oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup olive oil
Cavender's Greek Seasoning

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Cut a shallow, angled tic-tac-toe pattern into the flesh of the eggplant. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet on medium high and when a drop of water "spits" in the pan add the eggplant, cut side down. While the eggplant cooks (reduce to medium low after about a minute), mash the anchovies into a paste. Put the garlic cloves through a press into the anchovy mix, stir in and add the 1/2 cup of olive oil.
The Eggplant halves should be golden - remove from skillet and place in a glass dish. The scoring in the eggplant should have opened the meat so you can spread the anchovy mixture across the surface and into the crevices.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.
I only serve this when I am making beef but that's just me.

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