Sometimes Simple is Better

I don't eat a lot of beef. My diet mostly consists of venison, pork and duck and some chicken from time to time. In recent years I have been doing less duck hunting so there has been less duck but I still have some friends who pass some along to me and I can get leg quarters over at the Asian grocers when I need them. This doesn't mean I won't eat anything else it just means that this is what I usually eat. I love fish and seafood but don't buy it all that often and haven't been out fishing on a regular basis in quite sometime. I will eat lamb and goat and just about anything else I can find. I love a good steak, but beef as a whole has sort of lost its appeal to me.

Its not that I don't like beef, its just that good beef is hard to find and more expensive than I usually would like to pay. So I usually don't buy it or eat it. When I am out at a restaurant and they have a nice steak on the menu I usually will order it. At home I just won't buy it or cook it. I have found that I can substitute venison for just about everything and being that I love venison and I always have an ample supply here, I use it. However on certain occasions I do get a craving for a nice steak.

This last Saturday happened to be one of those occasions. I have a friend, lets call him Dick. Dick's wife was out of town for the weekend and my wife decided to go see friends in Wisconsin Saturday night which left Dick and myself a rare free night to hang out. We both have children, Dick's son is 10 months old and my daughter is 6 months old so we planned to have a sleep over. We thought it would be nice to have a simple little dinner some scotch and just hang out. When we talked about what we were going to have, steaks seemed to be the logical choice.

Whenever I get a steak I get a ribeye, to me it just represents all that is right with a steak. Everybody has a favorite cut of beef but mine is always the ribeye. So I went to my favorite butcher shop, Clancey's in Minneapolis and got two bone in pound and half ribeyes. The people at Clancey's know their meat. I have always heard and have read several articles about buying meat and they all say the same thing. Ask your butcher where your meat comes from. If he doesn't know or says they buy it from a wholesaler, I wouldn't buy it. When I asked the young lady at Clancey's where they get their beef she said, from a small farm in Elgin, MN. She also told me that the cows are pasture raised and grass fed. She knew when the cow was slaughtered and what day it was brought to the store. That is what I am talking about. Good beef and a knowledgeable butcher. Now the steaks were a little on the pricey side but that's why I only eat them every now and then and not all the time. I don't mind paying a little extra for a good quality piece of meat and believe me these were quality.

When it comes to cooking a quality piece of meat I almost always recommend grilling it. However, I live in Minnesota and its January so an alternative method was required. When I don't use a grill I always sear them in a pan with a little butter and garlic for a couple of minutes on each side then into a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. This almost always gives me the beautiful medium rare I am looking for. Unless of coarse I don't heat the pan hot enough to begin with and then leave it in the pan to long and then you end up with more of a medium. When the steaks come out of the oven I usually set them aside and then return the pan to a medium high flame and saute some shallots and garlic with the juices left in the pan. Add a cup of red wine and reduce until almost all the wine is gone then stir in a stick of butter. This is a very simple Merchand De Vin it is just simple and delicious. What do you serve with such a nice steak? That's simple a baked sweet potato and a Glass of wine.

All in all the night was great. Our kids played for a while then went to bed and Dick and I sat up and had a couple glasses of scotch and watched a concert on the television. My favorite line from the night was when Dick asked me, "When we were 24 would you have ever thought we would be sitting on a couch on a Saturday night watching a trumpet concert on television". I never would have thought it but I certainly enjoyed it.