I've never been a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I don't eat much meat for one, and I'm just as content with potatoes being the main course as I'm with their being on the side, if not more so. My buddy Jeff, on the other hand, is that type of guy, not that there's anything wrong with it. I love the dude, and have no problem whatsoever with his preference for a well-proportioned plate of protein and starch punctuated by some sort of vegetable. What does bother me, though, is that his predilection has become an excuse not to make it himself.
I happen to think that such high expectations for a so-called complete meal have lowered my friend's standards. Preparing a traditionally full plate of food on a consistent basis can be quite daunting for someone like Jeff, who's not used to being in the kitchen; it's much easier for him to eat out or order in. Not to sound pretentious, but that sucks, it's really expensive and very unsatisfying.
I am happy to feed Jeff for free, however, and in hopes of inspiring him to do the same, invited him over for a steak night recently. I didn't want to break the bank, though, and told as much to the guys behind the butcher counter at Marczyk's and they recommended their favorite cut, the Pedro steak. Similar to flank steak in its affordability and marbling, it's a butterfly cut of the tri-tip from the bottom sirloin.
I grilled the steaks per their instructions (salt and pepper, medium rare) and served them alongside mash potatoes (which, coincidentally, I recently learned is a nutritionally complete meal when made with milk or cream, go figure?), a salad dressed with my own vinaigrette and a glass of Avery Brewing's Reverend. The steaks were amazingly flavorful and melted in the mouth, coating it with fatty, beefy goodness. And I love the Reverend, especially with food. It's one of those beers that makes a great case for choosing beer over wine with a meal; complex, carbonated and strong, it's decidedly a steak beer.
All in all, for less than $30 and about as much in minutes, I fed three people a wonderful, complete meal and sent Jeff home with leftovers for sandwiches the next day. Hopefully it made an impression on him, but if not, I'm more than willing to keep trying.
Here's the recipe for the steak:
2 Pedro steaks, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper Olive oil Salt and pepper
1. Heat a well-oiled grill to medium heat and grill steaks on each side for 5 to 6 minutes for medium rare. 2. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
and for mashed potatoes:
2 large potatoes, diced 1 cup cream Salt and pepper
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1. Boil potatoes in heavily salted water until soft. 2. In a large bowl, mash potatoes until smooth, add cream and mix thoroughly. 3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. and for a simple salad dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon honey 1 clove garlic, minced A dash of red pepper flakes Salt and pepper
1. Whisk together ingredients in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. 2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.