Tuesday, July 31, 2012

two uses

Want a healthy way to make ground beef and also get more use out of it?


So if you want to buy organic ground beef (yes! You do! Is the answer! So your ground beef doesn’t kill you!) you might find yourself more limited in your choices of fat content. I generally am only able to find 80% lean organic ground beef (which means of course 20% fat, of the icky saturated kind generally).

So here is what you do! Brown your beef like normal (I use a nonstick skillet). It’ll yield a lot of fat, which will turn to liquid in the pan. Meanwhile, set up your draining mechanism: a simple strainer over a container to catch what goes through. Now pour the whole mixture, beef, fat, and all, into the container, and quickly pour a lotta water atop.

Here’s what will happen:

The fat will get rinsed off the beef. Then you can season the beef and use it for things like this taco salad:


It’s good to add some moisturizing-type ingredients for the beef, because it will be less moist without its fat in it. I used a lot of fire-roasted tomatoes plus peppers and onions (more moisture!) and of course yummy taco seasoning spices like cumin and chili powder (even a touch of cinnamon), mm. Made into salad with chopped cabbage, avocado (the fat returns, in a very healthy form) and tortillas cut up and baked into strips. Quite nice.


But wait! There’s a container full of beefy water and beef fat!

Here’s what you do: chill the container. The beef fat will float to the top and, being saturated, solidify. Just break it off into little pieces and you know what you have? Beef broth.

Admittedly a little wimpy beef broth, but here’s what you do: slow cook oodles of sliced onions and mushrooms and what do you get? The basis for FRENCH ONION SOUP!

Mm. Not particularly summery, but oh-so-good. Plus bread ‘n gruyere atop, naturally. Let’s be real: french onion soup is a bread and cheese vehicle.


Plus my current summer obsession of salad that’s like… 3 parts dijon mustard, 1 part each olive oil and red wine vinegar. Fresh chives optional but great. OBSESSED.

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You know what’s another great thing to have to put to dual uses? Injera, baby!

Steve’s wrapping up his second Americorps year (and going to grad school at the same time, nbd) and they’re doing an Olympics theme with the kiddos this summer. Equals exploring different countries of the world, including Ethiopia. Equals INJERA!

Agh injera is the best. If you have not had it and don’t have the plethora of Ethiopian establishments we have in the DC area, do yourself a favor and befriend an Ethiopian person and ask them for a recipe. Your life will improve considerably.

So I’m going to preface the pictures of this dinner by saying Steve preceded these items with seven hot dogs. Cause that’s my boyfriend, yep. I’d eaten probably my usual dinner of a bunch of veggies and fifty servings of dessert.

But then he took out the injera and got to topping it. He speedy-quick roasted a tiny eggplant (just poke it with a knife, put it in a 500-degree oven, and leave it alone. The molten stuff that comes out- ideally mixed with olive oil and lemon juice- is revelatory). Down that went. Then, in the corner there? That’s a mixture of plain yogurt and the burn-your-tongue-but-you-dont-care-it’s-so-good African-style hot sauce from the farmer’s market.


Whipped those together.


Then he made this concoction which as I recall involved a great deal of olive oil and walnuts and some Chinese spinach (?!). It was marvelous.


And it was a quality second dinner for us both :)


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