Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More experiments in market cooking.

So the boneless spare ribs didn't work out, dry and stringy and with all the allure of shredded old tires. Ok. Mistakes happen. Time to move on. I had a fridge full of other things to try, beginning with a small block of tri-tip steak. It would do for a meal or two, stir-fried with onions and served over leftover rice, with last night's sugar snap peas on the side. One of those fifteen-minute meals that are the single diner's mainstays.

First things first: slice the onions crosswise into neat half-moons. Then the steak, against the grain, falling in neat squares. A drizzle of oil went in the pan, and first I browned the steak, then removed it from the hot pan, added a little more olive oil, slid the onions in. When they began to caramelize, I poured the steak (and its juices) back in, seasoned it with black pepper and sea salt and a few drizzles of Worcestershire sauce (which I thought might be more interesting than my usual soy sauce), tossed it all together.

Before I knew it, everything was ready. I arranged everything on a bed of brown rice, the savory hot beef and onions, the bright green sugar snap peas. If there were other people at dinner, I would make another dish or two, some other vegetables, or tofu, or a piece of fish, simply steamed or broiled. There might be soup to finish off the meal, clear and soothing. But there is just me, and the neatly filled plate on the coffee table in front of me (when I am alone, I eat sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the tv in the living room).

A very good dinner it is, too, the Worcestershire mingling with the beef juices to create a bit of a sauce, intensifying the taste of the beef, the sweetness of the caramelized onions. The peas are still crisp-tender, the rice is still nutty and chewy and adding its own complexity to the flavors in every bite. There will be more meals like this, I think.

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