Here’s a proposal for America. But first, what we’ve really opened the page for: the recipe.
We make a simple curtsey to John Tauzel’s beef again, a rib eye steak that requires no fancy tricks. A side of lightly braised greens, and a crusty loaf if you have one in the bread box. Voila.
As a nation we eat too much meat. It’s been proven and time-tested. But I won’t bore you with the anti-agenda, because I too eat meat! (Though I did stop for about six years, so if you equate my former vegetarian life to carbon trading, by which I offset my carbon footprint…)
Anyway. The point is we can eat so much meat because it’s so darned cheap. The only way it became so cheap is by degrading the quality of production: pastures for feeding, fresh air to breathe, babies sucking from their mother’s teats. These basic conditions nurture healthy, vibrant lives (yes, for humans too) which translates to healthy meat! To satisfy our appetite, these once-upon-a-time norms were traded for “Confined Animal Feeding Operations,” the standard procedure for churning out animal protein in a way that completely neglects the nutritional content of the slab on your plate and the survival of the plot of land it sits on.
So, my proposal. If we all eat good quality meat (which abides by the aforementioned conditions) we will; a) improve our nutritional intake, b) be far more satisfied by the taste, texture, and ravishing aroma, and c) indirectly partake in land conservation. Now, I know what comes next. “But the cost! Oh the cost!”
My theory is that if you are willing to purchase good quality meat, the proportion by which you eat meat (which is not every day, but more like once or twice a week) will be appropriate according to dietary and environmental recommendations. Let’s do a quick exercise, and then we’ll get to the meat of this post. I am pulling this from my bum, but you might end up with something like this:
- 1 portion of cheap meat = $1 (and it’s surely more)
- Total portions eaten per year (assuming 1 every day, and 2 every other day): 550
- Total spent on cheap meat per year = $550 (Can we acknowledge it’s likely at least double?)
- Beef Share (variety of beef cuts that fill up half of a regular-sized freezer) = $120
- Approximate portions of meat (eating 1 portion per week over an ave. of 5 months) = 20
- 1 portion of good quality meat = $6
- Total spent on good quality meat per year = $240
Even if we doubled our intake of good quality meat it would still cost less than the amount spent over one year in daily meat consumption. BAM.
(And I assure you, you will not go hungry. Bobby is an active six foot tall man, with a big appetite. He’s healthy and beautifully toned, it’s true!)
Seared Rib Eye in White Wine Reduction, Horseradish Mustard and Braised Greens
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 rib eye steak, or two depending on your appetite
- white wine
- 1 tablespoon pure, minced horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3–4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 inch ginger root, minced or coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch winter greens, rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup white wine
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the seasonings in a small bowl. Rinse the steak and pat dry with paper towel. Rub the steak with the seasonings, coating both sides generously. In a cast iron skillet or a frying pan that can be put in the oven, heat the butter. When the butter is melted, sear the steak. Using tongs or a fork, turn the steak until each side is browned and sizzling in its juices. When there are no more raw surfaces, transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for about 7 minutes. Remove, flip over, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. If you prefer your steak rare, cook for less time. If you prefer it well done, cook for more. Check by slicing through part of the middle to check the color. When satisfied, remove to another plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add the wine to the skillet and over low heat reduce the juices in the pan. Simmer until the wine is thick and dark brown. Transfer to a small dish. When serving drizzle over the steak lavishly.
- Horseradish Mustard:
- Mix together in a small dish and serve with a dollop on the steak or on the side to suit your fancy. Adjust the quantity of mustard and horseradish for more spicy or more mustardy.
- Wipe the same skillet or pan with a paper towel, or give it a quick rinse. Dry and heat the olive oil. Saute the garlic. When it begins to turn golden, add the ginger, greens, wine, salt and pepper. Stir quickly and cover with a lid until greens are wilted. Stir and cover for five more minutes. The longer you cook them, the less chewy they become (but you also cook out some of those powerful nutrients). Remove and dress with a spritz of lemon juice if you like.