On Sundays, we go to the Farmer's Market in the Rockridge/Temescal area of Oakland. It's in the parking lot of the local DMV.
This Farmer's Market is positioned in between 2 parks, both walkable in 3 minutes. Therefore, it is a popular ritual for "yogurt-weavers" as Matt calls them (a British term I guess), the vegan/vegetarian/organic set, and lots of hipster parents. With more than just produce stands, this farmer's market offers hot Thai and Indian food, organic butcher and fishmonger, a few bakeries, gourmet coffee cart, organic homemade gelato, special chocolatiers, etc etc.
It's a great formula - go to the park with your kids either before or after, have brunch/lunch at the farmer's market, get fresh yummies for a Sunday supper, and the kinder are tired from their outdoor frolic.
The organic butcher always tempts me, even though we don't each much red meat at all anymore. Even Matt has curtailed his burger consumption. But sometimes the blood calls for the iron and the protein.
Brisket at 6.99/lbs. I ask the dude, so show me this brisket. It's huge, a vacu-sealed slab of meat.
How do I cook it, I say. He looks at me from behind his sunglasses and says, you don't know how to cook this brisket?
No, I just like to eat it, I reply.
So he gives me this shpiel - 8 hours total cooking prep time to achieve the "tender meat falling apart" stage.
Oh, I said, then it's too late to do it for supper tonight.
He shrugs like he could care less.
Fine, I said, how about the London Broil, picking the next thing on the chalkboard.
When I get home I realize I don't really know how to cook a London Broil.
Google results - it's not a cut, it's a way to cook it, and broiling like fajitas or slow cooking like brisket are the ways to go. I look in the drawer beneath the oven. That's where my broiler was in the last house. I try it out. It doesn't get hot. It's just a storage drawer under the oven. Stupid. The broiler is in the oven. There's no broiler pan. I'll have to buy one.
We eat fish Sunday night. A nice pair of tilapia filets from JP Seafood Market - inside the fancy Alameda Marketplace.
The next day I shlep to El Cerrito, to the closest Target, to get a broiler pan.
I stop by Pacific East Mall, because it's Gong Hay Fat Choy and I wanted some Asian foods.
Most everything was closed, but 99 Ranch was open. I want bangsilog and I push Phoenix around in a rickety cart looking for the Goldilocks that used to be there.
From 99 Ranch I get a bunch of things - thin sliced beef - the kind appropriate for stir fry or hot pot, korean bbq sauce, ponzu, taho (dao fu fa), soy sauce.
Phoenix likes to look at the seafood section, where there are tanks full of live fish, lobsters, crabs, geoduck, etc.
I wonder what London Broil would taste like if I marinated it in Korean Barbecue sauce. I twitter this, because I am a lonely stay at home mother.
Back at home, I struggle with the groceries by loading up the stroller with them, then carrying Phoenix on my hip, from the parking spot to the elevator.
When I get through the door, my sequence of events is change the pee pee, bottle of milk, phoenix to crib, MARINATE THE LONDON BROIL. KOREAN BBQ SAUCE + LONDON BROIL = ???
Chop fresh garlic, onlons, green onions from the farmer's market, add to kbbq marinade. Dump the London broil in, noticing for the first time how much connective tissue it is.
Meat marinates for almost 3 hours. I throw in some soy sauce, pepper, sea salt.
Searing first, then into the broiler for 6 mins on each side.
The drippings are saved.
Result - flavorful but still kinda chewy meat. We barely ate half of it.
The next morning, I was determined to do something with these broiled leftovers.
I don't have a Crock Pot so I kept my stock pot on simmer - first sauteeing some white onion, garlic, garlic salt in olive oil.
I thought - what do I have to tenderize this meat? I didn't want to use the only bottle of red I keep in the house for emergencies.
Vinegar. But I don't have red wine vinegar, or even apple cider. Just seasoned rice wine vinegar, because I am Asian.
BUT!! When Nikki was here she bought me a Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing! balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Nice. Feeling very MacGyver at this point.
And the broth is looking nice, smelling good.
So I dump the rest of the meat in, turning the heat up and down, just letting it cook all day.
Some pieces couldn't be saved. They were already too tough.
I ate them. Let the rest keep simmering.
For supper I was going to do hotpot at home, and I used the rest of the kbbq sauce to marinate the thin sliced beef. I still had the broil leftovers cooking, and the reduction was looking insanely gravy-tastic. I kept eating away at it until there was one piece left.
But all that gravy.
I did the hotpot, boiling all the meat - and there was a nice gravy going on there too, from the original broth. Staring at the pans on the stove, of course the next logical thing to do was to COMBINE THE GRAVIES.
This could have ruined it all. Only the instincts of my tastebuds urged me to gamble.
The end of the story is that I am about to eat the leftovers of that tender beef slathered in the most insanely epic accidental sauce I ever made, with rice and seafood salad.
And I won't need to eat meat again for awhile, I think.
**Special thanks to the cows who gave their lives to be our food.
Up next . . . tales from Dungeness Crab season.