March 7th, 2005


Woken up by the pager again

6:30 am. A server in upstate NY had stopped streaming video. Restarted it and all looks well. And what a crock - the first movie which started streaming was Cinemax's "classic" Emanuelle vs. Dracula.

For this I lose an hour's sleep?
Sgt. Redbeard

Yummy Diet Food

Teaser: Exquisite marinade recipe in this box..

My new 2k-calorie food plan is ridiculously diverse, ideal if one lives in a restaurant or is feeding a family of 4. There is no concept of leftovers.

So I'm not doing the meals in order, but rather picking and choosing so I don't have to buy a full-sized freezer or throw out what had been perfectly good food before it became green & fuzzy.

The plan for Sunday Dinner was my rendition of last Wednesday's plan meal, Marinated Flank Steak.

I looked at the marinade recipe on page 130-something, shrugged, and said I could do better, possibly with fewer calories. I already had a big bottle of cheap red wine next to the stove (I don't normally do anything with wine except cook with it, so the cheaper the better). So I went shopping on Friday after work and picked up:

Garlic powder
Lean stew beef chunks (flank steak was too thin, three times as much as I needed and too expensive)
Yellow onions
Fresh Basil

Already on hand I have:
Whole garlic
Chopped red onion
Olive oil
Mary Ann
The Skipper, too
oh wait, wrong sitcom.

Saturday night I took out my medium sized glass baking pan and filled it half-way with wine, tore up the bunch of basil and threw that in. Sprinkled on garlic powder, thyme, sage and oregano. Decided ginger was not a good choice, so put it back on the shelf. Chopped the stew beef chunks into thirds and added them. Sprinkled some chopped red onion on top and mushed everything around so the beef was evenly mixed in.

Covered with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

Sunday evening I peeled a bunch of garlic cloves, sliced them nice and thin, and then took out the yellow onion and lopped off three slices of that. Put my cast iron skillet on the range, set to high, and added 1/4 inch of olive oil. Threw in the garlic and onion, and while that was sautéeing, took the marinating beef out of the fridge.

Used a fork to pluck the beef from the marinade and put it in a bowl. I don't like the taste of cooked basil, so was careful to leave that behind. There was more than twice as much meat in the pan as I needed, so I left half behind covered it and put it back in the fridge for later.

That timed out perfectly, the garlic and onions were crisp but not burned, and in went the beef. Stirred that around to make sure all the pieces were seared on all sides, then poured in half an inch of red wine, covered, and simmered for 10 minutes.

Stirred again, and thought something was missing.

Mushrooms! How could I forget mushrooms? All I had was one of those miniature cans of sliced ones, but that turned out the be the right amount, and worked fine.

Covered and simmered again, and 10 minutes later it was done.

Meanwhile I'd been nuking frozen mixed veggies in the microwave.

An extremely yummy dinner, and now I need to think of what I'll do with the other half of the marinated beef. Maybe the same thing. Or maybe stir fry - give the wok some exercise.

Pumpkin liked the smell so much he perched on the arm of the sofa and stuck his face toward the plate, but when I offered him a piece he wasn't interested.