I am amazed at what I have found at the local farmers markets and farm stands this summer. I just returned from picking up my order of naturally raised Angus beef at the Nooherooka Farm booth at the Thursday afternoon Cornerstone branch of the Pitt County Farmers Market. My Dad’s family ran meat lockers and butcher shops and I grew up near a Hertford ranch which makes me a tough to please beef customer. I found this Angus beef is full of flavor and lean, because it is grass-fed. Yet it is tender when properly cooked. I have been picking up beef up in Orange County for several years from a farmer there who converted his family’s heritage dairy farm to raising steer in order not to lose the farm due to falling dairy prices. But I think I will no longer travel that far, thanks to Nooherooka Natural Angus Beef Products in Greene County.
I received five pounds of boneless beef steaks, kabobs and stir-fry Angus beef for only $30! My steaks were Flat Iron, Sirloin, and Chuck, from some of the most flavorful parts of the steer. That is six dollars a pound for naturally raised, grass-fed Angus beef. It came beautifully vacuumed sealed, butchered and USDA inspected. It was frozen with no signs of any freezer burn and came packed in a sturdy cardboard box that kept the meat frozen for a couple of hours until I could get it home and in the freezer.
The flat iron steak caught my attention because it is a new cut of beef being promoted by the industry. It is cut from the chuck portion of the shoulder but carved out in way that eliminates the connective tissue that makes the shoulder chewy, requiring long, slow-cooking to be tender. The chuck is one of the most flavorful parts of the steer, compare ground chuck burgers to ground round: no contest! The chuck is juicy and full of beef flavor. The round is lean and flat tasting. So use the ground round with strong flavored sauces, chili soups, and casseroles where you need a lean meat. Feature your chuck in pot roasts, burgers, and now…the Flat Iron Steak barbecue, when you want a delicious beefy flavor to prevail.
<b>EASY HOT NIGHT SUPPER for Parents Enjoying a Kid’s Night Out</b>
(Under $10 using locally grown foods, including the local bread)
Kids are invited to neighbors for dinner and a movie….you’ve got time to cook together and have a relaxing evening after a long day.
<b>Flat Iron Steak Teriyaki</b>
I thawed an 8 ounce Flat Iron steak in cold running water and tossed it in a teriyaki marinade for 20 minutes. Then I grilled it for 8 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other…it was just over 1 inch thick. It was medium rare and mouthwatering and delicious.
Teriyaki Marinade: ¼ cup good quality low sodium soy sauce, juice of ½ small lemon, 2 tsp brown sugar, and 1 clove garlic mashed and chopped. Mix together and pour over half a pound of meat.
I served my steak sliced at a diagonal into thin slices. I hold the knife at a 45 degree angle which makes for a broader slice of meat. I served the sliced meat with grilled zucchini, grilled tomato halves, and a fresh corn salad.
All these vegetables and the cheese came from the Farmers market. I paid 50 cents for two 6 inch zucchini, one dollar for two tomatoes, and got a bag of 6 ears of shucked corn for four dollars. I used 3 ears to make my salad (two dollars worth). My jalapenoño pepper was 10 cents, because I got 5 for 50 cents. The small red pepper was 30 cents.
<b>Fresh Corn Salad (no cooking)</b> (Serves 4, so there will be some leftovers for next day’s lunch!)
3 medium large ears of fresh corn cut off the cob
1 small green jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
2 tablespoons cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Dressing: ¼ cup virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 clove garlic mashed and chopped fine, ½ tsp sugar, salt and black pepper to taste. Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid, shake and let stand while you prepare the vegetables.
Place the uncooked corn and other ingredients in a bowl and lightly toss to blend. Pour dressing over the salad and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes while you grill the steak and vegetables.
I got the goat cheese, cherve, from the Be Nourished Organic Dairy and Farm at the Cornerstone Farmers Market. It was $3.50 for 4 ounces and is crumbly but creamy. Its sharpness compliments the sweetness of the corn.
Cut zucchini into quarters lengthwise. Cut tomatoes in half. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and place on grill until they are slightly browned and heated thoroughly. The tomatoes will caramelize on grilled surfaces and smell wonderful. Be careful not to burn them. Remove vegetables carefully with a spatula. Sprinkle with a little coarse (if you have it) salt and ground pepper if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature alongside the sliced beef and corn salad.
Serve this meal with a small loaf of Sue Kepler’s homemade sour dough bread available at the Pitt County Farmers Market or some Pain Ancien from Swiss Chalet and you will have a great local food feast that is festive, healthy, easy on the wallet, and quick to fix.