Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sustainable Steak and Eggs

It is three days until Christmas, ten days until New Years, and five weeks until I can plant the first pepper seeds.  However you count it, in the Midwest it is time to hunker down and face some cold weather.  So, I thought the next few recipes would all be "snow shoveling" recipes -- things that are hearty and warm and rib-sticking. 

Today's meal idea is courtesy of Mr. FC&G (also known as my husband), and it is this week's SOLE (sustainable, organic, local, and ethical) recipe for (not so) Urban Hennery's Dark Days Challenge.  It is also quite frugal, which makes it a winner all around.  I speak, of course, of steak and eggs.

"Wait," you say.  "How is this pile of protein frugal, let alone sustainable?  Has the weather gotten to you already?"  (Indulge me, readers; I sometimes have conversations with you.  You are very witty, and you always ask just the right questions.)

In this case, sustainability and frugality are all about sourcing ingredients from the right places.  Think for a minute about summer.  You can buy organic produce from the big box retailers, and if that is your only option, I hope you are doing so.  But that produce is often fairly expensive and typically comes from far away.  Contrast this with the most local produce, that which you grow yourselves.  As you may remember, I spent last summer putting together plates of veggies with just a touch of artisinal cheese or meat and having lunch for under $1.  In many cases, local means frugal and sustainable.

The same is true for steak and eggs, lovingly prepared by Mr. FC&G.  The eggs we get from a local farmer at Bluestone Farm (sorry no web link).  At $1.50 a dozen for these orange-yolked beauties, hubby fried up three for just 39 cents.

Beside that sits a piece of sirloin tip steak that we also sourced locally by buying a quarter of a beef back in 2007; that was pretty much the last piece of that meat, so you can see that we don't go through it very quickly and we get the most out of every piece.  We bought that particular load of meat before I started blogging (and before I started putting little sticky notes with prices on everything), but I remember it being around $4-5 a pound.  Now, we get our meat from a local butcher who processes only hormone-free, sustainably raised meats (Landes Fresh Meats) for perhaps a little more per pound.  Regardless, this little bit of leftover steak surely came in at under $2.  Total meal cost for hubby:  under $2.50 and probably under $2.

Now, this plate of protein is not for everyone; in fact, if you are vegetarian (or mostly, like me) or vegan, you are probably thinking this is a pretty unappetizing idea.  But for the carnivores among us, it demonstrates an important point:  even a meal that has a reputation for being expensive can be had on the cheap and virtually guilt-free if you take some time to support your local merchants and farmers. 

The Analysis

Fast:  I'm pretty sure that Mr. FC&G cooked up his breakfast-as-dinner in under 15 mintues from leftover steak and farm-fresh eggs.

Cheap:  As I said above, certainly under $2.50 for this plate; what would you pay even in a greasy-spoon diner?  Would the quality be as good?

Good:  I can't vouch for this one, but Mr. FC&G seemed to be fortified enough to go run the snow blower after dinner.  Works for me!
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