Musing: An Anniversary. . .with Salsa Verde

Tonight we celebrated our one-year anniversary of moving to San Diego from New York City. We had originally planned to dine out for the occasion, but given all the social and political turmoil, we lost our appetites. We’re saddened by what’s going on, but nevertheless we wanted to mark the occasion and, at least for the moment, leave political furor behind.

Eventually, we opted for a quiet celebration at home and chose to make a recent recipe from the New York Times for a hanger steak with a salsa verde that touted the wonderful flavor that could be obtained from a value cut of beef with a salsa verde made from kale, scallions, a modicum of grated garlic, salt and olive oil.

Alas, I could not find the recommended hanger steak or any other of its value-priced alternatives at my local market. But mirabile dictu, choice rib-eye steaks were on sale at a price even cheaper than any of the recommend value cuts.

As has happened before, I did not think the this evening’s meal was going to be subject of a post so we took no photos of the prep or even of the finished dish. But as we completed dinner and reflected on how this leafy-greens salsa enhanced the steaks, my husband snapped a photo of me smiling over the remains of the meal.

Celebration!

The sauce requires a minimum of preparation: Cut 4 scallions into 2-inch pieces; set aside. Finely chop 2 or 3 additional scallions and add to a medium bowl with 2 1/2 cups of finely chopped kale, finely grated garlic clove and 1/3 cup of good olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

When the steaks are almost done, spread the sauce on plates. (The kale will have softened some.) When the steaks are done, place them over the salsa and let them rest, during which time the juices from the steak will marry with the salsa. While the steaks rest, lightly char and season the set aside scallion slices the meat’s remaining fat. Top the steaks with the charred scallions and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Here’s a link to the recipe online that includes directions for cooking the meat.

Musing: On Supermarkets

Inspired by a recent post on Diane Darrow’s blog, Another Year in Recipes, I prepared a classic Coq au Vin from a recipe in Julia Child’s tome From Julia Child’s Kitchen. Published in 1975, the book is now 43 years old, something I never considered until I was reading the recipe and noticed that for a dish with 2 1/2 pounds of chicken along with bacon and mushrooms simmered in 2 cups of red wine and the same amount of stock, it called for a minuscule amount of thyme, 1/4 teaspoon.

Julia Childs’ Coq au Vin

At first I thought this might have been a misprint, but as I thought about it more, I realized that when the book was published fresh thyme was not readily available in most supermarkets. Consequently, her measurement was most likely for dried thyme.

No big deal; however, this realization made me think how fortunate we are today to have such an abundant and diverse supply of food items available to us not only in gourmet and fancy-food shops but also in our local supermarkets.

I used to live in New York City’s Upper West Side and Chelsea neighborhoods, where finding specialty items was a piece of cake at stores like Zabars, Citarella, Buon Italia, Murray’s Cheese, Manhattan Fruit, and Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, not to mention the famed Union Square Farmers Market.

Recently, however, we moved to San Diego. And although we’re lucky to have here a vibrant Little Italy with a couple of well stocked Italian food stores and a wonderful bi-weekly farmers market, for most of my food supplies, I have to rely on my local supermarket. As I walk its aisles, I can find an abundance of high quality fresh produce, a wide variety of fresh herbs, and good selection of imported specialty items. In fact, the store even has its own Murray’s Cheese Shop.

I’m not saying that I don’t miss having the plethora of food stores that NYC afforded me, but I do feel pretty lucky that local supermarkets have come such a long way since Julia published the aforementioned book 43 years ago.