I've been bored stiff with my own cooking lately, which really isn't like me. Usually I enjoy poring over my recipe books or checking out foodie blogs for new ideas; for the past two weeks, though, I seem to have lapsed into a cooking-related funk. I have absolutely no interest in shopping, planning or preparing food. In fact, I haven't even been able to take much pleasure in eating, despite the fact that I'm always ravenous. It's a drag!
Meat has always been an uphill culinary battle for me, especially lately with my complete apathy for all things edible. Last week, I half-heartedly asked my local Sobey's butcher dude for flank steak, which a magazine article had touted as "economical and delicious," as long as it was given a good long marinade bath prior to cooking. He looked confused (he was about 17), and told me there should be some in the beef section. I found something labeled "flank marinating steak," and without really giving it the once over, popped it in my cart.
Tonight I decided to try cooking it. Imagine my confusion when I pulled the thing out of the package, ready to give it a nice soak in some garlic infused oil and vinegar, and found it had been butterflied! What the what am I supposed to do with this skanky looking thing? I thought. As I tend to do in most times of kitchen turmoil, I turned to the internet for help.
"Stuffed flank steak - easy gourmet your family will love!" gushed one website. "Impress your guests with rolled stuffed flank steak," promised another. I shrugged. It was either flank steak or a can of tomato soup with toast, so I gave it a try. I sauted spinach, onion and garlic, fished out some feta and attempted to stuff my steak.
The unrolling went okay (shudder), but rolling it back up with the tasty stuffing intact proved to be another story. I snuck another look at the recipe, which said:
"Place kitchen twine around the steak lengthwise, then at 1/2-inch intervals." Kitchen twine? I had decorative ribbon, garden nylon, twist ties and some baler twine, none of which seemed like the right choice. I was on the point of feeding the whole mess to the dog when I remembered the contents of my cocktail drawer: toothpicks! The elegant flank steak recipe was saved. Sort of.
It smelled okay. It cut nicely into pretty rounds and looked quite fashionable on the plate, nestled up to the roasted potatoes and tomato bocconcini salad. But when D tasted it, he did the nose-scrunch I've come to interpret as something being rotten in the state of Someday.
"Well, what do you think?" I asked.
D chewed meditatively for a moment, then furrowed his brow. "Is there some kind of weird spice or herb or something in this?"
"No," I said, "just spinach and onions. And salt & pepper."
He took another bite and did the nose scrunch again. "Then why does it taste like Scope?"
Dear reader, when using toothpicks to secure your next classy rolled flank steak meal, I highly recommend using the non-minty variety.
Now where's that damned can opener?