Monday, August 06, 2018

Sunday Work, Sunday Supper

     Lawn mowed, a lot of the fallen branches picked up, another few feet gained on the "jungle" that grows in the narrow space between one side of my garage and the fence,* branches removed from the roof and the gutters slightly cleared, and once again a reminder that the very worn soles of my calf-high Carolina Pole Climber boots are not safe on the steep roof of the house.

     Cleaned up after that, spent a little while on a spare laptop with a too-full hard drive (it ended up needing a fresh start, and then more cleaning-up to get rid of the pre-installed stuff I didn't want), then went to the megamart and the grocer's for a start on the week's supplies.  On returning home, I discovered during the unloading process that the temperature and humidity had gone way up.  Just hauling bags in from my car had me perspiring.

     So I made myself a treat, Tam being busy elsewhere: pseudo reverse-sear New York Strip steak, a green salad, and the better grade of instant mashed potatoes.  (Yes, yes, but they're so much easier.)

     Grilled corn and a steak cooked over hardwood charcoal would have been nice.  At 91 degrees and humid, grilling was going to be pretty miserable work.   I seasoned the steak and let it sit out while I considered the options -- steak cooks better and tastes better if it doesn't start cooking cold. There was a little truffle butter left, so I melted that over low heat in a small frying pan, popped the steak in, put another little blob of butter on top of it and let it alone for five minutes.  Kept turning it every five minutes until it felt done enough, while boiling water for the potatoes.  Uncovered the steak and raised the heat a bit while making the potatoes -- "Remove water from heat, add potato mix, stir with a fork until fully blended, let sit for one minute" -- and I'd already made and dressed the salad.  Loaded a bowl of salad and put meat and mashed potatoes on a plate, ready for supper.

     This left a nice pool of pan drippings and truffle butter in the frying pan.  H'mm, mashed potatoes of the blander sort, and that stuff--  Dipped a finger in and gave it a taste, and it was better than I could have hoped, steak and truffle flavors blended.  I made a well in the potatoes and poured it in.  It didn't elevate the instant to match home-made, but it stepped them up quite a lot.
* Every Spring, I tell myself that this year, it's not going to get ahead of me.  With the knee problem, this year I didn't even reach the point of being able to lie to myself about it.  As time and weather permit, I have been chopping back a few feet and spraying it with brush killer.  I might reach the far end by Autumn.


pigpen51 said...

I must agree on the instant mashed potatoes. My parents owned a restaurant for over 30 years. They eventually went to the instant mashed potatoes, and I heard more than once people commenting on how good it was that they were one of the only restaurants around still using real potatoes for their mashed potatoes.
My dad especially loved it when the people said this. Cost wise, they were similar to a bag of potatoes, but there was no comparison time wise.
I myself will use instant potatoes, and then add sour cream, cream cheese, and butter, along with garlic powder, and it makes them pretty decent also.

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Pro tip for mashed: garnish with tomato slices, or even better, canned diced ones.

Absolute yum.