I know I've mentioned before that about 70% of my meals (or maybe even more?) are vegetarian. By choice. It's not even a conscious choice most times anymore; it's just how we eat. But sometimes, we really enjoy meat. Today is a special occasion, so I've taken a buffalo filet mignon out of the freezer to have for dinner. (It's nearly 9 oz, which is plenty for two people). I mention this because I want to share with you the miraculous secret of how we cook lean and fancy steaks in this house.

We do not grill them.

We pan sear them on the stove then pop them into a really, really, hot oven. Then we let them rest before we tuck in. Trust me on this. Try it once with a filet mignon and then thank me later.

Filet Mignon
Serves 2 (if you're not a big meat eater!)

1 8-10 oz cut of filet mignon (beef or bison)
Salt and pepper to taste
Any other herbs or spices you might want on your meat, though I like to keep it simple

Remove your steak from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to cook it. Preheat the oven to 450 or 500 degrees (depending on what else might be roasting away in there and how hot your oven gets). Heat a small, oven proof skillet* over medium high heat (or high, if the flames aren't licking over the sides of the pan) with a very small amount of oil in it (1tsp if it is non stick, more if it's not). Really heat it. Get it smokin' hot.

Liberally season one side of your steak with salt and pepper, then use tongs to place the steak seasoned side down into your skillet. Leave it be fore three minutes. Don't touch. Don't peek. Leave it alone. Season the side facing up while you're waiting. After three minutes, flip the steak over and throw the whole thing, pan and all into the preheated oven. Roast for 8 minutes (for medium/medium rare** For bison, reduce cooking time about 2 minutes).

Remove from the oven, set the steak on a plate and tent with aluminum foil and leave it alone for 10 minutes. Really. Leave it ALONE! This lets the juices redistribute back into the steak. I've tried it both ways and it's worth the wait.

Remove foil, eat and be amazed. Best served with crispy roasted potatoes and a green veg or salad.

*An oven proof pan has metal handle(s) that are 'oven safe' up to a certain temperature. If you don't have one, put a lightly oiled Pyrex dish or other oven safe baking dish into the oven when you preheat it so that when you transfer the steak into that vessel in the oven, the pan is plenty hot and will do the job more or less the same way.

**I am of the opinion that meat cooked past medium pretty much isn't worth eating. Especially filet. But if you insist, leave it in longer. If you like it more rare, take it out a few minutes earlier. I would always err on the side of rare...

Beans n Greens ... Round 2

So, I made a tried and true recipe again for lunch today and wanted to share it with you. I've posted it here before, but it bears revisiting, especially since this is the first time I've made it with ingredients that I've grown in my own backyard. I grow both kale and chard, but the first round of chard has already been harvested and the next is too small, so today I used Tuscan kale. It is dark green, crinkly and has a sort of squeaky texture when it is raw.

I cut what grows as a single bunch, and it was just perfect for one person. I love how it's at least $1.50 for a bunch of greens in the store (on a good day), but you can get an entire packet of organic seeds for $1.50 and grow 100 bunches of kale. Granted, the latter takes a little time and patience, but it's well worth the reward.

I dug a can of great northern beans out of the pantry and found some feta in the fridge. I located an onion and some garlic and was good to go. Simple, healthy and very satisfying.

Beans and greens

Serves 1

1 bunch kale (or other greens)

1 can white beans

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 c vegetable stock, divided

1/4c crumbled feta

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced (optional)

Drain beans and rinse under cool water. Combine beans and 1/4 vegetable stock in a food processor and blitz until you have a very creamy consistency. Set aside. Clean greens in several changes of water. Remove ribs and save for later use or compost. Heat a large lidded pan with the olive oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and saute 2 minutes until soft. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add greens with some water still clinging to them and vegetable stock. Put a lid on your pot and leave it be for 3 minutes. Take a peek or a taste. If greens look nearly done or done, shove them to one side and add the beans (keeping them separate) just to warm them up. Put the lid back on for 1 minute. Taste beans to ensure they're hot.

Get a low, wide bowl and spoon beans in, top with greens and sprinkle a little feta o top, as well as the parsley (if you wish). You could serve this with garlic toast or a hunk of crusty bread, or just as it is.


Have you made it to Fisher Clark Deli yet? If not, shame on you. If you are a sandwich lover, a fresh bread lover, a dessert lover, or a deli lover, you are MISSING OUT.

After a walk in the park on this perfect, sunny morning, we headed over to Bonnie Brae to grab a sandwich (well, to be real, you grab very little there. You patiently wait while they hand craft their fantastic sammies for you). Husband had the egg salad (which they must have changed the recipe for and frankly neither of us was too keen, but it's literally the first thing we haven't enjoyed 100% there!) and I had the Friday special, which was a turkey sandwich with Gorgonzola cheesecake and carmelized onions. Yes, I should be eating like a monk for the rest of the day.

The sandwich is lightly toasted and layered with house made carmelized onions that are dark, sticky and sweet. Next there is high quality deli shaved turkey, covered by lettuce and the unfathomably decadent gorgonzola cheesecake. As you eat it, you keep wondering how it could possibly be so creamy, then you guiltily remember what you're eating.

I have a well-honed appetite and generally am a member in good standing of the clean plate club, but this sandwich bested me. I had to pop a quarter of it into the fridge. I just couldn't make it.

We can vouch for most of the sandwiches on the menu. I'd encourage you to be adventurous. Their soups are terrific as well. Seating is limited, though there are cute outdoor tables for warm days.

I often used to struggle to think of a place to have a 'really good' sandwich close to home. Now I don't have to think at all.


Tragically, the rains over the past few days wiped out the strawberries at our CSA this week. No (backbreaking) strawberry picking this year. I really am disappointed. I don't think I've ever tasted better strawberries than the ones I ate warm off the vine up at the farm. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I ate the first ripe strawberry off the vine of my strawberry plants that I have been tending to for the last month or so. I meant to take a picture, but it made it to my mouth before the camera made it into my hand. Sorry about that. Can't wait for a few more to turn that gorgeous red so I can eat them sun warmed right in the garden. YUM.


That's a photo of a butternut squash seedling pushing its little self out of the earth. It's a pretty neat thing to watch over a few days.

I can't express what a pleasure it has been to learn to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed. Last summer I started small with a few seedlings and some container gardening. This year, I've gone full bore with a Denver Urban Gardens allotment a few blocks from home that I've split with neighbors, as well as the large (3'x9') raised bed I have out back.

I'm growing a variety of veggies and herbs, but the focus was to grow things we don't already get through our CSA, or things we get from them that we could always eat more of (let's just say that we're not growing extra cabbage).

I've planted the following in the big garden:

Radishes (which I've already pulled, eaten, and planted something else in their place)
Tomatoes (8 varieties!)
Peppers (5 kinds)
Tomatillos (thanks for the seedlings, my good neighbors!)
Pickling cukes
Armenian cukes
Broccoli rabe
Persian Garden Cress
Butternut squash
Hokkiado squash
Beetberry (this should be interesting!)
Beans (three types including one soup bean!)
Okra (this is something of an experiment!)
'Little Caesar' lettuce

Weirdly, I could go on, but I just realized how long this list is already. Anyway, a few things I did from seedlings, but the rest I did from seeds. Every day that I go visit to weed or water, things look different. I kneel down to pull a weed or check a plant, and suddenly realize how alive the garden is. There are bees buzzing around all of the flowers, ladybugs crawling around, weeds growing at a rate so fast you can nearly see them get's amazing.

If you've never cared for a plant from the moment you place it into the earth and give it a bit of water, you should try it. It's interesting and satisfying. If nothing else, it will give you a significantly greater appreciation for the labor that goes into producing the food that you eat.