Friday, June 25, 2010

Operation: Unexpected Combustible

What follows is Kim's account of her challenge entry. I've cut a bit (not much), but let's go ahead and call it a guest post.
  • So I started with a recipe for flank steak souvlaki, because it had an initial obvious substitution - the recipe called for store-bought whole wheat sandwich wraps. Instead, I made home-made flatbreads. Then, I used flat iron steak because I already had that in the freezer, and decided to substitute the mint in the greek yogurt sauce and use cilantro instead. I'm not big on mint.

    The only purchases I had to make were the yogurt, 3 bell peppers, a cucumber and the cilantro. But by not paying attention, I ended up buying italian parsley instead. Oh well, I like parsley.

    Once the flatbread was risen, I prepared the marinade for the steak. The recipe called for red wine vinegar, but I used balsamic since that's what was in the pantry, plus fresh garlic, salt, pepper, dried oregano, and fresh basil. Then I chopped the peppers and an onion and tossed them into my cast iron skillet, covered a baking pan with aluminum foil and put that in the oven to broil the meat. Technically it should have been on the grill, but with a 105F heat index and no charcoal, I chose the broiler. BIG mistake. As it so happens, aluminum foil is combustible. And mine combusted. I had flames shooting up the stove burners, and had to yank the flaming baking pan out of the stove and put it on the sink. Luckily, water still extinguishes flame, but my smoke detector, which is so sensitive it goes off if my shower is too steamy, started wailing, and there was smoke EVERYWHERE. So I yanked open the patio door, turned on all the fans and started waving a pot holder at the detector. I should point out that I was avoiding the AC so the apartment was about 85 inside, I am 5'1" and therefore waving anything at a smoke detector requires some measure of exertion, and I have two indoor cats that I was terrified would take this opportunity to escape out the screen door. So I'm sweating, waving frantically, trying to watch for cats, while my veggies are still cooking, and both my steak and oven are in an unknown state. When I finally felt safe to abandon the smoke detector, I checked the steak. Aside from being wet and undercooked, they were fine. And the oven looked ok, and the veggies were still cooking, so I checked on the cats (terrified under the couch), closed the patio door, and tried again. This time I put the steak directly on the (now warped) baking pan, used a lower shelf in the oven, and checked it constantly. The veggies finished fine, I made the sauce with the parsley, grated cucumber, salt, pepper and garlic powder (and Fage - LOVE Fage). Then I made one of my flatbreads, added the (slightly overcooked) steak, and all together it was delicious.

    I definitely spent more than $5 at the grocery store, but I am going to get at least 8 servings out of this meal. At this point I'm feeling grateful to have not burned my apartment down, so I'm not going to do any actual math right now, but if I recover from this trauma, I'll try to put that together <...> for you later.

    So yes, keep in mind that, despite being called a metal, aluminum foil actually burns pretty well.

    So the total shopping trip was $5.36, and I did get 8 servings, so that is .67 a serving. If I guess at the cost of the flour at .10, the onion at .50, and I know the beef was @6.00, that puts the total cost at $1.50 per serving. Not bad for a meal that calls for both beef and bell peppers, two of the pricier items out there.


  • Thanks, Kim, for the super story, and the warning about aluminum. Tasty and an adventure- that's gotta be worth some extra sparkles. Tough to remember to grab a photo before you NOM, right?

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