Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Maple Spice Grilled Sirloin

Submitted for your approval, my idea of the perfect summer supper:  Grilled Hill & Vale sirloin marinated in maple syrup, cumin, sambal, and garlic, and a catch-all salad of market and garden produce.

What could be more appropriate for solstice eve?  We've been lighting a fire to cook dinner more often than we've been turning on the oven of late.  There are these cottonwood trees looming over the house, and we had a lot of the dead wood cut back late last winter, so there's an abundant supply of firewood lying in the yard.

 I get my exercise knocking these rounds into manageable pieces, and we have no need to buy charcoal for our cook-outs.  Cottonwood produces a clean, hot fire; the coals don't last terribly long, but that's fine for quickly grilling a piece of meat and some vegetables.

My trick for grilling vegetables is to set a wire cooling rack with about a 1/2-inch grid atop the regular grill grate.  This way we can grill things as small as green beans and snap peas without having them slip through the grate.

The only problem with this kind of cooking is that I come in to dinner smelling like I've been out fighting a forest fire.  Oh, well; there are worse problems in life..

While I tended the grill, Mary put the salad together:  lovely leaf lettuce from the Menomonie farmers market, radishes from our garden, some cubes of very non-local avocados.  Grilled snap pea and the season's first green beans from the market went on top.  Into her dressing strong with mustard and garlic she added fresh herbs including chives, thyme, parsley, and mint.  The mint went beautifully with the cumin in the steak marinade, a very North African flavor combo.

It was the cumin, in fact, that inspired the whole dinner--a fresh little baggie from the co-op sat on the counter perfuming the kitchen powerfully in this warm, humid weather.  Here's the marinade:

½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sunflower or canola oil
1 teaspoon sambal oelek chile paste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Pinch salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 large clove garlic minced

I marinated the steak for a couple of hours at room temp.  While the steak grilled, I put the platter with the remaining marinade and a couple of cubes of frozen chicken stock into a warm oven.  When the steak was done I put it back on the platter to rest, and the juices combined with the now melted stock and marinade to make the simplest of sauces.

Things could get a little repetitive around here from the cooking perspective.  While the thought of doing more elaborate preparations might tempt me from time to time, I imagine that for the next few weeks I'll probably brush those notions aside, and go out to light a fire.

Happy Solstice.

Text and photos copyright 2012 by Brett Laidlaw


Gloria Goodwin Raheja said...

Two in row. I'll definitely make this one too.

Sara said...

Mmm, that looks like a tasty marinade, we like the cumin around these parts too.

Grilling veggies in the heat here too, we have an enamel grill "wok" that is perfect for small stuff. The sides are slighty angled so things don't fall out--one gadget that definitely pulls its weight!

H. Hall, Private Eye said...

Brett, what are your thoughts on grass-fed beef as a trump over local grain-fed, or vice-versa?
After having spent the day (admittedly not a huge amount of time) on a 100% grass-fed farm, and speaking with the farmer (this in southern Illinois), I'm convinced it's the way for true, land-stewarded -beef. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about the grain-finished.

Trout Caviar said...

Hi Gloria, did you give it a try?

Hey Sara: I like the cooling rack method because I'm cheap. Also, it's got good surface area so I can use it for larger, delicate items, like fish fillets.

Gusev, I have to admit I haven't studied the question that carefully. Most of the beef we eat is from Hill & Vale farm, which is grass- and (farm-grown) grain-fed. The small producers like H&V I imagine mostly feed their cattle on grass--it's just common sense to use that resource. So my take would be to start buying your meat from smaller local producers, and learn about their practices. Certainly cows on grass is the most natural way to go.

Cheers~ Brett

moving help in tri-cities wa said...

very nice