I was in a red meat mood but the steaks were all pricey. The ground beef was reasonably priced so I bought a small package. I also grabbed a few mushrooms for the gravy. I like this kind of meal, especially on a cool day like today.
Tim brought us some beans from his garden, unfortunately he waited till they were large and tough to pick them. I tried a bite of one and the shell had become all fibrous. I broke open the pod and the beans were barely formed. I opened a few more and the story only worsened. The beans were too small to eat and the pods were too tough to eat. No beans for dinner, I turfed them all.
I needed a last minute replacement for the beans and Fern wouldn't accept frozen peas. I grabbed Tim's fresh cucumber and some red and yellow cherry tomatoes. I also picked a bit of Thai Basil, which has a gingery basil taste.
The ground beef had very little fat, so not much flavour. I caramelized a shallot and added it to the meat with salt, mixed pepper, an egg and the secret ingredient, oatmeal flakes. I didn't have bread crumbs and I wanted something to absorb and hold the fat and moisture in the meat. Oatmeal flakes seemed like a good substitute for bread and they worked great.
I browned the sliced mushrooms first then removed them from the pan and added a teaspoon of flour and more oil. I let that cook for a minute then I added about a half cup of chicken stock and the same of white wine. I brought this to a fast boil and reduced it from soup to sauce, then added the mushrooms back in. A few drops of Worcestershire Sauce, salt, black pepper.
I did the baked potatoes in the microwave. Finishing them on the BBQ in foil with butter and chives really tops up the flavour, but I didn't do that. I just nuked 'em. Despite the mound of sour cream, fresh chives and bacon bits, I could taste the lack of love and care in cooking the potatoes. They were good but they weren't special. Next time, take the extra minute to finish them on the BBQ. The flavour is worth it.
I cut up the cucumber for a salad along with some red and yellow cherry tomatoes. I chopped up some fresh Thai Basil and added that with some salt and mixed pepper. I drizzled olive and rice oil over the salad followed by white balsamic vinegar. Toss and serve.
I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner but Fern wasn't quite as enthusiastic. I think he found it just too heavy after a big lunch. He did say everything was good and he cleaned his plate of every drop of sauce so I think he liked it.