Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day - "Emergency Steak" and Memories

Dear Folks,

In honor of our Veterans and current troops, I wanted to share a recipe from 1945, and a link for more memories -- old time radio programs focused on the Memorial Day holiday.

First the link for the radio programs.  Jon Hall over has compiled an incredible library of old time radio programs.  Everything from comedy to drama and "shudder" horror. Many, many of the programs in the library celebrate holidays through out the year.  Here is the link for the page showcasing Memorial Day.  Jon, always provides a free program for each theme to listen to or download.  And his compilations are very inexpensive, literally pennies per hour of enjoyment, and perfect for your iPod, mp3 player, computer or tablet.  Memorial Day on


In the sidebar here on the blog I list some of my favorite charities.  I always check out a charity with Charity Navigator for the best organizations -- those that put the most money into the program and not administrative  or fund raising expenses.  What that means is sometimes the really good programs do not get as much attention as they should.  One of them is Packages from Home.  Consider a donation, to honor your veteran, or someone else's or just to help out. Packages From Home

Remember every little bit helps, don't not donate because all you can muster is $10 -- every little bit helps!


Back in November I blogged about "Emergency Steak" a war-time recipe using ground beef to make a 'steak' and that I was going to try it soon.  Well with one thing and another it was a recipe I just never got around to until this week.  Just in time for Memorial Day!

Read that blog post for the original recipe -- It was all about cooking shows are not new.  Old time radio programs included cooking shows.  As mentioned in the blog and before - the Victory Gardens of WWII were the source of about 40% of produce consumed in the US during the war.  And the frugal necessity of limited supplies stateside meant cooks had to be creative.

We should keep all of that home growing and cooking creativity always in focus.  Many people are still struggling.  Growing some of your own and being creative in the kitchen can be a money saver.  I personally believe the emotional and mental support gardening and cooking give a family is worth a lot more than the money it saves!  Also note in that blog post that the recipe serves 6 - they filled their plates with vegetables for a healthy AND frugal meal.

Here is the link for the post 

I adapted my recipe for Emergency Steak to create a more steak-like result.  I used locally produced grass-fed ground beef --  Red Mountain Cattle Company in Mesa They sell as several farmers markets around the valley.  Support your local producers!

Emergency Steak

Using ground beef is not a new 'steak' - chopped steak is an old time favorite of many people.  The trick is to limit how much you 'work' the meat so you do not wind up with meatloaf.  The other benefit is it takes about 2 minutes to prepare and only about 15-20 minutes to broil it - how's that for easy!

1 pound of ground beef
Herb blend of choice - I used a mixture of rosemary, garlic and black pepper - in this case dried
2 tablespoons of red wine
4 or 5 very thin slivers of butter

Preheat your broiler.  I used my toaster oven (hot day) in which I have baked bread, pies and cooked whole chickens.

I placed a piece of aluminum foil on the pan, sprayed with a bit of olive oil spray and patted the meat into a one inch thick long 'steak shape' -- I purchased a roll of meat so it was easy to simply pat it down into the size I wanted.  I also pressed my thumb down on top in several places to create the depressions needed to keep the meat from swelling up and cooking unevenly (technique usually used with burgers).  Sprinkled with a generous amount of the dried herbs.  Dribbled the wine over it and popped it under the broiler set at 500 for 15 minutes.  As soon as I pulled it out I laid the butter slivers on top.

This produced a great caramelized top and a rare interior - you may prefer cooking longer to 20 or 25 minutes at 425, to cook well done.

Deane and I agreed that it turned out great (and he is the real meat and potatoes person who wants substance in his food).  Not a meatloaf at all but somewhere between steak and a burger in texture and what the food people call 'mouth satiety', and the flavor was awesome.

Grass fed beef needs to be handled a little differently than grain fed, and it is worth learning that since the grass-fed are healthier animals and better for you and your family.

And finally today, check out my newsletter site for my answers to a reader's question on using chives.  Tips you can put to use this weekend too!

Chives - What are they good for?

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and be safe, hug your veteran, salute our troops and get out into the garden!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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