Beef Jerky, A Partly Empty Nest, And Discovering Hard Wood Floors
This new year has certainly brought about some big changes in the Diva’s household. The biggest change is that there are two less residents. My big kids have both graduated from college and have been here looking for jobs and places to make a life for themselves. But just after Christmas opportunities have come up for them both causing them both to move out. Now it’s just the three of us and what a difference life is! It’s much quieter, I’m buying way less milk, and I have to make sure I don’t cook too much or it will go to waste. Also, since most of the living room furniture went with them, I decided to rip up the carpeting I’ve hated for the 12 years we’ve lived here.
There is a lot of food I must manage now that there aren’t as many at home to eat it so today, I found myself managing a sirloin tip roast that would have easily been eaten in one sitting. Now I need to start thinking differently about how to prepare food for a smaller group
Jeff found this two and a half pound sirloin tip on sale for $3.29 per pound. It hasn’t exactly hit him either that smaller cuts of meat will suffice. Even so, I’d say he found a good bargain. I found out when I cut into it just why it was so cheap. It had a rather large vein of fat in the middle and an odd streak of gristle through it as well. There was a lot of good meat but one half was fatty and the other
nice and lean like you would think a sirloin steak to be. It took time to trim it up and sort things out. There was such a variety of meats within this “bargain” but it worked out well. I decided to make jerky out of the lean half and use the more marbled half to make a roast in the pressure cooker for dinner.
I prepared the jerky almost exactly like the venison jerky I posted a while back. I sliced the meat in 1/8th inch slices and used steak sauce, soy sauce, and a good sprinkle of salt to soak into the meat at first. Once that soaked in a bit, about 15 minutes, I moved the meat to the dehydrator trays, spread them out so air could get all around the slices and set it to 95°. In the morning I inspected them for doneness. Some were done but the thicker ones needed a bit more time…a few more hours. They should be dry enough to make a dry sound when you drop them on the counter. Once meat is dried as jerky it has a much longer shelf life…years even but you must use very lean meat or the fat will go rancid after a few weeks. I can tell you right now this jerky will not stay around for that long.
To prepare the more fatty portion of the roast, all I did was cut some carrots to make a pseudo rack for the meat to rest on while cooking. I cut up three potatoes in chunks and put them all around. I dusted the meat with a packet of ranch dressing just for the flavor, dotted it with butter, poured in a whole beer and let it cook under pressure for an hour.
The meat was very tender…no knife needed…and the potatoes nearly a mashed consistency. My little carrot rack caramelized nicely on the bottom and gave the juice a good color and flavor. There wasn’t much moisture left so I added a good splash of water to help it along. Everything was as delicious as it was easy to make. Those “set it and forget it” meals are always the best
It worked out well indeed, though I found myself thinking I’d rather make this a dish for five. We have technology to help us keep in touch and my daughter is just a town away, but the son moved up to Chicago. They are in their mid 20′s, so I expected this change some day, just not all of the sudden like this. We gave them most of the living room furniture with plans to get new stuff. We haven’t done that yet, but with all the big pieces of furniture gone, I decided to rip up the carpet that I’ve always hated for the 12 years we’ve lived here.
I didn’t know what to expect, but was pleased to find beautiful honey colored hard wood floors beneath. The guy who laid this ugly dirt colored carpet (and badly installed) over this gorgeous wood ought to have his head examined!
I have always wanted wood floors and now they are here..for free! A little Murphy’s Oil soap cleaned them up nicely and now it’s like we’ve moved to a new house too, but didn’t have to move. Well, we did move a lot of furniture around but only to the other side of the room.
There are many adjustments to make now; getting used to the different sound a hard wood floor gives a room as opposed to the muffled sound of carpet, the size of meals I need to cook, and especially the absence of my two big kids. Ah well, life will always be full of changes and though I miss them tremendously, I can be assured that they will be OK by getting a college education and having learned how to cook for themselves.