In Which I Decide That Veganism Is Not For Me

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There are weeks when I can set myself in the center of such a smorgasbord of plant-based dishes and consider the veganist manifestos of documentaries such as Forks over Knives, and contemplate the horrors revealed in Meet Your Meat or Food, Inc, and for some shining moments think “If I stop eating animal products, maybe I can help the crux of the problem.” And with my steaming bowl of hearty bean chili in hand I think, “Who needs meat anyway?”  Then my brother Joe will do something like bring home this enormous bowl of seafood soup and share half of it with me and I’ll think “Well pescatarianism is a worthy compromise.”

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But then, alas, on the following day Joe (who clearly doesn’t know what it means to give away your seafood soup without expecting anything in return) will request my culinary services. I will recall the fact that I have a big fat skirt steak sitting in my possession, and as I lose myself to its peppery perfection and red wine garlic butter sauce I sigh and realize, again, that veganism will always be a noble aspiration that I will never subscribe to as long as my meat-loving heart shall live.

Ingredients

1 grassfed skirt steak (mine was about 1 lb. and was quite enough for 2 people)
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground peppercorn
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp walnut oil

Rub both sides of the steak well in salt and pepper. Set in a pan on medium heat in a tbsp of walnut oil. Cook until one side has browned and flip to continue on the other side. In a small separate pot, simmer all other ingredients into a sauce. When the steak has cooked to your liking, serve with the sauce spooned over. I also served mine with SMASHED!! potatoes. (Doesn’t that sound way more fun than mashed potatoes?) Enjoy!

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(^^PS. It looks like Cora woke up with a nightmare. Maybe it was all that Vampire talk yesterday. She was ok after I sang to her a little. ^^)

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Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Today, I am taking on my beast of a spaghetti squash that I purchased over the weekend at Eastern Market in DC.  They are not a vegetable that can be found all year round, so its best to really enjoy them while you can.  I deliberately chose the biggest one I could find because I’m cooking dinner for my large family.  Unfortunately, I am not strong enough to cut the squash before I bake it, so the hardest part about mastering the cooking process for me is plunging the knife inside and pulling it back out. (It needs to be skewered before baking so that it doesn’t explode).  It’s like The Sword in The Stone, and you can really work up a good sweat.  Bonus points to Mr Spaghetti Squash for providing dinner plus a work out.

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After he is well pronged, he bakes in the oven for about an hour at 375.°  When done, the seeds should be removed and then its easy to pull apart the strands with a fork. Hannah involuntarily volunteered to do this part for me.  We then stirred the oregano into the squash and set it aside.

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Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

Slightly adapted from Roost

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash
2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef
1 jar of good tomato sauce or equivalent amount (abt. 5 cups) of homemade sauce
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 cage free eggs
1/2 cup of good parmesan cheese
1/2 cup asiago cheese, brimming over
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

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In a frying pan, use 1 tbsp of butter to brown the onion and garlic.  Set aside some of the grated asiago cheese to dust over the plates before serving. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, eggs, cheese and parsley, onions, garlic, and salt and manually fold together until cohesive.  Add the second tablespoon of butter to the pan used to saute the onions and garlic.  Form the meat into large meatballs and brown in the pan.  Transfer the meatballs to a cooking tray and bake in the oven at 375° for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime, let the sauce and balsamic vinegar simmer on low heat in a large pot on the stove.  When the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce.  Serve over spaghetti squash and sprinkle with extra asiago cheese.  I used half asiago cheese instead of just using parmesan because of the rich flavor of the asiago.  It is a softer cheese than parmesan, however, so it will make the meatballs slightly cheesier…but delicious none the less.  Enjoy!

Comes to around 18 large meatballs or 24 medium size meatballs.

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Collette seems a little suspicious of the spaghetti squash in the picture above, but eventually she was won over.

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