Beef Palace. My own personal heaven.
This butcher shop is a 42-year-old landmark, a beacon of all that is good and holy and bovine. I have a plethora of memories featuring a young me, straddling one of the life-sized plastic bulls out front, munching happily on a raw hot dog while my mom perused the glass cases for a Sunday dinner.
Now, this is an honest-to-god butcher. Cal runs a tight ship, employing eager boys from the nearby High School (my alma mater) to hoist carcasses, carve loins, and run the band-saw. This staff is bright, energetic, and beyond helpful. And in addition to a helpful gang behind the counter, what’s IN the counters is a glorious assortment of chicken, pork, sausage, beef, cured meats, specialty cheeses, spices, rubs, fresh baked breads, home-made jerky, and colossal pickles. Oh, and don’t forget to reach into the big ol’ bin by the antique register and grab a couple of free baking potatoes with your purchase!
There is special place in my heart….and tummy….for filet mignon. When that craving begins to howl, I tell it to shut its mouth and I struggle to divert my attention to a plate of greens and veggies. No, it doesn’t work. But at least I give it shot, before swooping up my keys and driving to Beef Palace – walking straight to the back of the shop. Ignoring the pre-cut filets in the chilled cabinet, I kindly ask a young man to grab the whole loin and carve me a whopping piece. “A blade’s thickness good for you miss?” He asks. I narrow my eyes, throwing a stern glance, and he knowingly scoots the knife a little father down the loin and slices through. Behold!
A dinner is born.
Now, such a fine specimen deserves to be treated well.
I always, always season my steaks simply : a bit of cracked pepper, salt, a smidge of garlic powder, and worcestershire sauce. Let them sit in the fridge for a bit, then before you grill them be sure that they’ve been at room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes. This ensures (as with any protein) that it will cook evenly. Additionally, when I’m grilling hunks’o’meat, I like to season my sides in the same way I did my meat. It’s simple, rustic, and straightforward.
I also made an excuse to use my new immersion blender! My mom suprised me this week with a brick-red Cuisinart beauty, and I’ve been itching to give it a go. So, I present to you: Autumn Char Steak Sauce! Using the last tricklings of summer produce, layers of spice dimension, and the tang of a good grainy mustard, this sauce is the perfect compliment to everything from steak to veggies!
Autumn Char Steak Sauce
2 bell peppers
½ c. cherry tomatoes (or one medium tomato)
1 tbsp Worchester
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. Smoked paprika
1 tbsp. Chili flakes
¼ c. Orange juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. good mustard
Pre-heat your broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place your whole peppers and tomatoes on the sheet, then pop them in the oven. Cook them about 15 minutes, turning with tongs every so often, until they are charred on all sides. Don’t be afraid – you want these babies nice and charred, as it adds the best flavor!
Now, pull out the baking sheet and set aside until the peppers and tomatoes are cool enough to handle. Once cooled, remove the seeds and tops of the peppers leaving the skin on. Ifyou’re using an immersion blender (like I did), chop up the peppers and tomatoes and place them in a small sauce pan with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, or until it reaches your desired consistency. If you do not have an immersion blender, you may use a food processor or a blender!
When you’re done blending, taste the sauce – you may want to add a little more of this or a pinch more of that! Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, if you haven’t devoured it all on the first night like we did!