So I bought all the major ingredients for Martha’s What’s for Dinner? (p. 208) from the Nov issue of Living (plus one additional side). My total came to about $25 for 4.
The menu was for pan-seared strip steak with mushrooms, white-cheddar grits, and collard greens with lemon. I did not make the dessert since we don’t eat dessert on week nights (ok, except for that 9 pm dish of ice cream which neither of us seems to be able to avoid, but I don’t even consider that dessert and that’s all I have to say about that!). I also made roasted acorn squash with rosemary (p. 221).
I had this one all planned out and was in the kitchen getting things organized when my son said to me, “What time are we leaving?” “Leaving for what?” I asked. “Hockey!” Holy flipping cows – I totally forgot it was hockey day since the kids were off from school. I was completely off schedule. Good thing he said something! This meant I had to get the meal partly cooked, rush out to hockey, sit there for an hour, then rush home and attempt to get it all on the table at a reasonable hour. Whew!
First, I got the squash ready for the oven. Not hard. Then I got the grits going by dumping them in the boiling water. Next I trimmed and cut up the collard greens and got those going. Then I had to shut it all off (but left the squash in the oven on a timer) to go to hockey.
Steak and mushrooms
When I got home, the squash was just about done. The grits needed some serious cooking and stirring. The greens were just about done. So I got going on the steak. I bought strip steaks, but very thin ones (trying to save a little money). I seared them in the pan pretty quickly then covered them on a platter. I had the mushrooms ready to
go in next. I sauteed those. By then the grits were ready (I added double the amount of cheese, plus some butter which the recipe did not call for). I then added chicken stock and Dijon mustard to the mushrooms to make a little sauce.
Miraculously, it was all ready. We sat down to eat. Mr. MarthaandMe
and I took some of everything. The son (mini-Martha) took piles of steak and a tiny bit of grits. The daughter took tiny pieces of everything but the squash.
The verdict? Not so great. The steak was ok, but really we prefer our steak grilled (we have a Jenn-Air grill so grilling is possible year round).
The sauce was ok, but nothing to knock your socks off with. I like mushrooms, so those were good. No one liked the collard greens. They were a little bitter and peppery. I think that if I creamed them like I do with spinach they might be ok, but plain they were not exciting. The grits were not great. We are not a grits family and even with extra
cheese and butter, they were just plain and nothing really worth eating.
The real winner in this meal was the squash. Somehow the butter, brown sugar and rosemary were just the right mix. I’ve never tried rosemary on a sweet squash like this and I have to say it was delicious. That recipe is a keeper. Not so much for the rest. So, Martha, I have to tell you that what’s for dinner wasn’t so great this month!
I have to say that at this point in this experiment I am more convinced than ever that there are some foods that are just not for me. Which is distressing since I consider myself adventurous and always eager to try new things. I don’t know if Martha and I just have different palates or what, but her recipes are just not hitting it out of the park for me or my family. It’s interesting, because I’ve really long considered her a doyenne of good taste. I do have some Martha recipes that are fantastic, but in the past month of my intensive Martha lifestyle, I’m finding the things in the magazine are not doing it for me. Which is disappointing for me. I envisioned myself serving all these fabulous meals, and what I’m discovering is that the meals I was serving before were pretty darn fabulous!