Lettuce Eat Local: make no mis-steak, i love this man

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Amanda Miller
Columnist
Lettuce Eat Local

 

A few dates on the calendar need no explanation when they roll around; we know exactly what they are by default. Unlike, say, Labor Day or Columbus Day, which not only change their date every year but also don’t hold enough personal significance for me to remember anyway. Saying December 25, January 1, or July 4 is basically the same as saying Christmas, New Year’s, and Independence Day, as the dates are so ingrained in our culture that they’ve become synonymous with the holidays themselves. 

Families often have some of that date familiarity with things like birthdays and important events. For our family, the most distinct one of those days is October 23. I had several people tell me they woke up that day and knew it was something but couldn’t quite put their finger on it, but there was no question in my mind. Although it was a milder feeling this year than in Octobers past, I could feel it coming for weeks; my body always remembers it’s coming as surely as I can see the leaves start to change colors and smell the chill edge in fall winds. 

October 23, 2018, is the day my husband was run over by a drill. I like to tell Brian, “Happy Day of Not Dying!” but really, it just marks the beginning of two months of days far closer to the shadow of death than is remotely comfortable. The days of particular milestones in relation to his accident and survival come fast and furious for a while, this time around carrying the particular oomph of having reached the five year anniversary. 

This time also carries with it another particular weight — both metaphorically and literally, as the weight of the baby I’m carrying brings a whole other level of substance to the new life so apparent in our family. I thought I was going to be a young widow, yet the husband I braced myself to lose is not only still here but alive and well, and we even have children! Benson is clearly a mini-Brian (I think I contributed to his feet and apparently nothing else), and Mini-Wheat’s sonogram looked so much like Benson that I’ve already resigned myself to expect all the resemblance to be Daddy’s again. 

I was talking to a friend a while back about the biblical story of Joshua of his “pile of rocks.” He made a pillar of stones after a momentous encounter with God, to stand as a permanent reminder and memorial to witness to God’s power and presence, “so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful” (Joshua 4:24). 

Sharing honestly my story is my stack of rocks; and it’s important for me to note that October 23 (and a few dates upcoming in November) are where I build those piles — the days I most deeply commemorate and witness to are not the ones when Brian came out of the coma, when he took his first bite after 40 days without, when he left the hospitals after 66 days. No, the days I stand at are the ones before those milestones when we didn’t know they were coming. The ones where God met me in his goodness before he gave us his miracles, the ones that had me looking for him alone instead of what he could give me. 

That said, it’s also impossible not to be overwhelmed by what he did give me, so I guess I’ll just build piles of stones all over the place. 

And cook steak. It’s hard to think of a more Brian-esque way to celebrate his five-year anniversary of not dying. I served it with coleslaw for me and ketchup for Benson, so it was an all-around feast. 

 

Coffee-and-Chili Rubbed Steak

The most-simple salt and pepper is typically how we do our steaks, because Brian says when it’s good meat it doesn’t need anything else (and we are fortunate to have high-quality, hyper-local meat…). I, however, confess I get tired of just meat, and this chili-coffee rub piqued my interest. We both love these flavor profiles, and it fits well with the cold-weather vibes. You could of course grill the steaks if you aren’t as cold-averse/lazy as I am. Also please don’t serve it with ketchup; just because Benson likes it doesn’t make it right. 

Prep tips: If you remember my recent article about coffee cake, you may want to be sure and use decaf coffee powder just to be safe. Brian says the best steaks to use here would be ribeye or KC strip if you can get them, and I defer to him on meat cuts.

1 tablespoons instant coffee powder

1 tablespoons brown sugar

½  tablespoon chili powder

½  tablespoon paprika

¼ teaspoon salt

dash of finely ground pepper

1 – 1 ½ pounds steaks of choice, patted dry

Combine all spices in a small bowl. Heat a large cast-iron skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium heat; meanwhile rub steaks on both sides with spice mixture. Cook steaks for about 5 minutes on both sides, or until temp reaches 125° (or whatever you prefer). Remove steaks from skillet and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

 

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