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May 8, 2008 11:58 AM

Help! There's a cow in her freezer

Posted by Nancy Leson

Kelly Adams, from Olympia, writes:

"A couple of years ago, my brother raised two dairy cows for butcher. My husband and I bought one while my brother and his wife kept the other. This meat has made the most amazing, lean, flavorful hamburger you can ask for. The roasts have been fantastic when braised and the stew meat wonderful. What we have had trouble using have been the steaks; they have great flavor but lack tenderness. We are looking for great ways to use the mountain of steaks in our freezer before they get past the point of no return. We have discussed making sausage and pepperoni but that sounds like a colossal job. Do you have any other groovy ideas?"

Well, Kelly, as a born-and-bred Philadelphian, my first suggestion, natch, would be to make a cheesesteak sandwich. To do so, thaw the steaks a bit (but not entirely): grab a very sharp knife (or better yet, if you've got one, a meat-slicing machine), and slice the meat as thinly as possible. Saute some onion till it's practically caramelized, add the steak and cook it swiftly. (We call the pre-packaged frozen-beef "minute-steak" in Philly, for good reason.) Then put it between a high-quality hoagie/submarine-sandwich-type roll to approximate that Italian Philly-classic, Amoroso's. Finding a good roll substitute should be easy for you, as you live in Olympia: Top Foods, where I shop here up north, has good hoagie rolls in their bakery. Or, if you live near a Vietnamese deli, check that out, because the rolls used for banh mi sandwiches work perfectly for cheesesteaks.

For add-ins, you'll need some kind of mild American cheese for melting (I never went in for the Cheez-Whiz or "wit whiz" as it's known in the vernacular), and a jar of sweet or hot cherry peppers, found in the pickle aisle of your local grocer.

And now, I'll open up the comments form: How about some more groovy ideas from the rest of you?

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