WRITTEN ON August 18th, 2010 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Beef, Dinner

Guess what happens when you go away for two weeks and leave your already neglected  and overgrown property to fend for itself?  It gets even more neglected and overgrown.  Oh, and it hates you when you get home.

The previous owners of our house had moved on two years before we bought it.  During that time they’d had renters: a family with a very pregnant mom, a three year old, and a surgeon father. Let’s just say there wasn’t a lot of yard work being done around the place. So it was already in a rather sorry state of disarray when we moved in.  And since we basically have spent the last three months tending to the inside of the house, the rest of the property remained an afterthought.  We could only take on so much at one time.

This week, that all changed.  I spent the entire day yesterday weeding and whacking and pulling and pushing.  I wrestled ivy like it was nobody’s business, took down several pricker bushes, and made sure those weeds knew who was boss. It took me five hours to cover a strip of property roughly the size of four bathtubs.  I was proud of myself then.  That was before I woke up this morning.

My right arm (I’m left handed) is so sore that it’s actually swollen and I can’t wear my watch.  I feel like I have shin splints from squatting all day. My butt hurts.  It ain’t pretty.  And the patch of yard I cleared? So much smaller in the bleak morning light.  I started working again today and felt like I wanted to cry.

Nonetheless, hubby and I have big plans for this place.  It’s very shaded and has tons of mature (read: dying) trees, so there are branches and sticks and fallen leaves everywhere. The weeds are, frankly, obnoxious.  What little “landscaping” is leftover from 1991 is tired and brown and lifeless.  Oh, and the lawn looks like hay. In our minds we have a picture of verdant lawns, bright and cheerful flower beds, and tall elegant trees that provide shade and brilliant fall colors. Um…not so much.

Alas, landscaping is an expense we never figured into the equation.  I will be mucking the stalls of said property until November, just in time for leaf raking.  The mere thought makes me hungry. So I’m replicating a phenomenal dinner I had while on vacation in Rockport (oh, to be back there, where the flowers are in bloom and someone else takes care of the lawn). Grilled bistro steaks with a caper, scallion and parsley butter served alongside fried green tomatoes. Check here for the steak, come back tomorrow for the tomatoes. By then maybe the swelling will have gone down in my formerly thin wrist.

Beefin' up

Bistro Steak with Caper Butter (serves 2)
2 boneless sirloin steaks, about 1/2 lb each and 1 inch thick
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tbsp capers, chopped fine
1 small handful parsley, chopped fine
2 scallions, minced
2 turns fresh cracked black pepper
1 pinch salt
Combine butter, capers, parsley, scallions, pepper and salt.  Put in fridge to chill.  Preheat grill to medium high.  Pat steaks dry.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Grill steaks on first side, about 6 minutes (do not move around too much, just leave them be). Flip and grill another 4 minutes on second side.  Remove and top with compound butter, serve immediately.

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