spreading the dirt on off the waffle

If you haven’t tried Off the Waffle in Whiteaker yet, here’s another reason:  a new savory waffle with goat cheese and egg.  The “Goat Cheese Louise” is filled with said goat cheese and juevos haminados, or slow-cooked eggs Sephardic-style.  Lovely.  You can also choose from the wildly popular Nib-tella (made with a cocoa-hazelnut spread whipped up by Nib Dessert and Wine bar in town), banana chocolate chip, and a vegan coconut-banana concoction called “No-Dairy Gary.”  The Gary is made on non-vegan waffle irons, so purists might want to go eat a carrot or something instead.

I’m a big fan of these guys, if you haven’t noticed.  Dave and Omer Orian are kind and conscientious business-owners, offering a unique product and forging bonds between other food purveyors and the community at large.  They now have a barter board set up in the waffle shop, where Eugeniuses can exchange goods and services.  And you can always take some good stuff to barter for waffles.

But the main reason I’m posting this is to spread the dirt (haha) about another way the shop is sustainable.  They compost the waste from waffle-fixins, and have too much to use themselves.

A 5-gallon-bucket-worth of fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells (organic from Deck Family Farm) can be yours for free if you give them a call at 541-653-3972.  Bring your own bucket.

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Omer tells me that they can fill up a bucket in a couple of days.  They also have waffle scraps and dough for chickens, if you’re interested.

It’s too late to start your own compost for amending veggie beds, but you can start it now if you’d like to use the finished compost as top dressing later in the summer or create new beds that will be ready next spring.

I filled the bin in the picture almost to the top about two months ago, and added grass clippings and food scraps (including some from Off the Waffle) after I returned home.  With the warm weather and a dedicated aerator (namely, me and my pitchfork),  it’s almost ready to go.  I’ll be using this batch for my new pepper bed.

cutting costs with flat iron beef kabobs

Another Public Service Announcement:

I’m sure you’ve been intrigued by the new “flat iron” cut of beef, especially if you’re trying to buy more sustainably raised and butchered cowflesh.  Our local supermarket, Market of Choice, seems to be extraordinarily fond of this budget cut, promoting it in roasts and marketing it in the big saver packs for the budget-conscious consumer.  I would imagine other higher-end groceries are doing same.

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The flat iron cut comes from the shoulder, or chuck, part of the cow.  It’s also called a top blade steak.  The flavor and chewy texture on one side is reminiscent of a thick, juicy, meaty flank steak; the other side is more tender and mild, but still with excellent flavor.  Butchers often recommend marinating it and not eating it well done: very good advice.

With all those positives, why is it considered a “waste” cut?  Well, if you’ve tried it, I am sure you’ve seen why it’s a bargain for premium meat, and why it hasn’t been sold until recently.  There is a piece of gristle that runs down the center of the steak lengthwise, kind of like a T-bone but smaller and grosser, that makes eating it difficult.  The image shows it well in the upper-right corner.

But why let a little gristle come between friends?  I found it quite easy and profitable to buy flat iron cuts whole, in a roast the size and shape of a — wait for it — flat iron, then carefully cut the meat into kabob chunks about 2 x 2 inches.  As kabobs, flat iron cuts grill beautifully.

I experimented with broiler kebabs this winter, and learned that butchers are absolutely right about keeping the meat at medium or rarer — they turned to burnt chewy sawdust when I became distracted in dinner preparations one evening.  Ack.  But grilled or broiled medium rare, they are quite delicious.

As for a marinade, I’ve treated these steaks as I would a porterhouse: just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  They are also delicious with a spice rub, some za’atar, or pulverized onion.  Serve with lemon wedges, rice pilaf, a dilled cucumber yogurt salad, and a smile.

Have you found other ways to utilize this cut that you’d like to share?