I have a hard time paying full price, even when I can afford to. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. (My day job at a half-off-gift-certificates website certainly hasn’t helped me shake the habit.) Most of the time it makes me smart and frugal, but sometimes, I know I’m passing up quality $30 merchandise and going home with inferior junk I got for $20 because it was originally marked $40. And that’s how they get you. I know. I don’t want to be this way. I’m a sucker.
With food, it’s different. I buy what I buy and it costs what it costs and really, I have no idea what the prices are unless there’s a sign that week telling me I’m getting a better deal than I usually get, in which case I take the sign’s word for it and feel just a little bit proud of myself for being a Smart Shopper. I don’t pick up the in-store sales flyers or clip the Sunday coupons because I do not care. I know what I want to buy and I buy it.
I decided to try it a different way this week. Maybe it’s just that sucker-for-a-deal part of my brain trying to take over, but I went for the sales flyer before I got to the store to see if I could plan a special meal around it. I’ve heard of people who do that, so it must be possible, I thought. But most of those people probably have at least a bachelor’s in grocery shopping, and maybe even a minor in per-unit pricing arithmetic, so if it turned out to be too hard, I decided I shouldn’t feel bad about myself.
Thing is, at the Whole Foods stores in Georgia (and possibly other places? it’s worth checking. but definitely this week in Georgia) there are awesome things on sale right now. I was able to come up with a yummy menu to be excited about in just a few minutes.
Hang on, it sounds like I’m getting paid. I’m not. I just figured I’d hurry up and get this recipe posted while the stuff is still on sale, which is until next Tuesday, October 12. (Notice that there was no glint on my teeth accompanied by a tinkling bell when I said that, which is how you can tell I am definitely not acting as any kind of spokesperson.)
So. Out of that list, I picked up the tri tip steak, pomegranates, cauliflower and gruyere. Mm, gruyere. And I made a healthy, fancy, delicious, slightly-cheaper-than-it-would-be-on-a-typical-week meal. I got to feel like Smart Shopper for a minute (saved $6 on dinner and lunch for two!), and I ate a fantastic meal that I would totally eat again at full price—I just might not have thought of if I hadn’t seen the ingredients all together like this on the sale flyer. So I guess it’s a kind of inspiration, really, the sales flyer. Who knew?
Here are the recipes, in case you’d like to join me in my little ivory tower of organic grocery discount savviness. Or, you know, make a delicious, still-reasonably-priced meal in another state or on a different week. It’s a meal that cooks up quickly, which makes it that much more satisfying. The beef is tender with a perfect sweet-salty crispy outside, and the cauliflower with the cheese is so rich that even John went back for veggie seconds. I can’t wait to eat my lunch leftovers today.
Broiled Pomegranate Tri Tip
- 1 lb (about) tri tip steak
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 pomegranate (not in season? buy 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, and skip steps 2 and 3)
- 1/2 cup beer (remember, nicer beer means nicer beef…and you get to drink the rest)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp hot sauce
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Dash of salt
- Place the steak in a large bowl. Stab it in three places with a paring knife and push a clove of garlic into each hole.
- Fill another bowl with water. Score the pomegranate. Hold the pomegranate under the water, open it up, and gently release all the pips. Anything that isn’t a pip will float to the top, and everything that is a pip will sink. Discard the skin/flesh/non-pippitude of the pomegranate; skim the top of the water and discard all that non-pippage, too. Drain the pips into a fine sieve. (If you’d like some pips for garnish, set them aside now.)
- Hold the sieve back over the now-empty bowl and smash the pips into the bottom of the sieve with your hands or the bowl of a ladle, forcing the juice from them until they are all burst and empty and very light pinkish. (Or you can throw them into a blender or food processor and then just drain the juice through your sieve. Me, I don’t like to wash the blender, and smashing stuff is fun.)
- Add the other ingredients to the pomegranate juice, mix, and pour over the steak. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Place the steak in a broiler pan and broil 4–5 inches from the flame for about 6 minutes on each side (longer if the steak is more than an inch thick) to desired doneness. Slice and serve.
Smashed Garlic Cauliflower with Gruyere
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1/4 cup cream cheese or Neufchatel
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup shredded gruyere
- Salt and pepper (and garlic powder, if you like) to taste
- Steam the cauliflower until very soft. Pat it dry.
- In a bowl, add cream cheese and garlic to the cauliflower and smash with a scacciapatate (potato masher), stirring as you smash.
- Add seasoning as desired.
- Sprinkle with gruyere. When the cheese melts, it’s time to serve.