Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cabin Fever

This past week, a spring snow storm of proportions most only associate with Laura Ingalls Wilder stories pummeled through our state. Our area was hit first with a day of pea soup fog so dense that it was impossible at times to see the neighbors across the street.This turned to rain and sleet through the night that froze as a base for snow that fell for 3 days with accumulations of over a foot of heavy, wet white stuff. Of course, this being South Dakota, the wind also blew. Drifts, anyone?

The western part of the state saw snow fall totaling over 20 inches and in some places closer to 30. Eastern populations were tested with an ice storm that coated trees and power lines and crippled both. Mature trees toppled under the weight of the moisture and as I write this post, thousands of people haven't had electricity for 5 days.

No travel was advised, and interstates were closed. Power crews, snow plows, and farmers with cows calving had no choice but to weather the elements, but everyone else basically hunkered down to wait out Mother Nature's temper tantrum.

Watching my social media feeds, I saw most enjoy the first day of being house bound. Those that had power watched movies, made pot roasts and chili, and caught up on neglected home projects. Even without electricity the early storm hours were treated as a novelty with creative candle and flashlight arrangements and reading *gasp* actual books when their Kindle batteries died. Everyone gave updates on snowfall totals and broken branches in backyards. 

As time wore on, the updates were less cheery. Fingers and noses were cold. Movies were old. They craved a food not in their fridge or pantry, and wanted coffee desperately. Many ventured out and shoveled as they waited for maintenance crews to clear roads and/or restore power. People had cabin fever.

Not me. Not really. I am, for the most part, a homebody. The never ending snow was a valid excuse for me to stay home just like I wanted. I did shovel a path for the pups. That is a necessity with my low-to-the-ground dachshunds. But, it wasn't until my car seriously looked stranded by a drift that I began to feel even a twinge of needing to get out. Although, even then, I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to be able to, if I should decide to do so.

This spring snow storm was terribly destructive for the eastern part of the state, but out here on the prairie, it was much needed moisture. Last summer's drought conditions hadn't been helped much by a fairly dry winter. We need the heavy, wet snow on the fields and pastures.

I also needed an excuse to dig back into my winter arsenal of recipes. 70-degree temps the week before had me looking at salads and grilling, but 3 days of snowfall brought the Easter ham bone from the freezer for a big pot of ham and beans. Snow equals comfort food, and as fresh and lovely as a spring salad might be, nothing is more nourishing for the soul on a cold day like comfort food.

Beef Filets with Pomegranate Wine Sauce are a decidedly winter food for me. Sure, pomegranate juice is available year round, but the fruit is seasonally winter. The sauce is rich and comforting and just the thing to enjoy on a snow day. It might even console those with cabin fever.

(adapted from Cooking Light)

4 beef tenderloin steaks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/3 cup red wine (I used a Merlot.)
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/3 cup beef broth
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Heat olive oil a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Season steaks with salt and pepper.
Add steaks to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side, or until well seared and cooked to desired doneness.
Remove steaks from the pan; keep warm.
Add shallots to the pan and saute.
Season with pepper and add wine, juice, broth, and thyme.
Bring to a boil.
Cook about 7 minutes or until reduced.
Remove from heat and discard thyme springs.
Add butter to the sauce, stirring until melted.
Serve sauce over steaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails