Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hide your knives

If you haven't seen the movie "Forks over Knives", you must watch it. It may change your life, your health and the way you think about food; what it should be and what it could be. I didn't used to eat much meat at all, but coming to the US definitely took care of that - I was even eating steaks. So I was very excited when after watching this documentary Jeff suggested that we change our ways. And so we did. The changes you implement don't need to be drastic. For example, at this point we are eating about 70%-80% vegetarian (vegan at times) diet, but when we go out to eat we certainly order meat if we feel like it.
Here we have two very different recipes; one for those who want to challenge themselves in their culinary lives and one for those who would like to stay carnivores for a little longer.
Spring Rolls

 I was very excited to try making spring rolls one beautiful early summer night. For those who live in Grand Forks, ND, I found the rice paper at Toucan International Market, as the guy at Target did not even know what it was.
As you see on the price sticker - they were very affordable! I also used the vegetables visible in the photo, but you can use whatever you would like. I think next time I may add cooked rice noodles in some kind of a creamy sauce, as they would hold in the wrap nicer than just the veggies I used. I ended up sauteing the mushrooms with onions and broiled the asparagus just to give it a little softness. I submerged each rice paper in a bowl of water for about 6 seconds, then let it sit on a place for 10 seconds to let the water absorb. Next I organized my vegetables and wrapped it in a way that a burrito is wrapped. My very first roll did not quite work out, so it is one of those things that you just need to practice.
I got my inspiration for the dipping sauce from an article from the Sunset Magazine, which I unfortunately cannot find on line any longer. I mixed low-sodium soy sauce with sambal oelek, which is an Asian chili sauce (you can find it at Target) and minced garlic.Voila. Dip and eat. Surprisingly, it was very filling.

Steak au poivre
We celebrated Jeff's birthday in a truly carnivorous manner with filet mignon cooked in cream, pretty much. I know that the last sentence sparked your interest, so read on! PS Did you know that in some European countries filet mignon refers to pork?
Jeff cracked a bunch of peppercorns and covered the steaks in them. He took 1/3 cup of cognac and flambeed it until the alcohol cooked off before adding a cup of heavy whipping cream. He reduced the sauce for a while, until just before the consistency that he liked and added the steaks to cook to about medium rare.
Using a dutch oven may be advantageous in this situation as it spreads the heat evenly. Easy, huh!? And oh, how tasty!