In this meal, I used several ingredients that are not usually in my [metaphorical] pantry. Blogging about what I cook has gotten me thinking about expanding my culinary horizons. Not that I tend to make boring food or typically American or New York or Voice-Teacher or Gay Food. I have a pretty creative style all my own, which has emerged over 3 decades in the kitchen. (Don't worry; I haven't been continuously in the kitchen for 30 years.) But I am always interested in trying new things and not getting stuck in cooking habits. (It's an Alexander Technique thing. Check out my other blog if you don't know what that means.)
Anyhow, the non-habitual ingredients tonight are London Broil (a 0.8-pound slab of beef about an inch thick), daikon radish, and sesame oil. These latter two items used to be habitual for me when I was in my Korean phase, but it's been a while since then. So long, in fact, that the first bottle of sesame oil I opened today turned out to be slightly rancid. Thanks to Peter for sniffing it suspiciously and discovering the "off" aroma. Otherwise, I might have ruined a whole bowlful of delicious veggies by drizzling them with fetid oil. (Peter has a preternatural ability to detect "off" flavors and smells that zip right past my radar. He also claims that he can taste plastic wrap if food has been wrapped in it, but I don't notice this, probably because 78% of the food I consumed growing up had come into contact with la Wrappe du Saran at some point. Does anyone else out there have a princess-and-the-pea aversion to plastic tastes — or does my Peter have a rare gift? In any case, I'm very lucky to have him around.)
Let's get cooking. . .shall we start with the salad?
|Sesame Red Cabbage Slaw w/Daikon Radish|
I began by shredding a little piece of red cabbage — it's amazing what a big pile of strips emerge from just a little chunk of the vegetable! I put the cabbage in a bowl with slices of daikon radish. (I'd cut about half a large radish in 1/8" slices and then cut the slices into strips, stacking several slices at a time to make it go quicker.) I salted the veggies with about a half teaspoon salt and then tossed them with my hands, rubbing the salt in as I did. After about 30 minutes, I drained off the liquid which had accumulated. The salt softens the vegetables, wilting them similarly to cooking.
|Cabbage & Radish before salt-wilting|
|Black pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper, vinegar, toasted sesame oil|
|Roasting the sesame seeds|
|Sesame seeds after crushing. The yellow smear is turmeric left over from another project. So report me to the hygiene police.|
Now here's how I prepared the beef. The night before, I'd begun marinating the meat in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and a bit of soy sauce. Here's what it looked like today:
|This pic will not win any awards for beauty|
I set Connie's controls — Connie is my countertop convection oven, if you're just joining us — to 275 degrees and her maximum time of 1 hour and started the meat dish a-baking. It's in there right now, and it's starting to smell pretty nice. After 45 minutes, I noticed that everything was drying out a little, so I poured a little white wine over the top and continued to let it bake. I'm going to let it bake for an hour and a half or so and then slice the meat thin to serve it, with the veggies on the side and a glass of a kick-ass Australian blended red wine called Marquis Philips 2007 Vintage Sarah's Blend. I don't know what Sarah blended this stuff with, but it weighs in at an alcohol content of 15%, which is just about the highest I've ever seen in a non-dessert wine. If I can still write after a glass of that, I'll let you know how the beef turns out. . . .
Now if only I'd thought about dessert. . . .