So, i ask myself, how can you have a resounding success while totally brain dumping and missing a key ingredient? well, sometimes the food is good enough that even incomplete, it is outstanding. i can only imagine how the meal would have turned out if i had managed to actually add all the ingredients called for. well, here’s the skinny.
today’s meal was another relatively simple matter, tomato and mozzarella salad and beef carpaccio with some baguette rounds to soak up the flavor. easy stuff requiring no cooking that turned out great.
i started with a small cut of beef that looked like a miniature roast. it was a fairly cheap cut of meat that was labeled as a beef eye of round roast. mostly lean with a nice thickness to it. i froze it for around 45 minutes to get it a bit firmer, that helps the slicing process. you want to get the beef sliced as thin as possible so freezing for a short time is essential. while it was freezing, i occupied my time roughly chopping around six cloves of garlic.
while none of the recipes i have read specifically call out garlic for the dish, i am a fiend for garlic and thought it would add a nice touch. of course, it did 🙂
next, slice the beef thinly and lay out in a glass bowl or pan. layers aren’t terribly important, its gonna get mixed up in a minute anyway.
ok, now the easy part, drop the garlic over the beef, give it a few twists of salt and pepper to you individual tastes. Squeeze the juice of a whole lemon over the beef. pour on two or three tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. stir to ensure all the beef is nicely coated and let rest in the fridge for about two hours.
about 15 minutes before my planned eating time, i quickly prepped the ingredients for the tomato and mozzarella salad. easy enough, thinly slice two tomatoes, slice up some good mozzarella cheese and rough chop some fresh basil. i like to give the basil a good mashing with my fingers to bruise it enough to bring out the oils and flavors. the scent and the taste jump out at you a lot more then.
to serve the meal, build the salad using alternating layers of tomato then basil and then cheese. three or four staggered layers should do it. give it a quick, light twist of salt and a very very light drizzle of olive oil, job done.
for the carpaccio, i used a bed of baby spinach leaves and four slices of beef per person. seemed about the right amount. and, if i were in my right head, i would have pulled out the fresh parmesan cheese from the fridge and thinly grated it over the beef. but, i brain dumped and the cheese remains in its wrapper and the beef was eaten without. it was great but probably would have stepped up a bit with the cheese. sigh.
for the baguette rounds, normally i would have toasted them but duh, no cooking ability. so, sliced baguette rounds rubbed with a crushed clove of garlic. subtle, possibly overran by the garlic in the carpaccio but nice for sopping up the juices.
i listened to joe and went with a red wine accompaniment. while i know that a good italian would have been best thematically, the selection here is not great and the forerunner was a young chianti that i wasn’t familiar with so i fell back on one of my tried and true favorites, Blackstone Merlot. its a nice unassuming merlot with a smooth finish that is very suitable to a light meal like this despite the low price tag and the fact that its californian. i try not to hold that against it. personally, i would have opted for a chilean merlot such as casillero del diablo but hey, i’m not exactly in the land of plenty so you deal with what you get.
managed to convince Eddie to come over again and partake of this feast with me, its nice to see a reaction from someone other than myself. i tend to be more critical and notice all the failing while overlooking the successes. having an audience in the form of a guest reminds me of the reason i enjoy cooking which when it boils down to it is making people happy. with food.
3 down, 45 to go. with any luck i will actually be cooking next week. thinking of making a variation of coq au vin but my fickle may float elsewhere as the week progresses.