Sunday, June 24, 2007

Crab, Pizza Pockets, Summer Rolls & Steak...All in Two Day's Work

My girlfriend works at the grocery store which means that we know about all the great bargains. And seeing as we live in the Maritimes, the great bargains often include fresh seafood. On the menu tonight, crab!

We bought the crab pre-cooked and frozen. All we had to do was throw it in some boiling, well-salted water for a few minutes and soon we were eating our way through the sweet tender flesh. In my opinion, crab is oftentimes better than lobster. It is often cheaper too because lobster is so popular these days whereas people just 60 years or so were frowned upon for eating the ugly things. People would actually hide it in their garbage so that their neighbours didn't know that had to eat lobster! And when you consider that lobster and pretty much all seafood spend their lives sifting the crap out of the sea water, you get to understand why this would have been a proper preoccupation. I wish we were back in those days. I could eat all the lobster I want on my shoestring budget.
In the background of the photo above you can see our pizza pockets. We used the leftover wonton wrappers from the day before (those we used to make briks) and stuffed them with thick slices of pepperoni, spaghetti sauce, and grated mozzarella. We then dropped them in a pan of oil till they were nice and golden. The result? A gushing little accompanying dish. Though you can't eat more than a few of these little things without getting overwhelmed by the greasyness of it all, they were delicious.

Yesterday, for supper, we had some friends over. I prepared the smoked salmon appetizers similar to the gravlax. We then prepared some summer rolls which my girlfriend is crazy about, a recipe I got off Tyler Florence's Food 911. These little rolls are really fresh and light. They go well with pretty much anything. But we didn't just pair it with anything. I marinaded some steaks in a Thai inspired marinade which I got from Christine Cushing on Food TV. The sweetness of the marinade (which we could only marinade for a few hours but should be left for something like two days) worked well with the light summer rolls. It was a refreshing twist on the old meat and potatoes.

Finally, we ended with a huge cake our friend make for my birthday. When I get the recipe I'll post it. But for now I can only tell you that it was a mound of light cake, whipped cream, and toffee pieces. Served with a cup of licorice tea, it was a great end to a great meal.

Summer Rolls with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
1 oz Vietnamese cellophane noodles
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 carrot, julienned
1 beet, julienned
1/4 fresh red chilli, cut into circles
1/2 handful fresh cilantro, hand-torn
1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 lime, juiced
Mint leaves
Sea salt

1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Remember that the ingredients are approximative. Add or reduce any amount to personal taste or to give the rolls some extra umph.
2. Prepare rice paper according to instrustion.
3. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling near side of rice paper. Place one mint leaf on rice paper opposite to the filling. Flip sides of rice paper towards middle and then roll paper over filling and mint leaf to make a tight roll.

Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp fish sauce (or clam juice)
1/4 cup hot water
2 tbsp sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp red chilli paste

1. Mix ingredients together and serve in individual bowls since double dipping will be inevitable.


Honey Thai Marinated Steak
2 oz sesame oil
8 oz honey
2 tbsp Thai spice paste
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 oz orange juice concentrate
Sea salt
Cracked coriander seeds
Light soy sauce, for dipping

1. Mix sesame oil, honey, paste, ginger, and orange juice concentrate in a large ziplock bag. Slip steaks into bag and marinate for 48 hours, flipping every 8 or 12 hours.
2. When ready to eat, preheat bbq grill.
3. Pat steaks dry, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and coriander seeds
4. Cook steaks to desired doneness, basting with remaining marinade.
5. Serve steak whole or sliced with soy sauce on side for dipping.

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