Bresaola Part III: An Italian dinner

On tuesday, we weighed our bresaola for the final time and with about a 37% decrease in weight, IT WAS READY. So we took it down and unwrapped it. The pieces of meat were not the prettiest things at this point, there were some salt deposits on the outside of the meat, leaving white spots all over the outside, plus a little bit of (healthy) mould. But once we wiped them down with a bit of red wine vinegar, and then rinsed them off a bit, they were looking pretty good. Then came the moment of truth: slicing into it!

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Looks pretty good, no? Not as lean inside as I’d hoped, but it doesn’t really bother me. But more importantly, how does it taste? Now, I should be clear that before this, I’ve never actually had bresaola before, so I can’t say whether it tastes how it’s supposed to, but I can say that it tastes pretty good! It’s earthy and spicy. You can really taste the juniper berry and the cloves from the salt cure mixture.

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It also looks really lovely, I think. Not the deep red colour we’d seen in other pictures online, but nice and pink and pretty nonetheless. The texture seems pretty spot on to me. Nice and soft in the middle, but clearly cured. Nice and salty, but not overwhelmingly so. I officially declare it a success! I think we want to do duck prosciutto next.

So, with a nice supply of bresaola on hand, I decided I wanted to have a nice Italian meal to feature it. Doing some research online, it seems it’s commonly served, thinly sliced, on arugula, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. So that’s exactly what I did.

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The salty, earthy taste of bresaola, the bite of the arugula and tang of the lemon juice, worked really, really nicely together. And then of course, we had to top it with shaved parmesan reggiano. A perfect starter.

Then I followed it up with a pasta carbonara, super rich and fancy, but pretty darn easy. I added some asparagus, because we love asparagus around here, and Matthew could eat it every day if he had the choice. All you need to do, really, is fry up some bacon, or pancetta with some garlic. Once it was done, I added some white wine to the pan, and let it boil down so that it wasn’t too liquidy. Mostly because I was holding a glass of wine, and I thought, “why not?” and splashed it in there. Then add some chopped, cooked, asparagus to the pan. You can cook the asparagus however you like. I blanched mine for about 4-5 minutes. At some point in the midst of all of this, you want to grate a cup of parmesan, and separate 4 eggs, keeping the yolks, and doing whatever you want with the whites. Mix the yolks with the grated cheese. Add a generous splash of cream. This is going to be your sauce. Set it aside. Then you add your cooked pasta to the pancetta-asparagus pan. I used linguine, but you can use whatever you like, really. This next part is the important part that makes it so rich and delicious. Turn off the heat on the pan. And then pour your sauce mixture overtop of pasta, and use some tongs or a pasta ladle to mix it around right away. You want the heat from the hot pasta to essentially cook the egg yolk as you mix it, but you don’t want it too hot, otherwise the egg will cook too fast and it will separate from the cheese and create a lumpier sauce. This is fine, and still tasty, but if you can get a silk smooth sauce, then why not, right?

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asparagus and pancetta

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We finished this meal off with a nice little cannoli from a bakery, which I didn’t take a picture of, and had an all around successful Italian meal.

Weeknight meal: Poor and/or Lazy Man’s Bulgogi

Alrighty. So in my last post I mentioned a dish that I like the call Poor Man’s Bulgogi. I call it this because you use ground beef, which is often dirt cheap. But it could also be called Lazy Man’s Bulgogi, because it’s really easy as heck. No slicing beef, no marinating it, NOTHIN’. I can make this meal in less than 30 minutes if I’m really on top of shit.

My bestie Cassie made this, after I recommended it, and she returned with the following review:

Okay what the hell that bulgogi was SO easy and SOO GOOD”

It really is. Really really.

ImageSo, I basically use this recipe,  from Damn Delicious which I found by googling “ground beef + bulgogi” because that’s exactly what I wanted to cook. And I used the very first recipe that came up, which was this one. And it was pretty perfect. I like to double the sauce, because SAUCE, and also add some sriracha (because sriracha. On everything. Yes). And I garnish with some sesame seeds, AND AND AND piece de resistance: A CRISPY BOTTOMED, RUNNY-YOLKED EGG. UGH. OH MY GOD. It’s so tasty. The spiciness from the sriracha against the runny yolk, with a hint of green onion and salty-sweet, fragrant bulgogi sauce? IT’S ALMOST TOO MUCH TO HANDLE.

I literally just ate this minutes ago, and I’m feeling pretty passionate about it.

So grab all your ingredients together. Chuck the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and brown sugar into a bowl, and mix it all together. Note that you can also just use dried ginger and garlic powder for a somewhat decent result, if you’re in a bind. Also you can play with the amount of each of the ingredients to make it just how you like: a bit sweeter, saltier, spicier, whatever.

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Then just brown your ground beef right up.

ImageYou’ll probably want to drain a bit of the fat off. I used extra lean, and there was still a fair amount. You want to avoid a greasy sauce. Once it’s nice and browned and drained, throw that beautiful sauce right on that meat. Mix it all up. Let it bubble.

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Of course, at this point I should probably mention that this is supposed to be served over rice. So before you start cooking the meat, put on a pot of rice. However much you desire. Once the rice is done, you can just turn off the burner, and let it sit there until you need it. Letting it sit somehow allows the rice to de-stick from the bottom of the pot. This is a good tip.

Next, we want to fry up that perfect egg. I am really into eggs. IT’S A FOOD WITH A BUILD IN CREAMY HEAVENLY SAUCE. Eggs are wonderful. Anyway, so heat up a bit of oil in a pan, and let it get nice and hot. We want the bottom of that egg to be super nice and crispy. Trust me. Once it’s nice and hot, crack the egg in there, and immediately cover the pan with a lid. Leave it for a couple of minutes. Usually enough time to scoop some rice into a bowl, and top it with out meat and some extra sauce. Then take the lid off. The top of the egg should be cooked from the steam, and the bottom should be nice and crispy, but you want the yolk still runny.

I didn’t get any pictures of cooking the egg.

But anyway, once it’s done, throw the egg on top of your bowl of rice and meat. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onion, and a zig-zag of sriracha, or more if you want.

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AND THEN YOU GET TO EAT IT.

Okay, now go cook this. Right away. And come back and tell me how darn good it was.