This is a cooking blog with a back story. It focuses on food, family, fiber arts, pets, friends, and fibromyalgia. It's about life at a certain age, the joys, the sorrows, the backaches, the mental confusion. There's a lot of kvetching, complaining, occasional profanity, righteous indignation, political incorrectness, knitting exhortations, and really good, original recipes.
Monday, December 1, 2014
"Rap-a-Rap-a-Rap, They Call Him the Wrapper" - Miniature Braciole
Today's ear worm is brought to you courtesy of those one-hit wonders, The Jaggerz:
Hey girl, I betcha, there's someone out to get ya,
You'll find him anywhere, on a bus, in a bar, in a grocery store.
He'll say "excuse me, haven't I seen you somewhere before?"
Rap-a-rap-a-rap, they call him the Rapper.
Rap, rap, rap, know what he's after.
Another wedding-weekend-in-Georgia story: I know I mentioned in an earlier post that the food was delicious. One of the best things I tasted was a delicate canape, a smoked salmon roll-up that was enhanced with a bit of cucumber, like a good California roll. The wrap itself was light, but held its shape well. I have made roll-ups in the past, but always using a flour tortilla as the wrapper, which is actually pretty good. I would love to use lefse, the Norwegian potato flatbread, but I've had no luck finding it. I've tasted it, though, during stops at Scandinavia during EPCOT's Food and Wine celebrations, and I just love the way it works so perfectly. Unable to find lefse, I decided to try another wrapper - a premade crêpe, available in the produce department.
First I wanted to test the crêpe with a really easy filling, so I opened up a container of Sabra brand roasted pine nut hummus, and container of tabouleh. I've made this roll-up a number of times, using the flour tortillas and then slicing the rolls into 1/2 inch pinwheels after having let them chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Delicious little finger food, always appreciated by my guests.
So I wrapped up the tabouleh and hummus in a crepe, rolled it in plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for a few hours. I couldn't wait to taste it, and when I did -
Ack! As the Mythbusters always warn us, do NOT try this at home! Awful. What can I say? I threw the rest out and considered myself lucky for having not made up a whole bunch of those dreadful rolls. At least this way, I still have most of the ingredients left to put to much better use.
Because that was so awful, I feel guilty, and when I feel guilty, I offer food. I also offer food when I feel happy, sad, depressed, ecstatic, or anywhere along the full spectrum of human emotion. I am totally predictable, and a really lousy poker player.
So here is my recipe for a different kind of wrapped and rolled food, and these are absolutely delicious on their own, or as part of an old-fashioned Italian Sunday sauce for pasta.
1 to 1 1/4 pounds of eye round steak, thin sliced kosher salt coarse black pepper granulated garlic Italian seasoning Six Cheese Italian blend, or any grated Italian hard cheese panko bread crumbs capocollo, thin slices (I used the 3 oz. package of Daniele brand, which I found in Walmart, of all places) 1 roasted red pepper, from a jar, drained and patted dry, and cut into even pieces (see the photos, below) 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2/3 cup white wine 1 - 24 oz. jar marinara sauce (I used Bertolli Fire Roasted Tomato Marinara with Cabernet Sauvignon) You will need kitchen twine and a Dutch oven that can be used both on top of the stove and in the oven.
The package of "steaks" I picked up were already sliced very thin, not more than one-quarter inch. I pounded them with the flat side of the meat mallet, just to flatten a bit and insure they were rollable.
I have a very bad habit of overstuffing ingredients, and so I resolved to stuff the braciole with a very light hand. Each little steak was sprinkled lightly with the salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, and the Italian cheese.
A slice of the capocollo is placed on top of the cheese, and then a piece of the red pepper. I used regular, rather than hot capocollo, but if you want to blow the top of your head off, who am I to stop you?
The steak is rolled up from the short end, encasing the roasted red pepper. For each roll, I cut two pieces of kitchen twine, and tied the rolls closed. Season the rolls with salt and pepper, and then -
In the Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Start browning the little rolls, seam side down, and cook on all sides until browned but not done all the way. The meat will continue to cook in the sauce. Pour in the wine, bring to a boil, pour in the sauce, stir, lower the heat, and then partially cover the pot with aluminum foil. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Baste with the sauce after 30 minutes, then again after another 30 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes, for a total of 90 minutes, or until the meat is very tender. Serve the little braciole whole, 2 or 3 to each person, spooning over some more of the sauce. The sauce is really tasty from the meat and capocollo as well as the added wine, so don't forget the pasta.