Friday, March 14, 2014

Travel the World One Plate at a Time

So many delicious meals happen when well spiced food is rolled up inside a wrapper. Cultures and countries all around the world have some version. From Eastern Europe's pierogi, to the China's Dim Sum style of dumplings, South of the Border's enchiladas (and flautas and tamales and so many more), France's Crepes, Russia's blinis and Americans have taken them all in with in a sort of culinary reverie. As we get lost in the food, sometimes we forget the origins. Described by some as a melting pot of culture, when it comes to food, Americans truly are such.  What was once distinctly foreign, becomes a common meal in our homes.

And why not? With one bite, you can travel farther than your body could travel in a lifetime. In one day of eating, you could move around the globe, starting in Parisian cafĂ©, biting delicious and delicate rolled crepes, darting to a Mexican taco stand for a snack, winding down the night with caviar and blinis and finishing with in the delight of trays of steamed dumplings in a traditional Dim Sum restaurant.  Sounds amazing right? I believe to eat of other cultures is to try to understand them better, on a deeper human level. So much of our history stems from the traditional food we cook. It makes the saying, 'you are what you eat,' a little more prolific. Remembering where your food originated  from can only add to the experience.

So whether it's to enrich your personal culture, celebrate the ancestors that helped get you here or to simply enjoy a good meal, take some time and get into the kitchen this week.   

For this week's recipe, I wanted to blend the cultures Asian, Indian and Latin America. I love the idea of a steamed dumpling, covered in a mild curry like sauce and baked. Hence, my recipe of the week is a globe trotter: 

Egg-roll Enchiladas 

 1 package of wonton wrappers
1 lbs. of ground pork, chicken or turkey
1 bunch, scallions, divided white section from the green
3 large carrots, shredded
1 inch section of fresh ginger root 
1 15 oz. can of chicken stock
1 tsp. coriander
2 limes, juiced 
1 cup of shredded Napa cabbage 
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only, chopped

In a large skillet, add the ground meat and brown quickly. Toss in the cabbage, 1 cup of the shredded carrot, half of the sliced green section of scallion, all the cilantro and coriander. Stir constantly for one minute and turn the mixture out into a large bowl to cool. 

In a blender, add the rest of the shredded carrot, ginger root, chicken stock, white section of the scallion, juice of limes. Blend very briefly on high until the mixture has some body but is combined. 

On a large cutting board, set out your supplies: Wonton wrappers, a small bowl of water and a clean towel. You'll want to wipe the board down after each wrapper is filled and folded. Use this visual tutorial to assemble and finish your egg roll enchiladas. 
 Start with a blank canvas on a clean board. 
Add about 1/4 cup of your mixture. 
Fold one corner over the mixture and wet the edges with water on your fingertips. 
Fold the outside corners on top of your first corner and wet them to seal in the goodness. 
Pour 1 cup of your sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish and assemble the rest of your wraps. 
Cover the wraps with the rest of your sauce the reserved green sections of the scallions. 
Set your oven to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the top is a nice golden brown. 
Plate on a bed of baby greens and enjoy! 

Serving size is one wrapper per person, unless you are my fiance who liked them so much, he had four :) I'll take that as a compliment!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Green is the New Black

Spring is around the corner, but until the green onions, peas, fresh herbs and asparagus start shooting through the soil, dinner solutions can be slightly challenging if trying to stay fresh and seasonal. That is why for this month's recipe, I've turned to some shelf stable ingredients like sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts for nutrition and flavor. There are still plenty of vegetables that are available this time of year like spinach and onions which pair beautifully with the savory steak. This recipe also includes an innovative way to create your own vinaigrette, using the same skillet you've cooked the other ingredients in to yield a warm and distinctly seasoned sauce for your winter salad. Enjoy! 
French Onion Steak Salad with Feta and Sun-dried Tomatoes
-1 lb. lean steak (beef, venison), sliced
-2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
-3 oz. sun-dried tomatoes
-2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
-¼ cup pine nuts
-4 cups baby spinach or mixed micro super greens
-1 large onion
-1 TBSP oil
-Garnish with a handful of whole wheat croutons

½ cup olive oil
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 tsp. ground rosemary
1 tsp. ground black pepper
In a small bowl, toss the sliced steak and Worcestershire sauce together and let marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cover sun-dried tomatoes with water and microwave for 3 minutes. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, drain and reserve water. Slice the reconstituted tomatoes into little ribbons.

In a large skillet, add the oil and heat to low. Slice the onion into thin slices and heat, stirring frequently for about 30 minutes or until the color of the onions is light brown. Reserve in a small bowl and turn the skillet up to medium high heat. Toss the steak into the pan to sear quickly, about 3 to 4 minutes before turning and cooking an additional two minutes.  Remove the meat from the pan.

Make the vinaigrette by adding the left over water into the skillet and turn the heat down to medium low. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir constantly to emulsify. Remove from heat and assemble salad.

For each salad, ladle in two tablespoons of the warm dressing and add two cups of spinach, half of the feta, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts. Top with steak and croutons (if using) and toss to combine. Serves two.