Sunday, December 26, 2010

Grass Fed Beef

Happy Birthday to me!! That is what I have been telling myself anyway, when I buy myself something while Christmas shopping for my family and friends. It provides a great excuse actually. I love Christmas shopping, but often I am in dire need of stuff for myself around this time. Then my Birthday comes around and there are sales everywhere! In the past couple days I have bought myself a dress, a purse, a couple books, makeup, a shirt, etc. Like I said, Happy Birthday to me; that little saying justifies the spending if you ask me.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, I know I did. I had a wonderful time with my family on Christmas day. So much food. Our fridge is busting. For my birthday (Boxing day), instead of having turkey leftovers, we had a steak dinner. My usual Birthday dinner is salmon but this year I threw out the idea of grass fed beef. I wasn't sure whether this would actually happen since it is sometimes hard to find and expensive, but my Dad took it upon himself to visit Whole Foods. Then, he got Whole Foods syndrome and purchased a few grass fed steaks. Whole Foods syndrome is where you spend too much money on organic/specialty food due to the excitement of being in Whole Foods.

Now I am no expert on beef, but I do know (or think I know) that grass fed beef tends to dry out faster. After telling my dad this he decided to make a marinade using papaya juice. Something to note about my Dad is that he gets really into things sometimes. One of these things would be steak marinades. He once had a steak that had papaya juice in the marinade and loved it. He has now been waiting for the day where he could do the same. And yesterday was that day. Here is a make-shift recipe of the marinade my Dad used:

Marinated Grass Fed Beef


bbq sauce or store-bought marinade
papya juice
red wine
Worcestershire sauce
lemon juice

The steaks were marinaded for about 6 hours and the BBQd. They turned out wonderful! The grass fed beef was very moist even when cooked to my liking (well done). Besides being more tender, I found it difficult to discern any real differences in the grass fed beef.

All I can say is that it was delicious, and probably had a better nutritional profile. Grass fed beef tends to have less total fat, cholesterol, saturated fat, and more omega-3s than typical grain-fed beef. Bonus! [Source]

Has anyone seen the video on youtube, where the kid gets books for Christmas? It was kind of a running joke the past couple days, as with Christmas and my Birthday I was given 5 books and bought myself 2! I love each and every one of them. Most are cook books or food related, and one is a Women's Health workout encyclopedia (encycloPAYdia for all you HIMYM fans).

This means that I will have lots of cooking and baking (and reading) to do in the new year! I cannot wait! I hope to do lots of experimenting in the kitchen. Using new spices, grains, vegetables etc! I have started reading Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson and am already inspired to follow some of the recipes.

Keep on enjoying the Holiday season!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Salad Rice Paper Rolls

I am home for the Holidays! I have had a crazy few weeks with school. Turns out I did have to wait until the end of term to write another post. Which works out well actually, the Holidays bring lots of food which means lots of preparing/cooking which give me a lot to write about. Just this past weekend my good friends and I had our 4th annual Christmas potluck party. This year the mom's came along and we each made something to bring along. Normally we have WAY too much food but this time it was the perfect amount with a bit of leftovers.

I decided to make rice paper salad rolls. I decided this after flipping through a book my Grandmother gave me for Christmas, called 'The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs' by Reader's Digest. There was a recipe for the classic salad roll with cilantro and mint. Looked wonderful! One problem though. I cannot stand cilantro. So something different had to be done. The result was these Goat Cheese Salad Rice Paper Rolls:

Goat Cheese Salad Rice Paper Rolls:

rice paper (small size)
goat cheese
cucumber, sliced julienne
carrots, matchstick cut
muschrooms, chopped finely
alfalfa sprouts
sweet chili sauce, for dipping

1. Dip rice paper in warm water until soft to roll. Shake to remove excess water.
2. Put goat cheese in a row on the middle of one side of paper.
3. Top with veggies. I used cucumber, carrot, mushrooms and alfalfa sprouts.

4. Wrap it up. Fold up the one side, then the bottom, and then follow with the other side. Rice paper is actually really easy to work with and after a couple you get the hang of it. It sticks together so they hold fairly well.
5. Serve chilled with sweet chili dipping sauce.

These make for a great appetizer at any holiday party. My Mom requested I make these on Christmas eve! I imagine making many different varieties of them in the future. Since the package seemed to come with a thousand pieces of rice paper, this is definitely going to happen.

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I hope everyone has a wonderful evening with family, friends, and fantastic food and drink!