Friday, October 26, 2007

Vegetables Rolled in Beef

I was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers to make this Japanese dish for supper last night. Tokyoastrogirl always makes such beautiful dishes, her presentation is elegant and I love the way she takes pictures of step by step preparation.

I am not tokyoastrogirl. I rarely use a recipe, and when I do I read it once and get rid of it. (Unless making something complicated or specific like Mom's oxtails.) So I read tokyo's recipe and got started.

First mistake: not going to an Asian market for the beef. The butcher at the local yuppy market, while stocking an excellent cut of filet, didn't grasp the concept of slicing the meat paper thin. I said I wanted it thin like for shabu shabu and he gave me a good stare. I knew when I took it out of the package the sheets were too thick, but looking at the ingredients in front of me, I knew I could not lose flavor wise.

My mis-en-place:

I plowed ahead. I blanched the carrots, green beans and asparagus separately in baths of water, mirin and soy sauce. I used the same bath for each veggie, so by the time the asparagus was done I had a lovely fragrant veggie broth. I tried to think of something to use it for, but knowing me I would have let it spoil or spill in the fridge before ever using it productively.

Next I rolled veggies in sheets of filet. I had to use lots and lots of visible toothpicks to make the roll stay put. It was unsightly, but I just knew it was going to be good, and what else would I have done with hose sheets of filet? Toss them? Not a chance, they were such beautiful little cutlets. I sauteed the weirdness in soy sauce, mirin, sake and I added a little sesame oil for good measure.

The smell was immense! Savoriness filled the air. The end result looked nowhere near as perfect as tokyostrogirl's, but I had a great time cooking while drinking a glass of William's Selyem 2004 Chardonnay, a thank you gift from our friend Jeff Z. at the Rosso wine store in Montrose.

I served the awkward rolls with big globs of wasabi mashed potatoes, seasoned with an eye-watering amount of wasabi. Too spicy, according to D, in just the right way. The flavor of both the beef and the veggies was just wonderful. I look forward to another stab at these sometime during the holidays. Very easy to make, colorful and healthy.

Thanks to tokyoastrogirl. She has inspired me to blog not just about eating out and traveling, but also about eating in!

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