Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cavoli e orsi

Again a long silence from this Italian in the US! Application season has ended, and now seminars-for-job-interviews-preparation season has started! This is obviously a good sign, at least I have some interviews lining up. Combined with the rest of the work that I'm trying to get done, however, this means that my time for blogging has decreased. Moreover, my life has also significantly changed in the past few weeks, in good ways, but this also implies less time for evening blogging.

However, I cannot miss my own initiated event, The Fresh Produce of the Month, this month kindly hosted by Simona at bricole.
Simona chose cabbage as theme, so I'm going to post a recipe involving cabbage in this post. However, in this case, I didn't cook the food I'm going to talk about: in this past few weeks I have been spoiled and haven't cooked basically anything. Nevertheless I have enjoyed nightly delicious meals that I have scrupulously documented with an abundance of pictures, hoping at some point to have time to write about them. The cook of all of these dishes is Matt -- and to him I owe also a renewed taste for meat and coffee. :)

Alright, so here is Matt's dish involving cabbage.

Bear steak with red cabbage / Bistecca di orso con cavolo rosso
Yes, you have read well. This dish is prepared with bear meat! Matt brought the bear all the way from Idaho, where it was hunted by a neighbor. How many of you have ever tasted bear? I never had before this time. Matt prepared it in two different ways: first as a steak, because I really wanted to taste the meat flavor with as little coverage as possible, and then sauteed with other vegetables. Here I'm presenting the steak version, that was served with cabbage.
Bear is very dark, as you can see in this picture taken before cooking:
The steak was prepared according to Matt's special recipe for steaks, which involves a very careful and slow heating on both sides, repeated for ~4/5 times (depending on how rare one wants the meat), at intervals during which one leaves the meat to rest on a dish not on the stove. This technique ensures that no juices are lost during the cooking, and is in agreement with what McGee explains in his bible 'On food and cooking'. When the meat rests on the dish, some heat is transferred from the surface to the inside of the meat, which avoids burning the surface before the meat inside is completely cooked.
The bear was cooked this way in a pan with just a bit of olive oil on the bottom. After the bear was done, Matt added a little water and deglazed the pan with Hon-Dashi (bonito fish stock), mustard, soy sauce, and cooked the red cabbage in it. So the cabbage took up the small pieces of bear meat that were left on the bottom of the pan, which were delicious, and also had a really nice mustard taste.
The bear didn't taste as strong as I expected. It had a very particular taste, but not overwhelming, and it went very well with the cabbage, which was a great complement to this dish.

So this is my entry for the 'Fresh Produce of the Month': cabbage.. I know the dish is not exactly focused on cabbage, but the cabbage was indeed important for its completeness.

Just to show you another of Matt's dishes, here is what happened of the rest of the bear: since I was satisfied with the taste of the bare bear meat, we went for a more complex dish where the meat was cut into stripes, seasoned with soy sauce and then sauteed in a wok with vegetable oil, served with Chinese greens also sauteed in the wok at a later time.
This is an example of typical dinners we have had recently, with a combination of meat and vegetables, quickly cooked, often in the wok. I am very happy with this food -- and with all the rest that he's made so far. Hopefully I won't forget how to cook.. :)


Simona Carini said...

Very interesting and nice-looking dish. I am sure steak-lovers will particularly appreciate Matt's special recipe.

ComidaDeMama said...

ciao cara Marta, รจ da qualche mese che non ci vediamo, nemmeno virtualmente.
solo un caro saluto e una pacca sulla schiena del fu orso.