Cooking Italy 3 ~ Bisteca Fiorentina

20 07 2009

Bisteca Fiorentina by any other name is Steak Florentine…a T-bone, actually preferably a big ol’ 2 pound porterhouse of the Tuscany region with virtually no seasoning…just a crack of pepper, the grill, a kiss of garlic, olive oil and sea salt and you’re good to go.  It’s the cut of meat in Italy that makes this dish…and the oil.  Here in the states…well…we’ll never see a white cut of beef.  All our beef is red, red, red.  Still, this is a tasty dish nonetheless. And it’s our dish for Cooking Italy this week.

So I want you to picture my lovely pair of 3/4 pound T-bones…grilled to perfection with nothing more than cracked pepper on them…then rubbed with fresh garlic, seasoned with fresh EVOO and sprinkled with olive oil…served with stuffed mini portobella mushrooms…  I don’t know why there’s no picture.  I thought surely there WAS a picture. I still think there IS a picture. I’m just not sure which camera we took it with, so I’m not sure which computer to look on. I’m not finding it on my computer, and I’m very organized! But…Mr. Green Jeans isn’t finding it either. Darn.  They were lovely. And tasty. And I really can’t afford to do them again right now. Darn it. LOL!  Oh well!

Not my picture

If you want to cook with us, dash on over to Spinach Tiger, Cooking Italy and drop Angela a note, then click on her link and pick up a copy of Marcella Hazan’s book and you’re good to go!  There are no hard and fast rules…we just have a good time learning together!  This is a lovely bunch of ladies…I’m sure you’ll fit in fine!  Ciao~

CTB ~ Last Chinese Chef

20 07 2009

CTB_7-8_cbwaTwice Dressed Beef Under Snow

What an interesting concept…an edible book report!  I love it!  LOL!  That’s what we do with Cook the Books, we create a dish inspired by the book we’ve read.  This one really worked for me.  A few pages in I found myself lost in a fog of imagined aromas (chicken and five spice for the most part, but with ginger and garlic wafting through on a magic carpet of braising pork).  I love good Chinese.  I found myself immediately giggling over the poached chicken…the method is one I’ve been using for years.  I had never considered (the “aha!” moment!) adding layers of flavor to the poaching liquid. Talk about DUH!

So I was inspired to think about layers of flavors…perfect little bites…each bite tasting exactly the way I want it to.  Lying atop a bed of shredded iceberg & hearts of romaine lettuce lightly dressed with a teriyaki-inspired dressing are marinated and grilled broccoli, carrots and cauliflower along with bites of very rare seared beef.  The salad greens were shredded and hand-tossed in a bowl with the dressing, then plated.  The veggies went straight from the resting plate to the salads.  A few fresh-from-the-garden cherry tomatoes were added because tomatoes go well in salads!  The meat was grilled, rested, carved, cut into bite sized pieces, dressed again and plated.  Snow, in the form of fried bean threads was added to the plates for contrast and crunch at the last moment.

The salad worked well…there were layers of texture and flavor.  The book had layers of texture and interest.  I really enjoyed it. I was a little saddened that I could script parts of it, but I’m a voracious reader, and that’s a side effect. Still, Ms. Mones captivated me with her descriptions of the food items and the layers of flavor execution.  I came up for air drooling on more than one occasion.

This is my favorite read with the group Cook The Books so far. I’ve truly enjoyed this one. I’d consider checking out some of her other works just to see if her writing style stays steady.  I’m sure she’ll come back around somewhere along the line if it does.  In the meanwhile, we have another book on the horizon, and others will surely be selected as we head into the Fall and Winter.  On my own, I’m currently reading Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, and have the Julie Powell (Julie & Julia) book on order.