December 18, 2008

Lemon Grass Lay-Off Venison

In keeping with the theme we've been following, I present yet another variation on learning how to cook southeast asian food from books combined with venison from brother. This one, apparently, is a very popular Vietnamese beef recipe.

Grilled Lemongrass beef.

But, you know, modified based on what was in our kitchen. So, it ends up being grilled lemongrass venison in a sauce that only has dried red pepper flakes instead of fresh chiles. It was delicious!

So first, you make a paste. If you are hard-core, you do it with a mortar and pestle and then stir in some additional liquids. I am not hard core -- I put all the paste ingredients (garlic, lemon grass, shallots, chiles) and the liquids (fish sauce, lime juice, water) in the blender to make a paste/soup of a marinade. I followed the instructions and let the marinade sit on the venison for 1 hour, covered. Then I put it on skewers, topped it with sesame seeds and prepped it for 4-6 minutes under the broiler. Here is how it looked pre-broiling:


Now, this brings me to an important point -- the sauce on this meat is pink! I am constantly surprised by the instructions in Hot, Salty, Sour, Sweet. Everything is foreign. I do what they tell me to do and end up with things that have weird colors, smells, textures and tastes. It is such a wonderful exploration. Take this recipe -- things I would do very quickly are given much time. Things I would do leisurely are rushed. Spices I would not combine are mixed.

This book has been an amazing education for me, and, as I start preparing the recipes, I have no doubt I will learn more in the process.

Anyways, the result was a success. E and I enjoyed the pleasure of rolling and eating 6 spring rolls each of soaked tapioca papers, leafy lettuce, arugula and other greens from the garden, and broiled venison according to the recipe in HSSS for grilled lemon grass beef, all dipped in nuoc cham ("vietnamese must-have table sauce" according to HSSS -- I made it with red pepper flakes instead of fresh peppers and it was amazing. It probably made the meal.)

In other news, a good friend of mine was recently laid off from her job (not at a law firm). Many local law firms are doing lay-offs, both stealth and vocal (personally, I think vocal is much better for all involved). We, like most folks in our market had one. I couldn't help but think that if I hadn't been spared I might be embarking upon some food-inspired 5th career.

Crazy. Non?

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