Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cantaloupe and Capsicum Dressing

Today is a big concert at the farmhouse that the land-owner is hosting, with a couple of Texas country artists. A few weeks ago, she and some mutual friends were up at my house having lunch, and brought a cantaloupe along. I don't usually buy melon-- but I do like it. I tossed the cantaloup, balled, with some of my chopped pineapple-mint and some Black Lava Salt that I brought back from Hawaii, and that was it. Simple and quick. Everyone loved it, though, and requested that I make it again for the big concert cookout barbeque--...thing.

As I scoop-plopped each sphere into the bowl with a damp plop, I pondered the juice pooling at the bottom of the little valleys in the melon skin. I had a smidge of cantelope left on the rind, and quickly shaved it off and put it into a bowl with the juice. I added a few things, pureed, and suddenly-- magically-- a wonderful dressing emerged. It could be thicker (more cantalope and bell pepper for body) as a dip-- as I tried it on broccoli and was amazed. It would also be good as the base of a cold, hearty vegetable salad-- cold broccoli florets with chopped macadamia, for instance. Recipe (sort of) as follows:

Cantaloupe and Capsicum Dressing
1/4 C Cantelope
1/4 C Red Pepper, chopped
3 TB Olive Oil
1 tsp Lime Juice
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar*
Many Mint Leaves (I used Pineapple-Mint)
Dash Salt
Dash Cayenne
Puree, add solids or liquids as desired to thicken or thin.

*it'd be great with all (3 tsp or 1 TB or so) lime instead of vinegar, but I ran out of lime.

Mint Melon
Salted Cantaloupe and Mint

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Smoky Tea Roast

This post shall also known as: Lessons from a world-travelling farmhouse-dweller. It shall seek to inform you of not-enough in too-little-words, and finish with a grand pile of shredded beef. 

I'll give you a tiny bullet-list of things that I have learned in the past few months, before getting 
onto the lovely recipe. 

  •  Melbourne's weather is as crazy as DFW's
  •  New Zealand has a thing against delightful beef jerky
  •  Take notes and take pictures
  •  ALWAYS zip up your camera bag. Do NOT EVER leave your camera in an unzipped bag OR outside of a bag. EVER. 
  •  Mulch. 
  •  I feel better with very little carbohydrate. 
  •  Just plant things. Sometimes you can have an entire farm and the best place ends up being your front flower-bed. 
  •  Presents are fun
  •  People will listen to anything the TV says
  •  Don't forget about yourself.

OK, so, philosophy lesson over? Discussion may continue after class. Uh, after post. Post-post. Comment. 

Smoky Tea Roast by CaptainShen
Smoky Tea Roast, a photo by CaptainShen on Flickr.
ONTO THE BEEF: I just got a little bit of grass-fed rump-roast with no clue about what I'd like to do with it. I've been developing tea-based recipes (as I'd like to lead a class in Fairview on this subject!) and decided I'd try one out, measurements and all. Lapsang Souchong is a black tea that is dried over burning pine-needles, giving it a robust, complex, smoky flavor. Typically a cup that I'd drink in the wintertime, the possibilities are endless and evergreen when it comes to recipe incorporation. Braising in it, marinating chicken, creating sauces-- all ideas that I encourage you to experiment with.

Being roast and having hot weather, I figured either the slow-cooker or the pressure-cooker would be my options, and when I got home from work I certainly didn't approve of the 'slow' part of the former. Out came my pressure-cooker, and then transcended the following:

Smoky Tea Roast

(Set One)
10 grams lapsang souchong (?? Approx 1/4 cup) (brewed into 1 - 2 cups)
1 tsp pink salt
2 tsp powdered ginger
2 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 TB coconut shoyu
(Set Two)
1 lb rump roast
Sprinkling of Hawaiian Black Salt/Alaea
dusting of garlic granules
1 thinly sliced onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
Whisk together first set of ingredients.
Sautee onion and garlic until onion is carmelized in the bottom of a pressure cooker, push to the side. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides and add liquid from above. Pressure cook on high pressure for 40 minutes and let naturally cool.

I served this with Mark Sisson's Creamy Basil Pesto Coleslaw, from his Quick and Easy book, but replaced the walnuts with sesame seed and half of the cabbage with shredded mustard-greens. I shredded the meat on top, and the flavor really surprised me with its complexity-- carmelesqe, almost chocolatey in nature, deep and robust. Ah!

Auwe... Ono... BROKE DA MOUT...

Stay tuned for more Tea Recipes, and as always, happy eating.