Monday, January 30, 2012

German Rouladen

German RouladenHave you ever bought something at the grocery store, thinking it looks good but had no idea what you are going to do with it? I had one of those moments this week. I've been eating a lot of meat lately and thought I'd get something different so I picked up some really thin cut top round steaks. I'm talking super thin. I had no plans for this meat or really any idea what to do with it. So what did I do? I did a Google search of course. I searched for something like "thin cut round steak recipe". I ended up coming across a discussion on chowhound posing the same question and there were lots of ideas.  For some reason rouladen jumped out at me. Probably because I had no idea what it was and I was curious.  So I did a search and it actually looked pretty good and I happen to have all the ingredients for it, depending which recipe I looked at.

I pulled up a couple of recipes and decided to make my own version of it taking some ideas from both recipes to make my own.  The two recipes I used to inspire my dish were from bavariankitchen.com and food.com.  One of the recipes had pickles in it which just seemed strange to me but apparently that is the traditional way of making it.  I didn't happen to have pickles but I did have some pickle relish and I considered spooning some of that on them but decided against it since I had plenty of filling already.  The steaks I got were probably not the best size for this dish but it worked out ok.  Some of them came open during the cooking but the filling managed to mostly stay inside.

I would like to try making these again sometime using larger sized steaks and maybe even some pickles.  They came out pretty tender, not chewy at all but they did seem a little bit dry.  Maybe I should have added a little extra sauce on them.  Other than that, I thought they turned out pretty good and Mark liked them too. I served them with some rainbow chard braised with onions and bacon which were left over filling from the rouladens.

Below is the version that I made:

Ingredients:
7 thinly cut round steaks
1/4 cup stone ground mustard
salt & pepper, to taste
7 slices of bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 cups pork stock
1 celery, diced
2 tsp corn starch

Directions:

  1. Saute onion and bacon until onion is tender.  Add parsley.
  2. While onion and bacon are sauteing, tenderize steaks with a meat tenderizer on both sides
  3. Spread mustard on one side of steak and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  4. Spoon the bacon/onion mixture onto the mustard
  5. Fold in the sides and roll up the meat tightly like a burrito.  Secure seam with toothpicks.
  6. Heat butter and coconut oil in a pan or dutch oven.  When hot, add the rolled meat and brown on all sides if possible, drain.
  7. Add stock and celery to pan and simmer covered for 1.5 hours.  
  8. Remove rolls from the pot and cover with foil to keep warm.
  9. Continue to simmer the broth uncovered to reduce if needed.  
  10. In a small bowl mix the corn starch with a tablespoon or two of cold water, mix together and add to the broth to thicken into a sauce.  
  11. Pour sauce over rouladens and serve.
Rouladen FillingRouladen Cooking

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Wedding with an Olympus E-PM1

I'm not a wedding photographer by any means but I go to a wedding every now and then and when I do I usually take quite a few pictures.  I had just received the E-PM1 from Olympus for the Pen Ready project and decided I would take it to the wedding of Mario Santos and Aimee Cabrera.  I used the E-PM1 for pretty much everything but the ceremony itself though I did sneak in a couple during the ceremony. I brought along my E-5 too and used that for the ceremony and the E-PM1 for the post ceremony activities.

I gotta say I was impressed by the little E-PM1.  I'm willing to bet if you looked at my E-5 and E-PM1 pics from the wedding you wouldn't be able to tell which camera was used for each photo.  There were a couple pics from the reception I didn't like the colors on for some people shots but I converted them to B&W and they looked fine.  I even did a video of the surprise Dirty Dancing re-enactment by the bridge and groom.  I didn't have the best angle for it but I thought the video turned out pretty well.  I didn't use a tripod but there was very little camera shake so the image stabilization seemed to do a good job with the video.

Below are a few photos from the wedding. The rest of the photos, including those taken with the E-5, can be found here: Mario & Aimee

MarioAimee01
MarioAimee02 MarioAimee03 MarioAimee04
MarioAimee05 MarioAimee06 MarioAimee07 MarioAimee08 MarioAimee09 MarioAimee10 MarioAimee11 MarioAimee12

Monday, January 02, 2012

Allergy & Candida Cooking Made Easy Review

Allergy & Candida Cooking Made Easy 

 My fourth cookbook project has come to a close. Allergy & Candida Cooking Made Easy was a cookbook recommended to me by my Environmental Illness doctor to give me some ideas of things to cook to help my battle with candida.  I have to admit I wasn't all that thrilled with the cookbook as a whole and there were only a couple of recipes I might consider making again.

The cookbook is based on a 4 day rotational diet plan which I started following based on my doctor's recommendations.  It was after I found Bee's program that I stopped that diet and started following that one which doesn't allow grains of any kind, including gluten free grains.  Below is my list of likes and dislikes about the cookbook.  As I write this I realize there are a lot more things I liked about the cookbook than I originally thought.

Likes:
  • I was quite pleased with the baking section. Most of those turned out very well.
  • Each of the baking recipes had multiple variations of the recipe using different types of flours and oils.
  • Each recipe had nutritional info provided.
  • Most of the recipes were very easy and didn't take a lot of time to make.
  • Not just a cookbook, it also contains a lot of information on Candida and allergies as well as a section on food properties, history and uses.

Dislikes:
  • Most of the main dish meals were not very flavorful, very few spices are used besides salt and pepper.
  • No pictures of any of the dishes.
  • The price.  It's not a cheap cookbook. The new price on Amazon ranges from $60-$296 which is just crazy.  The price on the back of the book is $29.95 I was not going to pay that much so I bought it used for about $20.
Cereals and Basic Grains/Nongrains
Cream of Buckwheat

Breads, Muffins & Pancakes
Amaranth Crackers
Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins
Quinoa Tortillas
Quinoa Applesauce Muffins
Rice Oat Pancakes

Main Dishes - Poultry
Oven Fried Chicken
Easy Chicken Soup

Main Dishes - Red Meats
Buckwheat Lamb Enchiladas

Main Dishes - Italian
Gluten Free Vegan Lasagna

Main Dishes - Seafood
Tuna Rice Casserole

Main Dishes - Egg Cookery
Breakfast Brunch Squares

Salads and Dressings
Cashew Mayo
Coleslaw

Desserts
Zuchinni Amaranth Cookies
Pear Custard