Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Playdate Special: Carne Gelada, it tastes so familiar!

Here's a toast to one more year of being a full-blown-full-time mom. Celebrating the years to come I have today my best friend to help. She came from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to our birthday that is just one day apart...She asks me what I am planning to cook. I wonder. Around the alleys of my local TJ's nothing really inspires me. All of a sudden, amidst frozen fish from somewhere in the Pacific and Atlantic, I have a vision. I need something familiar. Something that brings me the flavor of home birthdays dinners. I recall one of my favorites: cold beef with onions, olives and oregano.

The nostalgic memory of family gatherings was there. I consult Renata, my friend for more than 25 years, and she approves. I leave TJ's with olive oil, red onions and a medley of olives. After a brief search in the Internet, I found the best translation for my beef cut - I just knew it in Portuguese- and also many good recipes similar to what I want to cook. Headed quickly to Safeway, and ordered the cut at the counter: Round Eye Beef. And putting all of those objective feelings and intuitive thoughts I began to cook.

Dessert was also a retro experience. One of my mother-in-law staple, known as the Pink Pudding is the choice. At the end of our lunch, many clean plates came from the kid's table. Spirits were elevated and a broad smile was in every body's faces. For me it was a very special occasion of communion of my past and my present with my family and my new and old friends. What a sweet way to celebrate my birthday! Dinner time came and the same menu was shared with my friend- the birthday girl - and husbands. We had a great time and indulged toasting with glasses full of California Merlot and hope for many creative years on the go.

Three Times O's Beef or Carne Gelada

This recipe has to be prepared one night before serving. After cooked, beef sliced and sunk in a new marinade to absorb all flavors of the chosen spices and herbs. During lunch we all agreed that the plate is just like jazz. Meaning that we can improvise and soak the beef in any kind of good ingredients, from capers to mushrooms.

3 pounds round eye roast
4 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 pinch fresh ground pepper
1 cup raw carrots, coarsely cut

Overnight Marinade :
1 large purple onion, cut in slices (divided in 4)
1/2 pound olives (divided in 4)
1 tablespoon oregano (divided in 4)
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided in 4)

Sear the whole piece of beef in hot olive oil, garlic and salt. When all the circumference of the beef is seared- and even a bit charred- in high heat, fill pan with enough water to cover it. Add celery, carrots and bay leaf, close pan with a heavy lid and cook for about 45 minutes in medium flame. If using a pressure pan cook beef for about 25 minutes. Remove beef from pan and after about 15 minutes slice it in thinnest way you can. If you have an electric knife this will be even easier. In a bowl put one layer of beef and the 1/4 of olive oil, Onion Slices, Olives and Oregano as preparing a lasagna. Let it sleep, covered in the fridge, for at least 12 hours before serving.

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