A family affair. My two daughters and I cooked lunch. Spicy pot roast seasoned with Asian spices was served with a citrusy salad and kimchi rice.
It’s been a long time since we shared the kitchen like this. There might be some truth to the saying that misfortune brings family closer together. Two days ago, a lone robber entered our house before dawn. None of us were harmed but we lost some things that has made life more than a little inconvenient. Knowing that he touched and rummaged through our stuff makes us want to fumigate the house and douse everything with antiseptic. But the worst part was how this terrible person robbed us of our sense of security. “Stuff” can be replaced but I wonder if we will ever fully recover our feeling of safety and privacy.
As horrible as that experience was, life goes on. We’re still a family, we have each other’s back and we still love good food. The day after the burglary found my daughters cooking at the same time. I had already made the kimchi rice when Alex started putting together the pot roast. Sam (who doesn’t eat meat) came down and began prepping a salad. I could have skipped the photo op. I wasn’t in the mood initially because my head was full of nothing but plans on how to trap that scumbag who invaded our sanctuary should he be stupid and bold enough to come back.
But enjoying a meal that we three prepared… A meal that spelled “family” and “togetherness”… I couldn’t resist. My heart melted. Even if I had decided not to post these photos on the blog, I would have kept them for posterity. I will always savor yesterday as much as I enjoyed our lovely meal.
And where was Speedy in this cooking episode of “family” and “togetherness”? He was out working but, in our minds and hearts, he was with us. The first plate we filled was for him.
Alex’s Asian Pot Roast
- 500 grams beef brisket cooked
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 3 bird'e eye chilies finely sliced
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 2-inch knob ginger sliced
- 2 pairs kaffir lime leaves lightly pounded
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- zest of one lemon
- 1 drizzle lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons toasted chopped cashew nuts
For instructions on how to precook the beef brisket, click here. Cut the cooled beef into half-inch slices. Set aside.
In an oil-free pan, toast the cloves and fennel seeds until aromatic, about two minutes over medium heat. Grind to a powder.
Heat the olive oil and sesame seed oil in a pan. Saute the half of the chilies, all the garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and the ground cloves and fennel seeds.
Pour in the soy sauce, mirin and about half a cup of water. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the slices of beef brisket in one layer. Cook for a minute per side.
To serve, arrange four to five beef slices on the middle of a plate. Pile kimchi rice on one side and salad on the opposite side. Sprinkle cashew nuts and some of the remaining chili slices over the beef. Serve at once.
Sam's Citrusy Salad with Kani
- lettuce any variety, enough to serve 4
- 1 cucumber
- 1 small carrot
- 4 to 6 kani (Japanese crab sticks)
Tear the lettuce by hand (or cut with a knife) into bite size pieces. Rinse well. Dry in a salad spinner.
Thinly slice the cucumber into rings (a mandoline is useful).
Peel and julienne the carrot.
Separate the kani into thin strips.
In a bowl, toss the lettuce, cucumber rings, julienned carrot and kani together lightly.
Stir all the ingredients for the dressing. Drizzle over the salad and toss.