Monday, May 30, 2011

Bizarre Dinner

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
Sorry it had been some time since I last posted on the blog but I was in the process of moving to another place and juggling both work and moving did not leave me enough time for blogging. I have a couple of recipes ready to go but I need to find my camera that seems to have gone MIA for some reason (update:found it under my bathroom sink). For now, let me tempt you with a dinner we had planned with the main purpose of pushing our limits when it comes to food, ala Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. We had three contenders and four brave diners representing four different countries: Cedric (French), Oleg (Russian), Kyle (Czech), and me (Filipino).

Beef Tartare

Copyright 2011LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Cedric took the responsibility of preparing this for us and I had to get over the fact that we were going to consume raw ground beef with only the spices and condiments to make it palatable. The verdict: it was actually quite good. You don't really taste the rawness of the beef but I certainly had an issue with the texture. In the end, I had to mask the texture of the tartare with soft cheese to make me forget that I'm noshing on raw beef. All in all, it went well with champagne and Herbes de Provence flavored oven-baked potatoes and all four of us went for second and third helpings.

Callos ala Madrilena (Callos, Madrid Style)

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
My inspiration for the recipe was taken from another favorite blog of mine, Market Manila. Made with beef tripe, beef brisket (I failed to find beef shank that was less than 20 lbs) and tons of caseless Mexican chorizo, it was my favorite of the night but for everyone else, it proved to be too gummy, chewy and just a tad too organic in flavor. Overall verdict: tastes like grass, pee, and something else we'd rather not talk about. Cedric came in with a bias stemming from a bad memory of the horrendous smell of the tripe his Dad cooked in France. Oleg did not like it nor did he not like it. Kyle on the other hand tried to dissect the dish and his overall feeling of it was that his Dad was going to love this dish. Him, not so much! 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The tripe I bought was actually fairly clean and the pre-cooking/cleaning process was actually not too bad with nary a trace of that funky smell you associate with fresh tripe. Bay leaves and oregano were also added during the cooking process as something that I remembered my Nanay Mercy used when she made this dish for me the last time I was home. I also remembered she used pork legs instead of beef shank to flavor the broth but I wanted to stick close to the recipe presented by Marketman so I went for the beef. 

Braised Beef Tongue in Mushroom Sauce on Risotto alla Milanese

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Final course of the night is a combination of two bizarre dishes. The risotto qualified the bizarre requirement as it was made with saffron and beef bone marrow. The marrow lent a rich flavor to the dish and it was a good foil to the beef tongue that was both velvety soft and subtle in flavor. The dish was topped with a spinach rabe. It was a good way to round up our dinner. The verdict: it was better than the Callos but we were too stuffed by then to really savor the full experience of the dish. The texture of the beef tongue was really fine and it was so tender it melted in your mouth. The mushroom sauce made with roux was silky and added the right texture against the tongue (the beef tongue, that is). The spinach rabe added a bit of heat and spiciness needed to balance the mellow flavors of both the risotto and the tongue.


Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
We were planning to end the meal with a bang and serve chocolate-coated grasshoppers but the store in town that carried them stopped stocking them since nobody was interested in purchasing them (obviously) so we had to opt for something normal, a Peach Charlotte. It might sound very generic and uninteresting but served with hot espresso, it was a good way to end an interesting meal, to say the least.

All in all, it was a fun dinner with all of us trying to push our limits when it came to food that may be weird to some but is perfectly normal and ordinary to others. I'm just glad I made it past the fear of trying raw beef, something that I do with fish when I eat sashimi. I still love Callos and I'm glad that I don't have to pine for the Callos that my friend Nash's mother makes. She makes one good Callos and so does my Nanay Mercy really but since both are in other countries (Mexico and Philippines), I'm glad that I now know how to make my own version. The tongue, well, I've always loved beef tongue and we even had it for my cousin's wedding that I helped plan but to cook it for regular meals might be a bit too much. Cedric's parents are visiting from France in August so we might have a repeat of the dinner from last night so that gives me a good two to three months of respite from the amount of cooking I had to do for a night of fine dining.

I'm assuming nobody really wants the recipes when the ingredients list include raw beef, beef tripe and beef tongue so I'll just leave it at that. They will be available upon request if any of you have the cravings for any of the dishes we had for dinner last night.


  1. ... hindi kinaya ng powers ko ang beef tartare... hahaha... :-P

  2. And the dish I'm most horrified by? Your dessert. Peaches - Blech!

  3. Susan, forgot about your hatred for peaches. Truly bizarre for you indeed. :)