The Art of Flavor meets the Instant Gratification Empire
Posted on Dec 10 2011 at 01:25:56 PM in Food & Drink
We are all too familiar with the modern, bland, it‐tastes‐like‐chicken cuisine of most American
restaurants. I often find myself looking at pictures on the menus to find the most esthetically appetizing
one in the false hope that the art in the picture will come through in flavor; and then desperately adding
ketchup, soy sauce, salt, hot sauce or any other readily available flavor enhancers to give the no‐reasonfor‐
existing meal in front of me some hope.
Well is that the way it should be?
As anyone who has traveled through Europe knows, that is not the case. If you haven’t then take my
word for it or just remember the first thing your friend or college said when they came back from
Europe; “the food was great!”
For any of you that grew up in Europe you might remember being woken up by the heavenly aromas of
the fresh ingredients on the stove that are to become lunch pleasantly inviting you toward the kitchen in
an almost hypnotic urge.
So who do we thank for importing just the names of the foods from oversea and not their flavors? Is it
big instant‐food corporations? Is it some secret government plot to enslave everyone by making all food
dull and insipid?
Truly, it’s our own fault. We live in a must‐have‐it‐now society; a society where saving time has become
more important than savoring time. We want the seven‐minute workout, the next day delivery, the
shortest route and the “buy now” buttons. So what are we given? Exactly what we asked for; quickly
I know thousands of European recipes most of which take three or more hours to cook; which ones
made it over to the US? The ones that can be made in a short time.
So next time you are in a restaurant, ignore the pictures on the menu, ignore the safe already tried meal
and ask for something that takes at least four hours to make. Maybe if enough of us did that we will stop
being a fast food chain for the European culture and cooking will go back to what it should be, the art or
If after reading this you can’t wait to flavor some real European cuisine I have included below a recipe
generously donated by http://mybestgermanrecipes.com. For those of you that just don’t care, no
worries, restaurants will still carry plenty of ketchup and hot sauce.
1 1/2 pounds flank steak (calculate 1 piece for each person; if you can get it from a German butcher already sliced; if not slice it as thin as possible, about 1 cm or 0.5 inches thick.
* Dijon mustard or German style mustard
* 1/2 pound smoked bacon (Speck) cut in thin slice (per slice meat 1 slice speck)
* 4 medium sized onions
* 4 (German style) pickles (Hengstenberg or Kruegermann)
* 2 1/2 cups water (as needed)
* 3 table spoon oil
* some celery leaves
* heavy cream or crème fraiche
* some dry red wine (if you like)
* salt, pepper, mild red pepper (paprika)
Cooking Instructions Beef Rouladen
- Cut the meat in 6 rectangular pieces, 1 cm or 1/2 inches thick; beat the meat if it is too thick or – easier way – get it already cut at the butcher’s.
- Spice them with salt, pepper and red pepper (paprika) on both sides. - Spread mustard on the spiced side. - Cut onions and pickles in small cubes.
- Place on each slice of meat 1 slice of bacon - Add onions and pickles on the meat, then roll the slice.
- Use sewing cotton or metal picks to prevent that they fall apart (don’t forget to remove them before serving!).
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the rouladen from all sides really well. - Add celery leaves and another onion and quench it with water (or if you like you can use red wine instead).
- Put on the lid and let it boil for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- You can turn them once and add more liquid if needed (the rouladen should be covered with liquid and it should not get dry at all).
Home made Gravy: Get the rouladen out of the pan and keep them warm while making the gravy. Take the liquid with all ingredients and mix it very well, sieve it. Add crème fraiche or heavy cream to the liquid and some flour (to bind it); the sauce should not be very thick. If needed add some salt and pepper or 2 table spoon tomato paste (gives a nice red color).
Tips * If you don’t want to make the gravy yourself use some instant gravy and stir it up with some cream. * Serve it with mashed potatoes and vegetable (red cabbage or peas/carrots mix) or Spaetzle
– Find Spaetzle here * To save time for the next meal, make the double amount and freeze the rest (without the metal picks of course).