I don't know if I have mentioned this or not, but we had a house full this summer. FULL. Seven people came from Brazil, a combination of family and friends... for a month.
Yes, we might be a bit crazy. Maybe. But it's what you do when half of your world is, well, half-a-world away. You maximize the time you have together.
Meaning, you blow up lots and lots of air mattresses and know that your home is not your home for the next 30 days, but just home. Home to many, but home nonetheless.
This, of course, throws off your schedule greatly. As in, the word 'schedule' is probably not a part of your daily vocabulary, in English or ever-progressing-Portuguese. And your normal habits and preferences? They are replaced with field trips to Ross and then quick runs made to Target. Because every Brazilian loves Ross, and every American loves Target. You gotta keep it balanced.
Of course, bigger things happen. Road trips around California; going camping with people who have never done it before; laughter ringing out from the table that usually seats two but can seat four, yet somehow manages to seat nine when you are really trying...
In the midst of all this, life continues to move forward. Some people head off to work while others head to the pool and bills are hopefully remembered and paid on time. But at the end of the day (and a couple times before then), everyone needs to eat. A few gather in the kitchen to chop and dice, saute' and grill. You quickly figure out that feeding nine on a daily basis is a much bigger task than feeding two, while cleaning up sure does go faster when you have so many helping hands.
This goes on in the kitchen --
-- and you realize that it's OK that you have Robitussin in the background of your food pictures and everything doesn't look so perfect. Because this is real life. And real life does not look like our food blog pictures.
It looks like this... perfectly imperfect.
(No, I don't have any finished pictures for you. After all, this was real life, so we sat, ate, and enjoyed each other's company. If you would like to see what it it looks like, you can click here to be taken to a Google search.)
BIFE A ROLE (STEAK ROLLS)
From my mother-in-law’s kitchen
SERVES 5 • PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES • TOTAL TIME: 50 MINUTES
special items you will need:
- a pressure cooker
- 10 thin slices of Silverside beef, about 5 inches wide and 10 inches long
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 5 bacon slices, cut in half (I prefer beef bacon as I don't eat pork bacon, but you can use whatever you like)
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 1 carrot
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- In a dish, season the meat with the juice of the lime and the salt, using your fingers to rub it into the meat. Set aside.
- Chop the tomato, onion, bell pepper, and carrot into 5 inch-long slivers -- ten of each vegetable.
- Taking one piece of meat at a time, place one piece of bacon and one of each of the vegetable pieces. Roll like a burrito, tightly wrapping it so each end is covered and nothing can fall out. Secure with toothpicks (2 to 3).
- Add the oil to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Place the beef rolls inside. Cook in the pressure cooker on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes after the pressure builds up. When it is finished, be careful to let the pressure die down before you open the lid.
(Serve with beans and rice to make a complete meal, coming in under $4 per serving.)