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In the past when I thought of eating raw food I figured the occasional salad would be enough. I have to admit to not particularly enjoying salads so when I say occasional I should say rarely. Joe would kind of get after me because I would serve salad for dinner and encourage the children to eat it but somehow it wouldn’t make it to my plate.
At the beginning of this year, reading through Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and seeing how much she stressed consuming foods raw I knew I needed to re-think things a little bit. In the introduction section of Nourishing Traditions she has a section devoted to enzymes. What is an enzyme? “Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process that takes place in the body”. Wow. Those sound important. Ms. Fallon goes on to say that enzymes fall into three categories; metabolic, digestive and food enzymes. The food enzymes are something that we should consider when planning our diets. Food enzymes are present in raw and fermented foods (heating over 118 degrees F kills these enzymes), help with digestion and actually allows the body to reduce its need to produce digestive enzymes. Eating a diet of primarily cooked foods can cause shortened life span, illness and lowered resistance to stress of all types.
With this information Joe and I have set out on a mission to increase the amount of raw and fermented foods in our families diet. We have done this through raw vegetables and fruits, fermented beverages, lacto-fermented vegetables, raw milk, and most recently raw beef. RAW BEEF?! Joe and I had eaten Carpaccio (Italian style raw beef) at a restaurant once and loved it. I wanted to try something like it at home. The Nourishing Traditions book has a section on Raw Meat Appetizers. The Carpaccio was in there along with a few others. The one that really caught my eye was Raw Beef, Vietnamese Style. It looked very good. I had most of the ingredients for it on hand and liked the concept. I decided to do a google search and see if I could find anything else similar. I found this recipe for Bo Tai Chanh Beef Carpaccio Vietnamese Style (not a truly raw recipe) which also sounded good. I combined the two and came up with a winner.
Vietnamese Style Raw Beef
1 pound grass fed beef, frozen for 14 days, partially thawed and sliced very thin
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon natural sweetener
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crispy peanuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup crispy onions (see below)
3 green onions chopped (whites and greens)
I get beautiful grass fed beef each month from my beef CSA. There was a package of little steaks from October’s delivery which looked perfect for this recipe. The most challenging part of this recipe was slicing the beef very thin, having the meat partially frozen helps with this. So does a very sharp knife.
Combine the olive oil, sweetener, lemon juice, lime juice; stir to mix. Add the thinly sliced beef and onion. Mix well. Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours (mine marinated about 5 hours). When ready to serve remove meat from marinade. Put on individual plates and top with peanuts, onion flakes, green onions and cilantro. Squeeze lime on top.
*Crispy onions- 1/2 cup dried onion flakes sauteed in olive oil and drained on paper towels (from Nourishing Traditions).
Joe and I loved this beef raw. The citrus marinade ‘cooked’ it just enough and gave it a wonderful flavor. Adding the toppings made it something special. For the children I seared each beef piece for about 5 seconds per side. They just aren’t ready for raw beef.
What is your favorite raw or fermented food? Do you need some ideas on how to incorporate enzyme rich foods into your diet? Look here to see 50 great ideas from Cheeseslave.
This post is a contribution to Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade.
Source: Nourishing Traditions pages 46, 47, 235