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Choices Markets ~ The New Carnivore

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“When you’ve got a proper hunger you can’t top a Triple Whopper®.”

At least that’s what the folks at Burger King would like you to think. Who’s so famished that they need to stuff ¾ of a pound of beef into their mouths to satisfy their hunger, proper or otherwise? It borders on obscene.

Fast food has had an unhealthy reputation for some time, as has red meat, but did you know that the risk of dying prematurely rises with red meat consumption? In other words, the more red meat you eat (especially processed red meat), the more likely you are to die young. So what is it about red meat that makes it so potentially harmful? Well, along with the high saturated fat content which can contribute to heart disease, charring red meat at high temperatures can produce carcinogens on the surface – and carcinogens cause cancer. The good news is that you don’t have to give up red meat entirely to cut the risk; just eat less of it.

I signed up for Chef Antonio Cerullo’s cooking class, The New Carnivore, at Choices Market, hoping to learn more about how to enjoy red meat as part of a (mostly) healthy diet.

Chef Antonio Cerullo at Choice's Market

The first recipe Chef Antonio demonstrated was Beef Salmonato; a riff on the classic Italian dish Vitello Tonnato. Instead of searing or grilling the beef, he chose to safeguard against carcinogens by simmering it in stock. Once the meat had chilled, he sliced it very thin and topped it with a heart-healthy salmon sauce.

Vitello Tonnato

Chef Antonio told us that he focuses entirely on taste without worrying about presentation. I’ve never heard a chef say that before. *

Next, he used some of the leftover stock to make a delicious soup.

Beef Broth

The main course, Ginger and Tamari Marinated Rack of Lamb, highlighted several healthy cooking techniques. First, Chef Antonio marinated the racks of lamb overnight before he seared them over high heat. Studies have shown that the right marinade can reduce HCAs by as much as 96%. He also chose to load the marinade with powerful antioxidants – ginger, sesame oil, tamari soy sauce, lime juice, mint, and cilantro. These antioxidants help counteract any carbon that might form during cooking. Finally, he chose to cook with responsibly raised meat, Ovation Free Range New Zealand Lamb. For the healthiest option, look for terms like grass-fed-and-finished, certified organic, free range, certified humane, and natural on the package.

New Zealand Lamb Chops

For dessert, Chef Antonio taught us how to make Bacon Rosemary Chocolate Fudge; a sweet and salty little slice of heaven. The crust is made from bacon, rice puffs and bacon fat. The top is a rosemary-scented ganache made with the standard 1:1 ratio of milk chocolate to whipping cream. The idea here is to use a small amount of intensely flavoured meat (like bacon, prosciutto, or pancetta) to deliver a huge hit of happiness.

Bacon A slide of Rosemary Chocolate Fudge

The New Carnivores eat meat less often and in smaller portions, and are willing to spend more to get the best available. They also choose cooking methods that reduce carcinogens and deliver powerful antioxidants. Oh, and they don’t eat the sandwich Burger King describes as “the best threesome you’ve ever had”, the Triple Whopper®, for lunch.

* I confess I was really surprised to hear Chef Antonio say that as long as a dish tastes great, presentation doesn’t matter. What do you think? Do you agree?

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Choices Markets
1937 Harvey Avenue
Kelowna, British Columbia
Canada  V1Y 6G5

The New Carnivore
Date:  January 29, 2013
Cost:  $25.00 CDN
Style:  Demonstration, Dinner with Wine Pairing
Duration:  2 hours
Chef Instructor:  Antonio Cerullo

16 Comments

  1. Who would have thought – bacon in fudge! Thanks for the posting.

    Reply
    • Thanks Mary. The bacon was just in the crust so it was quite subtle. I was quite surprised by the addition of rosemary (also very subtle). It was definitely a fun taste combination to try. :-)

      Reply
  2. Yuck (on the burger). And you know that the burger doesn’t even look anywhere near that “good” in real life. It’ll be all smashed, dripping grease, and will stink like their phony char flavoring. Ew.

    Reply
    • Your comment made me laugh Traci. It’s so true. I’ve often wondered if every fast food chain has an employee whose sole responsibility is to sit on each burger before sending it out to the customers. Thanks for stopping by :-)

      Reply
  3. Gimme that lamb already!!!! yum!

    Reply
    • Thanks Tracy! It was sooooo good and even better paired with an interesting wine from Summerhill, a Zweigelt. Definitely the star of the show :-)

      Reply
  4. The lamb looks so yummy! And the Burger King looks so yucky! I keep meaning to take in one of the classes at Choices. Have you ever done the Mission Hill classes? They have a Julia Child one coming up. (But I’m sure that you already know that :-))

    Reply
    • Hi Colleen,

      This was my first class at Choices. I think they have one class a month and they usually sell out.

      You can’t go wrong with a cooking class at Mission Hill. I can’t say enough good things about them. I went to the Julia Child tribute class last year and loved it. Here’s a link to the post I wrote about it: http://anuneducatedpalate.com/2012/03/03/a-tribute-to-julia-child/

      Cheers,
      Laura

      Reply
  5. Anyone who says presentation doesn’t matter hasn’t eaten in France, where even the humblest housewife goes to some trouble to make her meal appealing to the eye. Last night I cooked red salmon and creamy pasta and around it on the plate I unwittingly placed curly lettuce, deep pink figs and chopped red red tomatoes. And we all said, wow, this looks so inviting! At that moment, I thought of your question about presentation.
    I like your writing, Laura. And the photo of the lamb rack. Looks yum!

    Reply
    • Thanks Trish! How are you?

      I agree with you that there’s more to flavour than just what we perceive with our mouths. Of course the taste, texture and temperature of food are important, but I believe the visual presentation of a dish (as well as the aroma) can greatly enhance the pleasure of eating. The salmon and pasta dish your shared with your family is a perfect example, and it sounds delicious!

      Laura :-)

      Reply
  6. Hello Laura,

    Great post, Thank you. I have a few doctor friends who go on about not using the barbecue or not over heating it! So, I am really liking the counterbalancing the chef has used with the marinades, also adding in the antioxidants as well, which make a lot of sense. I enjoy dressing my plates too much not to and I know, I eat with my eyes first…
    Best wishes,
    Ivan

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Ivan. Hope you’re well :-)

      Since I love red meat (and would hate to have to give it up), I was delighted that the Chef shared those tips to reduce/eliminate the dangers of grilling or cooking it over high heat. As you well know, those little brown bits stuck to the bottom of the saute pan are where all the flavour is, and I can’t imagine wanting to eat a steak that come off the barbecue without those beautiful grill marks.

      Cheers,
      Laura

      Reply
  7. To me eating is a combination of many elements – textures, colours, layering, aroma, temperature – a touch of parsley or a light clipping of fresh herbs does so much to, say, poached eggs on toast – to me presentation is a stimulant, a way to stir my appetite and increase my anticipation about what I am about to enjoy.

    Reply
    • Nicely said Chris! I also think eating is a multi-sensory experience – that includes the visual.

      On an unrelated note, Rebel Mouse looks like a very interesting platform. I’ll be looking at it more closely now that I’ve seen your site.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Laura

      Reply
  8. I am surprised as well about his comment regarding the non-importance of presentation.
    Even when I dine alone I try to make things look nice, wether it be as simple as dividing the plate and making sure sauces don’t run into the salad, to serving poached fish upon a bed of quinoa – Granted, they don’t always appear restaurant worthy but it’s a way of treating yourself and those around you.
    Maybe it’s a man thing? My boyfriend doesn’t take care in his day to day plating but then again he isn’t a chef.

    Reply
    • I agree Murissa. There’s just something about a nicely presented plate of food that makes you feel cared for – like the person who prepared it (even if it was you!) wants you to feel special. It elevates the whole experience of eating. I think the different point of view may be rooted in the person’s philosophy about food – whether they believe in eating to live, living to eat, or somewhere in the middle.

      Reply

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