Alex and Irina Emelin, a comedic animal presenting duo from Russia, are masters performing in the circus ring but they also are talented in the culinary arts.
"I like to cook and I taught my wife to cook," said Alex Emelin.
The couple are currently starring in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, running through Dec. 1 at Chicago's United Center. FYI: Call (312) 455-4500 or visit ringling.com
Emelin said with their varied traveling schedule, they regularly visit restaurants around the world and get ideas from everywhere they've eaten.
"We love interesting foods and like to cook for our family and friends," Emelin said. Asian cuisine is a favorite, particularly Chinese and Japanese fare.
"When I was young, I ate traditional Russian food," he said, adding Borscht was one of the staples.
The couple, who are the parents of two daughters, said they eat healthy these days. Organic food, salads, fresh seafood and vegetable-based recipes are common on their table.
The following recipe for Argentinian steak is one of the family's favorites and is taken from their travels.
2 pounds rib-eye steak
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 white onion
1 teaspoons salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set stove to high temperature. In a separate bowl, mix meat, salt and desired amount of pepper. Add meat to hot cast-iron grill and brown each side for around two minutes. Place browned meat into deep glass pan but save leftover juice. Bake for 15 minutes (or until meat has reached desired temperature). We eat this dish medium rare. Slice onion into four quarters. Add onions to skillet with juice. Cook on medium temperature until browned. Once meat is cooked, remove from oven, pour onion and juice mixture over meat and garnish with fresh cilantro. This is best accompanied with a French baguette and fresh salad (vinaigrette dressing, or just olive oil).