Category Archives: Beef

Dreaming of Kale

My daughter had a dream. About kale. I’m not even kidding. She dreamed about a kale salad with a lemony dressing, dried cranberries and toasted nuts. She woke up craving kale and asked if we could have it for dinner. How often does that happen? Not often.

Another time she had a dream where she was a piece of celery and she was so sad because no one wanted to eat her. I couldn’t do much about that one. But this…this I can do. What can I say? I make dreams reality. I can also say this is probably the best kale salad I’ve ever made. The lemony vinaigrette is positively drool-worthy.

The other thing she’s been requesting lately is steak. I love steak but I really don’t make it much. It paired nicely with the bright salad and the wonderful, wonderful, warm crunchy/squishy croutons. Mmmm.

Want to go vegetarian? Just skip the steak.

 

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Flank Steak

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Flank Steak

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Seared Steak

For Steak:
1 pound flank steak
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Salt & pepper

For Salad:
2 bunches lacinato kale (dinosaur kale) – remove ribs and slice into thin ribbons, you want about 8-10 cups or so.
Zest and juice from 1 big lemon or 1 1/2 small lemons
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 oz. feta, crumbled
1/4 cup sliced roasted almonds
Salt & pepper

For Polenta Croutons:
1 tube of prepared polenta, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt

In a shallow bowl or ziplock bag, place steak and rub both sides with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Let sit and marinate for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the salad and croutons.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Let it heat up for a minute and then add the polenta cubes. Let them cook, turning the cubes every couple of minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle with sea salt.

To make the salad, in a large bowl whisk together lemon juice and zest, rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dijon, shallot and a pinch of salt & pepper to taste. Add kale, cranberries, feta and almonds. Gently toss until all of the kale is lightly coated (I find this easiest to do with my hands).

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add steak. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Thinly slice against the grain.

Serve a mound of salad topped with sliced steak and polenta croutons.

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CSA Week 1: Rice Bowl with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Snap Peas and Pickled Carrots

This is one of those recipes where you can mix and match components according to whatever you have on hand. I really like the pickled carrots (or radishes, daikon, cucumber) for an extra tangy crunch on top. It ties it all together and adds a great zip of flavor to balance the salty, rich ribs and sweet peas.

In my CSA box this week (see my post here) there were A LOT of snow peas and sugar snap peas. If you’ve bought those before you know they are delicious but they don’t have a long shelf life. So I wanted to use a bunch of them quickly and this was the perfect place to stick them. I cooked a little extra just for snacking the next day or throwing in a salad.

You could probably use just about any kind of meat for this. I happened to have some short ribs and they cooked up beautifully in the crock pot, but chicken or pork would work equally well. You could even use leftovers if you have some or leave out the meat altogether for a vegetarian option.

Rice bowl with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Pickled Carrots and Snap Peas

Rice bowl with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Pickled Carrots and Snap Peas

Rice Bowls with Slow Cooker Short Ribs, Snap Peas and Pickled Carrots

1 package short ribs
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown rice
5-6 carrots, julienned
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp. mirin
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups snap peas or snow peas (I used a bit of both)
1 clove garlic
Pinch of crushed red pepper

Combine teriyaki and soy sauce. Put short ribs in the crock pot and pour teriyaki mixture over the top. Cook 6-8 hours until tender. Remove from crock pot and pull meat apart using two forks. Set aside.

In a zip lock bag or shallow bowl combine vinegar, mirin, sugar and salt. Add carrots and toss. Set aside and stir or turn every once in a while.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a bit of oil and stir fry veggies, garlic and crushed red pepper, until crisp-tender.

Build your bowl with a bed of rice, topped with short ribs, pickled carrots and snap peas. If desired, drizzle with a bit of rice vinegar, soy sauce or sriracha.

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Beef Daube Provençal

Fall is here and I for one could not be happier! As much as I love the sunshine, I had missed the cool, crisp mornings and stormy evenings. And of course I missed pots of soup and comforting meals hot from the oven. So goodbye summer salads and hello fallish flavors and comfort food.

I suppose this is nothing more than a glorified beef stew, but it’s a top notch version of beef stew. And who doesn’t love beef stew anyway? The wine and slow cooking give this dish a rich, full flavor that really can’t be beat. And serving it over noodles? Pure genius. They soak up the extra juices, elevating this “stew” to fork food. It doesn’t take much time to throw together, but plan ahead for this one since it cooks 2-3 hours in the oven. It’s well worth the wait. And hey, if you get bored, there’s always the rest of that bottle of wine to keep you busy.

Beef Daube Provençal

Beef Daube Provençal

Beef Daube Provençal
(from Cooking Light)

2 tsp. olive oil
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (2 pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
1 cup red wine
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Dash of ground cloves
1 (14.5) can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 cups cooked medium egg noodles

Preheat oven to 300°. Heat a small Dutch oven over low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef to pan (you may need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the meat); sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add reserved garlic, beef, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, carrots, and next 8 ingredients (through bay leaf), and bring to a boil. Cover and bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles.

Note: To make in a slow cooker, prepare through Step 2. Place beef mixture in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or until beef is tender.

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Roasted Pepper Black Bean Chili

I know, I know. It’s 80 degrees and I’m making chili. You might think I’m odd, but for me, chili is not just a winter food. One reason is I like it too much to confine it to just one season. The other is that I planted ten pepper plants and I have to find ways to use them, assuming I don’t kill them off before they produce anything. Besides, this is a recipe for the crock pot, which means no heating up the house with the oven!

The basic recipe for this is actually quite similar to my regular chili, but this time I used dried beans and roasted peppers and wow! it tastes completely different. Deeper, smokier, wonderful! You can use whatever combination of peppers you like or happen to have. I’ll list the combo I used, which resulted in a fairly mild but flavorful batch. Feel free to toss in some hotter ones if you are a five-alarm sort of person.

Plan ahead and soak your beans the night before to ensure they get done in the slow cooker. Or you can use canned beans in a pinch. This works well as a vegetarian recipe too, just leave out the ground beef.

Roasted Pepper Chili

Roasted Pepper Chili

Roasted Pepper Chili

2 cups dried black beans
4 cups water
2 poblano peppers
3 anaheim chiles
1 red bell pepper
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes
1 pound ground beef
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2-3 tbsp. chili powder
2-3 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. oregano
Salt & pepper

The night before, rinse dried beans. Place in a bowl with at least six cups of water. Let soak overnight. In the morning, drain beans and put in crock pot. In a skillet, brown ground beef and add to crock pot.

Remove seeds and stems from peppers and lay skin-side up on a large cookie sheet. Place under broiler 4-5 minutes, until skin turns black. Remove and put in a paper or plastic bag to cool.

Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano and cumin to crock pot.

Remove peppers from their bag, chop and add to the crock pot. Cover with about 4 cups of water, give it a stir. Cook on high for 6-8 hours until beans are soft. Add salt & pepper to taste.

This was even better the next day!

So good.

So good.

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Savory Beef Stew

Few things are more satisfying on a cold winter evening than a warm, comfy bowl of beef stew.  I love the way the aroma permeates the house, and even wafts outside to invite you in (and make all the neighbors jealous!).  I usually save this one for weekends or days when I’m free in the afternoons since I like to let it cook an hour or two so the beef can get really tender and wonderful.

I’m always amazed that people buy beef stew in a can.  It really tastes nasty compared to the real thing.  It might be different if beef stew was hard to make, but seriously folks, you dump things in a pot and let it cook for an hour or two.  You can do it!  It’s soooo worth the tiny bit of effort.

I never measure anything when I make this so it does tend to vary a bit from time to time, but I’ve made it so many times that this has become the standard version in my house.

A bowl full of love.

A bowl full of love.

Beef Stew

1-2 pounds stew meat or sirloin, cut into bite sized pieces
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tbsp. butter
4 plum tomatoes
1 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 onion, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
4 red potatoes, 1/2″ dice
4-5 carrots, sliced

Combine flour, pepper, salt, paprika, rosemary and Italian seasoning in a large ziplock bag.  Add beef to bag and shake up to coat all the pieces.  In a Dutch oven, melt 1 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat.  Add beef in batches (you want to leave a little space in between the pieces so they can brown instead of just steaming.  Brown on both sides and remove from pan, then add another tablespoon of butter and more beef until it is all done.

Brown the beef first for extra tenderness!

Brown the beef first for extra tenderness!

Add onions and tomatoes to pan.  Cook and stir one or two minutes.  Add broth, wine and beef back to pan.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the little meat bits off.  It adds color and flavor to the soup, plus the bits of flour will help to thicken the broth as it cooks.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cook on low for 45 minutes.

Starts out soupy but as it simmers, the flour from the beef and the veggies will thicken the broth as you go.

Starts out soupy but as it simmers, the flour from the beef and the veggies will thicken the broth.

Add potatoes, mushrooms and carrots.  Cook another 45 minutes or more, until veggies are tender.  Taste and add salt & pepper if needed.  At this point you can eat or let it simmer until dinnertime.

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Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

My baby brother (one of them) was born when I was 14.  Now while that was all very exciting, the part leading up to that was pretty cool too.  That was the part where my mom was craving Godfather’s taco pizza and raspberry ripple ice cream.  We ate a lot of taco pizza that summer.  Ever since that time, I have loved it.  These days, I hardly ever see it offered at pizza places, and when I do, it’s just not the same.  So, as I am wont to do, when I was having a craving recently I just made up my own.  I saw a recipe somewhere where the dressing was drizzled on top and I thought that was a pretty great idea so I copied that idea on mine.  Added a nice spicy zip!

If you are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in the vicinity, check out their fresh pizza dough, which you can find in the produce section.  Otherwise, use the brand you like best (or make your own).

Now…where can I find some raspberry ripple ice cream?

Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

Spicy Homemade Taco Pizza

Pizza Crust (I use the fresh pizza dough from Trader Joe’s, but use your favorite)
1/2 pound ground beef
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
4 oz. can green chiles
1 cup crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1/2 jalapeno, minced (leave out if you don’t like it spicy)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, diced
Salt
Sliced black olives
1/2 cup sour cream
Juice of one lime
2 tbsp. hot sauce (I used Cholula)

Preheat oven to 425˚.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.  Press out pizza dough with your fingers until it’s the thickness you like.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add ground beef and onion and cook until beef is no longer pink.  Add beans, garlic, cumin, chili powder and green chiles. Stir and sort of mash the beans into the mixture. Cook until heated through.  Set aside.

Mix crushed tomato and minced jalapeno.  Spread over pizza crust.

tacopizza

Spread meat mixture over tomato sauce.

tacopizza2

Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the meat mixture.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is browned on the bottom, and crispy around the edges.

tacopizza3

Remove from oven and spread lettuce, tomatoes and olives over the top.  Whisk together sour cream, lime juice and hot sauce.  Drizzle over the top of pizza (you can do this with a spoon or put in a ziplock bag and snip off a corner).  Cut into squares and eat up!

tacopizza5

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Steak with Shiitake Sherry Sauce

We don’t eat much red meat these days, so when we have steak it’s a real treat!  I scored some beautiful shiitake mushrooms at farmer’s market this weekend and they paired perfectly with my little hunk of cow. I’ve also made this sauce to spoon over pork chops or chicken.  But the steak was mmmm…plate-licking good.

With the opening of farmer’s market this weekend I had LOTS of veggies on hand so we made this a low carb affair with lightly roasted asparagus and cauliflower “fries”.  Yum!

Steak with Shiitake Sherry Sauce

Steak with Shiitake Sherry Sauce

Steak with Shiitake Sherry Sauce

2 steaks (whatever kind you like best will work fine)
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, halved or sliced
1/4 cup sherry
1 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces

Make sure steaks are dry so you get a good sear.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and set aside.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and let it get hot (if you flick a few drops of water in the pan it should sizzle if it’s ready).  For medium-rare, cook steaks 3-4 minutes per side (or to the doneness you prefer).  Remove from pan and let them rest while make the sauce.

Add mushrooms and sherry to the pan.  Sauté 2-3 minutes.  Add a few grinds of pepper.  Remove pan from heat and whisk in the butter.  Slice steaks across the grain and spoon sauce and mushrooms over the top.

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Simplified Vietnamese-Style Beef Noodle Soup

Vietnamese food is one of my favorite cuisines.  I love the fresh flavors and the complexity of all the ingredients.  The little details are wonderful.  One signature dish is phó, a traditional soup full of flavor.  There are many ingredients in the traditional versions and one of these days, I plan take the time to do it up right.  This night, however, I was working with the fridge and pantry I had on hand, a short period of time and the inspiration of a beautiful dish.

While this is not a traditional recipe, this faux phó hits some of the high notes and comes together in no time for a simplified Asian-ish homey noodle soup that is wonderful no matter what the season or time of day.  If I had had bean sprouts I would have put a little bunch on top, but alas, I did not.  I made do with thinly sliced red bell pepper and the little cool crunch was just right.

Simplified Vietnamese-Style Beef Noodle Soup

Simplified Vietnamese-Style Beef Noodle Soup

Simplified Vietnamese-Style Beef Noodle Soup

8 oz. sirloin, sliced very thinly across the grain
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups beef broth
6 oz. rice noodles
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1/2 cup green onion
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
Red pepper matchsticks and/or bean sprouts for garnish

In a soup pot heat sesame oil over medium high heat.  Add sliced sirloin and crushed red pepper.  Stir fry until beef is browned.  Add mushrooms and carrot and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, place noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them.  Let them soak for about 5-10 minutes until soft.

Add beef broth, fish sauce, and lime juice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add noodles and green onion.  Simmer another few minutes.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Ladle into bowls and top with peppers and/or sprouts.

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Veal Parmesan Burgers

I went to the store to buy ground lamb.  I picked up a package of it and noticed it was all sticky (yuck!) so I put it down and picked up the one next to it and tossed it in the cart.  When I got it home, I realized I had bought ground veal instead.  Drat.  Somebody needs to work on their packaging.

Packaging FAIL.

Packaging FAIL.

I wasn’t about to throw it away.  Or trek back to the store to exchange it.  So…I was challenged to come up with dinner using an ingredient I have actually never cooked with.  No problem.  I just pretended I was on one of those cooking competition shows and had just been given something weird like sea urchin.  Veal was my sea urchin.  I had an idea for a gourmet-ish burger.  For some reason Veal Parmesan popped into my head.  Which is weird, because I’ve never made that either.  So I combined the two ideas.  Veal Parmesan Burgers were born.  And they were out of this world!  Next time I may just have to buy veal on purpose!

Veal Parmesan Burger

Veal Parmesan Burger

Veal Parmesan Burgers

1 pound ground veal
2 cloves garlic, minced & divided
1/4 cup onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
Salt & pepper
2 slices of bread, any kind (or you can use panko)
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, pureed in a blender
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. pesto or chopped basil
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
Ciabatta bread or Kaiser rolls
Olive oil

Mix veal, 1 clove minced garlic, onion and mushrooms.  Add a pinch of salt & pepper.  Mix well and form into 3-4 patties.  I made my patties oblong to fit my bread better.

In a food processor, pulse the bread and 1 clove of garlic to make coarse bread crumbs.  Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake at 400˚ for a few minutes.  Stir every couple of minutes.  Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn, you just want them to get light brown and a bit crunchy.

Dredge the patties in the bread crumbs and set aside.

Burgers & Breadcrumbs

Burgers & Breadcrumbs

In a medium saucepan, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add sliced garlic and crushed red pepper.  Stir until fragrant.  Add pureed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.  Add a pinch of salt & pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes or so until slightly thickened.  Stir in pesto or basil.  Set aside.  Note: this is going to make more sauce than you will probably need for this recipe. The leftovers will keep in the fridge for several days, or they freeze well for future use.  Yay, spaghetti for lunch tomorrow!

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and let it get hot.  Flick a few drops of water in the pan.  If they sizzle you are ready to go.  Add veal patties and cook about 4 minutes on each side until cooked through.

Cook the burgers.  I made mine oblong to match the bread shape.

Cook the burgers. I made mine oval instead of round to match the bread shape.

Heat broiler.  On a large baking sheet, lay out slices of bread or buns, and the veal patties. Lightly drizzle the buns with olive oil.

Burgers before they get all dressed up.

Burgers before they get all dressed up.

Top patties with marinara sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan.  Put until the broiler for a couple of minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.

Broil bread and burgers on separate pans if you want.  I just stuck them all on one.

Broil bread and burgers on separate pans if you want. I just stuck them all on one.

Build your burger and enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

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Blueberry Bacon Swiss Burgers

The best burger I have ever eaten was at a little place in Missouri called Agrario.  There my taste buds drowned in delight as I dug into a wonderful concoction of grass-fed beef, bacon, swiss cheese and the most surprising ingredient of all time…blueberries!  I’m no longer in Missouri, and unfortunately Agrario isn’t there anymore either. Coincidence?  Maybe not. Even after many years I have been having a mad craving for this burger so I decided to try to recreate it.  Judging from the enthusiastic yummy noises in my house, I call this a resounding success!

blueberryburger2

Blueberry Bacon Swiss Burger

Blueberry Bacon Swiss Burgers

1 pound ground sirloin
Bacon
Swiss cheese
Kaiser rolls
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, pureed
Splash of red wine (about 1/4 cup)
Salt & pepper
Tiny pinch of sage
1-2 tsp. butter, cut into pieces

Fry bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Discard bacon grease and wipe out pan. Form ground beef into 3 or 4 patties.  Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Set aside.  Heat pan over medium high and add patties to the pan.  Cook about 4 minutes per side until burgers are done to your liking.  Slice rolls in half and toast under the broiler in the oven until lightly browned.  Add cheese to tops of burgers and set aside.

If there is a lot of grease in the pan, discard almost all of it.  If you’ve used lean beef there probably won’t be much.  In hot pan, add pureed blueberries and wine to hamburger drippings, scraping up any little bits as you go.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Add salt, pepper and a little pinch of dried sage.

Making sauce.

Making incredible blueberry sauce.

Boil and stir a few minutes until thickened and reduced.  Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.  Build burgers by putting a little sauce on the bottom bun, then placing burgers on the bun cheese side down, top with more blueberry sauce and bacon.

blueberryburger1

Sweet and savory blueberry sauce. An unexpected twist that is soooo good!

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