Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Almost all gone

With Thanksgiving approaching, the beef is almost finished. Since the last post I've made tenderloin steaks, a rump roast, and heart. The heart I sliced, floured, and fried. It was okay, but not as good as I remember mom making. It was a pain to cut up the heart. In the future I'd want it pre-sliced or perhaps roast it whole.

I have one package of stew meat remaining. There's still the lard, liver, and bones as well. When I take a holiday vacation I think I will render the lard and make mincemeat pie or something. The liver will get dried into dog treats and eventually I'll make stock out of the bones.

My BIL and I are already planning the whole pig we're getting this year....

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beef, Beef, and More Beef

I'm so far behind recording what I've been cooking it's not even funny. Here's the list of everything I can remember:
  • Hamburgers: 4 lb of ground beef to make burgers for a labor day party.
  • Fillet Mignon: made like I normally make steak
  • Sirloin Steak: Ted cooked this up as his first steak attempt. Very tasty.
  • Stew Meat: 1 package cooked in a tomato-paprika sauce.
  • Liver: 1 lb given to a friend for her cat. The cat is happy.
We're coming up on the end of the meat. A few roasts, some shanks, beef bones, suet are the main things that are left. We'll see if we make through everything by thanksgiving. Already planning on a pig for next year though.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

For Reference

I've been making tons of hamburgers lately. I think I've used 4 lbs of ground beef on hamburgers alone.
I also made short ribs. I don't recall the exact recipe any longer. It was similar to this, but made without using a pressure cooker. They were decent. The leftovers got to salty sitting in the sauce for a few days.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The latest meals

Well, I haven't been trying any new beef recipes lately. I made chili with two pounds of ground beef. I know it's summer, but I enjoy having chili around. I like to eat chili at room temperature, so having a pot of it in the fridge makes an easy summer snack.

I also made a sirloin steak. It was very large, more than big enough for the two of us. I cooked it like I discussed in this post, though with the temperature a bit lower so as to get the correct doneness. As always, I made green beans in the pan while the steak was resting. It makes some of the tastiest green beans I've every had. The steak was also delicious.

We're definitely working our way through the meat, though there are quite a few roasts remaining. The liver has won -- I'm planning on giving it to friends with cats and dogs. Some of the suet went for a friend's dad's bird feeder. What else can I do with suet?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Quick Noodle Dish

Just a quick post. I used some top round to make a chinese noodle stir fry. I (basically) followed this recipe. I used TJ thai rice sticks instead of chow fun noodles, snow peas instead of gai lan (as it's what I had on hand), and no colored peppers. However it was very flavorful with all the garlic, ginger, fermented black beans, and spicy pepper. Definitely will make again.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pot Roast and Nachos.

I made pot roast again. This time I cooked it on the stove using this recipe. I used some "Pasta Sprinkle" I received as a gift place of the Italian seasoning. It turned out delicious -- moist and tender. Now if only I could achieve those results with my crock pot.

I also used another pound of ground beef to make nachos. Nothing exciting there.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Quick Round Up

I'm behind on posting, so here's a brief summary of my recent beef usage.

Nachos: The hubby used 1 lb ground beef to make nachos. It made enough for two dinners.

Steak: I made NY strip steak. I decided to marinade the steak for a few hours in my usual steak marinade (red wine + garlic + dill + black pepper). Honestly, the marinade didn't seem to go very well with the meat. I'm guessing this meat is more flavorful than what I used to use with this marinade.

Shepherd's Pie: 1 pound of ground beef made two small casserole dishes of Shepherd's Pie. It's always a lot of work, but tasty.

Pasta with Meat Sauce: This old stand by used 1 more pound of ground beef.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Rest of the Roast & Hamburgers

I still had half a roast to use and I was in the mood for more asian food. I sliced the roast thinly and marinaded it in the sauce I use for char sui. Quickly sauted the pieces in oil. Served with rice and a quick stirfry of napa cabbage with sriracha sauce.

The meal was so-so. Unfortunately the meat was a bit too tough for this sort of treatment. It would have worked better had I shaved it -- 1/8 in thick slices. Also, normally there's a bit too much sauce, but this time there wasn't enough (IMO) since I used more meat. Still, it was decent and everything got eaten.

Tonight we made hamburgers with a pound of ground beef. Bacon cheese burgers with lettuce, tomato, and onion to be exact. They were tasty.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stir Fry

I had been meaning to make stir fry again, but most of the cuts of beef I had on hand didn't strike me as "stir fry" meat. However, given how the last pot roast turned out, I though I might try using one of the roasts for other things. I put a top round roast in the fridge on Thursday to defrost.

Come Saturday night, it was still partially frozen. However, I was only planning on using a bit of it, so I cut off some of the edge portions that were defrosted to make stir fry.

Here's the gist of what I did. Cut the meat into long thin strips. Marinaded them while I cut the other ingredients. The marinade (all measurements are guestiments): 4 tsp ground bean sauce, 2 TB dark soy sauce, 3TB shaoxing wine, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1TB cornstarch. Other ingredients: 4 cloves of garlic, sliced, 1.5 onions sliced, 1/2 large head nappa cabbage in strips, 4 large carrots peel and sliced on the diagonal. I also used a hot pepper that I froze last fall from the farmer's market. It looked like a red jalapeño, but I don't know the type. I seeded it and sliced it. Condiments used included fermented black beans, black beans with chili sauce, toasted seasme oil, peanut oil, and chicken broth.

Put the wok on high and added the peanut oil. When hot, I added the black beans and sauce, stirred. Then I spread the meat over the bottom. Let it cook a bit, then put the garlic and pepper over it and cook some more. Once it browned a bit, I stirred it and added the carrots. I'm not good with the whole stir-fry thing-- I tend to stir a bit, wait, stir a bit, etc. Cooked the carrots a bit, then added the onions, cooked, the cabbage stems, excess marinaded, cooked, added the rest of the cabbage. Added some chicken broth, which was unnecessary, since the cabbage had a lot of water on it from cleaning it. This made the sauce to runny, so I added a cornstarch slurry and cooked a bit. When things were done, I drizzled some toasted sesame oil on it and served it over rice.

The verdict: good flavor. However, the meat should have been cut into smaller pieces. It wasn't tough, but it smaller pieces would have been better.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Filet Mignon

In addition to my default ground beef recipe, a.k.a. chili (with 2lbs this time) I made fillet mignon.

The fillet mignon was labeled as beef tenderloin, since it is basically steaks cut from the tenderloin. The package had 2 in it. I took it out before we went jogging. About an hour latter I started cooking. Seasoned the steaks with kosher salt and black pepper. Put the cast iron pan on med high and let it get hot. Added a dash of olive oil. Seared the steaks for about 3 min per side. Took them off around 140F and let stand.

While the meat was standing, I deglazed the pan with some white wine. Then I added chopped onions. (I should have sauteed the onions before deglazing, but oh well.) Added some mustard, salt pepper, cream, meat juices and let it reduce.

Served the meat with the mustard cream sauce, asparagus, potato gnocci, and asian pears. The meat was actually around the recommended serving size (a deck of cards) and quite tasty. A success.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pot Roast and Hamburgers

I had a rump roast on hand and wanted an easy meal so I went with a pot roast. I basically used this recipe. Preped the veggies in the crock pot the night before when I marinaded the roast. Cooked it on low for about 9 hours. While the flavor was okay, the roast was dry (but tender). For the leftovers I made some gravy with butter, flour, drippings, broth, milk, sour cream and salt. The gravy helped a bunch.

We also used a pound of ground beef this week making burgers. Ted was craving bacon-guacamole burgers so that's what we made (with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, of course).

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ropa Vieja and some old standbys

Some of the stuff I've been cooking hasn't been worth blogging about. I've used 4 pounds of ground beef making chili and spaghetti.

The interesting dish I made lately was a take on Ropa Vieja. I found this recipe when searching for a recipe using annatto seeds, since I wanted to try this spice. While I used the same ingredients, my technique deviated from this recipe. I browned 1 lb stew meat (not the 3 the recipe calls for) and then added the sliced onion and cooked for a bit. Deglazed the pan with chicken stock instead of the water, then added the rice wine vinegar, cinnamon, bay, a dash of ground cloves, and annatto. I let this simmer on very low, covered, for a few hours. Then I added about 14 oz of canned tomatoes, 1/2 c sliced carrots, and 1/2 c frozen pepper slices. Also tossed in a minced clove of garlic, the cayenne, and a bit more broth.Simmered for about 30 minutes and then served on rice.

The verdict; Okay, but not exciting.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Week of the Rib Roast

Due to some confusion on my part on just how large a rib roast is, when we bought the side of beef we didn't have the rib roast cut down. This meant we ended up with a huge 8-rib roast.

When Peter called to ask about making the rib roast for a large family dinner, I said sure. It turned out that he only made his half for the dinner, but since he had to defrost the whole roast to cut it in half that left my half remaining. I didn't think I'd have time to make it, so we roasted it that night during the dinner.

Since there had been no real plan to make it, we kept it simple. Rubbed the roast with salt and inserted some rosemary into it. Roasted it at 450F until it reached around 145F.

We've been eating roast all week. There's only two of us, so it's a lot of meat to eat through. Started off with basic things: plain roast, roast beef sandwiches, grilled cheese with beef slices.

Next I used some to make hash, basically I fried some sliced, cold, boiled potatoes, diced onions, and beef pieces in butter until brown. Seasoned with salt, pepper and bit of aleppo pepper for kicks. Topped it off with a runny, fried egg. Fairly tasty all told.

Then there was fajitas. Sliced up the beef and an onion. Briefly marinaded them in lime juice, olive oil, garlic, chipotle, ancho pepper, and cumin. Cooked until the meat was hot and the onions tasty. Also sauted some frozen colored peppers in the remaining sauce. Served in tortillas with sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. Although not as good as the other fajitas I made, I greatly enjoyed them.

With the remaining beef, I turned it into "char sui". While cooking some rice, I marinated the beef in a char sui sauce: light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, shoaxing wine, honey, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and 5 spice powder. Fried it up until the beef was hot and the sauce was sticky. Served over rice with a side of garlic-sesame spinach and an clementine. The result was so-so. The parts of the meat heavily infused with rosemary did not go well with the sauce, but the rest of it was good.

I still have the ribs with a fair amount of meat on them. I've tossed them in the freezer for now, but I intend to turn them into soup.

Honestly, I'm not thrilled with this use of the roast. If I buy a side of beef again, I definitely do different cuts and limit rib roasts to two ribs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Greek Meatballs

I used a pound of ground beef to make mini greek meatballs. I left out the greek seasoning and made the meatballs smaller than in the recipe. They turned out well, but I think I over baked them a bit.

I served the meatballs sandwich style with whole wheat pitas, tzatziki, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, feta, and greek olives. Unfortunately the pitas sort of fell apart while eating this. It would be better served as meatballs with a side salad. I accompanied it with lemon potatoes and nectarine slices. I omitted the parsley from the potato recipe. I used water instead of stock, but not quite enough at the beginning so the potatoes stuck to my pan initially. This meant that I didn't get a nice crust on all of them and some of them crumbled on me. Oh well, still tasted okay.

Steak Tips

Last time I used steak tips to make fajitas, which were quite tasty. This time I decided to cook them like I did the steak. While I still used cold butter this time, I did have the pan hotter. The meat, though not cold, was not sill somewhat cool.

I was quite concerned about over cooking the steak tips since they seemed so much smaller than regular steak pieces. As a result I only cooked them for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Unfortunately, this left some of the pieces being very, very rare inside. A quick 30 to 60 seconds in the microwave fixed that.

The steak tips had very good flavor, but the pieces were fairly tough no matter how you sliced it. In the future I think I'd prefer the tips for fajitas.

Once again I cooked green beans in the leftover garlic butter. They were good, but not as tasty as I remembered them being. I think there were less yummy meat juices to coat them with this time since I undercooked the steak tips. I also made roast cauliflower to go with the meal. I used asagio cheese instead of Parmesan because that's what I had on hand. It was okay. I tried a bit of truffle oil on a few pieces to see how that would work, but decided it the cheese overshadowed the flavor of the oil.

I also made cranberry kumquat muffins as an appetizer/desert. Good, but a bit sweeter than I liked.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


So last night I made cheeseburgers using two pounds of ground beef. I kept it very simple -- sprinkled some Worcestershire sauce over the meat and then made patties. I used a quarter pound of meat per burger and fried them in a cast iron pan on med-high for a few minutes on each side. Then I melted some cheddar cheese on them. Served in whole wheat buns. Toppings included: sliced tomatoes, lettuce, sliced red onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. The burgers were very popular.

With this I also made spiced sweet potato fries. These are baked not fried. While they were very tasty, they did not have the crispness of fries and the pieces without skin on them were not very sturdy. I enjoyed them never the less.

The long delay between posts was due to me running out of beef! I store most of my half of the side at my brother-in-law's place since he has a large freezer. I usually stop by and restock my freezer, but recently I ran out and didn't have a chance to restock. All set to go now.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Roast Beef

Today I made an eye of round roast. I used this recipe and followed the suggestions in the comments. I remembered to take out the roast out of the refrigerator early today so it was at room temperature when I started. The summary:
  • Grind 1 tsp black pepper corns & 1 tsp cumin seed in a mortar
  • Add 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 3/4 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp cayenne.
  • Sliver 1 clove garlic and stick them deep in the roast
  • Coat the roast with oil then with the spice mixture.
  • Brown the roast on all sides in a pan
  • Roast for ~45min at 275 until 115-120F
  • Remove from oven and turn heat to 500
  • Add 1" cubed potatoes and baby carrots, tossed with olive oil, to the pan
  • Return to oven, cook 10-15 min until 130F.
  • Remove roast, tent with foil, let stand at least 10 min
  • Return veggies to over for another 5-10 min to brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
The roast was a nice medium/medium rare. The carrots were good. Unfortunately the potatoes seemed very dry. I think this is because I used Yukon golds instead of red potatoes. I severed this with a fruit salad of pineapple, kiwi, clementine, and plum.
Tasty over all.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tacos & Nachos

I used two pounds of ground beef to make the meaty filling for tacos and nachos. In batches I browned the ground beef with some garlic, cumin, ground chipotle, cinnamon and salt. I also mixed it with some sauteed chopped onions.

Put the meat in torillas with some fixings to make soft shell tacos. For nachos, melt some cheese over corn chips, then top with the meat and fixings.

Fixings used:
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped tomato
  • sliced black olives
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • sour cream
In all, this made some decent meals. Enjoyed by all.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Beef with Broccoli Stir Fry

With the rest of the steak tips I decided to make a stir fry. I wanted to do something with broccoli, mushrooms, and oyster sauce. It turns out someone else had the same idea. TigersandStrawberries posted a recipe for Ocean Broccoli Beef the day after I made this. Hers sounds better than mine. Mine was okay, but could have been a bit more flavorful. Here's what I did.

  • 1/2 lb steak tips, sliced in to strips
Marinade in
  • 1 TB dark soy sauce
  • 2 TB oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1 TB cornstarch
  • 3 TB shao xing wine
Heat some peanut oil to smoking in a wok. Add
  • 2 TB Black bean chili paste. Cook 30 sec.
then add the meat meat and brown for a minute. Then
  • Top with 4 large cloves of garlic, sliced.
Cook another min to brown the beef, then start stir frying for a minute. Add
  • 1 large onion, sliced. Stir fry 2 min.
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms. Stir fry 2 min.
  • Add remaining marinade and oil if necessary
  • Add 3 broccoli stems (sliced), cook 1 min
  • Add broccoli florets from 3 stalks. Stir to coat.
  • Add 2/3 c chicken broth.
  • Cook until broccoli is done
  • Top with 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil.
Served it with some jasmine rice. Tasty, though I think I'd enjoy it with more spice. Hubby found it unexceptional, however. Next time I'll try the linked recipe.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


The other night I made beef fajitas. I had defrosted steak tips. I've never had anything called "steak tips" before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Given the shape of the meat pieces, simple cooking it like a steak was out. I went the strip route and decided on fajitas.

Beef Fajitas

  • 1/2 lb steak tips cut into strips,
  • Marinade made of olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chipotle, garlic, and cilantro,
  • 1 onion sliced (in the direction for wedges not rounds)
  • 1/3 bag colored peppers from Trader Joe's (or two bell peppers sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped & splash of lime juice
  • Tortillas
Marinade the meat for a few hours. Then in a hot pan with a bit of oil, quickly cook the meat until done, about 3 min. Removed the meat and cook the onions and peppers with the garlic and splash of lime. Cook for about 3 min.

Place the meat and veggies on a tortilla. Top with your favorite toppings.

  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped tomato
  • sliced black olives
  • minced cilantro
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • salsa
We made 6 fajitas that were way too full. This likely should have made 8 or so. They were a favorite of the husband. I'll definitely make them again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


So I decided to try making meatloaf to use up some ground beef. (By my count this makes it pounds number 7 & 8.) I don't really have an opinion of meatloaf. As far as I can recall we only had it once when I was a kid, though I didn't like it then. The recipe I made is based of the one in the Joy of Cooking. Here it is:
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 c V8 or other tomato-vegetable juice
  • 1 TB stoneground mustard (dijion is fine)
  • 1 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c farina (cream of wheat, bear mush, etc)
  • salt and pepper
The farina is because I was out of oatmeal, panko, breadcrumbs, and crackers. (It worked fine though.) Mix together and put in a loaf pan. Bake at 350F until it center reach 160F, about 60 to 75 minutes. Let stand 10 min, then slice and serve.

That how long it should take. I baked it for about 95 minutes and still only seemed to get to 155F. But it seemed done so I just took it out and it was fine. It was nice and moist. The hubby said it had good flavor, but I found it a bit bland. Served it with some turkey gravy I had in the freezer. It was decent; better with gravy than with ketchup.

I probably won't make this recipe again simply because I prefer more flavor in my food, but I might try a variation on it. Other meatloaf suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Unsucessful Liver

It was time take another attempt at cooking liver. Cooking liver intimidates me since it tends to turn out horribly. I feel bad mixing good food with liver since I expect it to ruin it. This means I look for liver recipes with very few ingredients or that are mainly spices.

I considered trying to make Smothered Liver or Liver in Coconut Milk. But given what I had on hand, I choose Liver Dumplings. The liver dumplings also had the bonus that the paste could be formed into patties and fried.

I followed the recipe with one substitution -- 1 c panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and 1c crushed crackers in place of the 2c breadcrumbs. Pureed liver has an interesting, almost foamy texture. I cooked half of this as dumplings and fried the rest into patties.
I have to admit to not giving this recipe my full attention -- I made it while playing spades on Puzzle Pirates. Some of the patties got a bit dark, but I wasn't sure how long to cook them for. I know slabs of liver should be over cooked, but in burger form I'm not sure I want to eat it pinkish.

The results were less than I hoped for, but about what I expected. I took one bite of the liver dumplings and didn't really care for them. I haven't been able to bring myself to go back and give them a serious try. They are sitting in my fridge.

The liver patties were slightly better. I covered a patty in BBQ sauce and ate it. The next day I melted some cheese on two and had them on bread with tons of BBQ sauce. Given enough orange juice I managed to eat them. The sponge texture is disturbing. I didn't bother serving either dish to the husband.

If the fridge was empty and I had no money I would eat these. However, that is not the case, so I'm not sure what to do with them. I hate wasting food.

While there is a slight chance I might try to make a liver pate, I seriously thing the remaining liver will be made into cat and dog treats.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice Day (not food related)

Blog for Choice Day

Today is Blog for Choice day. While I have a beef blog post to write on my latest liver attempt, I can barely face eating the stuff much less writing about it. I'll do that later this week. The writing part, at least.

Since this isn't a political blog, I'll keep this post short. Abortion rights are really about the right of a woman to make her own choices. Women are competent, moral agents. A woman can make the choice that is best for her, morally, physically, and economically.

The legal status of abortion and birth control are directly related to the life and health of women. For a comprehensive, world wide look at how different law have been enacted and their effects on women I recommend reading this link. Enough said.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quick and Boring Pasta with Meat Sauce

I wanted a quick and easy ground beef recipe for Monday night. I went with pasta with meat sauce, the sauce coming from a jar. Add some sliced pears and a side salad of lettuce, carrots, and olives and it's done.

Of course, it's never quite that simple with me. I browned the ground beef in batches and then sauted the some chopped onion. Added the meat back and a jar of Trader Joe's marinara sauce. Let it simmer until dinner time. Unfortunately I found the sauce to be lacking, so I began by stirring in 1 TB cold butter, a trick I often use to enrich a sauce. This helped, as did some fresh cracked pepper. It wasn't quite enough though. So I added a dash of Chipolte pepper. I often use Chipotle or Smoked Spanish Paprika to give depths to soup. Not a wise choice here -- smoky does not go with marinara. It wasn't bad, but I didn't care for it. So then I added a bit of thyme in hopes of fixing it. I was unimpressed, but decided to leave well enough alone.

I wasn't a fan of this dinner, but since it all got eaten I guess it was okay. I'll get a different kind of spaghetti sauce in the future though.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Way to Cook Steak

I'm a bit behind on my blogging -- I made steak for us last Saturday. I used (mostly) followed this piece of advice. It's short, with pictures, so go read it. Here's what I did (mistakes and all) and what I'll do next time. Even with these slip ups, the husband declare it "the best steak ever" and raved about it all night.

I used NY strip steaks, 1" thick. I seasoned them with a lot of Kosher salt and some pepper on one side. (Not as much as in the link picture, since my butter was salted and I'm not a huge salt fan.) I let them sit about 40 min. In the future I'll take the out of the fridge earlier -- having the steak fully at room temperature will help me cook it medium rare (instead of rare which I ended up with.)

I heated my cast iron skillet on high for about 5 minutes. It was clearly very, very hot. Now my pan sort of needs to be reseasoned -- it looked fairly dry when it got this hot. The original instructions didn't call for any oil in the pan, but I was worried given the condition of my pan, so I drizzled a small amount of olive oil into the pan.

This was a MISTAKE. The oil immediately started smoking and turned to ash. I know olive oil doesn't have that high of smoking point, but this had me concerned. I pulled the pan from the heat, let it cool a bit, then wiped out the ash with a paper towel. Next I poured a bit of canola oil in to pseudo-season it (as it was still very hot). After about 5 min I wiped out the excess oil and put in on the stove to reheat. I used medium high this time.

Once hot, I put the steaks salt side down in the pan and let them sear for 2 min. Then I flipped them and added 1 stick of butter in chunks. I topped the steaks with about 4 peeled cloves of garlic each. I didn't have any fresh time, so I sprinkled the tops with some dried thyme I had on hand.

Then I started basting with butter. Unfortunately, the butter I used was straight from the fridge -- it should have been room temperature, so it would melt faster. I basted for about 3 minutes. Then I removed the steaks to a plate and covered with foil.

While the steak was resting, I added some defrosted green beans to the browned butter & garlic sauce at the bottom of the pan.

After about 8 to 10 min, I served the steak with the green beans, some microwaved squash I had on hand, and sliced pears. The steak had *fantastic* flavor. The only down side was that it was more rare than I would have liked. In the future I will use room temperature meat and butter and use high heat.

This was by far the best steak I've had. I strongly recommend this method if your arteries can stand it. The green beans were also delicious. The garlic that cooked longer with the green beans was very tasty, but the stuff removed with the steak was still raw. This was no doubt because I used cold butter and so the butter didn't get hot enough.

This is how steak should be made. I doubt I'll try any other steak recipes for my NY strips.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

London Broil

When I defrosted the london broil to make the stir fry, it turned out that there were two "steaks" in the the package. I didn't need that much meat for the stir fry, so I saved the other one. Since my rice cooker broke, an other stir fry wasn't the ideal solution, so I decided to do a basic London Broil instead.

In searching the web for interesting ways to make it, I found this recipe from Simply Recipes. I have had good success the Elise's recipes, so I decided to make it. Basically you rub ground mustard seed into the meat and then briefly sear it in a cast iron pan. My only change to the recipe was that I used olive oil instead of butter.

It turned out well. Not as tough as I expected it to be and quite tasty. Served it with some basic veggie sides -- green beans and corn if I remember right. A nice quick meal.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I made stir fry using some london broil the other night. I've been trying different things for stir fry ever since I read this series of posts at Tigers and Strawberries on how to stir fry. My stir fry skills still need a bit of work, one of my main problems being that I just can't seem to stand there and stir. It's more, stir-stir-stir, wipe the counter, stir some more, put something away, stir, etc. However, tonight's meal still turned out decent.

I sliced the london broil into thin strips (2"x1/4"x1/2") and marinated them in ziplock with 3TB shaoxing wine, 1TB soy sauce, 1TB ground bean sauce, and 1TB cornstarch. The cornstarch really helps the marinade cling to the meat and will help thicken the sauce at the end of cooking. I let it marinade maybe 45 min?

When I originally planned on making the stir fry I had broccoli and other typical stir fry veggies on hand. Those had already been eaten, so I was left with carrots and celery which are not typically stir fry options. I also had onions and sweet red peppers which I used.

I didn't want a spicy meal. Ginger doesn't go with celery in my mind, so the only aromatics I used was a bunch of sliced garlic and a spoonful of chinese fermented black beans with chili from a jar (which really isn't very spicy).

The Process: Heated the wok, added some peanut oil. When the oil was almost smoking I added the fermented black beans, stirred a bit and then layed the beef out over the bottom of the pan. Let it cook for a bit and then sprinkled the garlic slices over the top. Once the meat had browned I added the onion slices and stir fried for a bit, then added the carrots and celery. Stir fried a bit more, added the remaining marinated, cooked it a bit. Used some chicken broth to deglaze the pan into a thick sauce. Cooked until the carrots were tender, adding broth as needed. Stir in the red pepper strips, seasoned with some black pepper and a bit of toasted sesame seed oil. Once the red peppers were heated (1 min), it was time to serve.

This is when I found out that my rice cooker officially died. It had been on the fritz, sometimes not turning off or keeping time correctly. However this time when it dinged done I opened it up to find my brown jasmine rice uncooked in a pool of lukewarm water. A new rice cooker is needed. I'm considering this Zojirushi, since I'm not convinced I need a $150 model that doesn't work as a steamer.

We ate the stirfry on it's own, since I was also out of couscous and didn't want to wait for rice to cook on the stove. Glad I decided against spice. Still was tasty, though.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Stroganoff Variation

Beef stroganoff is a standard, favorite meal of mine. I enjoyed it as a child -- in fact it is the first meal I remember cooking for the family by myself. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time. Growing up beef stroganoff meant beef with cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, and Worcestershire sauce. As my palette has aged, the campbell's cream of mushroom soup has been removed, but Worcestershire sauce remained a constant.

So having mushrooms and sour cream in the fridge and some defrosted stew meat, I naturally decided to make stroganoff. However, since I've already blogged about making stroganoff once, I decided to try a bit of variation. Even though Worcestershire sauce was a key ingredient in my mind, it wasn't in any of the stroganoff recipes I've encountered on the web. Those recipes often have mustard or dill in them, which I decided to try this time.

Here's the quick and dirty summary of what I did:
-Brown the beef in batches in a bit of oil
-Briefly saute a chopped onion, then add sliced mushrooms and cook for a while.
-Deglaze the pan with beef broth. Add back the meat, along with some dried mushrooms, black pepper, and enough broth to cover.
-Simmer for a while to get the meat tender and reduce the liquid.
-Add some sour cream (1 to 1.5 cups). Salt to taste.
-Add a tsp of dijon mustard and 1/4 tsp dill.
-Served on white rice.

It was okay. I liked the mustard addition, though I'd use slightly less next time. The dill didn't do much for me here.

I served this with Balsamic Brusslesprouts, using a recipe from Serious Eats that I had been meaning to try. I very nearly followed the recipe! I stirred in a bit of cold butter to finish the sauce at the end. The result: well it depends on how you feel about brussle sprouts and Balsamic vinegar. If you don't like sprouts, this recipe might be for you, since you couldn't really taste them. If you don't like balsamic vinegar, this recipe is definitely not for you, as that was all you could taste. While I like balsamic vinegar, I don't like it *that* much. I'm currently trying to learn to like brussle spouts. (I've read that it can take 10 exposures to learn to like a vegetable. This is my 5th attempt at brussle sprouts since I've read that.)

I also served it with some roast squash mixed with butter, salt, and a bit a cardamom. (Yes the flavors don't go together, but I like cardamom!)

Over all, edible but not fantastic.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year's Chili (& other goodies)

For New Year's Eve I held a board gaming party that started at 5pm and went until about 2:30 am. I made a ton of food for it, the main course being chili, since I'm swimming in ground beef.

My chili recipe:
  • 3 lb ground beef
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 large cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 to 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 large guajillo pepper
  • cumin (1-2TBs?)
  • ancho chili powder (1-2TBs?)
  • chipotle chili powder (2-3TBs?)
  • cinnamon (1/2 tsp?)
  • cocoa powder (1 tsp?)
  • salt
Brown the meat in batches, and sautee the onions & garlic in batches as well. deglaze the pan with a bit of broth. Add everything together and simmer for a while. I cooked it for a few hours, but that was simply because I made it early in the day and left it on the stove on low while getting ready for the party. The spice amounts are guesses -- adjust for your taste.

I served the chili with cornbread (which turned out too dry for my taste), sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions. I also had baked potatoes that could be topped with chili.

The chili went over well, though the big hit was picklewiches -- dill pickles smeared with cream cheese, wrapped in corned beef and sliced into rounds. I served veggies (carrots, celery, red peppers, greek olives) and pita with dips. I made hummus and Tsatsiki. While I used the same recipe as always for the Tsatsiki, for some reason it was quite bland this time. My best guess is that it was the cucumber, since I used a hot house cucumber as I can't get cucumbers from the Farmer's Market in January.

For sweets, I made Aztec Bark and cookies. The bark was a spiced chocolate with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds). The nuts were definitely appreciated -- next time I'll add extra. The chocolate wasn't quite as popular as I expected, but I think it just got lost in all the other food.

I made refrigerator cookies a few days in advance and baked them up the day before. This recipe is for a base and then you mix in different flavors. Orange cranberry was the most popular of the three I made. I used the zest of four clementines, 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, and vanilla extract. The lemon poppy seed cookies(zest of 2 lemons, 1/4 c poppy seeds, lemon extract) were also good. The coconut chocolate chip (1/2 chocolate bits, almond extract, rolled in coconut flakes) did not turn out as well as I hoped. The almond extract overpowered things I think. I wanted to use coconut extract but I couldn't find any at the grocery store.

Over all the cookies were a bit sandy, which is to be expected for shortbread style cookies. I found the dough to be a bit dry -- it didn't want to stick together when I made the logs. Mixing it a little longer helped with that. The picture of the cookies at smitten kitchen shows lovely cookies. Mine all got brown on the bottoms. At first I thought it was just baking on too low of a rack, but even moving them up a shelf didn't help. (Next time I'll try the very top rack.) I tried pulling them out early, before they browned but the cookies hadn't set yet and had to go back in. I don't know why I have this problem. However, even slightly browned they were tasty.

Along side all these goodies I also had some cheese (soft goat, castello blue, and a double gloucester with chives), since I had a new cheese board and knives to use. The only special drink I served was hot apple cided. I put fresh cider in the crockpot along with some thin apple slices, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, a smashed nutmeg and a few dashes of cloves and allspice. Turned it on a high for a hour or so before the party and let it go all night, refilling as necessary. It was quite popular.

Hope you have a fun and food fill new year!