Tag Archives: beef

Week of April 13, 2015

Guess what? We’re moving! Our landlord announced that she would be putting our apartment up for sale this week. JW and I talked seriously about buying it ourselves, and although we would have loved to it just didn’t seem realistic in our timeline of where we want to be in 2, 3 or 4 years from now. So, *sigh*, we are sad to leave our little nest, but we’re both really excited about getting a fresh start in a (much bigger!) beautiful, bright new apartment a few blocks from where we live now. We’ll have a second bedroom! And hardwood floors! And — a backyard! I could have an herb garden!! ♥

Monday – Spicy beef tortillas


The fillings for the tortillas are loosely based on this recipe.


  • 3/4 pound flank steak or other beef, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 tsp each, cumin and dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Avocado
  • Tortilla wraps


  1. Mash the avocado with the juice of 1/2 lemon. Set aside.
  2. Julienne the cucumber and carrot, and toss with the remaining lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large, deep skillet or wok over a medium-high flame. Add a drizzle of oil. When it starts to shimmer, add meat, peppers, fish sauce, salt, cumin and thyme. Toss to combine and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Spread the mashed avocado on a wrap, and fill with meat mixture and vegetables. Wrap up tight and enjoy.

Tuesday – Salmon pie with rice crust

Photo cred: Eggs.ca

I have made this recipe a couple of times. It’s a great go-to recipe when you have leftover rice on hand (as I do this week), or leftover fish or crab meat. I love the crispy rice crust – it’s particularly good with brown rice, I find.


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rice, cooled
  • eggs
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2/3 cup fat free evaporated skim milk
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried dill)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • can salmon, drained
  • 3/4 cup shredded light Swiss cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Spray 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate with cooking spray. Stir rice and one whisked egg together in medium bowl. Press rice mixture into bottom and up side of pie plate.
  3. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Whisk remaining eggs, evaporated milk, dill, salt and pepper in large bowl. Stir in onion mixture, salmon and half of cheese. Spread over rice crust. Top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated 375°F oven until knife inserted in centre comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Wednesday – Lemon chicken breasts with cauliflower rice

Photo cred: Food Network

I have been wanting to try cauliflower rice for awhile. I found this great tutorial — it couldn’t seem easier. Perfect to go with lemon chicken breasts.



  • 1 head cauliflower

Lemon chicken

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon



  1. Clean the cauliflower and chop into florets. Put florets into a food processor and pulse until the pieces resemble grains of rice.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F. Spread cauliflower rice out on one or more baking sheets (depending on how much you have) into a single layer. Don’t make yourself crazy about the single layer thing, you just don’t want to crowd the pan or it will steam and remain moist. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping the “rice” at least 1x. Remove, serve and Enjoy!

Lemon chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.
  3. Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.
  4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Thursday – Garlicky swiss chard & chickpeas

Photo cred: Foodie Crush

This recipe came in my veggie basket this week, and I think they got it here.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 bunches swiss chard, center stems cut out and discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional


  1. In a larges skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of hte chard and cook, 1 to 2 minutes. When the first half has wilted, add the remaining chard. When all of the chard is wilted, add the chicken broth. Cover the skillet and cook the chard until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the chard through a fine sieve (strainer) and set it aside.
  2. Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until they are softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chard and chickpeas and cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Drizzle the lemon juice over the mixture and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top just before serving, if desired.

Friday – Ramen

Photo cred: Chatelaine

I liked the potential versatility of this recipe — you could add whatever meat, fish or vegetables you wanted.


  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 85-g pkgs ramen noodles
  • 2 cups frozen edamame, thawed and shelled
  • 4 cups pea sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced


  1. Place chicken breasts on a cutting board. Cover with a large piece of wax paper. Using a rolling pin or mallet, pound thickest part until chicken has an even thickness. Transfer to a pie plate.
  2. Whisk rice vinegar with soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Pour 1⁄4 cup sauce over chicken, coating evenly. Reserve remaining sauce for noodles.
  3. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium. Add chicken and cook until springy when pressed, 6 to 8 min per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 min, then slice into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Cook ramen noodles, following package directions but omitting seasoning packet, until tender, 3 to 4 min. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well and return to pot. Stir in reserved sauce, edamame, pea sprouts, green onions and chicken.

Week of December 15, 2014

JW and I are going home for the holidays next week. I am really looking forward to all the good food I’ll be eating (my mom is hosting a World Tapas potluck, and of course we’ll be eating lots of turkey!). I’m likely to be having my share of not-so-good food as well… JW has been talking for weeks about Ashton’s Poutine — it’s been his tradition for years that the first thing he does upon arriving to Quebec City is get an Ashton poutine (literally, the. first. thing.). I guess I’ll be getting back to the gym in January!

I’m in that period where I’m trying to use up as much as possible of what’s in our fridge before we leave. I managed to track down a couple of recipes that should help me get through what’s left of my veggie basket etc.

Also, this is going to be my last post until we return on January 4th, so Happy Holidays!

Monday – Deconstructed stuffed cabbage

Photo cred: Skinny Taste
Photo cred: Skinny Taste

I have three heads of cabbage a I need to use ASAP — they keep showing up in my weekly baskets, and I never knew what to do with them until I found this recipe over at Skinny Taste. I’m excited about this one because I actually love stuffed cabbage rolls, but they’re so time-consuming to make that I seldom try. Can’t wait to see how this recipe turns out!


  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 heads green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat; add ground beef and cook until it’s browned and cooked through, breaking it apart as it cooks. Remove ground beef and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1 tsp olive oil, chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika and cook about 2 minutes more. Then add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and ground beef. Add water to the pan. Simmer until it’s hot and slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. While it simmers, cut cabbage in half, cut out the core, and remove any wilted outer leaves; chop the cabbage coarsely into 1 inch pieces. Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven; add the cabbage and cook over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
  4. When the meat and tomato sauce mixture has cooked and thickened a bit, stir in the 2 cups of cooked rice and gently combine.
  5. In the dish, layer half the cabbage, half the meat mixture, remaining cabbage, and remaining meat mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.
  6. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese (if using). Bake uncovered an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown. Serve hot.

Tuesday – Hmong chicken stir-fry

I kind of made up this recipe. It’s inspired by one I’ve made before, which I found over at Blue Kitchen, however I didn’t want to use beef so I integrated a few ideas from a similar chicken-based recipe over at Organic Valley.


  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 10-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped, loosely packed cilantro
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 medium cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsps fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Wash the chicken breast and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil to medium hot. Add the garlic and chicken and stir-fry until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, oyster sauce and fish sauce and stir-fry for 2 or 3 more minutes, until the flavors are combined.
  3. Add cabbage, cilantro, tomatoes and green onions and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes more. Serve hot over rice.

Wednesday – Vegetarian curry

Photo cred: Pinch of Yum

This, I love: a straightforward, no-fuss recipe for something tasty that I’m bound to love, using only 5 ingredients and can be prepared in 15 minutes. Thank you, Pinch of Yum!


  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsps red curry paste
  • 2 small heads broccoli (and/or other veggies of choice)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsps cold water


  1. Saute broccoli (and onion/garlic if you wish) in a tablespoon of oil. After a few minutes, add the coconut milk and let simmer for 5-8 minutes. The broccoli should soften but still be tender-crisp.
  2. Add the curry paste to the pan and whisk it until it combines with the coconut milk. Add the chickpeas.
  3. Bring to a slight boil and add the cornstarch. Boil for about a minute, then reduce heat and let cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as the mixture cools. Enjoy hot over rice.

Thursday – Leftovers pizza

I have a frozen ball of dough in the fridge, so I am planning to throw together a pizza with any leftover cabbage, meat or cheese from Monday; chicken stir-fry from Tuesday; and broccoli from Wednesday. I think I also have some sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge I should use… This is going to be one weird pizza!


  • 1 pizza dough (bought or home-made)
  • Leftovers from the week


  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Roll out pizza dough and brush with olive oil. Top with ingredients and bake for 15 minutes, or until toppings become golden.

Friday – Christmas dinner with colleagues

We have our last holiday get-together with people from work on Friday, so I won’t be cooking. I will, however, be bringing a box of cookies to the party — my last issue of Châtelaine had a series of fancy shortbread cookie recipes, and I must confess that I was so excited, and the recipes were so easy, that I made almost all of them. So now I have 20 dozen cookies (I’m not even exaggerating) that I need to give away — in the spirit of Christmas! 😉

Week of September 15, 2014

First week of teaching: Done! Thursday was my first class, and I’m happy about how it went. There were a few hitches at first – I couldn’t figure out how to get the projector working, and the class before me ran late by a few minutes so we got a late start as well – but ultimately it went very well. Most of the students (there are 18 enrolled) look interested and enthusiastic, which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting. I think it’s going to be a great semester! 🙂

On to cooking! When I found out what would be in my veggie basket this week, my first thought was, Huh. Cabbage, carrots, garlic, onion, lettuce, mini peppers, radishes and spinach. How uninspiring. But then I got to looking through my favorite blogs and cookbooks, and of course I quickly came across several classic autumn dishes that incorporate most of this produce. Plus, the weather is going to be chilly this week and I think I will very much look forward to coming home to some hot cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers.

Monday – Cabbage rolls

Photo cred: Smitten Kitchen

The original recipe is called “Alex’s mom’s stuffed cabbage” – anything that is anyone’s mother’s recipe must be worth trying. I’ve only simplified it a little, mostly to exclude ingredients I won’t have on hand this week.

1 head cabbage
1 pound ground beef
1 small to medium onion, chopped small
2 tbsps olive oil
1 carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 to 2 tbsps tomato paste
3 to 4 cups of your favorite simple tomato sauce, tomato juice or V8

1. Cut the core out of the cabbage but leave it whole. Place it, with the empty core area facing up, in a large bowl. Boil a small pot of water and pour the water over the cabbage and let it sit for ten minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onions until they are soft, add the carrot and celery and saute them until they are also soft. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Mix in the meat, rice and tomato paste and season again with salt and pepper.
3. Drain the head of cabbage. Pull off large leaves, cut out the large vein — if the leaf is very large, you can make two rolls from each, if it is smaller, you can cut the vein out partially and pull the sides to overlap before you roll it into one roll. Pat the leaves dry with towels. Roll about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling in each leaf (depending on the size of your leaf) and arrange in a large, wide pot. Pour in enough juice or sauce to cover the rolls. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat, letting them simmer covered on the stove on low for about 45 minutes. Serve immediately. If sauce has thinned a bit, you can heat up any additional sauce you didn’t use and pour it over as you serve the rolls.

Tuesday – Teany’s top secret chili

Photo cred: Cozy Kitchen

A friend of mine served me this vegetarian meal a few years ago, and I begged her for the recipe. I figured she wouldn’t give it to me, since she did say it was a “top secret chili” – but it turns out it’s available in Moby’s Teany cookbook (yes, Moby the recording artist. Weird, right?). Anyway, it’s really tasty. The two magic ingredients are the cocoa powder and the coffee – don’t skip them! My slightly adapted version makes a lot, and freezes really well.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup chopped garlic
8 oz. seitan, tempeh or tofu (or ground chicken or turkey if you don’t mind meat)
3/4 cup red peppers, chopped
3/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp crushed red chili peppers
1 tbsp chili powder
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/2 shot espresso or 1/4 cup strong coffee
4 cup crushed tomatoes w/ liquid
1/2 cup chopped cashews
2 cup kidney beans
2 cup white beans
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 cup carrots, cut into very small cubes
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until they are translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
2. Add the tofu (or whatever you’re using) and saute for 2 minutes, then add the red and green peppers. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add cumin, crushed red chili peppers, chili powder, cocoa powder, and espresso or coffee. Allow the spices to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, and then add the crushed tomatoes and cashews.
3. Once the mix is simmering, add the kidney beans, white beans, corn, salt, and pepper. Let the chili simmer on med-low heat until some of the liquid has evaporated and the chili is nice and thick (about an hour).

Wednesday – Stuffed peppers

Photo cred: wherefloursbloom.com

I’m excited to try this recipe. It’s slightly modified from an online Croatian cookbook I bought after my recent trip to Croatia. The recipes are so authentic, the English is barely decipherable (a lot of the recipes call for things like red vine, grained pepper, pig trotters) and many of them are to be cooked in a “camping pot” or “coal oven” (which of course I wish I had). I might have to settle for a regular pot and a regular oven.

8-12 small bell peppers
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground meat (mix of lamb and pork if possible – although ground beef is on special at my grocery store this week so I may use that)
1/2 cup rice
2  1/2 cups canned tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste
parsley & basil to taste
Olive oil

1. Rinse and deseed peppers. Set aside.
2. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and cook onions until they are translucent. Mix in meat, rice, salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir until the meat is browned and the rice is well-coated.
3. Fill peppers with meat &  rice mixture. Place peppers back into stockpot, and pour tomato sauce over the peppers to as to cover them. Season with salt  and basil. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.

Thursday – Chicken parmesan

Photo cred: www.momontimeout.com
Photo cred: www.momontimeout.com

I found this super easy, comfort-food recipe years ago, I can’t quite remember where but I think it was at Allrecipes.com. It’s still a favorite, especially as the weather gets cooler. I’ve modified it slightly to include the spinach from my basket.

2 chicken breasts, pounded to about 1 inch thick
2 tbsp of olive oil, plus extra for shallow frying
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 bunch fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup parmesan, grated

1. Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and gently cook for 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
2. Empty the can of chopped tomatoes into the pan and the oregano. Season and stir. Cook over a low/medium heat for 20-25 minutes until sauce is thick.
3. Meanwhile, coat the pieces of chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Next dip into the egg, and then finally dip into the breadcrumbs, ensuring the chicken is evenly covered.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. Heat enough olive oil for shallow frying in a frying pan. Fry the chicken on both sides until golden.
6. Place the chicken in a roasting tray and pour over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle over the grated cheeses and place in the middle of the oven. Bake until the cheeses have melted and the chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 mins.
7. Serve with mixed salad leaves, tossed in a little vinaigrette.

Friday – Mussels in white wine

Photo cred: vessysday.com

As you may have noticed, I typically like to make something a bit more special on Fridays. Like the Shrimp risotto from a couple of weeks ago, this recipe is relatively time-consuming, but so delicious and fun to prepare with a cooking partner while sipping a nice glass of wine.

3 pounds cultivated mussels
2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 1/2 tbsps minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
1/2 tsp good saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine
2 tsps kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Clean and de-beard the mussels, discarding any whose shells aren’t tightly shut.
2. In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of dry white wine.

Week of September 1, 2014

­Oh my goodness, it’s already September! Almost time to get out the autumn recipes… But not quite yet! You’ll see that the spirit of this week’s menu is still quite summery: tangy, spicy, and sour flavors.

Monday – Spicy lime chicken

Photo cred: All Recipes

I recently discovered this amazingly tasty, just-spicy-enough, incredibly easy (and FAST!) chicken breast recipe. The spices make a nice crust over the breasts while they cook, which locks in the juices so the meat doesn’t get dry. JW commented that this was “one of his favorite recipes I’d ever made”. Wow.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com.

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
2 limes, quartered

1. In a small bowl, mix together all the spices. Sprinkle generously on both sides of chicken breasts.
2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Serve with lime wedges and squeeze juice over the chicken. Serve over couscous or with steamed vegetables.

Tuesday – Teriyaki salmon with sautéed bok-choy

For a long time, bok-choy seemed to me to be essentially just spinach: slightly more exotic-sounding, but just as wet and soggy when cooked. Honestly, I didn’t care much for it — before I met JW. He has a way of sautéing it just so, leaving it crisp and fresh-tasting and just the perfect amount of salty. Now, I can’t get enough of it. With teriyaki salmon, it’s a delicious Asian-inspired meal.

1/2 teriyaki sauce
2 salmon filets
4 heads of bok-choy
Olive oil
3-4 tbsps soy sauce

1. Cut several slits into the salmon. Place the filets in a Ziplock bag with the teriyaki sauce and let marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
2. Cook the salmon in a preheated oven set to broil for 10-15 minutes. Pour some of the marinade over the filets several times while cooking.
3. Just before the salmon is done, heat the olive oil in a large wok. Throw in the bok-choy; it will start to crackle. Fry for about 1 minute, then drizzle with soy sauce. Fry for about 1 more minute. Leaves should be only slightly wilted. Serve with the salmon.

Wednesday – Hmong beef stir fry

Photo cred: Blue Kitchen

This was one of the first recipes I ever made when I moved into my first apartment all by myself. It quickly became a favorite – the tang of the fish sauce, the bite of the jalapeños, and oh so much cilantro! I recently discovered not everyone likes cilantro, though – you may want to omit it.

Taken almost verbatim from Blue Kitchen.

Canola oil for frying
3/4 pound flank steak or other lean beef
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced (reduce to 1 if you want less of a kick)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon each, cumin and dried thyme
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 medium cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 green onions, green and white parts, cut into 3-inch pieces
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat a large, deep skillet or wok over a medium-high flame. Add oil. When it starts to shimmer, add meat, peppers, fish sauce, salt, cumin and thyme. Toss to combine and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add cabbage and green onions and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes more.

2. Add cilantro, black pepper and tomatoes cook until tomatoes are just heated through and have released their juices. Serve over rice or Chinese noodles.

Thursday – Arugula salad with roasted beets & squash

Photo cred: Bare Beauty

A few months ago I bought a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good. Typically, I’m not a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s attitude towards food – she has a TON of restrictions that I simply can’t believe (“Everyone in my family is intolerant to gluten, cow dairy and chicken eggs”) – and extreme recommendations for losing weight (a glass of room temperature lemon water for breakfast, a kale smoothie for lunch, and watercress broth for dinner – omg!).  Nonetheless I tried about a dozen recipes from her book, and generally they were quite good. This salad takes the cake – the dressing is to die for.


2 large beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 cups)
6 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
6 oz. arugula
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Combine beets, squash, and shallots on the prepared pan and drizzle them with 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt and roast, stirring halfway through, until cooked through and nicely caramelized, 30-35 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together mustard, vinegar, and maple syrup while slowly drizzling in the olive oil.  Season to taste.
3. Place the arugula in a large bowl. When the roasted vegetables are ready, toss them with the arugula and the dressing. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds, and serve immediately. For a heartier meal, add some roasted chicken strips. If you want to keep it veggie, add a scoop of quinoa instead – it will soak up all the delicious dressing.

Friday – Shrimp risotto

I honestly can’t remember where I found this recipe, but it’s been in my “Favorites” folder for years. The only down-side is that it’s a little long to make – it takes nearly an hour for the rice to absorb all the broth – and you can’t go too far, because the risotto needs to be stirred regularly. But personally, I think it’s the ideal recipe for a Friday night, especially if you have a cooking partner: put on some jazzy music, open a bottle of wine, and sit in the kitchen chatting away about your week while the risotto simmers on the stove.

5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
6 tbsps butter
2 tsps minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (risotto) or medium-grain white rice
2 tbsps plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, if desired

1. Bring broth and 1/4 cup wine to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat; keep hot.
2. Melt 2 tbsps butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add half the garlic and crushed red pepper, then shrimp. Sauté until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup wine. Simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain shrimp, reserving cooking liquid.
3. Melt remaining 4 tbsps butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and remaining garlic; sauté until onion is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth mixture.
4. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding broth mixture 1 cup at a time, stirring often and simmering until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp cooking liquid. Cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. If desired, add parmigiano reggiano cheese and stir until melted and creamy.
5. Remove from heat. Stir shrimp and 2 tbsps parsley into risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls. Sprinkle with 2 tsps parsley.

Week of August 18, 2014

I’ve been feeling a little lazy recently. We’ve had guests over every weekend this month, and so by the time the week starts up again I’m a little out of breath. So for this week’s menu, I’m turning back to old favorites that are simple and straightforward.

Monday – Stuffed pork tenderloin & creamed green beans

There is literally nothing easier than this pork tenderloin. It’s barely even a “recipe” – it’s embarassingly simple, just something I pulled together one day a couple of years ago after I tasted (and loved!) a similar tenderloin I bought pre-stuffed with bruschetta at the grocery store. All you need is a tenderloin and a package of bruschetta. I typically prefer to make everything from scratch, but as I said this week I’m feeling lazy. I had some leftover feta from this weekend, so I added that in too.

1 or 2 pork tenderloins
1 package of store-bought bruschetta (or make your own)
100 g feta
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 °F.
2. Pat the pork dry and season with salt and pepper. Cut a deep incision lengthwise into the meat, but not all the way through.
3. Stuff the tenderloin with as much bruschetta and feta as will fit.
4. Tie the tenderloin with butcher’s string to keep the stuffing from spilling out.
5. Sear the meat in a hot pan until it’s golden brown.
6. Transfer to a roasting pan and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pork is cooked to your preferred doneness.

While the tenderloin is baking, make the creamed green beans. This recipe is adapted from Todd Porter & Diane Cu’s Bountiful cookbook.

1 lb green beans
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan and add the beans, cooking unti they are bright green (about 2-3 mins).
2. While stirring, add the cheeses and milk. Cook until the cheese is melted and the beans are tender. Sprinkle almonds over the beans and serve warm.

Creamed beans

Tuesday – Ricardo’s grilled lemon olive chicken

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It’s typically the meal I whip up when we have impromptu guests visiting, or when I’m feeling uninspired. It never disappoints – and the leftovers are even better.

4 skinless boneless skinless chicken thighs (you could use breasts, but thighs are much more tender and juicy)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, sliced and seeded
3 shallots, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup green olives, drained and pitted
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil and brown the chicken on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside on a plate.
3. In the same skillet, brown the slices of lemon on each side. Add oil as needed. Add shallots, garlic, spices and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
4. Deglaze with the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
5. Return the chicken to the skillet and add the broth. Bring to a boil.
6. Cover and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked, turning the chicken halfway through.
7. Serve with couscous or rice.

Lemon Olive Chicken
Photo cred: Ricardo Cuisine

Wednesday – Slow cooker roast with potatoes & carrots

Ah, the crockpot! The lazy cook’s best friend. I am going to attempt a new recipe I found over at We Got Real, that makes the most of the carrots and potatoes that will be in this week’s veggie basket. Just add a chunk of beef chuck and voilà!

1 4-5 lb beef roast
4-5 red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1 onion, skin removed and quartered
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1-1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 cup beef stock or water
salt and pepper to taste

1. Season roast with salt & pepper to taste. Place in crockpot.
2. Add garlic, oregano, and thyme evenly over the meat. Tuck the onion quarters, carrots and potatoes around the roast.
3. Add ½ cup beef stock/water and turn on low for 8 hours or high for 5 hours. Serve with rice.

Photo cred: We Got Real

Thursday – Whole Mediterranean sea bass & Lemony kale salad

There are few things that I enjoy more than whole grilled fish. Incidentally, the weather is supposed to be nice for a BBQ this Thursday! Score.

1 whole sea bass
1 bunch kale
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the grill.
2. Pat the fish dry. Coat generously with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Grill until crispy, about 15 minutes.
4. In a wok, heat some olive oil. Throw in the kale with a pinch of sea salt. Fry on med-high until the edges of the leaves begin to curl and get crispy. Squeeze the lemon juice over the leaves, sprinkle with Parmesan and serve warm with the BBQ’d fish.

Friday – Burst tomato galette with corn and zucchini

Last weekend my sister was visiting and I seized the opportunity to make something that I had been obsessing over for awhile – a galette. Essentially a galette is somewhere between a pizza and a pie – flaky, crusty, salty, open-faced goodness that’s sliced into wedges and eaten warm. The one I made for my sister was a variation on a zucchini & ricotta galette from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen. We packed it full of different types of squash and salty cheeses. It was amazing, and I instantly wanted to make another. Oh, what a coincidence: my best friend will be visiting this weekend! It’s the perfect excuse to try my hand at another of Deb’s Smitten Kitchen galettes, Burst Tomato Galette with Corn and Zucchini.

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbsps cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp coarse Kosher or sea salt
3 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
1 ear corn, cut from the cob (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini or summer squash, diced
1 bundle scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmesan

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Make dough: Whisk stir the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Make filling: Get down the saute pan with the lid. If you don’t have one, any large lid will do. Add olive oil, tomatoes, salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes (if that’s your thing) to your saute pan then cover and heat over high heat. Roll the tomatoes around from time to time so that they’ll cook evenly. In a few minutes, you’ll hear some putts and pops as the tomatoes burst a little. When most have, remove lid, turn heat down to medium and add zucchini chunks. Saute for two minutes, until they soften. Add corn and cook one minute. Add scallions, just stirring them in, then turn off heat. Adjust seasonings if needed. Transfer mixture to a large plate and spread it out, so that it will cool faster. You want it cooled to at least lukewarm before assembling the galette.

Assemble galette: Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round and it really doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; I like to fold my dough gently, without creasing, in quarters then unfold it onto the baking pan. Sprinkle tomato-zucchini-corn mixture with half of parmesan and spoon the mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. If any liquid has puddle in plate, try to leave it there as you spoon. Sprinkle with almost all of remaining parmesan, leaving a pinch or two behind for the crust. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze. Sprinkle glaze with last pinches of parmesan.

Bake the galette: For 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Corn galette
Photo cred: Smitten Kitchen