Category: Beef

Curry with Beef Kofta and Spinach

Remember when I said I was eating out too much? Yeah, just when I think I’m ready to give it up I have two back-to-back meals that rank high up in that realm of “best ever.” It’s been awhile since I’ve been that excited.

Kachka – it was a ‘not-a-date’ night with my friend Jenny. Our catch-up nights always involve dinner somewhere and we end up parking ourselves at a table for a good three hours. I don’t think we’ve ever been disappointed, and Kachka was no different. It’s getting a lot of good press in the food world [Bon Appétit and NY Times, for example], but we managed to get a table without a reservation or a wait. I was really surprised. My knowledge of Russian food is limited, but as usual, I don’t really care about authenticity [although, I hear they hit the mark]. Does it taste good? I’m sold. We opted for their Ruskie Zakuski Experience, which is a sampling of nearly all of their cold small plates, and an order of the cabbage rolls. The food is very smoked fish heavy, and it was so, so, so, so good. Highlights = Baltic Sprat Buterbrodi [tiny smoked fish, parsley mayo, pumpernickel toast], beet cured king salmon, and Herring ‘Under a Fur Coat’ [7-layer salad of herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayo, eggs]. My mouth watering just thinking about it. We finished dinner with Russian style ice cream sandwiches made with wafers, black currant tea milk caramel, and hazelnuts. We were talking so much that the ice cream started to melt, but it reminded me so much of an airy, less sweet, cold marshmallow fluff. Everything is better with black currant tea milk caramel.

Kukai Ramen & Izakaya – best. ramen. ever. Not that I’ve had that many bowls of ramen, but I like to think I just save my experiences for the good stuff. Their locations are in the NW, Taiwan, and Japan. Sounds legit enough for me. The garlic tonkatsu shoyu ramen has a thick, rich, garlicky broth. The noodles don’t clump together and have a great texture. Those seasoned half-boiled eggs are the things dreams are made of. I could eat just a bowl of those. Seriously good stuff. I see now, though, why they offer a low sodium version of the broth. It didn’t taste extraordinarily salty, but my god could I feel it later. Sausage fingers. Worth it.

Beef Kofta Spinach Curry

The curry in this recipe is much more Indian than Thai. Garam masala will do that. This is a ridiculously simple curry to throw together. I’m always intrigued when a curry doesn’t have coconut milk. It’s a nice change to get the full on flavor of the spices. It has a whole mess of spinach in it, too, which I will never be bummed about. I could eat spinach all the time. The meatballs come together easily without a binder of some kind, but don’t suffer from texture issues. The key is to brown them, and I mean really brown them, before rotating them in your hot skillet. I’ve learned to resist the urge to move them even though I  want to. If I think they’re ready, I know I need to wait a little longer. This ensures extra flavor while keeping the meatballs together.

The meatballs don’t stew in the curry sauce for that long. It’s a quick and easy meal in that respect. If you want to infuse more flavor, and you have more time on your hands, feel free. It ends up smelling really good, though, so it’s hard to justify waiting.

Inspiration: Fuss Free Cooking


  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 10oz frozen spinach
  • 1 cup of water
  • salt, pepper
  • diced chilies, cilantro, rice for serving


In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of garam masala and the teaspoon of turmeric. Mix until smooth. Set aside.

In another bowl, add the ground beef, the other tablespoon of garam masala, and a heavy pinch of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until combined. Using an ice cream or cookie scoop [or, you know, your hands], roll out little meatballs of a uniform size — approximately a tablespoon. Heat a pan on medium high heat. Space the meatballs out in an even layer. Do this in batches if your pan is too small. Allow the meatballs to brown fully before moving. Set the meatballs aside.

In the meatball pan, add the the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Turn the heat down to low and add the grated ginger and garlic. Stir quickly and often so it doesn’t burn. Add the turmeric/garam masala mixture to the pan. Sauté for about two minutes.

Add the tomato paste and sauté for another couple of minutes. It should darken in color. Add the chopped spinach and water. Bring the water to a boil before turning the heat back down to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid. Allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up the frozen spinach if it’s been clumped together. If the curry starts to get dry, add more water. After 10 of the 30 minutes have elapsed, add the meatballs. Try to submerge them as much as possible. Cover and simmer for the remaining 20 minutes.

Now is a great time to make rice if you haven’t.

After 30 minutes, check the curry. Taste for chile flakes or salt. Serve the curry and meatballs with rice. Top with any of your garnishes.


Unstuffed Peppers

Sometimes you just want a one-pot meal. I’m pretty sure the crock-pot is the ultimate one-pot meal, but that requires planning and foresight that I just don’t have most of the time. I’ve been getting better. Expect some crock-pot meals to come, but until then there are these.

This is what happens when you unstuff a bell pepper. It’s practically what I do when I’ve ever made/eaten stuffed ones anyway. Sure they’re pretty all on your plate perched high and stuffed full of whatever goodness, but one cut and it’s on its side anyway. Then you have to cut up the pepper with each bite so you get enough pepper with every bite. Cooking it up this way ensures you’re increasing your fork to face time. Who doesn’t like making something a little easier every now and then?

Inspiration: Budget Bytes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2lb ground beef
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, diced
  • 15oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce


Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the garlic for a minute or two. Add the ground beef. Break up into small pieces as it browns. Add the diced bell pepper and cook until soft—about 3-5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes to the pan, including the juice. Stir in the rice, basil, oregano, some pepper, and the beef broth. Bring the whole mixture to a boil before turning down to a low simmer. Cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. The rice should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed. Stir in the tomato sauce and worcestershire sauce.

Taste for salt and more pepper before serving.

Chili-Glazed Meatloaf Sandwiches

It somehow seems vaguely inappropriate to be posting about meat for Valentine’s Day.

[PS – if someone wants to buy me this, feel free]

While I’m not planning on celebrating the ol’ day-o-love, I am planning on going out to dinner. Why? Because I’ll be hungry. My hunger doesn’t stop just because it’s February 14th. I’m hoping to re-create equally hilarious Valentine’s Day dinners gone by that involve completely empty, fully decorated Thai restaurants where the owners thought Andrew dined and ditched me or Ethiopian restaurants that insist on a someone playing love ballads on a Casio keyboard. I cannot make this stuff up. These are the kinds of things that happen when you don’t try to make things happen, and I’m all the better for it. Memories, people, memories.

This meatloaf is my new favorite meatloaf [sorry, mom]. This meatloaf reached high honors from Andrew, especially when I pan fried a thick slab of the leftovers and threw it between fresh rosemary focaccia, sliced Manchego cheese, and sautéed mushrooms. Ah-mazing.

You use grated potato and crushed Ritz crackers as your binder. Genius, I say. I kind of thought the potato might be a little too wet, and I did have a lot more liquid than I was used to when it baked out, but it definitely wasn’t a problem. It didn’t make things soggy or affect the taste. It was dang delicious. The chili ketchup can be as spicy as you want it, since you’re mixing it yourself, but it really doesn’t bring much in the way of heat. If you’re thinking a two pound meatloaf is ridiculous for two people like I did, make it anyway. Meatloaf sandwiches are the best thing ever. EVER.

Inspiration: Things We Make


  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 1 potato, peeled and grated [about the size of a baseball — how’s that for accurate]
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 ounces melted butter
  • 2 ounces milk
  • 1/4 cup chili ketchup [mix hot sauce with ketchup]
  • 130g of Ritz crackers, crushed [if you don’t have a scale, do some simple math based on the number of grams on the box]
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 9″x5″ bread pan with foil. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together except for a tablespoon or two of the ketchup. Only when it’s thoroughly combined, squish the contents into the pan and flatten it out with your hands. Place into the oven for 90 minutes. If you’re worried about leaking, place a baking sheet underneath it. I didn’t have any issues, though.

The internal temperature of a meatloaf should be about 160°. I’m convinced that checking for this more so than the timing contributed to the best texture. When you pull it out, brush the remainder of the ketchup while it’s still hot.

Eggplant Curry with Beef

Nothing confirms my lust for traveling like 21° weather and a ton of wind watching Vimeo videos on a city. The travel bug is biting hard. September feels like so long ago, so I’m itching to get back out there and see the world. I think we’ve nailed down the trip this year, but I need to get some clearance first [new job and all that]. Stay tuned! What travel plans do you have this year?

This curry recipe came straight from a magazine in Thailand. I can’t remember where we were when it was taken. Airport maybe? Coffee shop? Maybe Andrew remembers. Regardless, it was calling my name the second Andrew forward me the photo one night. “Maybe this tonight?” Uh, yes. Happening.

It makes me feel better about the simplistic recipes that I find on the sides of imported Thai curry containers. I always wonder if they’re dumbing things down for our tastebuds, but this recipe is nearly the same [unless of course the magazine is in on the joke..]. The only real change I made was using Massaman curry paste instead of green curry paste. My curry paste stockpile is getting unacceptably low. I refuse to buy it across the street when it could easily warrant a trip out to Fubonn. Having a legit recipe also enticed me to actually buy kaffir lime leaves. I always hoped it didn’t make a difference, but it does. It’s not a mind-altering change, but anyone who eats enough Thai food would notice the new layer of flavor. I guess I didn’t go out of my way to get palm sugar. Brown sugar works just fine. 


  • 1lb flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons curry paste
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 eggplant, cubed [mine was about 8″ long]
  • 2-3 thai chilies, sliced
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup sweet basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • rice or noodles to serve


Preheat your high walled pan on medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles loudly, add the oil. When it starts to shimmer, stir in the curry paste. It will soak up the water and smells fragrant. Add half of the coconut milk and stir the paste around until it changes color. Add the beef, lime leaves, cooking the beef until it’s cooked through. Increase heat and bring the milk to a boil. Add the remaining coconut milk, palm sugar, and fish sauce. When it starts to boil, toss in the eggplant. When the eggplant is done cooking, you’re ready to eat. Depending on these size of your cubes, it’ll take about 10 minutes to cook through. Sprinkle with the basil and chilies before serving.

Meatballs and Gravy over Arugula

More arugula! Who is surprised?


Didn’t think so.

There is even a container of it in the fridge right now. So much love for arugula. Easily as much as I love meatballs. If you make sure to use gluten-free oats, pretty sure this constitutes a gluten-free recipe for those of you keeping track at home.

This might be the easiest meatball recipe to date. Granted these were pretty easy too. Probably a hair easier just because of the lack of browning and less ingredients. I’ll let you choose. The key here is getting a sauce you really like. That’s the only “meh” part, which inspired the whole arugula thing. Arugula makes everything better. Everything.

Inspiration: Cupcakes for Breakfast


  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats, pulsed into a coarse powder
  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Heat a large Dutch oven on medium high heat. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, Parmesan, parsley, egg, garlic, and rolled oats. Add a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix thoroughly. Roll them into 15-18 balls. place each ball into the pot, evenly spaced out. Let them brown on each side for 4-6 minutes. Once all sides are browned, pour in the tomatoes. Bring them to a boil. Add some more salt and pepper. Use some chili flakes if you’re into that sort of thing. Reduce the heat to medium to medium low and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Longer will produce more flavor. Make sure to scrape up the meatball bits and pieces as they cook. Serve over arugula or with crusty bread. Or both.