Category: Beef

Pasta Bolognese

I made this entire pot of bolognese for myself. Me, myself, and I [and maybe a little bit to Roma] could be found often eating it off plates, bowls, at the kitchen counter, straight out of the pan, in sweats on the couch, or at a normal place setting. All I was missing was candlelight. It’s safe to say this stuff is delicious. Felicia turned me on to this whole “frying leftovers in butter” thing. How did I not know about this? How? I feel like I’ve really missed out on a lot of pasta leftovers.

There should be candles of the scent this makes as it’s slow cooking in your kitchen. This is not like sauce out of a jar, no sir. It’s anything but. The rough and rustic nature of it makes it easy. Chop, brown, simmer. Delicious. I almost bought bread to go with it because who doesn’t like dipping bread in bolognese, but it seemed excessive since I was pretty much guaranteed to be eating a pound of pasta by myself. No shame.

Tasting the sauce as you go is essential to getting a sauce that you’ll happily shovel into your face. Tomatoes can be fickle. Sometimes they’re sweet. Sometimes they’re acidic. Throw in a whole bunch of cabernet and it’ll release its own sweetness. I found I wanted absolutely zero sugar in this. The tomatoes were plenty sweet on their own. I think about this bolognese fondly and on most weekends. It’s easy to throw together and let it simmer away. Cue the growling stomach.

Inspiration: Love.Life.Eat

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2lb ground beef [I went with 5% fat since the pork is pretty fatty at my store]
  • 1/2lb ground pork
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
  • 28oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups Cabernet or other red wine [sub beef stock if you don’t have/want wine]
  • 6 sprigs of oregano, leaves removed
  • sugar, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1lb dried pasta

Preparation

In a large pot, heat the olive oil on high heat. Add the beef and pork and a heavy pinch of salt and pepper. Break it up and brown it.

While it browns, add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to a food processor and pulse them until they’re finely chopped and the same size. Add the wine to the pan with the meat once it’s cooked through to scrape up the tasty bits that have surely formed. Add the vegetable mixture and cook for another 5-6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, and oregano. Simmer everything together. Taste for salt and pepper before covering. Simmer for about four hours. The longer the better. Stir it once every hour or so.

Once you’re content with the sauce, make the pasta according to package directions. Drain it and reserve about a cup of the pasta water in case the sauce thickens too much [mine didn’t]. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. Taste for more salt and pepper.

 

Vietnamese Beef Stew

Man. I cannot begin to describe how good this recipe smells. If you’re at all a fan of Vietnamese food. Make this. Make this now. I remember thinking that I don’t care if it even tastes good. That smell. My god the smell. It comes together quickly. Even if I didn’t use the mandolin to slice up the two onions in record time, it would still be quick. I managed to slow my impatience and actually brown the beef in batches since my Dutch oven couldn’t accommodate two pounds worth. I know how much a difference it makes to texture and flavor, but I’m usually so dang lazy. This actually yielded leftovers for our bottomless stomachs that I happily ate the next day.

vietnamese-stew

Inspiration: Tasting Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2lbs beef chuck, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • salt
  • sliced baguette for serving

Preparation

In a large Dutch over, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Sear the beef on all sides. If you have to do this in batches [I did], do it. It’s necessary for all of that flavor. Once all of the beef is browned, put it all in the pot. Add the jalapeno, star anise, and cinamon sticks and cook, stirring often, until fragrant. That should take about 2 minutes and then your mind will be blown. This is the quinessential smell of Vietnamese food. It makes the house smell awesome.

Add the fish sauce and stir it into the mixture. Use the spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the beef goodies. Pour in the beef stock and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing it to a simmar and covering the pot with a lid. Cook until the beef is tender. It should take a little over an hour.

Add the carrots and cook with the lid off until the carrots are tender—about 10 minutes. taste for salt. Shred the beef with a couple forks before serving.

Serve in bowls with the baguette.

Bánh Mì Hot Dog

The grill was in full effect this weekend. Back-to-back 100 degree days will force you outside. We’re some of the lucky souls with air conditioning, but when it’s that hot, it struggles. Nothing says ‘holy crap, it’s hot out’ quite like grilling several pounds of marinated pork, sipping copious amounts of Pacifico with lime, and eating your weight in tacos, chips, and salsa.

I seek out hot dogs very infrequently, but when I want one, I want one. Corn dogs are a totally different animal. It’s hard to say no to those. They’re a weakness. I fall into two very different camps regarding hot dogs. It either has to be unbelievably simple—Bun. Dog. Mustard.—or they have to be interesting. Like this dog.

I’m a sucker for a bánh mì. A bánh mì is a Vietnamese sandwich. They usually are simple with a meat or tofu, crunchy veggies or pickled veggies, and a crunchy little baguette. There is a food cart downtown by the office that has them for $3. Well, they did. They closed up for awhile and came back as something else but the menu looked similar the last time I walked by. The freshness of the ingredient, the crispness of the veggies, and the spiciness of the sauce are the best parts. It translates well to a hot dog.

Bahn Mi Hot Dog

Inspiration: Real Simple

Ingredients

  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 buns
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped

Preparation

In a small bowl, whisk together the sriracha and mayonnaise.

Heat grill on medium high heat. Place dogs across the grate. Roll the dogs after a minute or two when the grill marks show up.

Optional: grill the buns

Spread the spicy mayonnaise mixture on the buns. Layer the hot dogs, sliced cucumber, and shredded carrots. Drizzle on more sauce as you see fit. Top with chopped mint.

Mexican Alambre

The Mexican market by our house upped it’s game tenfold. The new management is transforming this small corner store into a legit market. The meat counter alone is enough reason to go. Cactus being the second. The only thing that would make this place even sweeter would be a bakery, but I really don’t need all of that. More marinated meats please. The price and quality meet at an intersection that makes your mind explode. Every time we get something from there, we’re doing a double-take at the price. It just doesn’t feel right, but I’m not going to complain.

Having access to Mexican chorizo is worth its weight in gold. There aren’t substitutes for it. When you remove it from the casing, the stuff at the corner market cooks down into an almost liquid form of spicy goodness. This dish was inspired by La Cocina. It’s like fajitas but made better. It takes everything I love about them [meat and veggies and adds even more meat, more veggies [cactus], and generous amounts of Oaxaca cheese. Be still my heart. You can make tacos out of them, obviously, but I’m much more into shoveling it in by the forkful. Tortillas just take up stomach space.

Mexican Alambre

Inspiration: Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1lb thinly sliced steak
  • 1lb chorizo, casing removed
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup strips of nopales [cactus], rinsed and drained if using the jarred variety
  • 1-2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 4oz+ Oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • tortillas for serving

Preparation

Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the steak and brown on all sides before removing from heat to a paper towel lined plate. Add the chorizo. Break it up. When it’s halfway cooked, add the vegetables. Cook until tender. Add the remaining steak. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Stir in or place under a broiler to melt. Serve with the tortillas. Or with a fork. Fingers work well too.

Blue Cheese Pasta with Spinach

We spent Valentine’s Day doing the things we normally do. Soccer game. Laundry. Eating. Food coma induced naps. This is the life.

We ate at Por Que No? Taqueria for tacos, red beers, chips and guac and followed it up with drinking chocolate and churros at 180. It sounds romantic, I know, but we do this kind of thing regularly. Why save it for one day? On a slightly unrelated note, this chocolate bar is the key to Andrew’s heart, in case you were wondering. And now I wish I hadn’t gone to their website. They had a small, perfectly good selection at WM Goods, but now I want ALL OF THEM. Sigh. Sometimes too much information is a bad thing. Trying a new-to-me pizza place tonight, Pizza Jerk, because pizza.

We made this pasta dish a few times now [and by we, I mean I made and we ate and he cleaned up], and it’s turning more and more into a vehicle for making steak this way. A little simple cast-iron action. It’s the only way to go when I’m too lazy to get outside on the grill, which has been a lot these days. This is a sneaky way to eat an entire 5oz container of spinach in one sitting and not realize it. It breaks down against heat of the pasta and you hardly taste it with the love-it-or-hate-it taste of blue cheese or gorgonzola. It’s so delightfully simple—cheese and pasta water. I’ve tried it with a few different pastas. It benefits from something with nooks and crannies. It captures that cheese sauce better. From there chopped nuts, fresh cracked pepper, or red chile flakes are yours to experiment. With the sliced steak, I found it didn’t need much else. The steak juices would get caught in those same pasta nooks. So good.

[sorry mom! blue cheese AND medium-heavy-on-the-rare steak]

Blue Cheese Pasta with Steak

Inspiration: The Splendid Table

Ingredients

  • 8oz pasta, trottole or other curly pasta
  • 4oz gorgonzola or blue cheese
  • 4-5oz container of baby spinach
  • grilled steak, chicken, or other protein for serving

Preparation

Bring your pot of salted pasta water to a boil. Make sure you use a pot that has a lid. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions minus 2-3 minutes. It should still be very dente so it can continue cooking with the sauce.

Reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining the pot. Return the pasta to the pot and add the cheese, 1/4 of the pasta water, and the spinach. Stir to combine and cover. The heat will melt the cheese and wilt the spinach. Now is a good time to cook your protein.

After a few minutes stir the pasta and add more water as necessary. I end up using at least half, sometimes more. The spinach will stick together which is mildly irritating, but ultimately ok. Season with fresh cracked pepper before serving.