Archive for the Category ◊ Red Meat ◊

08 Oct 2011 Quesadilla Pie

Looking for something new for lunch? I have the perfect thing!  This lunch has to be baked, so it’s a great fall-winter recipe.  I found it at Simply Recipes awhile back .  Finding this recipe was a paradigm shift in lunches around here.

For me now it’s not so much a recipe, but a method.  I did make some changes to the recipe though,  mainly around baking time.  I don’t know why they cook their pie so long, the pie would be cracker crispy if baked for as long as they specify. Still, it would be good to go to the site, there are some good layering photos posted.

The only two ingredients needed for this pie are cheese and flour tortillas.  Everything else is up to you, what you like, and what you have on hand! (see the ingredient suggestion list).  Do you see the paradigm shift potential here?  It’s kind of like learning to make an omelet, or a sandwich, and realizing there are no limits to what you can do, every omelet could be different, every sandwich could be different, just every Quesadilla Pie can be different.

Yes. every time I make Quesadilla pie, it’s different, and every time I make it, it’s good. Sometimes it has three layers, other times five layers. Some times it’s all veggie-most of the time actually, and sometimes it’s a carnivore’s delight. The pie I have pictured here has a layer of spinach and cheese, a layer of fresh tomatoes (juiced, seeded, and chopped) and cheese, a layer of fresh spinach (no need to precook) and cheese, a layer of sauteed onions and zucchini and cheese, and a layer of corn and cheese. That’s five layers, and six tortillas.

Quesadilla Pie

  • 4 or 5 or 6 plate sized flour tortillas (9-10 inches diameter), depending on how many layers you want your pie to have!
  • A bit of butter (not optional)
  • Approx. 1/2 pound grated cheese-one kind, or a mixture based on what you have on hand, (Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Mozzarella are really good.  I usually blend a variety of cheeses-whatever I have in the refrigerator, and always add some Mozzarella (I like it’s “stringy” qualities!).  A bit of cheddar is OK when mixed in with other cheeses, but I find a lot cheddar results in an oily, soggy dish.  A pre-packaged, pre-shredded “Mexican Blend”  could be used, too.)
  • Choice of filling ingredients: (Each layer should have cheese plus one, maybe two, filling    ingredients. Don’t make each layer the same!)
  • fresh  spinach leaves; tomatoes, juiced, seeded and chopped (otherwise they make the tortilla soggy); sliced olives; sautéed/cooked zucchini; any leftover cooked veggie, diced (I’ve added broccoli, asparagus, sweet potato…); chopped and sautéed/cooked onions (yellow or red onions); chopped green onions; cooked mushrooms (if not sautéed first, they make the tortilla soggy); leftover cooked and cubed or shredded chicken, beef/steak, pork, sausage, bacon; cooked or canned green chiles; canned or cooked beans (black beans, pinto beans, pinquitos); fresh or frozen corn
  • Cumin and/or chili powder for extra heat, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a pie plate or quiche dish, (pie plate or quiche dish should be approximately the same size as your tortillas). Do not skip the butter.
  3. Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish. Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the tortilla. Use a generous portion of cheese. Add your chosen filling ingredient to this layer. If you want, sprinkle some cumin or chili powder on top for a spicier pie (probably  not necessary if you are using Pepper Jack and/or chilies).
  4. Repeat: tortilla, generous sprinkling of cheese, a chosen filling ingredient, and a sprinkle of optional cumin or chili powder. Make three or four layers, all stacked on top of each other.
  5. Butter the top of the final tortilla and place on top of your “pie”, buttered side up.
  6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  7. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and increase the heat to 375°F. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until the top tortilla is lightly browned and cheese is bubbly.
  9. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Cut into slices.  This pie is finger food (once it cools off a bit!).  It’s actually a bit difficult to eat with just a fork.
  11. Serves 2, 3, or 4 persons–depending on appetites and possible side dishes. We just eat, as-is, for lunch.
  12. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or avocado, if desired.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I hope  you and this recipe for Quesadilla Pie enjoy many happy years together!


23 Jul 2011 Beef Skewers

Meat on a stick! Is there anything better?  When I was pregnant with my first child, my cravings were iced tea, tomato soup, and “tasty chunks of beef”!  Twenty-six year later, I still crave tasty chunks of beef!

This is a very easy recipe, resulting is some mighty fine, Asian accented, “tasty chunks of beef”.  Chill the meat for 30 minutes, marinate for 30 minutes, grill and eat.  For a special treat serve with corn-on-the-cob, grilled veggies or a salad and some Bloomin’ Onion Bread!

When I was a single full time working mother of three children I was a master of freezer food.  This was one of my favorites.  Homebaked Chicken Nuggets were another.  I would buy two flank steaks and some skewers.  I’d unroll the flank steaks and then freeze for 30 minutes to make it easier to slice. At the same time I would soak the skewers in cold water.  Then I’d probably sit down with my feet up, an iced coffee and a good book while the the meat chilled and the skewers soaked, LOL!  A sense of humor is a wonderful thing!  More than likely during that thirty minutes I’d finish putting the groceries away, wipe up a spill, ask a telemarketer to put me on the no-call list, solve a kid dispute, feed the dog, move the laundry over, eat lunch and load the dishwasher …  ANYWAY, after thirty minutes I’d slice the beef and thread it onto the skewers.  Then I would layer the skewers into a shoe box sided plastic container.  I’d put wax paper between the layers, and freeze the whole box.  One box would last two or three months and provide plenty of yummy and quick week night main dishes…easily expandable to however many people were home.  Just take out 3-5 skewers per person.  Mix up the marinade.  Marinate the desired number of skewers for 30 minutes, then grill or broil!

Oh, and I often omit the sesame seeds, as I don’t care for them 🙂

Beef Skewers

  • 1 flank steak, approx 1.5 lbs, (unrolled) and slightly frozen (for about 30 min or so)
  • 30 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes)

Marinade

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sake (an opened bottle will keep 1 year in refrigerator)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated ginger (keep any leftover fresh ginger in baggie in freezer, when ready to use no need to defrost, just peel and grate!)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (toast in dry frying pan until fragrant)
  • 3 green onions sliced

  1. Slice flank steak, across the grain, into thin strips.  Thread meat slices onto skewers, accordion style. It’s easy!  Child’s play!  (NOTE: Meat on sticks can be frozen at this point. When ready to use, just remove from freezer.  Let defrost for as long as it takes to make marinade.  Then continue with recipe.)
  2. Combine soy sauce, sugar, and sake; stir well to dissolve sugar.  Add in garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and green onions.
  3. Pour over meat on sticks.  Marinate 30 minutes.
  4. Remove skewers from marinade.
  5. Grill over hot fire or broil for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Good hot, room temperature, and cold! I’ve served these as appetizers and as a main dish.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  I hope I have given you an idea for this weekend’s BBQ and for busy school night meals, too!

    06 Jun 2011 Flank Steak Pinwheels

    As I mentioned in my previous note, I’ve had a rough few months, so last Friday I invited my girlfriends over for a BBQ.  This much I know is true: nothing heals and rejuvenates more than a gathering of kind, funny, independent women.  And when you put kind, funny, independent women in a room with good food, some of it experimental, a bottle of wine, and five desserts…WOW!!!  We didn’t get up from the dinner table until 12:12 AM Saturday morning!!! I feel MUCH better!

    One of the experimental foods I tried was the Grilled and Stuffed Flank Steak from the Summer 2011 edition of Cook’s Illustrated “Summer Grilling” magazine (page 15).  Truth be told, the recipe was a bit of a hassle.  The flank steak had to be butterflied, then it had to be stuffed, then tied with string, then sliced, then skewered.  But, the recipe worked and it wasn’t hard.  I had fun making this, and the results were very pretty!  Perfect for a girlie BBQ!

    I am going to make these again.  I like special, fun, and pretty, and I don’t mind a bit of a hassle to get that.

    Flank Steak Pinwheels

    You’ll need some metal skewers and some kitchen string to assemble the pinwheels.  The pinwheels are meant to be grilled on either a charcoal BBQ or a gas grill.

    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 small shallot, minced
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
    • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 flank steak, 2 – 2 1/2 lbs.
    • 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
    • 4 oz. thinly sliced provolone cheese
    1. Freeze the flank steak for 30 minutes (slightly frozen flank steak is easier to butterfly).  Meanwhile, chop ingredients, assemble the stuffing in step 2, unwrap the prosciutto and cheese, and find the skewers, the kitchen string, and a ruler.
    2. Combine the garlic, shallot, parsley, sage and olive oil in a small bowl.
    3. Lay the partially frozen flank steak on a large cutting board, with the grain of the meat running parallel to the counter edge.  With a sharp knife, butterfly the flank steak, leaving 1/2 inch of uncut meat along the top edge of the meat.
    4. Open the meat and lay flat.  It will probably look like a raggy rectangle.  Cover the top of the meat with plastic wrap and then pound the meat with a meat mallet or small pan until the meat is a uniform thickness and the steak is roughly in the shape of a rectangle.
    5. Spread the herb mixture from step 2 over the flank steak.
    6. Lay the prosciutto evenly over the steak, leaving a 2 inch border along the top edge.  Layer the cheese over the prosciutto, again, leaving a 2 inch border along the top edge.
    7. Starting from the bottom edge of the pounded and garnished flank steak, and rolling away from you, roll the flank steak into a tight log and place seam side down on the cutting board.
    8. Now use your kitchen string and tie the rolled flank steak at one inch intervals. (Hint:  Use a ruler to measure the intervals.  You don’t want the string any more or any less than 1 inch apart).
    9. Now skewer the rolled flank steak near each string.  Depending on the size of your flank steak, you should  have about 8 pieces of string, so you will probably need 8 skewers and get 8 pinwheels to grill.
    10. Now slice the rolled and stuffed flank steak at one inch (or slightly smaller) intervals.  Be sure each slice–each pinwheel–is held together with a piece of string and a skewer.
    11. Grill the pinwheels until the center of the pinwheel registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  This should take approx 6 minutes of grilling time on the first side, and 5 minutes of grilling time on the second side–but of course this has a lot to do with the heat of your fire.
    12. Remove cooked pinwheels from the grill, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
    13. Remove skewers and string from pinwheels, and serve!

    I served the flank steak pinwheels with grilled artichokes, marinated Portobello mushrooms, and baked Hassleback potatoes.  The recipe for Hasselback potatoes is posted on my site, and in the next few days I will post my recipe for grilled artichoke and marinated Portobello mushrooms.  Send out the evite!  Have a BBQ this weekend.  Invite all your special friends and rejuvenate your spirit.

    Thanks for stopping by my (outdoor) kitchen today.

    P.S. This grilled entree is being added to the summer grilling link party at Family Fresh Cooking! Let’s get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France Cheese, Rösle, Emile Henry, ManPans and Rouxbe!

    19 Jan 2011 Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

    Depending on where you live, you may or may not have a proliferation of “Pho” restaurants in your community.  If you do have a Pho restaurant nearby, I encourage you to try it out.  You’ll be rewarded with a huge bowl of broth and noodles, to which you add fresh basil, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts, peppers, chili sauce, and freshly squeezed lime.  The broth is quite tasty, and with the addition of all the toppings, the Pho has a very fresh taste.   On your first visit to a Pho restaurant, stick to Beef Pho or Chicken Pho, with the parts of beef and chicken that you are familiar with.  There are some other types of Pho which might be a bit challenging to an uninitiated American palate.

    Having fond memories of Pho, I wanted to make it for myself.  I wanted to have a clear, rich, fat-free broth. I thought it would be great to have some of the broth on hand, and be able to boil it up and stir in some fresh ingredients whenever I wanted to.  I also think Pho would be a great dish to make ahead and then take to share with friends and family at a snow condo or beach house.   I found this recipe adapted from the cookbook Into the Vietnamese Kitchen at Steamy Kitchen.  It’s great!  I served it to seven friends, and three family members, and they all though it was great, too.  SCORE!

    Before you make this dish, you should know how to pronounce it, “pho”  is pronounced “fuh” and not “foo” or “foe” or “poe” or  “puh” — that’s fuh-sho’!

    If you have made your own chicken soup before, Pho is no more bother.  Follow the recipe below and make sure you buy good bones, start the day before, rinse and blanch the bones, have three hours to let the bones simmer. Then you can let the broth sit in the refrigerator overnight so that the hardened fat can be removed before finishing the pho.

    Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

    The broth

    • 2 onions, peeled, sliced across into 4 slices
    • 4″  of fresh ginger, peeled, halved lengthwise
    • 5-6 lbs of good beef  knuckle bones (beef shanks/knuckles $1.99/lb)
    • 6 quarts of water
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
    • 5 whole star anise
    • 1 cardamom pod
    • 6 whole cloves
    • 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
    • ¼ cup fish sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    In the soup bowls

    • 1 rice noodles (dried or fresh)
    • cooked beef from the broth
    • ½ lb flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thinly as possible.

    On the side

    • fresh mint leaves
    • fresh cilantro
    • sliced fresh basil
    • limes wedges (2)
    • 2-3 chili peppers, sliced
    • bean sprouts (about 1 lb)
    • Hoisin sauce
    • Sriracha hot sauce

    Char:

    Turn broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.

    Parboil the bones:

    Don’t skip this part! Fill your biggest pot (12-qt capacity would be ideal) with cool water. Boil water first, and then add the bones, keeping the heat on high. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the bones and rinse out the pot. Refill pot with bones and 6 qts of cool water. Bring to boil over high heat and lower to simmer. Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.

    Boil broth:

    Add ginger, onion, spices, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside. Continue simmering broth for another 1 1/2 hours. Strain broth and return the to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning – this is a crucial step. If the broth’s flavor doesn’t quite shine yet, add 2 teaspoons more of fish sauce and 1 teaspoon of regular sugar–and another pinch of salt, if needed (I over-salted my broth, so be careful). Keep doing this until the broth tastes perfect refrigerate broth overnight and remove hardened fat the next morning.

    Prepare noodles & meat:

    Slice your flank/london broil/sirloin as thin as possible – try freezing for 15-30 minutes prior to slicing to make it easier. Cut or shred the cooked meat from broth and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Guests will garnish their own bowls. Follow the directions on your package of noodles – for some fresh rice noodles, just a quick 5 – 45 second blanch in hot water is all that’s needed.

    Serving:

    Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, bean sprouts, shredded cooked beef and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. The hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately. Guests garnish their own bowls with the mint, basil, cilantro, peppers, lime, and sauces.

    I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do. It’s a chin dribbling, big bowl of healthy, comfort food with a fresh & crunchy twist.  One of my favorite foods I believe. I have my fingers crossed that I will taste the real thing in Vietnam next year.  I hope this measures up. Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

    30 Nov 2010 Gringo Grandma’s Chili

    Gingo Grandma’s chili!  That’s me!  This is my chili!  You’ve probably guessed that this is NOT serious cook-off chili.  This is big pot, throw-it-all-together, family friendly, low-budget chili. Chili that everyone likes.  Chili with ground meat =:0 and beans =:0. A recipe that makes enough for a crowd or for three days of leftovers. A chili that reheats and freezes well. Rainy-day comfort food.  Game Day staple food. Chili Dog party food.  Must have camping food.

    This is an easy recipe to remember, too.  Think threes!  Three cans of pinto beans, three cans of diced tomatoes, 3 lbs of meat, three onions.  I found the original recipe in The San Jose Mercury News food section years and years and years ago.  I’ve adjusted the quantities of ingredients a bit and changed the name to fit the dish…and made it mine.  I hope you make it yours. too.

    Gringo Grandma’s Chili

    3 16 oz. cans pinto beans

    3 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes

    3 onions, chopped

    1 -2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 cloves garlic, chopped

    3 lbs ground meat (2 lbs. ground beef, 1 lb. ground sausage)

    1/4 cups chili powder

    1 tablespoon cumin

    1 tablespoon salt

    1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

    1 – 3 cups chicken broth (or water)

    Pour canned pinto beans (with liquid) and chopped tomatoes into a large soup pot over a medium high heat. Bring to a light simmer.  Meanwhile, in another pan, saute chopped onion in olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add onions and garlic to bean and  tomato mixture.  To the same pan, now emptied of onion, brown ground beef and sausage, about 15 minutes.  Drain fat from meat. Stir drained meat into the bean-tomato-onion mixture.  add  in chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. If desired, stir in one to three cups of chicken broth or water until the chili meets your desired preference (some people like it thicker or soupier than others).  Simmer chili for 1 1/2  hours, covered.  Uncover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

    Serve hot in deep bowls, in front of the TV, on a cold day…  I like to serve with grated cheddar cheese and corn muffins, but sliced green onions and sour cream would also be good toppings.  I think this chili is best the second day, and leftovers (or even the whole batch) freeze very, very well.

    Makes approx. 16 cups, that’s one gallon of family friendly, easy to eat, chili.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Now remind me to post the recipe for corn muffins, they’re stellar!

    15 Nov 2010 Glazed Pork Chop for One

    My nineteen year old daughter whipped this up for her dinner–over high heat–in her on-campus apartment over the weekend.  The firefighters came to call, in their big red truck, with the sirens blaring.  She set off the smoke alarm.  With one pork chop! The recipe is good, and it does deserve some fanfare, but let’s save the firefighters another trip out.  When you make this recipe, deglaze the pan over a not-too-high heat!  BTW, she ate the pork chop after the firefighters left and said it was “GREAT”!

    I found this recipe a few years ago in an  NPR newsletter.  I was so excited because I was expecting all my kids to move out. I was going to be HOME ALONE for the first time in my life.  I was going to enjoy cooking for one, and this recipe for One Glazed Pork Chop was poised to be a staple. Well, life has a strange way of working out.  My last two kids at home moved out to college dorms, but my older daughter moved back, and she came back with a baby!  My kids were leaving one-by-one, but coming back in twos!

    Finally, in March this year my daughter and grandson moved out, and my younger son and daughter are still away at college so the pork chop recipe is now front and center. I’ve never had the firefighters come to call while I am making this, sadly…

    If you still  have family at home, my friend Kayte makes “Glazed Pork Chops for Three” using this recipe, so feel free to double and triple the quantities below.

    One Glazed Pork Chop

  1. 2 tablespoons jam, any flavor (marmalade does not work, the bits get burned)
  2. 2 tablespoons mustard, preferably Dijon or any stone-ground mustard
  3. 1 center-cut, bone-in pork chop, about 3/4-inch thick
  4. Salt and pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  6. 2 to 3 tablespoons vinegar, preferably white-wine (plain white vinegar, cider vinegar or sherry vinegar would all be fine)
    1. Mix the jam and mustard in a small bowl, with a fork. Season the pork chop with salt and pepper on both sides.
    2. Preheat a small, heavy skillet over high heat until it is hot enough to make a droplet of water dance or evaporate on contact. Add the oil, swirl around to coat, and immediately add the pork chop. With the heat still on high, brown on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes, and turn over. Spoon the jam-mustard mixture onto the browned side of the pork chop. Lower the heat to medium and cover with a plate or lid while the second side browns, another 4 or 5 minutes.
    3. Remove the lid, raise the heat to high, and turn the pork chop a few times to coat evenly. (Since cooking times can vary widely with pork chops, you may want to cut into it with the tip of a knife to check; the meat may be pink but not rosy; moist but not soft).
    4. Remove the pork chop to a plate. Scrape jam mixture off although it’s fine if a bit of glaze clings to it. With the heat on low to medium, keep cooking down the jam and mustard a little more, scraping with a wooden spoon, until the mix is very dark and concentrated and quite dry. If it burns a little, that’s fine.
    5. Lower the heat to medium, add the vinegar, and scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to release any delicious brown bits. You may need to add a little more vinegar to achieve a heavy, smooth sweet glaze.
    6. Put the pork chop, along with any collected juices, back in the pan and raise the heat to high (gently, unless you too want the firefighters to stop by…)while you turn the chop with a fork to finish glazing it.

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, and thank YOU, firefighters,

    for stopping by my daughter’s kitchen yesterday.  She’s going to be dropping off some thank you treats soon.  Not to worry! I’ll send her some no-bake recipes!