Chinese Beef Broccoli

February 3, 2011

In celebration of Chinese New Year’s, I wanted to post this delicious spin of a favorite Chinese take out dish.  It is even perfect for me because it combines two favorite ingredients at our house. I love broccoli in just about any forms (raw, steamed, sauteed, pureed in soups, etc) and Red loves beef dishes (he’d have them every night if he can!). I haven’t had a lot of luck finding a favorite dish from local Chinese restaurants, so I thought this was an appropriate dish that I should try to be making at home; especially since the ingredients are so accessible. I was pleasently surprised at how quickly this dish was to put together and  how delicious! I do love sauce on my stir fry, so I think in the future, I would double the sauce to make sure that I have plenty leftover. Wishing you a very prosperous the Year of the Rabbit!

Adapted from Jaden Hair’s Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

1 lb top sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced into 1/8-inch thick strips
1-1/2 lbs broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1 tbsp high-heat cooking oil
1 tbsp minced garlic

Beef Marinade
1-1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cooking oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to season the beef

Stir-Fry Sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tsp Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)


In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the Beef Marinade. Add the beef and let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Stir-Fry sauce.

In a wok or large saute pain, add 1-inch of water, and bring to boil.  Add the broccoli and cover to steam for 3 minutes. The broccoli should be bright green, crisp tender, and you should be able to pierce the stem with a fork. Drain.

Discard the water in the pan and dry the pan well. Set the pan over high heat and when hot, add the high-heat cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic and fry for 15 to 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the steak strips, keeping then in one layer and fry 30 seconds. Flip the strips and fry the other side.

Pour in the Stir-Fry sauce and stir to combine. Simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 30 seconds. Add the cooked broccoli back into the pan and toss to coat well.

Yield: 4 servings

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

January 31, 2011

I know my recent posts have all been dessert; but I do eat other things in addition to dessert 🙂 I was basically lured into trying this recipe because I kept on seeing it advertised on every magazine that I was reading at that time. I couldn’t remember when the last time I had pulled pork and never made it before; so I wanted to give this a try.

I didn’t have a boneless pork butt, so I used a bone-in version, and let it cook for 12 hrs. It was super tender, fell apart beautifully and was ridiculously delicious. I sprinkled some smoked paprika as well to give it a bit more spiciness to it, and it was perfect.  I love that it makes so much and  they froze and reheated well.  I  served it with this Carolina Cole Slaw and used store-bought barbecue sauce (although I think they were delicious without it as well. What could be more perfect winter meal than this? Happy eating! 🙂

1 5-pound boneless pork butt (shoulder) –I used a bone-in version that I think made it even more flavorful!
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Soft sandwich buns

Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.

Remove pork to a large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop to serve. Serve in buns with barbecue sauce.

Makes 16-20 servings

Grilled Steak with Balsamic Teriyaki

January 14, 2011

I was a big fan of Jaden Hair’s Steamy Kitchen Blog long before she published her book. Her blog is just full of simple unpretentious Asian recipes  with ingredients that can be found in regular groceries. I was so excited when I saw her book in my local library, because this way I can really check out the book before purchasing it. I had so many recipes tagged from her book that I am going to purchase my own copy.

This recipe really caught my eye right away. I was never really a big beef eater until I met Red. But now, I really enjoy cooking beef like this recipe. Obviously, I didn’t grill this outdoor (with a single digit temperature outside), but it turned out fabulous on the pan as well. I think this sauce would be delicious with chicken: it is a bit tangy, sweet, with just enough saltiness. Red and I enjoyed ours with regular *ehm* American salad with croutons and all. But I know it will pair up well with steamed rice or mashed potatoes. I am definitely glad that I tried this recipe.

This recipe is a keeper that I am sure that I will be making again before the summer arrives… **groan** That’s probably another four months for us in the Midwest.  Happy cooking and eating!

Adapted from Jaden Hair’s Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

1 lb of skirt steak (or other steak of your choice)
2 tablespoons high heat cooking oil (if cooking in frying pan)

For Sauce
1-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 ts sugar
1/4 cup store bought or homemade beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of mirin (sweet rice wine)

To make the Balsamic Teriyaki Sauce, add the butter to a saucepot and set over medium-low heat. When the butter just starts to bubble, add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until aromatic are soft. Watch to make sure that you don’t burn the shallots or garlic.

Pour the balsamic vinegar in and bring to a boil. When boiling, immediately turn the heat to medium low and simmer; uncovered for 15 minutes or until reduced by half. The balsamic should be thick, glossy, and coat the back of a spoon. Add the sugar, stock, soy sauce, and mirin. Stir well and bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, immediately turn the heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool and reserve 1/2 cup of the sauce for marinating and remaining 1/4 cup for serving.

If you are marinating the steak before grilling it, place the steak and just 1/2 cup of sauce in a large sealable plastic bag. Marinate 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Thirty minutes prior to grilling, remove steaks from refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature. Discard the marinade and pat the steak very dry.

Grilling Outdoors. If you are grilling outdoors on your barbeque grill (preferred method), preheat the grill for direct grilling over high heat.

Grilling in Pan or Stovetop. If you are cooking the steak on the stovetop, set a large frying pan or griddle over high heat. When a bead of water sizzles and evaporates upon contact, add the oil and swirl to coat.

Add the steak to the hot grill or pan in one layer. The pieces should not be touching. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Skirt steak varies in thickness so you might want to add the thicker pieces to the grill or pan first and give them an extra minute of head start.

Let the grilled steak rest for 5 minutes then cut ACROSS the grain for ultimate tenderness. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of the Balsamic Teriyaki Sauce over the meat.

Yield: 4 servings

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

December 31, 2010

Slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis via Food Network

During the holidays and other special occasion dinners, I like to serve two different kinds of protein. It’s just something that I just grew up with. One of them is usually either a ham or turkey; and then there will be another piece of protein for variety.  As I was planning my menu recently, Red  suggested that we tried this beef tenderloin when we had company over. I followed this recipe and made no substitutions; and it was a success. The beef was tender (almost fork-tender!), juicy, and was perfectly seasoned… do I also need to mention easy? Our guests really loved it; and we did too! We were just so satisfied by how tender and flavorful the beef was.

The original recipe suggested that we serve this with basil-curry mayonnaise, but I decided not to post the recipe. I made it, however none of the guests or we really cared for it. I think the flavoring was a little bit too overpowering for the beef. It may be a good pairing for something else (a crostini perhaps?)  We enjoyed the beef on its own with the rest of our meal. If you are looking for a new main dish to impress your family or friends for your New Year’s celebration, make this recipe. I know you will not regret this! Wishing you a prosperous New Year’s!


Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed


Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a spice grinder, finely grind the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the spices and cook for a few seconds until aromatic and toasted. Put the spices in a small bowl. Chop the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Holding a chef’s knife at a 45 degrees angle, scrape the garlic and salt together to form a paste. Add the garlic paste to the bowl with the spices. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, and oil and stir until smooth.

Put the meat on the prepared baking sheet and rub with the spice mixture.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 125 degrees F, for medium-rare. Remove from the oven and transfer the meat to a cutting board.

Cover the meat loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.

Slice the meat into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange on a platter.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Mayonaisse

November 13, 2010

I have always been a fan of sweet potato fries. Normally, I just slice them, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake them in the oven. So when my CSA box included a recipe from Giada that includes basil salt with garlic mayo, I decided to give it a try. The garlic mayonaisse really turned me off at first, but actually, it turned out to be so delicious that I used them to dip my roasted carrot sticks. I really loved how the subtle lemon juice and garlic really gave the mayo a tangy flavor that cuts the sweetness of the sweet potatoes; it was a well-balanced pairing. The fresh basil also added brightness to the fries and the mayo together. I don’t think that I can go back to my simple sweet potato fries without the fresh basil and garlic mayonaisse now! I hope you give this one a try, happy eating!

Adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis, as seen on Food Network

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the sweet potato “fries” on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

When the sweet potato fries come out of the oven, sprinkle with the basil salt. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise alongside for dipping.

Shrimp Jambalaya

March 20, 2010

Red and I have only been to New Orleans twice; but we absolutely loved our time there. Our first time there, we went for their annual jazz festival in the spring; which was a blast. The music was incredible and their food was even better!  We haven’t been back in several years now; we got busy with other places to visit and activities to squeeze in. But this meal definitely took us down the memory lane of our fabulous time in New Orleans. I could not find andouille sausages here. Instead, I used spicy chorizo, which I think worked equally well.

Source: Everyday Food, October 2003

1 tbsp canola oil
6 ounces andouille sausage (can be substituted for chorizo or kielbasa), halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
3 stalks celery diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tsp paprika
8 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 lb medium shrimp (~ 30), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 4-6 sides. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Stir in paprika; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, rice and 3 cups of water to skiller; cover and simmer over medium heat until rice is coked and has absorbed all water, about 15 minutes.

Add shrimp to skiller, and cook, covered, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper, as desired. Serve hot, garnished with scallions.

Yield: 4 servings

Classic Pot Roast

October 6, 2009

My mom used to make a lot of our meals in her slow cooker when we were in High-School, but I just recently realized that I barely use my slow-cooker now at our house. I also associate slow-cooker with beef, which I don’t eat on a regular basis, this is probably why I don’t usually think of making my meals in a slow-cooker.  My dad is really a meat-and potato kind of guy, so a slow cooker is an ideal tool for mom so she can quickly put this together before she leaves for work, and it will be ready when we get home. 

Recently Red has been asking for a roast beef, and he has convinced me on how easy this would be to make in a slow-cooker. We just need to lay a bed of chopped veggies, throw some seasoning, broth, and a slab of meat, and let it cook all day. So this is ideal for any day, a weekend day where we spend all day catching up on chores, or week day when we’re at work and want something ready in the kitchen when we get home. I finally agreed on making this dish, thinking that it would save me some cooking time.

    I wanted a recipe that uses simple ingredients without any thickening agents from a can, so I settled on this recipe from AllRecipes that I thought had simple ingredients and easy to prepare–and didn’t involve any cream-based soup in it. I doubled the vegetables called in this recipe, added some shallots, rosemary and parsley seasonings to the beef. I also used chicken stock instead of water and cooked it for 8 hours. The meat was so tender, and we didn’t even need a knife to cut through it–and loved the heartiness of this dish! I think I am sold now on this concept of cooking more this type of dishes. I am going to find some more recipes using slow-cooker and see if we can get even more creative with our protein and selection! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!


    Adapted from AllRecipes

    4 pounds chuck roast
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 packet dry onion soup mix
    1 cup water
    3 carrots, chopped
    1 onion, chopped
    3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1 stalk celery, chopped

    Take the chuck roast and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat.
    Place in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, onion, potatoes and celery.
    Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.

    Yield: 6 servings