Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Note from Renee: This post is the first on my new, collaborative approach to this blog. Since my family loves to make good food just as much as I do, I have invited them to contribute to the site. This post comes from my parents. In the future, you’ll be able to tell who’s posting by our different user names. Enjoy!

It’s hard to beat a good burger.  So, when the Today show had a burger contest recently, and the winner was from our new home (Seattle),  we had to try the winning recipe.  Unfortunately, the strawberry season is over, so we were unable to use the delicious local berries. Next summer we will for sure, as this recipe is definitely a keeper.  Sometimes with recipes like this, it seems like the special ingredient gets overwhelmed by all the other flavors-not so with this recipe.  The strawberry flavor comes through and is perfect with the smokiness of the BBQ sauce and bacon.  The addition of fresh strawberries in the salad topping also adds to the fresh flavor.  We only made two small changes in the original recipe. First, we substituted arugula for the salad greens.  The spiciness of the arugula was great.  We also used feta instead of bleu cheese as we have a non-blue cheese eater here-but I think the bacon/ bleu cheese combo would be great. Kudos to Jaeger Stolz-he deserves the $100,000!

Strawberry BBQ Bacon Burgers

Source: Jaeger Stolz, winner of the annual “Build a Better Burger” contest

sauce ingredients

  •  1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

 sauce directions

 1. Add 2/3 of the strawberries to a blender, reserving the remaining berries for the salad. Add the tomato paste, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to the blender and pulse until smooth.

 2. Pour the mixture into a fire-proof saucepan and place on a gas grill or on a burner over medium-high heat. Add the molasses and brown sugar and bring to a slow boil, stirring often, then remove from the heat, cover with foil, and keep warm.

 salad ingredients

  •  1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup chopped or torn fresh basil leaves
  • Remaining sliced strawberries from making sauce
  • 4 ounces gorgonzola or or other blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

 salad directions

 1. Combine the onion, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside at room temperature to quick-pickle the onions.

 2. Toss the greens, basil, and remaining strawberries in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until assembling the burgers. Keep the crumbled cheese chilled until assembly.

 to assemble burgers:


  •  2 1/4 pounds ground chuck (20% fat)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 strips thick-cut smoked bacon
  • 6 thick slices Gruyere cheese
  • 6 brioche hamburger buns, split


 1. Combine the beef, soy sauce, pepper, and parsley in a large bowl and mix together well, handling the meat as little as possible. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties, leaving a slight indention in the center of patties; this allows the final product to be more equal in thickness when finished. Set aside until grilling.

 2. Cook the bacon in a fire-proof skillet on the grill or stovetop over medium-high heat until browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

 3. Heat the grill to medium-high. Place the patties on the rack and cook until done to preference, 3 to 5 minutes. The top of the patty should look like it has cooked a little. Flip once and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Top each patty with the BBQ sauce, then a slice of the Gruyere cheese. Cover the grill, and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove the patties from the grill and place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

 4. To assemble the burgers, top each bun bottom with a patty and two strips of the bacon. Lightly drain the pickled onions, add to the mixed greens along with the crumbled cheese, and toss to combine. Drizzle the salad with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and toss again lightly. Pile salad on the top of each burger. Spread a little more BBQ sauce on the toasted sides of the bun tops and place on top of the salad.


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I am back! Well, sort of. The demands of finishing up my Master’s degree and securing a full-time job have had me bogged down lately. Not only has my blog been suffering, but my cooking has shifted to faster and easier dishes as well. However, there is an end in sight as I will complete all requirements for my M.A. on June 15! I am looking forward to having a lot more time for all things food-related – cooking, blogging, and gardening (more on that coming soon). In the meantime, I wanted to share this awesome recipe for a dish I made a couple of weeks ago: beef bulgogi.

Bulgogi is a Korean dish. Craig could not say the word “bulgogi” at all, which led to a lot of teasing. The dish is pretty simple – it consists of very thin strips of beef, marinated and quickly sauteed. This recipe, which comes from the Culinary Institute of America and purports to be authentic, has you serve the beef as lettuce wraps, with a lot of Korean-style accompaniments such as kimchee and sticky rice. However, I wanted the beef to stand out (and I couldn’t find a lot of the Korean accessories at the grocery store), so I decided to go with a simpler presentation. I wrapped the beef in thin tortillas and added a small amount of oven-baked brown rice, a few blanched asparagus spears, and plenty of the pan juices. In terms of the actual beef, though, I followed the recipe’s instructions pretty much to a “t”. I highly recommend this dish. The key is to slice the beef as thinly as possible and resist getting lazy and slicing it thicker as you go. To make the slicing easier, as they suggest, you can pop the sirloin in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before slicing. If you do that, this will turn out great.

Korean beef bulgogi

Adapted from: Epicurious.com


¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil

1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

¼ Asian pear, coarsely grated (about 1/4 cup) (follow their instructions and grate it – mine was too ripe to grate, so I diced it, but then I had to take out the pieces that were left after I sautéed it since I didn’t want them in the finished dish)

½ medium onion, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted, plus additional for garnish

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound beef sirloin, trimmed of excess fat and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons canola oil



1. Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet and allow to cool (if you have not already done so).

2. In large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, pear, onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and pepper. Let marinade stand 30 minutes at room temperature, then add beef and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour (or more – up to overnight. I did about 2 hours).

2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat canola oil. Remove beef from marinade, draining it very briefly over bowl to remove excess liquid, and then cook until browned and done medium-well, 6 to 7 minutes.

3. Serve as desired!

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carne guisada

Given the fact that Craig and I will both graduate from graduate school this spring, we are confronted with the reality that this year brings the last spring break we will probably ever have in our lives. We couldn’t just stay home for that, so we decided to book tickets to Texas to visit Craig’s best friend. He’s been pestering us to come down there for 3 years now, so it’s really the least we could do :). We’re really looking forward to the trip (leaving next Friday), and as a bonus, our trip coincides with the Houston Rodeo, which I hear is a great foodie experience. To start getting us in the mood, I decided to make this slow-cooked beef, Texas carne guisada, from the awesome Homesick Texan blog. Click the recipe link below to learn more about this dish and its importance in Texas. I loved this meal. It was pretty easy to make, and tasted better than a lot of what is served in most Tex-Mex restaurants, at least the ones where we live (far from Texas).

Texas Carne Guisada

Adapted from: The Homesick Texan


(this is for a half recipe, but it was so good that I would probably make a full recipe next time and freeze some)


2 pounds of beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (my package was actually 1.75 lbs.)

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1 small onion, diced

2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

Hot peppers of the green variety, of your choice, minced – I used one fresh serrano and a handful of pickled jalapenos

½ Tbsp. cumin

½ Tbsp. chili powder

½ tsp. oregano

1 cup of water, plus more for adding later

6 oz. beer (the recipe calls for dark beer, but I forgot to buy some especially for this, so I just used the Yuengling we had on hand)


The original calls for cilantro, which would be good if you like it – we don’t like it enough to buy it.



1. In a large pot or a Dutch oven, brown the beef on medium high to high heat in the oil.  Remove beef from pot and set aside.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. of the drippings and cook on medium heat the onions and chiles for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.


2. Add the browned beef, the tomatoes, and the herbs, spices, water and beer and mix everything well.  Turn up the heat to high, bring the stew to a boil and then turn heat down very low and simmer for five hours, mostly covered, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed. At this point, some of the meat will have turned to strings thus thickening the gravy.



To serve: Mexican rice as seen on the Dinner and Dessert blog (I simplified this recipe just a little bit – it was great), and avocado slices drizzled with lime juice and sprinkled with kosher salt.

Of course, this beef would also make a great taco filling! However, we both thought that this meal had an excellent blend of flavors and textures.

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The week before last, something possessed me to step outside my comfort zone and make not one, but TWO dishes that normally would not be my style: beef stroganoff and a shepherd’s pie. These “old school” kinds of dishes typically aren’t my style because I have a tendency to consider them bland and boring. I need a lot of exciting flavors in my dinners. However, through the recipes of Tyler Florence and Michael Chiarello respectively, I was inspired to try both of these classics out. I think that’s a mark of a good chef, and definitely of a good cooking show, if they can inspire you to try something that you normally wouldn’t pick out. And, to be honest, Tyler and Michael have put their own spins on these dishes that make them far more interesting than what was probably served up in the 1950s, so there’s already much less risk of ending up with something bland.

As for the stroganoff, this recipe uses short ribs that are slow-cooked in the oven and then sliced. The meat has tremendous flavor and is so delicious on top of the mushroom cream sauce and hot egg noodles. The method of cooking the meat and the fact that it uses short ribs is what makes this so different from other stroganoff recipes, or as Tyler would say, it’s what makes this dish “the ultimate.” So, even if you’re like me and think this kind of dish isn’t your style, I highly recommend trying this recipe.

“The Ultimate” Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

Source: Slightly adapted from Tyler Florence, Food Network


2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, plus 1 clove, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 large sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed

1 ½ pounds beef short ribs

8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms

4 oz. sliced white button mushrooms

¼ cup chopped shallots

Splash of cognac (we didn’t have this, so I used sweet vermouth)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard

¼ cup sour cream

8 oz. egg noodles

1Tbsp. unsalted butter



1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Place the chopped garlic, salt and pepper into a small bowl. Add enough extra-virgin olive oil to create a paste. Add the thyme leaves to the bowl and stir to combine. Set short ribs out on a foil-lined baking sheet and cover with herb paste. Roast in the oven for 2 to 2 and a half hours, until they are falling apart. Slice meat into thin strips.

2. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes until brown. Add shallots and minced garlic and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 2 minutes until garlic and shallot become fragrant. Remove pan from heat and add cognac/vermouth to deglaze the pan. Return to heat and add cream. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half. Turn off heat and stir in Dijon mustard and sour cream. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Return to burner over low heat and warm through.

3. Cook egg noodles in salted boiling water according to directions on package. Drain and toss with butter while still hot.

To serve: Pile the noodles high on a plate, top with stroganoff sauce and finish with rib slices.

Yum. I can’t wait to make this again.

As for the shepherd’s pie, that turned out to be impossible to get a picture of, but very tasty nonetheless. Not as awesome as the stroganoff, but still very good. I mean, the title of the recipe involves the words “scallion-cheese crust,” so how bad could it be?! I also had to hand mince the lamb for the dish using loin chops due to a lack of lamb selection at the store, but that actually turned out to be a favorable development – the hand-minced lamb had a ton of texture. For Michael Chiarello’s recipe, click here.

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fettuccine bolognese

I recently saw a recipe for Anne Burrell’s bolognese over on Kaitlyn’s blog. If you don’t know who Anne Burrell is, she is perhaps best known as Mario Batali’s soux chef on Iron Chef America. She was also recently given her own FN show called Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, and while some find her quirky personality a bit off-putting, the recipes get great reviews. I had been meaning to try making a traditional bolognese, so when I saw this version that took 4 hours in Kaitlyn’s blog, I figured it must be the real deal.

However, my bolognese definitely ended up having my own twist. When I was shopping for the meat for the sauce, they were all out of the naturally raised beef I prefer to buy. In fact, the ground beef in general was pretty picked over. That’s when a new item caught my eye – ground, naturally raised bison. I have had bison burgers before, but never attempted to cook it at home. I figured this would be the perfect way to try it – after all, I am pretty sure bolognese in Italy started as a foolproof way to use up cuts of game. For the sauce, since I was making a half recipe, I rounded out my pound of healthy, affordable ($4.99/pound) bison with a half-pound of ground beef chuck that Craig picked up on a calmer grocery day when there was more selection.

This sauce was to-die-for. It definitely made a dish worthy of Anne’s “restaurant chef” title. And, almost as good, it made our home smell like an Italian trattoria. The original recipe would make a ton, so only make the full recipe if you plan to freeze some sauce. The half recipe mixed well with a pound of pasta, making about 5 servings.

I served this with garlic roasted broccoli (instructions below) and a glass of Chianti!

bolognese meal

4-Hour, 2-Meat Authentic Bolognese

Adapted from: Anne Burrell, via Kaitlyn’s blog (see link above)


½ large sweet onion, roughly chopped

1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic

Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan and for finishing

Salt (I used my sea salt grinder)

1.5 pounds ground meat of your choice – I used 1 lb. of bison and ½ lb. ground chuck

1 cup tomato paste

1 ¼ cups hearty red wine – I used Chianti – this is Italian, after all!


1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle

1 pound fettuccine

Coarsely grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano



1. In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a paste. In a dutch oven over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until all the water has evaporated and vegetables become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 10 to 15 minutes. Be patient.

2. Add the ground meat and season again generously with salt. Brown the meat to a deep, rich brown. Don’t worry if there is a lot of brown stuck to the bottom of the pan. This should take 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Add the tomato paste and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine. Cook another 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Add about 2 cups of water to the pan, or enough to raise the level of liquid by at least 1 inch. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Add the bundle of thyme. As the water evaporates, gradually add more, 1 to 2 cups at a time. Don’t be shy about adding water during the cooking process; you can always cook it out. I checked the sauce every 20-30 minutes and probably added about 3 additional cups of water in addition to the first 2 cups. Stir and taste frequently. Season with salt as sauce cooks – this sauce will probably need more salt than you’re used to putting in things since it’s almost all meat. Simmer for 3 ½ hours.

5. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the pasta. Salt water well before adding pasta. When the water is at a rolling boil add the fettuccine and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package (for Barilla fettuccine rigate, 7 min.). Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.

6. While the pasta is cooking, remove ½ of the sauce from the pot and reserve. Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add the reserved sauce gradually to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water as needed and cook the pasta and sauce together over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and give pasta a drizzle of the olive oil. Toss vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls. Top with grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.


For Garlic-Roasted Broccoli:

Adapted from: None – just looked up a rough cooking time online and then made this one up.

Preheat the oven to 425. Wash broccoli and cut into large florets. Pat broccoli dry. Slice a large garlic clove into very thin rounds. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil. Add broccoli to sheet and drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Sprinkle with salt and crushed red pepper flakes and toss to combine. Place a slice of garlic on top of each floret (if the garlic touches the pan rather than the broccoli, it may burn). Roast for 12-15 minutes, tossing once lightly during cooking process.

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Yes, the flank steak is secondary in this one because the corn and peppers are the star. I know corn has a lot of huge fans, but I am not usually one of them – I like it, but it doesn’t usually do a ton for me. But for whatever reason, when I saw this recipe in the May issue of Food and Wine, I decided to try it. Since I followed their directions pretty closely, I will reproduce them here and add my notes in bold.

  • 2 poblano chiles (My grocery store doesn’t have the best pepper selection. I used 4 small chiles and half of a red bell pepper.)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (I used half of a large one.)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels (I used frozen, but it was good quality – sweet white corn from Whole Foods.)
  • 1 cup sour cream (This was a bit much for me, so I used about 2/3 cup, plus a small splash of heavy cream)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 6-inch pieces (I used a small flank steak for my hubby and me and I cooked it in one piece)


  1. Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel, core and seed the chiles, then cut them into thin strips. (The broiler works fine. I am both intrigued and freaked out by the idea of charring something over the gas flame.)
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and poblano strips and cook until the corn is tender, about 2 minutes (You don’t even need this much time if you’re using thawed frozen – a minute should do it). Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Keep the corn warm over very low heat. It will look like this:

3. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Rub the steaks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; season with salt and pepper (I also added a shake of chili powder on the steak). Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 6 minutes (Maybe this is long enough for 6″ pieces of skirt steak, but I cooked my flank steak a couple of minutes longer than that and it was still a little bit rarer than I would have liked. For a smallish flank steak, I would do about 10 minutes total next time). Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain. Serve with the corn and poblanos. I also suggest crusty bread or a warm tortilla on the side. Finally, I topped my steak with some chunks of avocado that I had squeezed with lime and sprinkled with salt. Yum!

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