Beef Teriyaki

Finally, I get around the infamous grill pan post.  I know it’s taken me a while, but since I make so many meals/desserts/snacks/breads etc. to share with you all, I actually have so many photos that I’m posting about a month behind.

I know, it’s a strange fallacy that everything I post here I’m currently eating in my apartment, but I did have it at some point recently, so you can still trust my judgment.

Now, onto the beef.  I made this for Luke’s birthday, since I always make some kind of beef dish as his “special” meal, and we were very happy with how this turned out.  Minus the whole cleaning catastrophe.

All the char bits hardened onto my cast iron grill pan, and I guess it wasn’t seasoned well enough because those bits stuck on hard, and I’m now very apprehensive about using it again.  I say just wait until we move into the new house and get a proper grill.

The man plate.

Anyway, this beef tastes just like the teriyaki beef strips you get from take-out Chinese places (which I do love so much despite my normal ambivalence towards American Chinese food.)  The glaze is a perfect blend of sweet and savory, and I wanted to pour it on everything.  I served the beef over thin egg noodles and mushrooms, which I stir-fried with some of the extra sauce.  Luke dubbed it one of his best birthday meals.  I think that means it’s a winner!

Beef Teriyaki

Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Makes 3-4 servings

For the steak:

1 lb flank steak, trimmed of excess fat
1/6 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin (or rice wine)
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest (I omitted this)
1 scallion, chopped, separated

For the sauce:

1/6 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sake or vermouth
1/4 cup mirin (or rice wine)
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Cut your steak into inch wide strips, then cut the strips into pieces about 4 inches long.

Put the soy sauce, mirin, canola oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, orange zest and the white parts of the scallion in a resealable plastic bag. Shake to combine. Add the meat, press out the air and seal the bag. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (but no more than an hour), flipping the bag every 15 minutes to make sure the marinade coats evenly.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (400-450 F). Oil the grates lightly.  Or, if using a grill pan, place the pan over two burners set to medium high heat and grease the ridges.

While the grill/burners preheat, make the sauce. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is syrupy, about 12 minutes. The sauce should be reduced to about 1/2 cup. Transfer all but 2 tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl and set aside for serving.  (I set aside half so I could stir fry noodles.)

Remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the meat on the grill or grill pan and cook on the first side for about 3 minutes, or until well seared. Flip the steak and cook on the second side for 3 more minutes. Use half of the reserved 2 tablespoons of sauce to brush the top of the meat, then flip and cook for 30 seconds. Brush the second side of the meat with the remaining tablespoon of sauce, flip and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer the meat to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Garnish with the green parts of the scallion and serve with the reserved sauce over noodles or rice.

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Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Chip Donuts

Yes, I know, we have the cutest bunny ever.

I’ve been waiting to share this picture with you guys ever since Izzy struck this pose last Wednesday morning, like 2 hours after I posted.  I’m not sure how this could possibly be comfortable, but it sure makes for a great photo 🙂

If only the sweet visage of a cute bunny could or chocolate glazed donuts cure all my ails.  I caught a cold a few days ago (yep…gotta love those summer onset colds).

My nose is an unsightly shade of pink from excessive nose blowing, and at all times it feels like half of my face is puffed out from congestion and sinus pressure.

Luke says now I know what spring allergy sufferers feel like, but I am not amused.  I think having a cold during the summer is even worse than during its “normal” season because I may be craving soup and tea and other such comforts, but somehow I think eating a meal that would cause excessive sweating might not be so good right now.

So I’ll stick to that other magical comfort food: chocolate.  These donuts are fully of chocolate-y goodness without being overwhelming and they look cute to boot.  I really need more sprinkles in my life.

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Chip Donuts

Adapted from Gingerbread Bagels

Makes 12-15 donuts

For the donuts:

2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the chocolate glaze:

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Add in the buttermilk, lightly beaten eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently mix the ingredients together, until just combined.  Don’t overmix.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Grease a doughnut pan with cooking spray. Using a spoon, fill each mold 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for 7-9 minutes, and let the donuts cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire cooling rack.  Continue process with the remaining batter.

To make the glaze, put the milk chocolate chips, semi sweet chocolate chips, butter and light corn syrup in a microwavable bowl. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, then stir, microwave for another 30 seconds, stir and continue doing this until the mixture is melted and smooth.  Set the chocolate glaze aside for 5 minutes.

Dip each donut into the chocolate, then put back on the rack.  Watch out for drips.  Decorate with sprinkles if desired, and let the glaze dry, about 10-15 minutes and enjoy!


Sweet Potato Fries & Ravioli

When my obsession with food hit, I was desperate to find other people who shared my passion so we could make wonderful food together.  Also, because more people to eat food=more opportunities to try out different recipes.

Though KA has always been a great foodie buddy, she was at school over 200 miles away, so a local alternative had to be found.  Luckily, I reconnected with Ham, who had taken first year Chinese with me, and also happened to really enjoy cooking.

Carina the hand model!

He also happened to have three ravenous housemates, so we’d hold these great dinner parties where Ham cooked dinner and I made dessert.  Greatness ensued.

But now Ham is in China and I am in Massachusetts.  Enter Carina.  We first bonded in college over our mutual love for all things Hayao Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi, and later we became foodie buddies.  She has her own blog too, called Four Corners, where she features great vegetarian and dairy-free recipes.

She is leaving for a six-week stint in Lebanon today (and I am oh so jealous), so I had to see her before she left.

I remembered her liking my Green Pea Pesto Ravioli post, and decided we should make some ravioli of our own.  Since I had some sweet potatoes on hand, I knew we’d be able to make something fabulous happen.

First, sweet potato fries.  Who doesn’t love sweet potato fries?  Even Luke, the hater of savory sweet potato dishes couldn’t resist.

The main dish was sweet potato ravioli.  I’ve attempted making pasta dough without a proper roller, and it was a nightmare, so I stick to wonton wrappers for the ravioli skin (until I get a roller…wedding registry anyone?).

Anyway, we had to omit the butter and cheese in the recipe for Carina, but it still turned out great, though I do want to give the recipe another go sometime and include them.  Either way, these raviolis are pure orange gold.

Sweet Potato Fries

Makes about 2-3 servings

One large sweet potato, peeled or not (depends on your preference)

2 Tbsp olive oil

seasonings of your choice (we used Italian seasoning and extra oregano)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  Slice the potato into thin wedges and arrange on the baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil and seasonings over the potato wedges, then mix everything together with your hands to coat evenly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes start to brown.  Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Sweet Potato Ravioli

Adapted from Cosmo Cookie

Makes 2-3 servings

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pound sweet potato (one large potato)
1/2 Tbsp nutmeg
2 tsp fresh sage, minced
2 tsp fresh oregano, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
40 wonton wrappers

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.  Cut the sweet potato into thirds. Rub garlic and sweet potato with olive oil, and place, cut sides down, on a baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 25 minutes. Let cool briefly, and then remove potato skins and pass the potatoes and garlic through a potato ricer or food mill into a medium bowl (if you don’t have one of these contraptions, just mash everything up as best you can); mix in nutmeg, sage, oregano, and salt and pepper. Set filling aside.

Place 1 wonton wrapper on a work surface and place 1 Tbsp filling in center; dip your finger in water and trace the edges of the wrapper, then fold one side on top of the other and press the edges together to seal.  Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Working in batches, add ravioli, and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with your favorite pasta sauce and enjoy!


White Chocolate Cashew Dulce de Leche Bars

In honor of Memorial Day, I’m posting about a certain dessert that I cannot stop thinking about.  I know it might not be the same concept as Memorial Day, but I felt that if I didn’t post about a dessert that I’ll remember forever (or at least a long time) I’d have no other way of acknowledging the holiday.

Besides saying Happy Memorial Day to everyone, and to thank the men and women who have served our nation.

So what makes these bars so darn good?  Well, it’s the flavor combination.  Three things I can’t get enough of (white chocolate, dulce de leche, and cashews) all in one delicious package?  Umm, yes please.

Yes please times a billion.  These bars are essentially a dulce de leche flavored blondie studded with chopped cashews and white chocolate chips.  Their texture is denser than that of a traditional blondie, and therefore even more dear to me.

I am one of those people who likes the gooey center pieces of brownie, not the firm, crispy edges, so to me, the soft chewiness the dulce de leche adds to these bars is ethereal.  Please excuse me, I’ve made myself hungry.  Time to hit the bars, if you catch my drift.

White Chocolate Cashew Dulce de Leche Bars

Adapted from The Capitol Baker

Makes one 8X8” pan

1/2 cup (1 stick)unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 cup Dulce de Leche (store-bought or homemade)
3/4 cup roasted salted cashews, roughly chopped

1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 8 x 8” pan and set aside.

Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.  Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Add the brown sugar to the saucepan and whisk until mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the egg then add the salt and flour and stir until fully combined.  Add the dulce de leche to the batter and stir until it is uniformly combined, then fold in the cashew pieces and white chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the greased pan and bake for 35 minutes or until set in the center and golden brown at the edges.  A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.  Cool the bars completely in pan before cutting and serving.


Pork Vindaloo

Why must the Internet flood my RSS reader with so many posts about grilling?  Damn you Memorial Day weekend and your heralding of summer grill time.

I am angry, obviously, because I do not own a grill, and am ever so jealous of those delicious char marks being paraded before my eyes.  Someday I will have steaks and pork chops that bear that quintessential mark of outdoor eating, but not this day.  Not this weekend.

So I do want I can.  And since I had some pork leftover from my moo shu pork, I decided to make a curry of sorts.  A very tasty curry, if I may.

I’d been waiting to start using the curry paste I bought ages ago from a local Indian market, so finally hearing the top pop open was music to my ears.  The rich aroma emanating from that little jar was so overwhelming, it made me want to cry.  Or maybe that was the spices irritating my tear ducts.

Either way, this curry is fabulously simple.  I paired it with some of my leftover moo shu pancakes, but serving it with rice or noodles would be great too.

Pork Vindaloo

Adapted from Food Figure

Makes 2-3 servings

1/2 lb pork tenderloin, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
a thumb sized piece of ginger, minced or shredded
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp red curry paste
1 cup diced tomatoes or 3/4 cup tomato sauce
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1-2 cups water
2/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or a large skillet with high sides, add oil and cook onions over medium heat.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the onions are soft and starting to get some color.  Add the garlic, ginger, and curry paste and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the pork and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes or tomato sauce, brown sugar and vinegar. Add just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the curry to reduce for several minutes or until desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt or sour cream. Serve beside or over your favorite rice, naan, noodles or on its own. Garnish with a few leafs of cilantro or parsley.


Everything Crackers

I deem yesterday’s graduation a great success.  Traffic actually wasn’t all that bad, the ceremony only took 2 hours, lunch was fabulous, Diego loved his present, and I was feeling so good, I even helped him move out.

And by that I mean I watched him pack, and occasionally carried things down some stairs.  The amount of trash and unwanted items littering the hallways of his dorm was mind boggling, especially since it all gets thrown out.

It got so bad, the hallways became so narrow that only one person could travel down them at once.  College kids…you’d think they’d know better.

Still, I must admit that my offering of help was an overlay for a deeper ulterior motive.  When I moved out of college last year, I wasn’t going far.  My mom lived 10 minutes from campus, and since my next closest housemate was going back to New Jersey, all of the fridge and freezer goods were mine for the taking.

With Diego and his roommates all returning to CT, the fridge and freezer fodder were once again up for grabs.  I mean, they didn’t have room in their cars for random food stuffs so I was really doing them a favor by taking that ice cream and milk and assorted jams off their hands. Ohhh yes…how I love being a good friend.  But oh how I don’t love the sunburn I got even though it was cloudy.  I suppose it was worth it though.

I posted about hummus a little while ago, and when I made it, I realized I wanted to make crackers to go along with it.  I wanted them to be light while still packing a lot of flavor.  Enter the everything cracker: a whole wheat dough rolled thinly and sprinkled with the ubiquitous bagel topping.  Maybe you need something to adorn your cheese platter this Memorial Day weekend?  Well this might be it my friends.

Everything Crackers

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes 20-40 crackers, depending on how large you cut them

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

½ cup milk

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

2 Tbsp sesame seeds

2 Tbsp minced onion

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, pulse flours, salt and sugar until combined. Add in cold butter and pulse until mixture is combined and the butter is in course crumbs. Stream in milk while pulsing the processor until the dough forms.

Form dough into a ball with your hands and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, flour a surface and a rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it is very thin.   Like super thin, otherwise your crackers will not be crispy.  Gently lift dough and place it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Don’t worry about it being a perfect rectangle.

Beat the egg in a small bowl, and brush onto dough. Sprinkle seasonings on, then lightly press to make sure they adhere.

Bake for 5 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for 5 minute more. Check crackers and bake in 3 minute intervals until crisp and golden brown. Watch carefully as they can burn quickly.  Cut them up with a large knife or a pizza wheel.

Serve with cheese, vegetables or fruit, or hummus.


Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes

50% chance of rain today, some of it could be heavy.  Fabulous…gym graduation here I come.  I decided to get up extra early and get a post in before I leave to sit in rush hour traffic for over an hour.

And then find a halfway decent place to park on the hilliest college campus on Earth.  Better wear my comfiest rain shoes.

Diego’s mom has a pillow, or maybe it’s a plate…either way, it says “When things are going from bad to worse, keep a cookie in your purse.”  That just resonates with me on so many levels.  I always bring snacks with me when I go out, though pancakes are a little tricky to transport.

So those are mostly for home snacking, which you all know I do quite often, and thus require a wide variety of pancake options.

I had never thought to combine poppy seeds and almonds, but this is one great fusion.  I really like poppy seeds, even if they get stuck in my teeth, and then I start chewing on one later and it tastes weird.  They lend a certain earthiness that is hard to find elsewhere.  Wouldn’t a nice stack of these babies be tasty this coming weekend?  I’ll let you decide, but I vote yes.

Brain shaped pancake.

Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Makes 15 about pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup almond flour
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp applesauce
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, egg, vegetable oil, applesauce, almond extract and vanilla extract until evenly combined.  Pour buttermilk mixture into dry mixture and stir just until combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy (just be careful not to over-mix so you’ll have fluffy pancakes).  Grease a large skillet or griddle and set it over medium low heat.  Pour about 1/4 cup mixture at a time onto the skillet.  Flip the pancake when golden on bottom and bubbles start to form on the surface.  Cook opposite side until golden.  Transfer pancakes to a large plate and serve with your favorite toppings.