Tag Archives: beef

Tutti a Tavola…

“Tutti a tavola a mangiare” or ‘everyone to the table to eat’ is Lidia Bastianich‘s closing on her Italian cooking show.

I thought it was an appropriate title for this Italian themed menu.

Strozzapreti (priest-strangler) pasta made with flour, a pinch of salt and hot water. Kneaded for five or six minutes until smooth and supple, this simple pasta is rolled out about 1/8th of an inch thick with a rolling pin and then cut into one inch strips with a pizza cutter.

The strips of pasta are then stretched a bit before being rolled between the palms of your hands to form little ‘snakes’ of pasta. Tear the pasta into 3-3 1/2 inch pieces and let dry for half an hour before cooking. Depending on how thick your pasta is, it will take five or six minutes to cook to al dente.

Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce of your choice.

Individual beef and mushroom braciole

Beef and Mushroom Braciole – serves 4

1 pound/454 gm eye of round, cut into four 1/2 inch slices**
1/2 cup finely diced mushrooms
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 slices bacon, finely diced
1/8 tsp dried parsley flakes
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
bundle of fresh basil leaves (6-8)
2 1/2-3 cups spaghetti sauce
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp ground black pepper, divided

Hot cooked pasta or polenta

** Eye of round cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, pounded to 1/4 inch thick with a meat tenderizer. Set aside.

Add the mushrooms, onion, cheese, bacon, parsley flakes, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper to a food processor. Pulse a few times until you have a homogenous mixture which still has some texture to it. Remove the mixture to a small bowl and divide by eye into four even portions.

Season the beef cutlets on both sides with some of the remaining salt and pepper. Spoon the mushroom mixture onto each cutlet, spread out leaving about 1/2 inch free on all sides. Starting on the longer side, roll up the beef cutlet to enclose the mushroom mixture. Tie up each roll with butcher’s twine. (Or use toothpicks to seal.)

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F.

Place a dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the oil and when hot, sear off each beef roll until browned on all sides. Transfer the rolls to a plate.

Drain off any remaining oil from the dutch oven and add the spaghetti sauce and the basil leaves. Add the seared beef rolls and any juices that have drained off. The sauce level should be almost to the top of the rolls. If needed, add some water to the sauce. Bring the spaghetti sauce to a simmer. Put the lid on and transfer into the preheated oven.

Bake for 1 1/2-2 hrs, turning over about half way through the cooking time, until the beef is tender.

Remove the string from the braciole, slice into 3/4-1 inch slices and serve over the polenta with some of the spaghetti sauce spooned over the top. Alternatively, toss freshly cooked pasta with some of the spaghetti sauce and serve the sliced braciole on top.

Dessert was a quick and easy affogato or ice cream ‘drowned’ in a shot of espresso.

And, a couple of ham, bacon, mushroom and mozzarella cheese pizzas for work lunches.

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Eye of Round – Pt 1 Small End Roast

I rarely buy large pieces of beef/steaks due to the price, but Freshco had a ‘sale’ this past week on whole fresh eye of round roasts so I picked up a relatively small one  (2.7 kg) and cut it into four pieces for future cooking. I ended up with two roasts (1 kg and 0.63 kg), four quarter inch thick steaks for braciole (0.45 kg) and a small bag of beef cubes (0.30 kg) for some sort of stew.

Using a high heat roasting technique, I cooked the smaller of the two roasts to medium/medium-rare and used the meat for supper and work lunches. I was pleased with the results though it could have been a BIT rarer. I’ve been advised to keep the high heat roasting time the same but reduce the oven standing time to achieve that result. Something to try next time.

High Heat Roasting Technique

Preheat oven to 500 deg F.

Let meat come to room temperature about an hour before you want to roast.

Rub with olive oil and seasonings in a wet rub using garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, oregano, rosemary, etc., Roast at 500 deg for 5 minutes per pound/0.454 kg.

Shut off the oven and roast an additional hour per 2.2 pounds/1 kg, but do not open the oven for any reason during that time.

When the time is up, remove the roast from oven, cover and let sit for 15-20 min.

Roast beef, loaded baked potato and Caesar salad

Gyudon (Japanese Beef Rice Bowl)

A donburi is a delicious and easy-to-make bowl of sushi rice. There are a number of variations depending on the toppings.

I haven’t had the the beef version or ‘gyudon’ before but I had some leftover steak from my ‘shooter’s sandwich’ so I threw this together.

Gyudon (Japanese Beef Rice Bowl) – serves 1

Ingredients of the Dish

1 cup hot cooked sushi rice (unseasoned) or regular cooked rice
1 recipe for ‘simmering sauce’
2 oz/ 57 gm thinly sliced leftover steak
2 tbsp leftover onion/mushroom mixture, from the ‘Shooter’s Sandwich’**
poached egg (optional)
garnishes – thinly sliced green onion, toasted black or white sesame seeds

** In the absence of the onion/mushroom mixture, half and thinly slice 1/3-1/2 medium onion and poach in the simmering sauce until soft before adding the sliced steak to warm through.

Simmering Sauce

1/2 cup dashi stock (or 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp dashi powder, or 1/2 cup chicken stock)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar (brown sugar may be used)
1 tbsp sake (dry white wine may be used)
1/2 tsp wasabi paste (optional)

Simmer together in a small pan or wok.

Assembly/Serving the Rice Bowl

Add the hot cooked rice to a deep bowl.

To the pan of simmering sauce, add the steak and onion/mushroom mixture and stir through just long enough to warm the steak through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the steak and onion/mushroom mixture to the top of the hot rice, leaving behind the majority of the simmering sauce. You may poach the egg in the sauce, place it on top of the steak in the bowl and then spoon the sauce around the periphery of the bowl. Scatter the green onion and/or sesame seed garnish on top. Serve.

An alternative to poaching the egg is to lightly scramble it in a small bowl, and then add it to the simmering sauce in the wok. Stir the egg through the sauce just long enough to cook/poach the egg and then spoon the egg and the sauce around the periphery of the bowl. Garnish and serve.

Some more pretty pics of the Shooter’s Sandwich … next time, I’d put the mushroom underneath the steak to make cutting neater


Sourdough Bread Bowls and a Shooter’s Sandwich

Warning: Another Picture Heavy Post

ETA (09/09/2018): Recipe for the Shooter’s Sandwich added

I rarely expend as much effort on a dish/recipe as I did for this glorified steak sandwich.

And, at the end, I didn’t USE the bun I had spent all that effort on.

The shooter’s sandwich is a relic of the shooting parties of the nobles and elite in Edwardian Great Britain, who would arrange to have the kitchen produce this sandwich to be tossed into their hunting bags, before they went out for a day of grouse shooting. The sandwich was wrapped in butcher’s paper and pressed so that the juices given off by the mushrooms and steak would permeate the hearty bun. Eaten at room temperature, it was an expensive dish if prepared with filet mignon. My steak choice was more modest. A blade steak cooked as quickly as possible in the hopes of not ending up with shoe leather.

And now the story behind the sandwich:

First, I had to research a recipe for an individual bun in which I could build the sandwich, since I knew that I was unlikely to find something suitable locally. And, once I decided on a sourdough bread bowl recipe, I had to make sourdough starter. Luckily, I had some dried sourdough starter in the pantry so I didn’t have to start from scratch. It took me two days but the result was a lovely bubbly and fragrant mixture. It took a third day to bake the buns.

Rehydrated Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Bread Bowl filled with chili

Sourdough Bread Bowls – top and bottom scooped out

I ended up with extra starter (something sourdough bakers have to deal with) so I experimented with part of it. I repeated the KAF Italian bread recipe but substituted ~200 gm of my bubbly new starter in place of the ‘overnight starter’. I was torn between reducing the amount of commercial yeast used but decided to stick with the original recipe. A bad choice as it turned out. I over proofed the dough during the bulk proof stage. And during the final proofing stage. And my kneading/shaping probably needed work.

Hybrid (Sourdough Starter and Yeast) Buns

I SHOULD have increased the baking temperature although the buns looked fine when I pulled them out of the oven. And then, the next day, after making the sourdough buns, they looked  pale and anemic in comparison.

When I cut into the buns, I was pleased with the crumb.

I froze the other two hybrid buns I made, and used the one I had cut into for my steak sandwich … after I hollowed it out.

Bun, onion/mushroom mixture, French’s mustard (use Dijon or a coarse brown mustard) and blade steak. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the steak after it had been seared off

Wrap in plastic food wrap, press, cut and eat.

Hybrid Bun Shooter’s Sandwich – cut it in fourths for an appetizer

Shooter’s Sandwich – makes 3 sandwiches

Three  12 cm/ 4 1/2 inch sourdough bread bowls, top removed and contents removed leaving 10 cm/1/2 inch rim around the edge and on the base

500 gm/ 1 lb blade steak, seared or grilled to rare/medium-rare

Mushroom Mixture

1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
227 gm/ 1/2 lb mushrooms, finely diced
1/4 tsp Worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

mustard, Dijon, coarse grained
horseradish (optional)

Making the mushroom mixture

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until the onion has softened and starts to get golden brown. Remove the onions to a small bowl and reserve. Add the mushrooms to the pan and saute in the remaining butter until softened, slightly browned and fairly dry. Return the onions to the pan and sprinkle the Worchestershire sauce over the top, stirring into the onion/mushroom mixture. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread some mustard over the base of the bread bowl. Divide the steak into thirds and fit tightly into the base. Spread some horseradish over the steak. Top with about 1/3 of the mushroom mixture and fit the lid of the bread bowl on top. Wrap the sandwich in a large sheet of plastic food wrap. Place the sandwich into a bowl. Place a flat plate on top and then a heavy weight on top. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into fourths and serve.

Repeat with the rest of the bread bowls and other ingredients.

Baked Meatballs … and Stuff

I’m so bored that the dozens of pictures that I took over the last month or so are languishing on my hard drive, unlikely to ever see the light of day. And the July clear-out post of pictures, scheduled to drop, eventually, is probably going to be deleted, as there’s nothing really new in them.

The most exciting thing I’ve made since my last post (NOT yesterday’s Italian bread post) is a batch of baked beef meatballs which I combined with jarred mushroom spaghetti sauce and rotini pasta for today’s supper. I toasted a couple of slices of the bread for garlic bread.

A few days ago I thawed the last of the hamantaschen pastry from Christmas. Today, I rolled out the pastry, cut out 2 inch circles and shaped them into a sort of ‘bow-tie’ cookie filled with mincemeat, also leftover from Christmas. Tasty but otherwise … meh.

In a recent ‘conversation through blog comments’ with a blogging friend I mentioned my last culinary shopping splurge, at the local LCBO … a bottle of Niagara Pinot Grigio and a bottle of sake. The Pinot was slated for risotto and/or mussels in a white wine and tomato sauce, and the sake was supposed to be paired with something sushi related. It didn’t happen. In the middle is a bottle of Polish made mead in a ceramic bottle gifted to me by my nephew. I’ll have to do something creative with it, one of these days.

And that’s about it, folks.

Layered Creamy Beef Enchiladas aka Mexican Beef ‘Lasagna’

This is a fairly easy recipe to make and uses a combination of made-to-order and leftover items during my freezer clear-out.

The enchilada ‘sauce’ is a diluted mixture of rehydrated and pureed chiles, onion, tomato and spices which I had made as a braise for my red chile pulled pork. I ended up with some amazing tamale filling and had a couple of cups in the freezer for future cooking projects.

I used leftover sauteed red onion to flavour the ground beef and made my own corn tortillas as a base. Since the tortillas were ‘barely’ six inches in diameter, I didn’t want to try to fill and roll them up so I used them as a base on which to layer the other filling ingredients. Sort of like a Mexican lasagna. I added a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese to the meat mixture because I remember seeing it used in a chicken enchilada recipe I found on line … and I just felt like it.

Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese happened to be the two kinds of cheese in my freezer that seemed like they would work, taste wise, in the recipe.

Layered Creamy Beef Enchiladas aka Mexican Beef ‘Lasagna’

I made the enchilada bake in a disposable aluminum baking dish (7 3/4 in by 7 3/4 inch) which had been recycled enough that I was planning on discarding it after use. It saved me having to do any dish washing afterwards. For those going to a pot luck or family gathering it’s a perfect container to bake, transport and serve.

Profile of the ‘lasagna’

Layered Creamy Beef Enchiladas – serves 6, generously

10 6 inch corn tortillas
1 cup refried beans, canned or home made
1 can (~ 1 1/2 cups) of enchilada sauce if you don’t want to make your own
1- 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (mixture of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack)

Home made corn tortillas –  A round ball of the masa dough was placed between two 7-8 inch diameter circles of parchment paper and pressed down, as hard as possible, with an 8 inch round glass pie pan. The dough was fried, over medium heat, for a minute or a minute and a half, in a cast iron frying pan, which had been brushed with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil.

Optional Garnishes

thinly sliced green onions
diced avocados
sour cream or Mexican crema

NOTE: If desired, drained and rinsed canned black beans and frozen and thawed corn, about a cup of each, may be added when layering the enchiladas. In this case, a larger baking dish would be advised.

Enchilada Sauce

1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp all purpose flour
1 cup red pork marinade
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste

Make a roux with the oil and flour. Cook for a few minutes in a small sauce pan, stir in the marinade and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes and then let cool. You may want to add some additional stock or water to thin your sauce down so it’s spreadable. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Let cool to room temperature.

Creamy Ground Beef Mixture

1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup very lean ground beef
1/4 cup sauteed red onion
2 tbsp (1 oz, 30 gm) cream cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat, add the oil and when hot, add the ground beef. Break up the ground beef and brown. Drain off any excess fat and add the sauteed red onion, cream cheese and about 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce. Stir through until the cream cheese is melted into the sauce and it’s bubbling a bit. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Let cool while assembling the remaining ingredients and preheating the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 deg Fahrenheit.

Assembly and Baking Directions

Tortilla Layer 1

In a small baking dish (8 inch by 8 inch, or slightly smaller) add about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce and spread evenly to cover the base. Place a layer of the corn tortillas (two whole tortillas and the third cut in half) on the bottom of the baking dish. Add half the refried beans (~1/2 cup) and spread it out evenly. Add half the ground beef mixture and spread out evenly.

Tortilla Layer 2

Add another layer of tortillas (two whole and the third cut in half, flipping the layout so any small missing spots from layer one would be covered and vice versa) followed by the remaining refried beans and ground beef.

Top with a final layer of corn tortillas. (For the sake of aesthetics, I used four whole tortillas for the top layer though three would have been plenty.) Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and place the baking dish on a baking sheet for ease of transport and as a support for the flimsier aluminum baking dish.

Bake covered for 35-40 minutes.

Remove the foil, top with as much grated cheese as desired, return to the oven and continue baking uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes to set the layers and make cutting and serving neater. Serve with desired garnishes.

BBQ’ing for the Week Ahead – Beef and Pork

Meal planning at my house usually involves starting with the protein and figuring out what sides (starches and vegetables) are available and will take the least amount of preparation time. If feeling energetic/creative, I’ll pick a cuisine or flavour based on whatever jars of sauce or spices I’ve got. And I’ve got a good assortment of sauces and bottles of spices and spice blends.

If barbecuing, I let the smokey flavour of the grilled meats star and keep the sides plain.

I went into a bit of a carnivore frenzy on my last visit to the grocery store and came home with a large tray of hot Italian sausages and a family pack tray of lean ground beef.

Since I already had sausages in the freezer (for making a fast meat sauce), I skewered and bbq’d the entire tray. The ground beef were turned into mini meat loaves and four 1/3rd pounder hamburgers, since that’s the size needed to fit into those giant sweet potato hamburger buns I made. I also dug a steak and a package of two pork chops out of the freezer.

Vegetables … well, I picked up a bundle of fresh asparagus since they were on sale. A bit of salt, a drizzle of oil (vegetable or olive) and a few minutes on each side and you’ve got tender but still crisp stalks of delicious asparagus to nibble on.

BBQ: Before and After

Beef

Pork

Most of the meat loaves and burgers went into the freezer for quick future meals. The main portion of the steak was reserved for a steak and mushroom sandwich so supper was the bits trimmed off and some of the grilled asparagus.

One of the mini meat loaves was turned into a wrap with creamy guacamole and a home made flour tortilla

Bacon Wrapped Mini Meat Loaves with Crispy Fried Onions

Shopping the sales at the grocery store is something that I’ve done for years. This week’s flyer had ‘family pack sized trays’ of lean ground beef prominently displayed. I came home with about 1.4 kg of the ground beef and then did some net surfing. Even though Sloppy Joes were tempting, I didn’t have any green peppers which were needed for the recipe I intended to make, so I ended up with third-pounder sized hamburgers for the barbecue and a tray of mini meat loaves.

The recipe I’m posting below has BOTH elements of the two mini meat loaf experiments I made and was inspired by this recipe.

Bacon Wrapped Mini Meat Loaves – makes 6 mini meatloaves

Mini Meat Loaves

750 gm lean ground beef
1 egg
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp diced, sauteed onions
1 tsp salt
shake or two of garlic powder, if desired
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

6 strips bacon, for wrapping

Topping

1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp prepared French’s mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar

~1/4 cup fried onions, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with a strip of aluminum foil or parchment paper to make clean-up easier.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the meat loaves, except for the strips of bacon. Divide the meat mixture evenly into six portions and shape into round or oval patties. Wrap a strip of bacon around each patty so that they meet or just slightly overlap.

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Spoon a scant tablespoon of the topping onto each patty and place onto the baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the topping is bubbly and the bacon wrap is crispy.

If desired, after about 40-45 minutes, remove the baking tray from the oven, sprinkle some of the fried onions on top and return to the oven to finish baking. (Adding the onions at the beginning of the baking is liable to result in burnt onions. Even though I waited until I had baked the patties for 40 minutes … 20 minutes left … the onions were a bit crispier than I would have preferred.)

Bacon Wrapped Mini Meat Loaf – I wasn’t sure how crispy the bacon wrap would get in the allotted baking time, so I didn’t put the topping on a couple of the meat loaves

Topping and Crispy Fried Onion Mini Meat Loaf – The other four meat loaves had both the topping and the fried onion … but no bacon wrap.

Serve with a generous scoop of your favourite creamy mashed potatoes.

The inside of the meat loaf looks a little dry in this picture but it wasn’t

BBQ and Mint Chimichurri

I’ve had a beef/steak craving for a while and picked up a couple of rib steaks (cap off), as well as a tray of pork chops, also on sale this week, with a plan to barbecue. Unfortunately, with Friday and Saturday’s rain and thunderstorms, it took a post-supper lull on Saturday before I could finally throw a few things on the grill.

There’s nothing like chimichurri to dress a bbq’d steak or pork chops. I’ve used cilantro, mint and parsley to make it, in the past, but this batch just used mint and parsley. And for a veggie side … steamed artichokes with a chipotle yum yum sauce (leftovers) to dip into. I’ll share the pictures in a separate post

Mint Chimichurri – makes about 2/3 of a cup

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup fresh mint (spearmint) leaves, packed
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, packed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Kosher or coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp olive oil**

** I used extra virgin olive oil since that’s all I had.

Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until finely chopped. Add the mint and parsley leaves and pulse until finely chopped.

In a medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the mint-parsley mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in the olive oil.

Transfer to a glass jar, seal and refrigerate. The chimichurri will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Perfect to serve over steak, lamb or even roasted potatoes!

Steak, potatoes and mint chimichurri – I put the chimichurri on the potatoes for visual contrast though it’s generally served on top of your grilled meat.

Dessert was a couple of large cream puffs filled with chocolate Chantilly cream

Mixed bbq grill – Rib steak, Yukon gold potatoes, a package of hot dogs and a couple of pork chops

Fasirt (Breaded Hungarian Hamburgers)

When I was growing up my mom would sometimes refer to something called fasirt. I don’t remember ever equating them with ‘regular’ hamburgers that she would make and bbq in the back yard, but there are many similarities between the two. I recently learned that there is a German/Austrian term, ‘faschiertes’, which refers to minced meat. Since we lived in Germany briefly before we came to Canada, it is possible that she conflated the two words. In any case, the term was vaguely familiar to me, but I didn’t know much more than the word itself.

Since joining a Hungarian food FB group, my memory has been jogged by references to this dish, among others, and I am discovering (or rediscovering) Hungarian cuisine. Note that I have yet to find a Romanian food FB group.

Today’s post shares one of the several versions of fasirt that I’ve run across. Pork is used exclusively in some recipes while a combination of pork and beef is used in others. I had one pound of lean ground beef and one pound of lean ground pork in my freezer. So that’s what I used. For a first effort, I was quite pleased with the results. I would recommend frying the patties just before serving, so you can enjoy the crispy outside and the moist, tender interior. Standing doesn’t affect the taste just the texture.

Fasirt Version # 1 – 1 lb 14 oz meat mixture, makes 15 2 oz patties

For the meat patties

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
3/4 tsp salt (1/2 tsp per pound)
1 tbsp sauteed diced onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 oz bread (pulsed in food processor) plus 4 tbsp milk

For coating
~1 cup dried unseasoned bread crumbs

In a small bowl, place the fresh bread crumbs and pour the milk over the top. Let the bread soak for about 15 min. Squeeze out any excess milk. (No excess milk found.)

Mix the patty ingredients together, divide into 2 oz portions, shape into balls and pat out into ~ 2 1/2 inch diameter patties. (NOTE: I didn’t over handle the meat mixture but the patties still rounded up a bit more than I wanted. You may want to pat the meat out to a 3 4 inch diameter.)

 

Lightly coat patties with breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess crumbs.

 

In a large cast iron frying pan, heat vegetable oil to medium and then fry the patties about 2 min per side, or until the juices run clear and, if cut open, the center is no longer pink but still moist.

Serve the patties with mashed potatoes, creamed spinach or peas and pickles. Or just dip them in some yogurt based tzatziki.