Very versatile, these little gems make splendid hors d’oeuvres eaten out of hand or set atop a crostini, as well as a side dish. A few on a plate make a nice sit-down first course, and they’re great as part of a buffet.
They add a nice pop of color—along with the nutrients—to your plate. The first go-around we served our Roasted Bell Peppers boats with a Parmesan Meatloaf.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
Lightly oil a 13 x 9-inch gratin pan or similar-size baking dish.
Combine the garlic and anchovies in a small mortar, add a pinch of salt, and smash and grind to form a paste. Add the butter and work together with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Half the peppers lengthwise and remove the core, seeds, and soft membrane-like ribs. Cut each half lengthwise into 1 1⁄2″ wide strips. Arrange the strips skin side down on the baking dish. Core the tomato and cut it into the same number of wedges as you have pepper strips. Using a sharp paring knife, carve the juicy seed pockets away from each tomato slice and discard. Season tomato strips on all sides with salt and pepper.
Dived the seasoned butter among the pepper boats, spreading a small amount on each one. Top with a piece of tomato. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until the peppers and tomato pieces are tipped with brown and the pepper is just barely tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Sprinkle the peppers and tomato with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature, with the juices pored over the top.
Flap meat’s coarse grain makes it a champ at holding on to the flavors of a marinade, and this teriyaki(ish) one is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Serve suggestion was with blackened sugar snap peas and rice with quick-pickled jalapeños.
The snap peas were in poor condition at the grocery store so we opted for green beans. And instead of charring them, we steamed and dressed the beans with a ginger-garlic butter as a compliment to the meat marinade.
Instead of grilling due to inclement weather, the flap steak was cooked on “Grilliam” our copper enameled grill pan, which does just as nice a job of searing the meat and getting those char marks.
Fine cooking indicated to whisk together the marinade ingredients in a bowl. However, we made the combination in a large ziploc bag and added the steaks directly to the bag and into the refrigerator for 6 hours.
2 lbs. beef flap meat, cut into pieces of even thickness, if necessary
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
In a large ziploc bag, combine the tamari (or soy sauce), peanut oil, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Add the meat and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Grill, turning every 2 minutes, until cooked to your liking, 6 to 8 minutes for medium (140°F). As noted above, if you don’t have access to a grill, use a grill pan and cook indoors, turning every 2 minutes until the meat registers 140°.
Transfer to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Thinly slice across the grain and pour any accumulated juices over the meat. Serve sprinkled with the scallions and sesame seeds.
For an adaptation of the Korean stir-fry of squid with a garlicky, umami-loaded, savory-sweet, gochujang-based sauce, the squid here is replaced with plump, briny shrimp. This version includes carrots, scallions and zucchini (or yellow summer squash) for layers of texture and color, as well as to round out the meal.
Look for gochujang, the vivid-red fermented chili paste and workhorse in the Korean kitchen, in the international aisle of the supermarket or in Asian grocery stores. Before cooking, marinate the shrimp for about 10 minutes in a mixture of gochujang, sugar, sesame oil and soy. To be efficient, prep the other ingredients for the stir-fry while the shrimp marinate. Serve with steamed short-grain rice.
NOTE: The seedy section at the core turns soft and slightly squishy when cooked, so remove the seeds in the zucchini or summer squash. To do so, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the core.
Buying “easy-peel” shrimp is a great option because they are already deveined, all you have to do is easily peel away the shells. Since we make our own shellfish stock, we appreciate having the shells which we then freeze until it’s time to make another batch of stock.
Spicy Korean-Style Shrimp with Zucchini and Scallions
1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash (about 8 oz.), halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
In a medium bowl, stir together the gochujang, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat; let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the carrot and cook, stirring often, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Push the mixture to one side of the skillet and add the shrimp with its marinade, distributing it in an even layer. Cook without stirring until the shrimp are pink on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
Add the scallions and zucchini, then stir to combine with the shrimp and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the scallions and zucchini have softened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the sesame seeds.
Looking to introduce more seafood dishes into your evening repertoire of family meals? This lovely recipe is easy, is ready in just over a half hour, and contains heart-healthy ingredients.
We served ours over polenta and it was delicious! Our pancetta weighed in at closer to 4 ounces, and we used it all. Are there meatless substitutions for pancetta? Yes, you can try marinated tofu, mushrooms, smoked paprika, olives (already in the dish), and parmesan cheese to substitute for pancetta.
2 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 15-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes in juice
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup large pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, halved
Pat the cod dry and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until crisp and golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat behind in the pan.
Add the fish to the skillet and cook until slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Flip and transfer to a plate, seared side up. Add the onion, thyme, and pepper flakes to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until the pan is almost dry, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juice, artichokes, and olives. Simmer, stirring occasionally, to meld the flavors, about 2 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and nestle the fish into the sauce, keeping the seared side exposed. Cover and cook until the fish is opaque and just cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle with the pancetta, divide among rimmed plates or wide, shallow bowls, and serve.
The Hubs and I are recipe testers for America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) and our particular task in this instance was to make the no-knead bread as directed and then fill out a survey. The drawback was, we couldn’t post the recipe until it appeared in their upcoming Everyday Bread book. Well now many months later, it is widely available in a multitude of stores.
ATK’s mission was to take baking all kinds of breads out of the once-in-a-while category and make it easy and accessible for your unique timetable. I’m not so sure I would categorize it as “easy” due to so many steps before you have a finished product. However, the results were fantastic!
The loaf is so superlatively hearty, yet it still maintains the moist texture and appropriate chew of a proper rustic loaf. I’m not a big bread eater so when I do occasionally indulge, I want it to have some healthy attributes, and this loaf delivers!
The flavor that the beer adds is preferred, but you can substitute an equal amount of water if desired. Be sure to score the dough ½-inch deep in step 9, and don’t be afraid to go back and slash the loaf again if the score isn’t deep enough.
½ cup (4 oz.) boiling water plus 3/4 cup (6 oz.) room temperature water
½ cup (4 z.) mild lager, room temperature
1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
2 cups (11 oz.) bread flour
⅔ cup (3 ⅔ oz.) whole-wheat flour
1½ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and caraway seeds in bowl. Measure out 6 tablespoons seed mixture, spreading into even layer on rimmed baking sheet, and roast until seeds are lightly golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Reserve remaining untoasted seed mixture.
Meanwhile, combine oats and boiling water in medium bowl; let sit until water is absorbed and oats have cooled to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Stir in room temperature water, beer, and vinegar.
Whisk bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, yeast, and cooled, toasted seed mixture together in large bowl. Using rubber spatula, fold oat-water mixture into flour mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl and pressing dough until cohesive and shaggy and all flour is incorporated. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.
Using greased bowl scraper or your wet fingertips, fold dough over itself by lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle and pressing to seal. Turn bowl 90 degrees and fold dough again; repeat turning bowl and folding dough 6 more times (total of 8 folds). Flip dough seam side down in bowl, cover with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Lay 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and spray lightly with vegetable oil spray. Turn out dough (seam side up) onto lightly floured counter and pat into rough 9-inch circle using lightly floured hands. Using bowl scraper or your floured fingertips, lift and fold edge of dough toward center, pressing to seal. Repeat 6 more times (for a total of 7 folds), evenly spacing folds around circumference of dough. Press down on dough to seal then use bench scraper to gently flip dough seam side down.
Using both hands, cup side of dough furthest away from you and pull dough towards you, keeping pinky fingers and side of palm in contact with counter and applying slight pressure to dough as it drags to create tension. (If dough slides across surface of counter without rolling remove excess flour. If dough sticks to counter or hands, lightly sprinkle counter or hands with flour.) Rotate dough ball 90 degrees, reposition dough ball at top of counter, and repeat pulling dough until taut round ball forms, at least 4 more times.
Transfer dough seam side down to center of prepared parchment then spray or gently brush loaf with water. Sprinkle reserved untoasted seed mixture over top and use your hands to gently press seeds onto sides of loaf. Cover with inverted large bowl and let rise until dough has doubled in volume and springs back minimally when poked gently with your finger, 1 to 2 hours.
Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position, place Dutch oven with lid on rack, and heat oven to 475 degrees.
Using sharp knife or single-edge razor blade, make one 6-inch-long, ½-inch-deep slash with swift, fluid motion along top of loaf. Carefully remove hot pot from oven and, using parchment as a sling, gently transfer dough and parchment to hot pot. Working quickly, reinforce scoring in top of loaf if needed, cover pot, and return to oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake loaf in covered pot for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep golden brown and registers at least 205 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Using parchment sling, carefully remove loaf from hot pot and transfer to wire rack; discard parchment. Let cool completely, about 3 hours, before slicing.
Scrolling through Facebook, I saw this “simple” meatloaf recipe, and thought why not? Just as there are loads of meatball recipes, so goes it with meatloaves. And yes, it really was quite simple. If you make up the mix in the morning, you can then just pop it into a preheated oven for one hour before dinner; just make sure to let it rest for 10 minutes afterward.
*A trick I learned ages ago to eliminate some of the fat, is halfway through the cooking time, fold up a few paper towels and pat up the grease that has risen to the top. At this point I add a few ladles of the pasta sauce on top and return it to the oven. Once you cut out the first slice, you can then use a baster to suck up the remaining liquid/fat. Another approach is to form the loaf free-style and place it on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Whichever method you prefer, do not overwork the meat mixture when combining all of the ingredients, otherwise it will be dense and tough. The key is to keep it loose, soft and airy.
We paired ours with a Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato side dish which cooked at the same temperature as the meatloaf. With some of the leftovers we combined it with cooked pasta and more of the sauce used for the meatloaf topping.
1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce (marinara sauce, homemade, meatless)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground pork and beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Try not over handle the mixture, otherwise it will get tough.
Place the mixture in the greased loaf pan, and form into a loaf. Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce. (*Or follow the approach mentioned above.)
Place filled loaf pan on a baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven and drain any grease from the meats at this time.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese.
Place the meatloaf back in the oven, and bake until the cheese is melted.
Remove the meatloaf from the oven, and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
This simple and rustic Spanish recipe shows what a perfect match chickpeas and tuna are. Both ingredients have been eaten and enjoyed together throughout Spain for centuries. In this hearty dish they’re combined in a smoky tomato sauce made with garlic and onion, with a healthy measure of extra virgin olive oil to add depth and texture.
Robust ingredients commonly used in Spanish cooking are added, including sliced stuffed olives and red wine vinegar to heighten, but not overpower, the natural flavors of the other ingredients. The pairing of tuna and chickpeas isn’t only flavorsome, it also makes a very filling and nourishing meal that’s rich in both protein and fiber.
Serve this braise with crusty bread on the side to mop up every last bit of the luscious sauce, but you could also serve it with rice instead. Another accompaniment is crispy, golden pan-fried sliced potatoes, which is kind of like another classic Spanish recipe, Patatas Bravas. You could also use this mixture to stuff a baked potato, as a tasty empanada filling, or even served as a pasta sauce.
A rustic and flavorful Spanish dish of chickpeas cooked in a smoky tomato sauce, with canned tuna, and stuffed olives provided two hefty portions. Easily doubled for more diners. Our initial apprehension of too little tuna, was unfounded. We kept the ingredients the same as the original recipe and it was a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
Variations: Instead of canned chickpeas use white beans, or add some chorizo (cooked with the onion) in place of canned tuna. Serve with rice or potatoes instead of crusty bread.
Here is the quintessential roast lamb recipe for a sit-down Sunday dinner party, or family supper. From Molly Stevens “All About Roasting” cookbook—a cherished favorite of ours—this compact bundle of tender, flavorful meat serves 6 on the smaller leg of lamb, or up 10 with a 4 1⁄2 pounder like ours, and all without breaking the bank. (BTW, Costco has real good prices on different cuts of lamb.)
This recipe goes beyond the pure and simple method of just seasoning with salt and pepper. The flavor is bumped up by smearing the butterflied piece of meat with an herb paste, tying it back into a bundle, and roasting for about 1 hour. Our leg of lamb weighed in at 4.8 pounds, so quite a bit larger than the recipe called for. But by cooking it in a convection oven, the roasting time didn’t take much longer.
It also made for more servings; which was a good thing because son David and his buddy Mike came over to help lug stuff out of our basement, and they stayed for dinner. The meat was paired with twice-baked potatoes and asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon. Let’s just say, they don’t have “shy” appetites, and they got a doggy bag to take home with them.
Rolled Boneless Leg of Lamb with Green Herb Stuffing
1⁄2 cup chicken or beef broth, preferably homemade
1⁄4 cup dry white wine, or dry white vermouth
Lay the lamb out flat on a cutting board. Arrange it so the cut side is down and the outside faces up. If there is more than a 1⁄8-inch scant layer of fat, pare it down with a sharp, thin-bladed knife till it just barely covers the meat. Flip the meat and trim away any large clumps of fat from the cut side.
Follow the directions below to make the herb stuffing. Make sure the lamb is skin side down and spread with herb paste.
Roll the lamb into a cylinder so that the grain of the meat runs the length of the roast. Using kichen string, secure the roll by tying loops of string at 1 1⁄2-inch intervalls along its length.
Finish by weaving a long loop of twine through the crosswise loops.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 350°F (235° convection).
Place the lamb on a shallow roasting pan or a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet just a bit larger than the meat. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the lamb reaches 120-125° for rare; 130° for medium.
Transfer the leg to a cutting board, preferably one with a trough, and let the meat rest for 20-30 minutes.
If the pan drippings look appealing, and you want to make a pan sauce, start by tilting the and pouring or spooning off the clear fat, stop before you discard any of the drippings, even if this means leaving some fat.
Add the broth or water and the white wine or vermouth. Heat over medium heat, scrapping up the drippings with a wooden spoon. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. If it seems a bit watery, simmer a bit longer.
Carve the meat into thick or thin slices as you like, removing the kitchen string as you go. Add any carving juices to the sauce and serve.
Green Herb Stuffing
This piquant, verdant stuffing enhances the rich flavor of the lamb and provides a visual contrast to the rosy meat.
3 garlic cloves
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano or marjoram leaves
2 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Start the food processor, and with the motor running, drop in the garlic cloves. When finely minced, stop the motor, remove the top, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the parsley, mint, oregano, anchovies, cracked black pepper, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes.
Arrange the butterflied leg of lamb skin side down, and spread the herb stuffing all the way to the edges, rubbing it in with your hands to get into any crevices or gaps. Roll and tie the roast with kitchen twine. Gather any herb paste that falls out during rolling and tying and rub it over the surface of the lamb.
Follow the above instructions from Step 5 for roasting the stuffed leg.
Are you a shrimp fan? Then you’ll love this quick and easy shrimp recipe, prepared Mediterranean-style—so it is also healthy. Garlic shrimp cooked in a light white wine and olive oil sauce with red onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, and some tasty spices. What’s not to like?
The original recipe used only a half each of the red onion and yellow and green bell peppers, plus only a cup of the canned diced tomato. We used the full amount of each one which enlarged the serving size and pumped up the healthy nutrients. All changes are noted in the ingredients list below.
Another change we made was using our homemade shellfish stock in place of the chicken broth. Again, more flavor, plus it keeps the dish meatless. Serve over rice as we did, or select a pasta or another favorite favorite grain.
1 ¼ lb. large shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 to 2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp. each salt and pepper
½ tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. cayenne
¼ tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter (ghee clarified butter is preferable)
3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomato
⅓ cup shrimp or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup chopped parsley leaves
Pat the shrimp dry and place it in a large bowl. Add the flour, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, coriander, cayenne, and sugar. Toss until the shrimp is well-coated.
In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until fragrant (be sure not to burn the garlic.)
Add the bell peppers and cook another 4 minutes or so, tossing occasionally.
Now add the shrimp. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the diced tomatoes, broth, white wine and lemon juice. Cook for a couple more minutes or until the shrimp turns bright orange.
Finally, stir in the chopped fresh parsley and serve.
These meatballs are straightforward to make and a welcome addition to many meals. The combination of mozzarella, scallions and jalapeño is cheerfully reminiscent of jalapeño poppers, and those ingredients—along with crushed Ritz crackers instead of bread crumbs — add fat and moisture for tenderness (which also makes them irresistible to nibble on while making dinner).
Our jalapeños were the size of small cucumbers, so our better judgement told us to use only one of them. In the end, the balls were only slightly spicy. But if you just can’t take any level of heat, omit the jalapeño(s) for a milder meatball.
You can eat these with Italian, Mexican or Middle Eastern flavors; their versatility is limitless. Dip them into green sauce, ketchup or tahini; swaddle them in tortillas, pitas or hero rolls; or plop them on top of rice, refried beans, mashed sweet potatoes or sturdy salad greens. In the end, we paired them with a curly pasta shape, and a favorite jarred marinara sauce.
TIP: We used individually-wrapped 1-ounce pieces of mozzarella and shredded them on a box grater, and it worked great.
Roasted Turkey Meatballs With Mozzarella and Scallions
Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
6 scallions, coarsely chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded if desired, coarsely chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
2 oz. chopped mozzarella, preferably fresh (about ½ cup)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper until a paste forms. Stir in the scallions and jalapeños, if using (reserve a little of each for garnish, if you like).
Add the turkey and use your hands to mix until combined. Add the mozzarella and mix just until combined. The mixture will be loose and sticky.
Using wet hands, roll into 12 meatballs (3 tablespoons each) and place on the prepared sheet pan. Bake until cooked through and bottoms are golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
Garnish with optional reserved scallions and jalapeños, if you like.
Bringing back a classic. Want to impress your significant other with an impossibly fancy-sounding dish that really isn’t all that complicated? Then Steak Au Poivre (pronounced oh-pwav) is your guy, …er recipe. Even though we made it for our Valentine’s dinner, you can make it for any special occasion, or just because.
Steak au poivre sounds as if it would be difficult, but it is actually quite simple to prepare, and makes an easy and elegant (perhaps somewhat pricy) meal. Essentially it is a sautéed steak, with a quick pan sauce. This version made with black peppercorns tastes bright but not overpoweringly peppery or boozy.
Although the classic cut of beef for this dish is filet mignon, other cuts of boneless steak can be prepared au poivre, including boneless ribeye, strip steak (our choice), or sirloin. Just remember, a bad or tough steak will still be tough, so select a decent piece of beef with good marbling. It’s best if you season the raw steaks with salt and pepper then place them on a rack without covering in the fridge for 8 up to 24 hours. Take them out of refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
Because pepper is such an important part of the dish (at least one teaspoon of whole peppercorns per steak), it’s applaudable to splurge on high quality peppercorns. Crush the peppercorns with a light hand. They should be “just-cracked” into big pieces, so it’s best to use a mallet, or mortar and pestle, but not a pepper grinder. The au poivre sauce is made from pan drippings, liquor, and cream.
2 1½”-thick New York strip steaks (about 1½ lb. total)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 Garlic cloves, 2 smashed, 2 thinly sliced
3 Sprigs thyme
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 Large shallot, finely chopped
⅓ cup cognac, dry sherry, or brandy
½ cup heavy cream
Flaky sea salt
Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Season all over with kosher salt and a generous amount of ground pepper. Let sit 15–30 minutes.
Coarsely crush peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or place in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a small saucepan (they should be a lot coarser than ground pepper).
Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook steaks, undisturbed, until a deep golden brown crust forms underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn over and cook on second side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. If the steaks have a fat cap, stand them on their sides with tongs and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and 1 Tbsp. butter to the pan. Cook, basting steak continuously, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each steak registers 120°, about 2 minutes. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine shallot, sliced garlic, crushed peppercorns, and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in skillet and cook, stirring often, until shallot and garlic are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add cognac to pan. Set over medium heat and cook until cognac is mostly evaporated and spoon leaves streaks in skillet while stirring, 1–2 minutes. Add cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until sauce coats spoon, about 1 minute. Season with kosher salt.
Slice steaks against the grain and transfer to a platter. Pour any juices from cutting board back into skillet and stir into sauce. Spoon sauce generously over steak; sprinkle with sea salt.
Well, it was the biggest football game of the year—”Super Bowl 57″—and our hometown Eagles team were part of the action, so we wanted to make it an authentic culinary experience, even if it was just the two of us. When we think football, our minds conjure up certain food items that are iconic stalwarts of the game celebration. To us that might mean spicy wings, soft pretzels with mustard, loaded nachos, buffalo chicken dip, bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, and of course chili with all the fixins’.
Over the decades we’ve made many a chili recipe with as many variations as there are football fans. This one by Pati Jinich is worth the effort. She is a Mexican chef, TV personality, cookbook author, educator, and food writer. Pati is best known for her James Beard Award-winning and Emmy-nominated public television series Pati’s Mexican Table. So she has some hefty credit backing up her authority on the chili issue.
Chili is a hearty and flavorful crowd-pleaser that’s perfect all winter long, not just on football Sundays. As is typical, we did make a few tweaks. Number one, we used an entire large jalapeño, not just a mere tablespoon’s worth. Secondly, the stew beef was not tender after one hour (no surprise there), so we simmered, uncovered, for another hour before adding the beans. It then takes another 45 minutes to an hour for the beans, covered on low with a gentle simmer, stirring every once in a while.
Alas, our team lost the Super Bowl, but the chili was a clear winner!
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 large white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeño, seeding optional
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder, such as ancho or chipotle chili powder
1 Tbsp. chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
4 cups beef stock
2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Chopped fresh cilantro
Shredded cheddar cheese
Green onions, sliced thin
In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom casserole, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and begin to brown on all sides. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the ground meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let it brown along with the cubed meat for another 5 to 6 minutes. The juices of the ground meat should have come out and then dry out. Stir as the meat browns. Remove meat from pot, set aside.
Make room in the center of the pan, add the extra tablespoon of oil and add the onions and peppers, cook for 5 more minutes or until they begin to soften.
In the casserole again, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, cayenne, paprika, chili powder, chipotle sauce, cumin, oregano, stir well.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and vinegar, mix well and cook for 3 to 4 minutes stirring a couple times. The tomato paste should have dissolved and the sauce thickened a bit.
Pour in the beef stock and once it comes to a strong simmer, reduce heat to medium. Add the browned meat back into the pot, cover and cook for another hour.
Next, add the beans and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low, it should have a low steady simmer, and cook uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every once in awhile.
Serve the chili in bowls and let your guests garnish with sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and green onions.
It’s a German thing. Although, after reading the ingredients, it seems to be a mash-up of Italian, Asian and German. Typically this traditional German stew includes bratwurst and sauerkraut, but most notably is how it’s cooked. Eintopf translates to “one pot”—a magic word to most home chefs.
This particular recipe, made with bone-in short ribs, is braised until the meat melts off the bone. Fennel — fresh bulb and dried seeds — stars in the braise, while the fronds are sliced for garnishing. Every bite of this stew bursts with flavor, and, as is the case with so many one-pot meals, this dish will only improve with time as all the ingredients sit and mingle.
Using Japanese white sweet potatoes was a new one on us, and we were surprised to see them at our local supermarket. However, they were on the small side so we bought, and used, two.
Now, we made one major alteration. And that is after you drain out the vegetable solids from the pot DO NOT discard the flavorful veggies, blasphemy! Use an immersion blender on the solids and add them to the liquid broth after you discard the surface oil. This not only enhances the flavor profile, but also gives the stew some heft instead of a brothy base.
And you just might about faint when you go to buy the short ribs, the cost had us shell-shocked, and may be prohibitive for some. So go ahead and use chuck roast in its place if necessary.
Eintopf: Braised Short Ribs with Fennel, Squash and Sweet Potato
4 lbs. meaty, bone-in short ribs, cut into single-bone portions
1 Tbsp. neutral oil, such as grapeseed, canola or vegetable oil
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (about 2¼ cups), top with fronds separated from bulb and thinly sliced
6 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock
1 white sweet potato, such as Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, or use an orange sweet potato (2 loose cups)
½ small butternut squash (about 1 lb. 3 oz.), seeds removed, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 14½-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, scrubbed and grated
4 cups torn or cut fresh greens, such as kale, mature spinach, mustard greens or dandelion greens
Warm crusty bread, for serving
Season the short ribs with a sprinkle of salt on all sides. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, brown the tops and sides of short ribs, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate and repeat the browning process with the remaining ribs.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Add the chopped fennel bulb, (reserve the top and fronds for garnish), shallots and garlic to the pot, season with salt, and toss to coat in the pan drippings. Sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until softened, 3 minutes.
Add the fennel seeds and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and break apart the whole pieces with a wooden spoon or other cooking utensil. Cook until the tomato juices are thickened, about 6 minutes.
Return the browned short ribs, bone side up, to the pot along with any drippings from the plate. Pour in the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer. Cover and transfer pot to the oven. Braise until the meat is tender, but not falling off the bone, about 2 to 2½ hours.
Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Transfer the cooked short ribs to a plate. Using a colander or sieve set over a bowl, drain out the vegetable solids from the pot and discard (or not, see note above about using an immersion blender), reserving the liquid broth. Skim off and discard as much oil as you can from the surface of the liquid using a spoon or a ladle. (You should have about 3 to 4 cups of broth.)
Return the broth to the pot, add the potato and squash, and pour in the coconut milk. Season to taste with salt and the 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add the ginger and return the short ribs to the pot, nestling the pieces between the vegetables so that the meat is mostly submerged in the liquid. Return the pot to the oven and braise uncovered until the potato and squash are tender, the meat is falling off the bone, and the liquid is slightly reduced, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
On the stovetop but off heat, stir in the greens: The heat from the stew should gently wilt the leaves. Top with the thinly sliced fennel top and fronds. Serve hot in bowls with warm crusty bread for dipping.
Did you know that Puttanesca sauce originated in Naples Italy? The name derives from the Italian word puttana which translates roughly to “lady of the night,” or “in the style of the whore.” Puttana in turn arises from the Latin word putida which means stinking. It’s a wonder how this tasty dish became associated with such sordid content, but I’ll leave you to research that aspect… There is a lot of disagreement about the origins, and the authorities on Italian food seem to be wary of making a definitive statement about it.
OK, so let’s get to the delicious recipe. Puttanesca is made from tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, onions, garlic, and herbs, usually oregano and parsley but sometimes also basil; we used cilantro for a change of pace. This particular version leaves out the anchovies, but you could easily add some in if desired.
It is an easy sauce, briefly cooked, and is very fragrant and spicy. We paired it here with a Lemon-Garlic Rice, but fell free to use a simple steamed rice.
Contrary to popular belief, “teriyaki” refers not to a sauce, but a technique. In this recipe, chicken thighs are briefly marinated and tossed with a little cornstarch before they’re cooked in a skillet. The meat is seared or broiled, then given a lustrous shine with a glaze of soy, mirin and sugar.
We happened to have one-pound packages of chicken thighs in the freezer so we thawed one of them. It is less that the 1 1⁄2 pounds called for, but since it was just the two of us, we figured it was plenty. We probably could have gotten away with cooking the chicken in one batch instead of two. All of the other ingredient amounts were kept as is.
Don’t forget to drain the chicken before coating it with cornstarch. Excess liquid will cause splattering during cooking. “Donburi” refers to individual one-bowl meals of rice with various toppings. To complement the chicken and add texture and freshness to the donburi, we also threw together a simple cabbage slaw.
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup mirin
2 tsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced on bias
2 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
4 cups cooked Japanese-style short-grain rice, hot
In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the sake and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Add the chicken and toss. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon sake, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, the mirin and sugar. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the ginger; set aside.
In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage and scallions with the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, the rice vinegar and sesame oil. Set aside.
Drain the chicken in a fine mesh strainer. Wipe out the bowl, then return the chicken to it. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss to coat.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil until beginning to smoke. Add half the chicken in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottom and the edges turn opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.
Flip and cook without stirring until well browned on the second side, about another 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken.
Wipe out the skillet, then return the chicken to the pan. Pour in the soy sauce-ginger mixture and stir to coat. Cook over medium-high, stirring, until the liquid is syrupy and the chicken is glazed, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Divide the rice among 4 bowls. Top with the cabbage mixture and chicken.