I guess I always overlooked beef chili a bit. This is probably because I didn’t care much for ground beef for a long time. Lately I have been enjoying this chili recipe because it is so simple and tasty. It gets points for the amount of ingredients (you can count them on one hand.) That is definitely not the norm for chilies which can require up to 20 ingredients! This chili should be cooked on a heavy bottomed saute pan where it slow cooks for about an hour. I like the taste of grass-fed ground beef so I use it for this recipe. The amount of hot sauce to add into the chili is really up to personal tastes. I like it on the spicy side so I add approximately 1/4 cup. I topped the chili with sharp cheddar and it can be served on top of rice or with corn bread.
Malaysian Rendang is a delicious slow cooked beef dish simmered in coconut milk and spices. The cut of beef used is usually a cheap cut that is good for slow cooking. Eventually the tough part of the meat breaks down over time and becomes tender. The dish starts off with a lot of liquid and slowly evaporates as it’s cooking. Eventually the liquid cooks almost completely off, coating the beef with tasty coconut flavor, tamarind, and spices. This is a great weekend project to try as the results are really satisfying but it’s also a labor intensive dish that requires a lot of time and effort. If you have trouble finding the ingredients at grocery stores, I would recommend going to a local asian or Thai market which might carry the more obscure ingredients. The dish is popular in Southeast Asia and once I made it I could see why! The beef was tender and bursting with flavor. I served it with a side of Malaysian flat bread called ‘Roti’ which was a perfect accompaniment to scoop up the last bits of sauce.
Since Korean food works great with Tex-mex I wanted to try Korean-style tacos again! Usually “kalbi” refers to Korean BBQ short ribs but I really wanted to try the kalbi marinade on skirt steak since it’s a great meat for tacos. The marinade consists of ginger, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and asian pears so it was really easy to throw together. If you can’t find asian pears I think it would be alright to substitute in regular pears. I marinated the steak for about an hour before grilling. I used a flat pan to saute the beef at a high temperature, but I’m sure grilling the beef would be a great way to get extra flavor. The tacos were really tasty! I loved the sear on the beef along with the flavors of the kalbi marinade. I really enjoyed the sweet and savory kalbi beef with the tangy sesame soy dressing. I topped the tacos with chopped tomatoes, a cilantro lime salsa and sesame soy sauce dressing.
What better way to try out a tasty new salsa than to serve it with tacos? I picked out a skirt steak for these tacos because you can get a great sear on the outside and I figured it would go well with the salsa. I went simple and just seasoned the steak with a little cumin and smoked paprika. The salsa, steak and onions went really nicely together. Caramelized onions are so good on tacos so I add them in whenever possible. I caramelized the onions in the leftover adobo sauce which added a smokiness that wasn’t too sweet. Then for a little texture and crunch I added some red cabbage on top. A little crumbled queso fresco added creaminess (sour cream would probably work fine too.) All together, this was a really delicious taco and I look forward to having it again sometime.
After baking a loaf of rye bread, what better way to put it to use than making corned beef sandwiches? This sandwich is similar to the Reuben but with a few notable differences. I decided to use sharp cheddar and caramelized onions instead of Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Since corned beef pairs well with more bitter ingredients I used cider vinegar to caramelize the onions instead of something sweeter like brown sugar or honey. I also mixed some horseradish and Dijon mustard together which tasted great with the corned beef. All the flavors worked really well together and I can’t wait to make it again! I served the sandwich with a side of Irish coleslaw.
Pho is one of my favorite soups simply because the broth is so flavorful. A while ago I made Pho Ga which is the same soup only made with chicken. Then I went to a local Pho restaurant and the beef pho was just fantastic and I knew I had to try the beef version as well. The pho is seasoned with star anise, cinnamon stick, ginger, and cloves which gives the stock a fragrant and savory aroma. The most important part of making good stock is the beef. Charring the onion and ginger is an important first step for the stock as well and needs to be done over an open flame. I chose to make the stock with 4 pounds of beef neck bones with neck meat and the stock came out really well. Beefy and flavorful, it was one of my favorite stocks I have ever made! I chose some thinly sliced, good quality beef for the actual soup which cooks after pouring the boiling stock over the meat. My second favorite part (the first is the broth obviously) is all the great condiments that mix together in the broth! I chose cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeno peppers, Thai basil, Hoisin sauce, and Sriracha for the condiments but you can pick and choose whatever you like. Making the stock takes time but it was well worth the effort as the soup turned out great!
Since I enjoyed the pork mole negro I made a while ago I thought I would try it in a chili. Originally I started with a basic recipe for meat chili and it eventually evolved into both a mole and a chili recipe. I’ve always thought the flavors in mole would go well in a chili and it turns out I was right because this was very tasty! The flavors of the chili were multi-layered and complex (probably because of the 20+ ingredients in it). This recipe is ideal for a large slow cooker but a sauce pot on low heat would work fine too.
Kare Udon is a Japanese curry soup made with a simple broth, curry roux, and udon noodles. I have tried Moroccan, Indian, and Thai curries but I have never tried a Japanese curry. The broth is called Dashi, which can be made all sorts of ways but at its most basic is boiled kelp and water. I couldn’t find Dashi anywhere, not even at the local Asian market, so I had to substitute vegetable broth for it. I was excited to find the curry roux and udon at the grocery store. The curry turned out great. I made a full curry with potatoes, carrots, and beef and it was very tasty.
I have been looking around for more good sandwich recipes and I decided to try a Philly cheese steak. Since I never actually had a Philly cheese steak, I picked a recipe from the internet that looked good without thinking much about it. I then ran the ingredients by John who has had a real Philly from one of the cult places in Philadelphia. He was a little surprised when I told him there would be green peppers and provolone in the sandwich. He was also pretty weirded out that I was using neither rib-eye steak or “steak-ums” (whatever that is).
Basically none of the ingredients were “right,” except maybe the sourdough roll. Cheese steak challenges aside, I thought the sandwich turned out great. The peppers, onions, and steak were good together.B Next time I might try making a more traditional Philly. I just don’t think I can ever go there with that cheese-wiz stuff.
Since I have been craving some hot sandwiches, John recommended that we try Reubens. Then he told me that sauerkraut was involved and I got worried. The smell of sauerkraut is kind of intimidating. Then I tried it out of the jar and it wasn’t too good. John just spoons it out throws it on a hot dog and i’m just like ‘wow’.
I have also never tried pastrami before so this definitely was a whole group of new flavors. I like trying unfamiliar foods though so I decided to keep my mind open. The sauerkraut tasted a lot better after it had been drained and sauteed. It was actually really tasty on the sandwich since the dressing, rye, cheese, and meat were enhanced by its flavor. So, I will be using kraut again on reuben sandwiches for sure–but hot dogs? Noo way.