Beef · CrockPot · Recipes

Spring Fling: Short Rib Chili

Spring is here, spring is here! Well… sort of. In between glorious bits of sunshine, it’s still a little chilly which makes chili the perfect choice for dinner!

We picked up some beautiful boneless short ribs the other day, but I’m mixing it 50/50 with beef stew meat for a slightly more budget-friendly meal. This spicy hearty chili is a great option for weekend camping trips too (we usually make chili ahead of time and then reheat it in cast iron). And let me just say, these pictures may not be great, but the chili was amazing (seal of approval from The Boyfriend too).

For this recipe, you will need:
crockpot/slow cooker
non-stick pan
blender

Ingredients: 
~ 1.25 lb boneless beef short ribs
1 lb beef stew meat
2 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (7oz) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1.5 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove elephant garlic (or 3-5 cloves garlic)
3 dried chili peppers
2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp avocado oil (olive or coconut is fine)

Seasoning: 
4 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt / to taste

Add one can of diced tomatoes and liquid to the crockpot. With the other can of diced tomatoes, drain the liquid first (do not rinse) and add to the pot. Drain and rinse beans until water runs clear, add beans to the crockpot. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers and combine in blender cup with one full can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Blend pepper mixture for about one minute or until it resembles a uniform paste and add to the crockpot. Add 2 tsp extra dark cocoa powder, 2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp ancho chili powder to the crockpot mix.

Using a sharp knife, finely chop elephant garlic clove (also called elephant toes) or 3-5 cloves normal-sized garlic. Set aside in a bowl with the chopped onion. Add 2 tsp each of oregano, cumin, and ancho chili powder to the onions and garlic.

One clove of elephant garlic vs a whole head of "regular" garlic
One clove of elephant garlic vs. a whole head of “regular” garlic

Pre-heat oil in a non-stick pan on high-heat. While the pan is heating up, dice the ribs and stew meat into ~1/2 cubes – they do not at all have to be uniform in shape, just similar in size. You want the pieces to be small enough that they are “bite size” but big enough that they can still be shredded later on. Add meat to the pan, in batches if necessary, and cook for 3-5 minutes on one side only to sear the meat and lock in some flavor. Add all of the meat to the crockpot.

In the same pan, add the onion-garlic-spice mixture and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and the onions have softened slightly. Add this to the crockpot.

Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, stir to mix everything together, and set crockpot on low for 7-9 hours. If you don’t want to wait that long, try cooking on high for 3-5 hours checking periodically to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you find that the chili has let off a lot of liquid, you can crack the lid a little bit to let some of the liquid evaporate. I personally prefer a thicker chili (as opposed to more liquid) so we usually crack the lid for half the cooking time.

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Serve immediately – as is, with chopped raw onion on top, with guacamole, or with grilled veggies.

Store in the fridge up to three days.

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Baked · Date Night · Party Food · Poultry · Recipes

Conflict-Free Wings

With flavors stemming from North Africa and the Middle East, I wanted to bring all these herbs and spices together without stirring up any trouble so for the sake of enjoying a good meal, any debate on the origin of flavors or other political discussions end here.

Somewhat inspired by the za’atar skillet bread The Boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to try at Willi’s Wine Bar on our recent trip to California, the marinade for these wings comes together very quickly and is practically impossible to stop licking off your fingers (before you touch the raw chicken of course).

You Will Need: 
1 large baking sheet
1 cutting board
1 large bowl
1 medium bowl or large ziplock bag
1 small bowl
1 very sharp knife or cleaver
1 rubber spatula
1 pair boning tweezers or equivalent

Ingredients: 
2 lbs whole bone-in chicken wings (about 10 wings)
5 tbsp high-quality olive or avocado oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or cubes
2 tsp lemon juice

Seasoning: 
2 heaping tbsp za’atar
2 heaping tsp harissa
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt

Place the wings in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all herbs and seasoning with 2 tsp lemon juice and 5 tbsp oil. Using a fork, stir until mixture resembles a paste. Set aside.

Cutting board: Using boning tweezers or equivalent, remove any feathers left behind on the wings. Split each wing from the drumstick at the joint with a very sharp knife or cleaver. Add split wings to a clean bowl.

Making this recipe a few times is actually what inspired me to pick up this little thing
Making this recipe a few times is actually what inspired me to pick up this little thing

Using a rubber spatula, toss wings with marinade-paste until all wings are coated. Transfer to ziplock bag or cover bowl with foil, refrigerate for at least four hours.

Remove wings from refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking, this ensures the meat will cook evenly.

Pre-heat oven to 410*F and cover baking sheet with foil.

Arrange wings on baking sheet skin side up and bake for 20 minutes. After the first 20 minutes, turn the wings so they are facing skin side down and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Set oven to broil, flip wings one last time so they are skin side up, and broil for 3-5 minutes to get the skin nice and crispy.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Pork · Recipes · Skills/Techniques · Vegetarian · Whole30

Kimchi Fried Cauli-Rice

A few months ago, The Boyfriend and I took a little trip through Seattle and Vancouver, BC to celebrate his 30th birthday. While in Vancouver, we had the good fortune to grab seats at the bar at one of the renowned Guu Izakaya restaurants. The special that evening just happened to be kimchi fried rice with pork intestine… and we’ve been talking about it ever since.

There’s just something about fried rice – it’s both exotic and comforting, simple and complex. I could philosophize for ages, but let’s just get to the cooking.  I’ve made cauliflower rice before, so switching out regular rice for the cauli-good-stuff was no big deal. I had originally intended for this part of dinner to last us at least two days, but that just didn’t happen. Thankfully, cauliflower is packed with far more nutrients and other healthy goodies than rice so no real harm in filling up, other than the lack of leftovers. Guess I’ll just have to make it again!

Ingredients: 
1 large head cauliflower
8 oz kimchi
5 slices bacon (optional*)
3 large eggs
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
Food processor or food mill
Large non-stick pan
1 small bowl

* if you are not using bacon for dietary or personal preferences, you will need about 3 tbsp of oil (avocado recommended) to replace the bacon grease.

Wash and clean the cauliflower, chop into medium-sized florets, and set on a paper towel to dry. Working in small batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or run it through a food mill until it resembles rice (you can see the full length recipe in detailhere). Place cauliflower “rice” in a large microwave safe bowl, microwave for 60 seconds, and set aside.

Using a very sharp knife, chop 8 oz kimchi into smaller pieces (I make them just slightly larger than “bite size”) and set aside. Again using a sharp knife, slice bacon strips into smaller, bite-size pieces. Finally, using a fork or whisk, scramble three eggs together in a small bowl.

Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat (~ 8/10). Add about half of the bacon pieces, using tongs or a spatula to make sure they don’ t stick together. After about 2 minutes, add the rest of the bacon pieces – varying the cooking times makes for a fun change in texture and keeps everybody happy (The Boyfriend prefers the crispiest of bacon, I’m less excited by this). Continue cooking bacon for 3-5 minutes, stirring/flipping often to insure even cooking and that pieces don’t stick together.

Add all 8 oz of kimchi to the pan, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until cabbage begins to soften. Dump the entire batch of cauli-rice into the pan, stirring immediately so it’s not just sitting on top of the bacon and kimchi (it will start to burn this way). Continue cooking cauliflower mixture, stirring often, for about 7 minutes or until cauliflower begins to brown. Finally, dump the scrambled eggs over the cauliflower mixture, stirring/flipping all contents of the pan (so the eggs are fully incorporated) for about 3 minutes or until eggs are no longer raw.

Remove contents of pan to a large bowl and serve immediately.

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Date Night · Party Food · Poultry · Recipes · Whole30

Hold the Sizzle: Fiery Chicken Fajitas

If you’re anything like me, you really love fajitas. You love fajitas almost as much as you hate burning your fingers on the damn cast iron skillet that restaurants insist on serving your food on. Every time, they tell me, “don’t touch the plate, it’s hot” and every time, I burn myself one way or another. Never again!

Ingredients: 
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 jalapeño peppers, or equivalent
3 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar

Seasoning: 
3 tsp cilantro
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp True Lime (or 1 tbsp fresh lime juice)

Necessary Appliances/Special Equipment: 
1 medium-sized bowl
1 small bowl for mixing spices
1 large non-stick pan
1 rubber baking spatula or equivalent (large spoon, etc)

Slice chicken breasts into strips, about 1/2″ thick by 1″-2″ long and place into a medium-sized bowl. Remove seeds from hot peppers and slice into thin strips, add these to the bowl as well.

In a small bowl, combine all the herbs/spices and stir with a fork (if using fresh lime juice, do not add this in yet). Add 3 tbsp avocado oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp lime juice (if using), and all herbs/spices to the bowl of chicken and peppers. Mix gently but thoroughly with rubber spatula or spoon, making sure chicken is evenly coated. Allow chicken and peppers to marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
Marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat – you won’t need to add more oil since the chicken has been marinated in some. Dump entire bowl of chicken/pepper mixture into the pan. Sautee over medium heat until chicken is fully cooked through – since the pieces are small, it will be difficult to check the internal temperature, so I usually cut one of the larger pieces in half to make sure the inside is fully cooked.

Serve immediately.

Date Night · Fish · Kid-Friendly · Party Food · Recipes · Seafood

Whatsername Fish Tacos

Note: The story behind the name of this recipe is quite filthy and decidedly NOT kid-friendly so if you don’t like dirty jokes, please skip the following paragraph.

A few years ago, I was at home with my younger sister watching the Food Network (as per usual). We were watching an episode of “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” I don’t remember which episode. Anyway, Mark Summers comes on and starts talking about the most amazing fish tacos he’s ever had in his life – in Hawaii I believe, but that’s not important. He is going on and on about these amazing fish tacos and my sister (probably 15 at the time) turns to me and says, deadpan, “I wonder what her name was”. This was the day I discovered my kid sister did (thankfully) inherit my sense of humor and this joke now comes up whenever fish tacos are involved.

[end of dirty joke]

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Fish tacos are one of my favorites, and I am pleased to report that they are as delicious in lettuce as they are in a tortilla. This recipe is super easy and fun for date night, large groups, and even curious little ones who want to build their own. Dig in!

Ingredients: 
1 lb tilapia fillets
3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
10-15 leaves butterhead lettuce, washed/dried
1/2 large red onion
1 jalapeño pepper
4 tbsp mayonnaise
2-3 tsp sriracha
2+ tbsp olive or avocado oil, for frying

Seasoning: 
1 tbsp Cocky Cajun
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp cilantro
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Taco Accoutrements!
Taco Accoutrements!

Slice red onion and jalapeño pepper into thin, half-moons and set aside in a small bowl(s). I serve these raw as taco toppers. In a separate small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sriracha and mix well – this is my favorite taco sauce!

Rinse tilapia fillets under cold water and pat dry. We bought them frozen in 4-oz fillets which made cutting easier, but one big piece is fine too. Cut the tilapia into smaller fillets, equal in thickness (you may have to slice the thicker pieces in half, which I shamelessly made The Boyfriend take care of). We ended up with about 12 pieces.

In a medium-large bowl, combine the chickpea flour with the herbs and seasonings: Cocky Cajun, salt, pepper, chipotle, and cilantro. Mix well – I find a fork works best for this. Gently dredge each fillet through the flour mixture, lightly coating on all sides, and set aside on a clean plate. We actually dredged the fillets twice, giving them a second light coat right before frying.

Heat oil in a large, non-stick pan on medium heat. Working in batches, fry fillets until completely opaque – about 3 minutes per side. Remove cooked fillets to a clean plate.

Serve immediately with lettuce leaves, raw onion and pepper, and sriracha-mayo sauce. Build your tacos and enjoy!

Recipes · Soup · Vegetarian · Whole30

Holy Crap! Garlic Soup

Before you continue reading, do five jumping jacks. Yes, right now. Stop reading and get up!

Wasn’t that easy? Ok, now you can keep reading.

So, this might not be the right dish for a first date – unless you’re trying to make sure your potential new partner isn’t a vampire – but if you don’t mind garlic breath kisses, go for it. I never understood the problem with garlic breath anyway. Delicious. This soup was amazing and I’m sad it’s all gone, it will definitely be a regular dish in this house from now on (as requested by The [100% Italian] Boyfriend).

As with most of my soup creations, you will need an immersion blender (recommended), food processor, or blender. I also used my shiny red dutch oven for this soup, but I think a large stock pot will be just fine.

Ingredients: 
2 heads of garlic, coarsely chopped (18-20 cloves)
1 head cauliflower, chopped into medium florets
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp butter or high quality olive oil
3 strips bacon
1 tbsp chickpea flour (disregard for Whole30)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper

20140216_1819155

Peel and chop garlic, onion, and cauliflower and set aside (in separate bowls). Cut bacon strips into several pieces and fry in your dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat until desired crispness. Remove bacon from pot and set aside on a paper towel. Add garlic, onion, and butter to the bacon grease and cook until softened and aromatic, 5-7 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of chickpea flour, stirring until fully blended.

Add cauliflower florets to the garlic mixture, toss well to coat cauliflower and prevent garlic/onion from burning at the bottom of the pot. Add 2 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock and 2 tsp of salt. Bring soup to a slow boil on medium-high heat, lower to a simmer, and continue simmering for about 30 minutes (I covered my pot with the lid, leaving just a small opening).

Remove soup from heat and blend with immersion blender – if using food processor or regular blender, do so in batches and return soup back to the pot. Return soup to heat for about 5 minutes to marry flavors. Add white pepper and mix well.

Serve immediately. Finish each bowl with a pinch of coarse salt and a swirl of high quality oil such as olive or avocado (optional).

 

This recipe was updated on 10 June 2017 to reflect adjustments for those following a Whole30 plan. Legumes and dairy products are not compliant with the Whole30 program.