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Joe’s Chili

Joe’s Chili

Between October and February, chili is a go-to recipe in our house, and I’m going to let you in on a secret…… it’s actually one of the meals that Joe makes better than me. He has some kind of magic that just makes it taste […]

a personal note and a resolution…

a personal note and a resolution…

I know it’s been a while, but life has been crazy since my last posts. So much has happened over the last two and a half years: some not so happy things, and some very happy things. There’s been some losses and some health scares […]

Soul-Warming Beef Stew

Soul-Warming Beef Stew


When the days get a little shorter, and the weather gets a little cooler my heart YEARNS for beef stew. There’s just something about a hearty stew that warms the soul, and this recipe is my absolute favorite. Featuring carrots, onions, potatoes, and beef — this stew has an absolutely divine broth that is rich and full of flavor. The best part is that it gets better the longer it sits, and is even more amazing on days 2 & 3. You can honestly just walk away and forget about it since it does most of its stewing (ha) in the oven.

My recipe is slightly adapted from the Hearty Beef Stew recipe in the The New Best Recipe, which was a go-to cookbook for both my grandma and Aunt Kathy. Seriously, buy this cookbook because it is a cooking-bible for me, and it is full of tips and tricks for pretty much everything you can imagine. I absolutely treasure my copy because it is full of annotations and adjustments in the margins — little reminders of the women who inspired this food blog. I like adding my own as well, and one day hope to leave it to a daughter of my own.



Now, I know that every family has their own way of doing stews, and debating the individual merits can get heated! I’m not here to settle that score, but there is one thing I do want to discuss methods-wise with this recipe…..and it is a point of contention for many: Flour. I always thought you were supposed to dredge the stew meat in flour before searing, like you normally do with a pot-roast. However, I found with some stew recipes, while it does help to thicken the broth, it also makes the meat a bit gummy. For this recipe, I sear mine with only salt and pepper, and added the flour to the onions and garlic before adding in the broth. I think it made for a nice broth, and perfectly tender beef. That’s just my two cents.

Also, my grandma always taught me that you never want to go for straight beef stock in beef-based soups or stews. Blending both chicken and beef (or even veggie broth and beef) helps to cut down on the richness, and lightens it up a bit. While we are talking liquids, I should also note that I opt for wine to deglaze in my beef-stews. I like the taste, and it adds a necessary acidity, but it also gives me an excuse to drink more wine. There’s a lot of debate on the best wine to use IN a beef stew, but I think you should just use whatever you have on hand. I used a Chianti. However, a heavy stout would be really a good way to mix it up too! Like I said, you do you….



As always, enjoy! Be sure to let me know what you think.

Eat with: Crunchy bread and butter

Drink with: You want something full-bodied, so an Argentinian Malbec would be divine!

Warm-Your-Soul Beef Stew

2017-10-26
: 8
: 20 min
: 4 hr
: Medium

This hearty stew features an absolutely divine broth that is rich and full of flavor. Chunks of tender meat and root vegetables are sure to warm your belly and your spirits.

By:

Ingredients
  • 3lbs Beef Stew Meat Cut into 1.5inch cubes (chuck roast is best)
  • 3 T EVOO, separated
  • 2 White Onions, chunked
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 t Salt
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 1/4 C Red Wine
  • 2 C Chicken Stock
  • 2 C Beef Stock
  • 1 T Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 t course black pepper
  • 1 T fresh thyme OR rosemary
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 5 medium carrots peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 5 red (or yukon) potatoes, peeled and chopped in eighths
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 300°
  • Step 2 Chop beef into 1 1/2 inch cubes and pat dry
  • Step 3 Season with salt and pepper and 2 T of flour.
  • Step 4 Heat 1T EVOO in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Step 5 Working in batches, brown beef for 2 minutes on each side.
  • Step 6 Remove each batch, and add beef along with juices to a separate bowl.
  • Step 7 Once the beef is finished browning, add remaining oil to pan and heat over medium heat. Add onions and salt and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions have softened.
  • Step 8 Add garlic, and cook for another minute until garlic is fragrant and soft, then stir tomato paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes (stirring constantly to not burn).
  • Step 9 Once the flour is golden brown and fragrant, add in the wine + balsamic vinegar and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the liquid has thickened — about two minutes.
  • Step 10 Slowly add in broths, while stirring and scraping the bits off the sides and bottom.
  • Step 11 Add thyme or rosemary, paprika, and pepper and reduce heat.
  • Step 12 Add in meat and bring to a low simmer.
  • Step 13 Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
  • Step 14 Taste and adjust for spices, and then add in vegetables, cover, and return to oven for another 1.5 – 2 hours, or until the meat and veggies are tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.
  • Step 15 Top with parsley or chives (optional) and serve with crunchy bread and butter!
Bourbon-Apple Smash

Bourbon-Apple Smash

Okay, so fall is my absolute favorite time of the year There’s something about the crisp nights, the smell of spices and fire, and the overall autumnal aesthetic that turns me into a homebody. All I want to do is break out my boots, scarves, […]

Banana Muffin Base

Banana Muffin Base

Okay y’all…. I need to admit something, and it is something I think you’re probably already thinking…. I am a terrible blogger when it comes to regular updates. There, I said it. But, for those that don’t know, we just made a massive move a […]

Caribbean Pork with Black Beans and Minty Mojo Sauce

Caribbean Pork with Black Beans and Minty Mojo Sauce

 


So the other day I was reallllly craving something new and zesty. We had just gone to Costco, so after spending a couple of hours vacuum-sealing all of our meat purchases (which is totally the way to go), I remembered a Caribbean pork bowl I had once, and I couldn’t stop drooling. It had zesty beans, perfect rice, and the juiciest pineapple I ever had on top. It was spicy, fruity, and hearty. I knew I wanted to recreate it, so I spent quite a bit of time scouring the web for some new recipes. After tweaking and perfecting them, I finally came up with mine. You guys, I can’t wait to share it with you!

This round kind of happened by accident because we had to go pick up a coffee table from someone in downtown DC, and we were rushing to eat. So, at first I was just going to grill some pork loin chops, veggies, and pineapple… throw it in a bowl and call it done. However, our grill area was shut down for the week (which I discovered after spending an hour getting everything together to take downstairs). After a minute of freaking out, I had to improvise and do it on the stove and in my scurry, I really didn’t think this would be bloggable. I. Was. So. Wrong.



Y’all. Let me tell you. This dish is so flavorful, and the mojo sauce is one of the best things I have EVER tasted, and I do not say that lightly. I had some leftover even after throwing it on everything I made for two days — I didn’t have the heart to toss it…. So I drank it. No regrets, it was that good. You’ll see what I mean when you make it yourself!



For those of you who don’t know what Mojo sauce is, I am so so sorry you haven’t discovered it until now. But, I’m thankful I get to share it with you! This is more of a variation of a Cuban or more broadly of a Caribbean Mojo sauce, but its fairly common and can be found throughout Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands as well  There are MANY different variations, But one thing that they all share is LOADS of garlic and oil. With this sauce in particular, the citrus, cilantro and mint are sure to remind you of salty island air. It’s tangy, sweet, savory, and absolutely amazing. It’s also so easy to whip up and is extremely versatile – It can be used as a marinade, as a dipping sauce, or even as a topping. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to play with it by adding different herbs! For this recipe, as you can see, I used it as a marinade, but I also set some aside to mix into the rice, and served some on the side with the main meal.



Speaking of rice and beans…. I have found that in most recipes they are often neglected components, and are often left as is. I can’t stand for that, and found that adding a bit of pizazz to the basic rice and beans took this dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Instead of using my handy-dandy rice cooker (which is one of the best purchases ever) I cooked the rice on the stove with garlic and chicken broth. It gave it a more savory flavor, and added some much needed depth to the overall bowl. Before fluffing and serving, I also  stirred in a couple of spoonfuls of left over Mojo sauce, and it really helped to tie the whole thing together.

As for the beans, they certainly aren’t pretty, but my goodness they are good. All you have to do is dice up some bell peppers, jalapeño, and an onion. Add it to the beans and simmer slowly as your rice is finishing up and meat is resting. If they start to get thick, just add in some more broth until you’re ready to serve. Also, since you’re only using a little bit of the peppers and onions for the beams. chop the rest of the veggies, add some olive oil, and put them in a grill basket and on the grill (or under the broiler as in my case). I did the same with the pineapple (with a dash of cayenne, of course!), but it would have been even better on the grill!



 

One thing that was awesome about this dish is the fact that not only was it easy, you can double or triple it to make some awesome leftovers. We threw some of the pork and beans on nachos for lunch the next day, and I used the mojo sauce to marinade some fish too. The sauce is also good tossed with greens! So, without further ado, I present to you the recipe. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Drink with: Pineapple Mojito

Eat with: Grilled corn and tortillas

Pork and Bean Bowls with Mojo Sauce

2017-06-25
: 4
: 30 min
: 3 hr
: Medium

Fruity, Spicy, Sweet, and Savory - these bowls are sure to transport you to a warm breezy night on an island!

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 Pork Loin Chops (2 inches thick)
  • MOJO SAUCE
  • 10 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 C Cilantro
  • 1/4 C Mint
  • Zest from 1 Orange
  • 2 t Cumin
  • 2 t Oregano
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Pepper
  • 1 1/2 C Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/2 C Lime Juice
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 2 t Honey (for cooking)
  • BLACK BEANS
  • 1 t Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cans Black Beans, (1 drained, 1 not)
  • 2 T diced Peppers
  • 2 T diced Onions
  • 2 t minced Garlic
  • Broth as needed to thin
  • RICE
  • 1 t Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 1/2 C Long Grain White Rice
  • 3 C Chicken Broth
  • GRILLED VEGGIES
  • Chopped peppers, onions, corn, etc.
Directions
  • Step 1 1. Make the Mojo Sauce: Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor, and whiz until diced. Add spices and mix while slowly pouring in juices. Once everything is combined, slowly add oil. Set aside.
  • Step 2 2. Clean pork if needed. Mix the pork with 1 cup of marinade in a dish or in a gallon sized bag. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to overnight). Store remaining mojo sauce in the fridge.
  • Step 3 3. Prepare beans: Add vegetable oil in the bottom of a pan and heat over medium heat. Add in peppers and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for two minutes, and then add 1/2 can of beans.
  • Step 4 4. Mush the beans with the peppers and cook for a minute. Add the rest of the beans and juice. Bring to a boil before dropping the heat to a slow simmer. Continue cooking on very low until serving.
  • Step 5 5. Prepare rice: Add oil and garlic to the bottom of a pot, and sauté until garilic begins to turn brown. Add rice and cook for a minute or two (until rice starts to lightly brown) before adding the chicken broth. Bring rice and broth to a boil and then drop the heat to low, put the lid on, and cook for at least 25 minutes. You can lift the lid and check if all of the water is absorbed. If it isn’t, continue cooking.
  • Step 6 6. While rice is cooking, cook pork. If you aren’t grilling,  preheat oven to 400*
  • Step 7 7. In the bottom of a cast iron skillet, add 1 T olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is sizzling, add pork one at a time while removing excess marinade. Cook each side for 5 minutes so a brown crust forms.
  • Step 8 8. After both sides have been seared, add honey to excess marinade and baste the tops of the pork. Move pork to the oven until internal temperature reads 140. About 5-7 minutes.
  • Step 9 You want a thick crust. 9. Once pork is complete, let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Your rice should be done by this point. Add a few spoonfuls of Mojo sauce to rice before fluffing.
  • Step 10 10. Add rice, beans, and any roasted veggies to a bowl or plate. Top with sliced pork, extra mojo sauce, and a sprinkle of cilantro and fresh jalapeños.
  • Step 11 11. Serve with hot sauce, tortillas, or roasted/grilled pineapple on the side!
Berry Gin and Tonic

Berry Gin and Tonic

We have finally gotten settled in D.C. and boy is it HOT! When the weather starts to warm up, I have a strong urge to grill outside, and I can’t do that without a fun summer cocktail. Well, I can, but I just choose not […]

Avocado Toast with My Favorite Fried Egg

Avocado Toast with My Favorite Fried Egg

I absolutely love avocados, and we all know that avocados, for the most part, are pretty good for you in moderation. Half an avocado contains 20% of your daily recommended fiber, has the good monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol, and is chock full of […]

Grown Up Limeade, AKA: The Easiest Bulk Margaritas

Grown Up Limeade, AKA: The Easiest Bulk Margaritas

Last weekend Joe and I had some friends over for a Mexican Food night. We had a lovely spread — a DIY taco bar with an awesome lime chicken, fresh guacamole and salsa, and a a dip using my Elotes recipe! My sister in law even made a Tres Leche cake that was seriously to die for.  Like any good hostess, I wanted to make a pre-dinner cocktail for a house-full, but I didn’t want to A) Break the Bank or B) Spend a lot of time doing it. Thats when, DUH, it hit me– I’ll make margaritas! Then I remembered, for a good margarita, you’re gonna do both of those things — good tequila and a top shelf of orange liquor is still gonna put you back a bit, and if you’re like me, you’re gonna wanna use real lime juice, so you’ll spend hours squeezing limes. Not this time. Let me introduce to you, the easiest bulk Margarita.

I do hesitate to call this a Margarita, hence the Grown Up Limeaid name. I will not lie, there are much better “Margarita” options out there, but this is an easy and cheap way to make a mock-margartita for a crowd. To make it you need a can Frozen  Limeade, pure agave tequila, and an extra bit of fresh lime juice for that Margarita pucker. Triple Sec and simple syrup are optional, but lovely additions. I definitely recommend using an organic brand of frozen limeade,  and at the very least Minute Maid because it doesn’t have any artificial coloring.  I also recommend using a mid-range tequila, as I find that cheap tequila can lead to a fun night, but a horrible next day.

As always, be safe and drink responsibly!

Grown Up Lime-Aid

2017-05-10
: 8
: 5 min
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 12 oz. Can Frozen Limeade, thawed (Minute Maid preferred)
  • 24 oz. Water
  • 6 oz. Triple Sec (Optional, to taste)
  • 12 oz. Tequila
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Simple Syrup (Optional, to taste)
  • Ice
Directions
  • Step 1 Using the can as measurement, dump all ingredients in a pitcher and stir. Adjust to taste.
  • Step 2 Pour over salt-rimmed glasses with ice.
  • Step 3 Garnish with lime wedges
Elotes with Spicy Lime Yogurt

Elotes with Spicy Lime Yogurt

One of my absolute favorite things about summer is fresh corn. It is so cheap, versatile, and if I could, I’d eat it with every meal. Growing up I would top my corn with sour cream and butter, and then one day my world changed….fortunately for the […]