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Our Daring Cooks’ December 2012 Hostess is Andy of Today’s the Day and Today’s the Day I Cook!

Andy is sharing with us a traditional French Canadian classic the Paté Chinois, also known as Shepherd’s pie for many of us, and if one dish says comfort food.. this one is it!

Posting Date:
December 14, 2012

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

How could I not do this challenge since Pâté Chinois is a staple for us, french Canadian people…

I have made so many of those in my life that now, we are expecting it almost once a month, usually during the weekend, to show up on our table, wherever our two feet are on this planet.

Pâté chinois in Canada

while living in Canada

while living in Mexico

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Pâté chinois in China

while living in China

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Pâté chinois in China, using potatoes topping

our fish pie done in China, using the same principal but with fish

My USA version of a pâté chinois, using the macrobiotic diet during that time

while living in USA

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Salt

Brining foods in a saltwater mixture before you cook them adds flavor, tenderness, and reduces cooking times.  It is a process that is pretty simple by itself and could be very helpful if you deal with a piece of meat that is less tender than expected, like the meat I get here all the time.

Adding water to the meats

So brining my meat here is a welcome process.  The end result is a very tender piece of meat, full of a very nice salty taste to it.  In this particular recipe, I used beef and pork.

A bit more salt is added

Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host, with Daring Kitchen.

Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

After about 2 hours of soaking, drain the meats from the salted water

Posting Date: November 14th, 2012

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Note: Important Information – brining must be done in the refrigerator the salt water will not stop the growth of germs and bacteria. Also brine cannot be reused always discard it after first use. Make sure that the brine goes into the cavity of large chickens and turkeys when brining.

So for my own recipe, after I had brined the meats and drained it well, I used pretty colorful vegetables and drop everything in a pot, on the top of the stove.

Add any veggies you might have on hands, I usually go for the colors

Using a pre-mix kind of Malaysian envelop, I cooked it for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes were tenders.

Meats and veggies cooking together

Here is the mix I used.  Basically, it is one cup of coconut milk, about 1/4 cup of any curry sauce you can buy in a grocery or make your own by using 3 teaspoons of curry powder or more if you like it ‘hot’, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 cup of water mixed all together. One tablespoon of  ‘fish sauce’ is added at the end, just before serving.  The fish sauce could be replaced by ‘soya sauce’.

Drop the milk in the pan, bring it to a rolling boil, add the meats and veggies, mix well.  Add the curry mix and let it cooks until all the veggies are done to your taste.

You could use any kind or make your own with what you have handy.  The process of the brining stay the same.

An ordinary Malaysian curry mix was used in my recipe

Ready to have dinner, just after about 3 hours, from start to finish

Brining is the perfect way to go when dealing with harder meats on hand.  The salty water will soften the meat and the ingredients added to the meats after, seem to taste better.  A sure way to serve meats if you are on a budget!

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Empanadas

Empanada with ground meat

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas!

We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

An empanada (or empada, in Portuguese) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries.  The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.

Empanada Cherie

Posting Date:

September 27, 2012

Download printable file HERE

Cutting up portion size of the empanada

Empanadas were, for me, the first time into that experience of trying a new thing, and it was a very good challenge to be met.  Empanadas are very easy to make.  Here, the recipe is suggesting to use the ‘oven pan’, as the pan to make the empanada and I found the idea very smart.  Each normal oven comes with an ‘oven pan’, you know that black square or rectangular pan that just sit at the bottom inside the oven and that most of us, never use?  Well, here is a good way to use it, finally!

Looking inside

The filling of an empanada could be made of anything, even with sweet apples or other fruits.  The idea here is to use a bread dough as a bottom layer and a top layer.  The inside could be either meat, veggies, cheese or fruits.

Portion of the empanada

Empanadas could also be made by rolling out the bread dough, cutting out circles and folding half of the circle over the filling.

Ground meat filling for the empanada

In this particular empanada, I used just a plain ground meat and tomato sauce filling.  The meat is beef and the tomato sauce is plain spaghetti sauce.  To the sauce, I grated some strong old cheddar cheese just because I had some left over in the fridge.

Rolling out the bread dough

To ease up the rolling of such a big piece of dough, I used two piece of parchment papers to help me here.

Cooking the meat

Any meat could do here.  And you can also mix in the veggies of your choice.  Here, I used green peppers, mushrooms, red onions and herbs.

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Paella

Our Daring Cooks’ September 2012 hostess was Inma of la Galletika. Inma brought us a taste of Spain and challenged us to make our very own delicious Paella!

Posting Date: SEPTEMBER 14, 2012

Download the printable .pdf file HERE

Paella with chicken

Cooking the paella

The rice

The meat for the paella

Adding rice to the meat mix for the paella

Paella made with only chicken and using sweet paprika spice for the red color

 

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Simple Lamb Tangia

One pot for cooking it all

A no recipe post. This recipe is on page 214, section Morocco. If interested – purchase the book Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes and commence layering up simple ingredients and letting the heat do all the work… one-pot cooking!

I just love cooking with Jamie.  So far, his recipes are pretty simple, and most of them are done with a flexibility of ingredients if I do not have what the list is requesting.  Also, he has such a simple way to jut ‘cook’ it.

simple lamb tangia cooked

Lamb is one of my favorite meat and here, we are lucky enough to find it of good quality and pretty much ‘fresh’…

Simple lamb tangia cooked, showing little potatoes

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Portion control

What is Gastric bypass surgery?

Just by reading this article this morning gave me chill on my back… gosh, gastric bypass surgery sounds so painful and for me, just the fact of cutting or stapling a part of my body for not real reason would be very hard to accept.  But it is my personal opinion.

‘…However, while the surgery has a tremendous success rate in lowering excess body mass, it is not a magic cure-all, and the patient must decide to make changes in her lifestyle…’

Of course there is a ‘portion control in eating’ to follow, otherwise the patients would just go back home and get to eat again, in big amount.  At the beginning small portions would stay small but with time, the small part of the stomach now available, would get stretched out if the ‘portion control’ is not respected.

Make sense…In my mind, the stomach is like a birthday balloon that gets stretched out accordingly to the air that I would blow in it right?  The stomach works the same way: put a large amount of food in it and it will get bigger to receive the quantity eaten.  It is the same principle here.

So if a ‘portion control’ diet is prescribed to the less healthy people on this planet (overweight and having gone through a gastric bypass surgery) and this diet gets them to live healthy, why not do exactly the same diet but without having a gastric bypass surgery?

Of course, it would take a tremendous ‘will of power’, ‘focus’ and ‘determination’ to succeed and to stay the course because we would have to bring down our hunger in order to not been hungry all the time, but any process of loosing extra fat depends largely on how much a person wants to be healthy.

Gyro

So this portion control is the mental equivalent of stomach stapling…and it works.  It is basically ‘a portion control’ way of eating.  Simple.

A spoonful of this beauty!

Now, just bring me the big spoon, have a seat with me and lets eat that cake ok?  Portion control way of course.  I get to eat anything I want, I mean anything as long as I pay attention to the quantity.

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Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

PDF Boeuf Bourguignon here

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This recipe is a long one to do but if you are like me, I just love long recipe that takes time and process to do before we actually cross the finish line and just EAT!

Boeuf Bourguignon is one of the first recipe I made, many years ago.  My original recipe was good if I may say so myself but up until I read Julia Child cookbook : ‘Mastering the art of french cooking’ , then I understood the entire process of ‘How to cook’ and not just ‘How to follow a recipe’.

What a wonderful chef Julia Child was and is still remembered for all her great accomplishments and dedications to bring to America a piece of the french cuisine.

I did boeuf bourguignon, watching the movie ‘Julie and Julia‘, that was inspired by a true story of a blogger name Julie Powell.

Enjoy this classic recipe.

… and now, let’s do the dishes together, shall we?

let’s do the dishes together, shall we?

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