Steak and Ale Pub Pies – Oh My

Every year, around Saint Patrick’s Day, there is a fun 3-Day Celtic Fair in Sonora, California. Sonora is one of those quaint Gold Rush towns that dot the Sierra Foothills, so named for the miners from Sonora, Mexico who established the town in 1848. Sonora nearly doubles in size during the Celtic Fair, the largest such gathering west of the Mississippi. It’s a real hoot. There’s the usual attractions – jousting, parades, living villages, Tea with the Queen, period vendors and entertainers galore. Here and there throughout the fair grounds, there are stages headlining some of the best Celtic Musicians from all over the world. Our favorite, by far, is Celtica – a bagpipe playing rock band. This group will get your heart pumping and your body jumping. The high-light of their show features flaming bagpipes.

Hubby, Kiddo and I (donned in our Renaissance-period costumes) have been attending the event for a number of years now. While we enjoy everything the fair has to offer, the truth of the matter is that we go for two reasons – the music and the food.

One of the food vendors who make an annual appearance can be spotted no matter where their pop-up kitchen might be. The British Flags flapping in the wind are unmistakable.  Their specialty happens to be an English pub comfort dish – aptly named Pub Pies. Although its been said that these pies are losing their popularity among Britten’s pub diners, their popularity at the Celtic Fair is obvious by the long lines of anxious customers. While the pies at the fair are made with a typical savory pie crust, they are none the less delicious.

My rendition of the Pub Pie uses a top crust of puff pastry. I love the light, flaky crust and the crunch you get when you sink your spoon into the Pie. (You’ll need a spoon so as to not miss any of the savory fillings or rich sauce).

In years gone by, we have stayed in Sonora at various inns. With the exception of the Celtic Fair, Sonora really isn’t known for its tourist appeal and finding lodging is always an adventure. Our new digs (yeah!) will cut drive time in half, providing a drive through the lush green country hillsides. We can hardly wait for the 2018 gathering of like-minded crazy people out for some good, clean fun. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my recipe for Pub Pies. It’s one I’ve shared before, but it’s been a few years. This delicious Pub Pie deserves a second look.

Steak and Ale Pub Pies
½ frozen puff pastry sheet, defrosted
1 pound round steak, coarsely ground
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons crushed dried thyme
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Beef Stock
½ cup Stout Ale (see note)
1 tablespoon bottled steak sauce
1/4 Cup frozen Peas (see note)
1/4 cup frozen Carrots (see note)

Note: If you want to make the pies “ale-free” simply increase the beef stock to 1 1/2 cups and eliminate the ale.

The peas and carrots should measure 1/2 cup total. If you can find a bag of Peas and Carrots mixed together – great – use that!  The carrots should be diced into pieces just slightly larger than the peas for even balance. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Chop steak into chunks. Fit food processor with a blade and chop meat to a medium ground texture. Set aside until ready to use.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 6-inch square. Using a sharp knife, cut into twelve 1/2-inch strips.  (Or you can just cut squares to fit over your ramekins. That’s what I did, reserving remaining pastry to decorate tops of pub pies.)

In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, brown beef, mushrooms, and onion until beef is no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Sprinkle mixture with thyme and flour.

While beef mixture is cooking, rinse peas and carrots under cold water, then set aside to drain.

Add beef broth, ale (if using) and steak sauce; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in peas & carrots. Spoon mixture into 6 ramekins; about 3 inches in diameter.

Arrange pastry over filling, tuck and fold to fit. If desired, decorate tops with any remaining scraps of pastry.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet to prevent spillage. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Carefully remove pies from baking sheet. Place ramekins on plates for ease of serving.


If you are looking for a Pub Pie packed with chicken, and without the ale, try my recipe for Easy Chicken, Vegetable and Mushroom Pub Pies

Double the Crunch with a Double-Decker Tostada

What is a Tostada but an open face taco? Or the Mexican answer to a pizza? All I know is that I love ’em to pieces.

Recently I posted my take on the popular Taco Bell Crunch Wrap with my Chorizo Crunch Wrap – Double the Pleasure! In that posting, I  included a link to a prior recipe for Double-Decker Tostadas. The problem with most links is that they suck you in – at least with me, that happens. I’ll click on a link, which brings me to my destination, but also gets my brain to whisper “what else is out there?” and before I know it, half my day has been spent wandering around. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I haven’t been “productive” – I’ve usually managed to save/pin/be inspired by my finds – it’s just that the day got away from me. And it seems that we are always just one click away from greatness, if you know what I mean. So here’s a click you won’t have to make. I hope you enjoy!

Double-Decker Tostadas
16 Tostada Shells
1 lb Ground Beef
1 Lb Chorizo (always use the good stuff)
1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
1 Can Refried Beans
1 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings
1 Jar Nacho Cheese Sauce
24-32 Nacho Jalapeño Peppers (optional)
4-5 Lettuce leaves, shredded
1 Tomato, diced

Garnish Suggestions
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 or 2 Avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro Leaves (instead of or in addition to the lettuce)

Warm oven. Place tostada shells on a baking sheet and warm in oven.

In a heavy cast iron skillet, brown ground beef and chorizo meat together, crumbling into small pieces as it brown. Season with taco seasoning to absorb some of the excess fat (The seasoning will retain some of that yummy flavor of the drippings). Drain well, keep warm and set aside.

While the meat is browning, shred the lettuce and dice the tomatoes. Set aside until ready to assemble.

In a skillet, heat refried beans with bacon drippings until warm. The beans will spread more easily if warmed, the bacon drippings help to thin out the beans for spreading and add a little flavor.

Divide refried beans between 8 tostada shells, spread beans on shells. Place remaining 8 tostada shells on top of beans. Spread a layer of nacho cheese on each top shell. Divide meat mixture between the 8 double-Decker tostada shells. Place 3 or 4 Nacho Jalapeño Pepper on top, if using.

Return tostadas to warm oven for 5 minutes.

Remove warmed tostadas from the oven. Dollop with sour cream. Sprinkle with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Garnish as desired.

Since the tostadas already contain refried beans and lots of veggie toppings, there is no need for additional sides. However; if you like you can always add a side helping of rice. (Yeah, I know – more links!)

Authentic Spicy Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice

Mexican Rice with Chunky Salsa

Mexican Rice


Chorizo Crunch Wrap – Double the Pleasure!

Confession time – the photo for this posting is not mine. It came from Delish, my source of inspiration. Typically, I like to at least snap a photo of the finished dish – but with the big move happening, I’m lucky I can find the stove to cook on let alone room to photograph anything. Hopefully, by the time this recipe share is posted, we will have the packing behind us and the move in full swing. For Lauren Miyashiro’s original recipe and the wonderful “how to” video, be sure to check out:

While my recipe is similar, there are a few changes. Recently Hubby celebrated his birthday with a big Mexican Fiesta dinner – complete with street tacos filled with homemade Chorizo. While my guys love Chorizo all on its own, since the party included my less spicy extended family, I mixed the Chorizo with ground beef (3 lbs chorizo to 1 1/2 lbs ground beef). As it turns out, we had way more meat than we needed, and a ton of leftover. I decided to use the leftover taco filling for the crunch wraps. It was awesome! The key to chorizo is that you use good quality chorizo sausage. You can either make your own (Home-Made Chorizo Tacos – Oh My!) or buy the good stuff at your local Mexican market. The beauty of using Chorizo is that the meat doesn’t need a lot of spices added, it is flavorful all on its own.

This crunchy Tostada-Burrito combination is a lot like my Double Decker Tostadas, with a new dimension added for a little extra “wow”!

Double Chorizo Crunch Wrap
1 lb Chorizo
1/2 lb Ground Beef
1 Cup Tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 Cup Lettuce, shredded
1 Can Refried Beans, warmed
1/2 Cup Nacho Cheese Sauce
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
4 Large Flour Tortillas
4 Small Flour Tortillas
8 Tostada Shells
vegetable oil for frying
Hot sauce, for serving

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, cook up the chorizo and ground beef together. As the meat cooks, break it apart with a metal spatula until it is nicely crumbled and cooked through. Drain off fat and keep warm until ready to use.

While the meat is browning, dice tomatoes and shred the lettuce. Set aside until ready to use.

Empty can of refried beans into a microwave safe bowl and warm beans. The beans will spread easier once warmed. Set aside until ready to use.

Lay small flour tortilla on a cutting board. Place a Tostada shell in the center of the flour tortilla. Using a sharp knife, cut around the Tostada shell to create a flour tortilla about the same size as the Tostada. Set the round circle aside and repeat until you have four small rounds.

Once all the layering ingredients are ready, heat about 1/4 inch or so of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil heats, build the crunch wraps.

Lay one large flour tortilla on your work surface. Spread Nacho Cheese sauce on one side of a Tostada shell and place it in the middle of the flour tortilla. Spoon meat over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle some chopped tomatoes over the meat. Dollop a little sour cream on top of tomatoes.

With a second Tostada shell, spread refried beans. Place Tostada shell on top of meat covered shell. Sprinkle with some shredded lettuce. Place small flour tortilla cutout on top of lettuce/bean Tostada. Tightly fold the edges of the large flour tortilla toward the center, creating pleats. The Tostadas should now be completely encased in a flour tortilla wrap.

Flip wrap over, seam-side down, and gently place wrap into skillet to fry. Cook wrap for about 4 minutes, until nicely golden and crisp. While the first wrap is frying, build a second wrap.

Turn frying wrap over and continue to cook another 3 minutes or so until it is golden and crisp. Remove from oil, blot with a paper towel. Place on a wire rack in a baking sheet and hold in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Repeat until all four wraps have been built, fried and ready to eat.

Serve with hot sauce and your favorite sides such as Mexican Rice with Chunky Salsa.

Another Look at African Craved Beef Stew

Another morning spent re-organizing my recipe collection in Yumprint – this time re-categorizing the Beef Cookbook. While I had given considerable thought to creating subcategories for the types of beef used, I decided against that. I don’t know about you, but I rarely wake up in the morning craving a particular cut of meat but rather find myself in a French or Mexican mood.

In any case, I found an old favorite – African Craved Beef Stew. While this is a recipe I shared way back in March 2014 (for me, that just a few months into venturing out into the brave new world of blogging), I thought this wonderful stew was worth a second look.

Years ago, I had discovered the recipe while surfing the net for some much-needed inspiration. When the time came to share this stew dish with you, I wanted to give credit where credit is due. Try as I might, I could not find the original source of my recipe. While has a very similar recipe, the whimsical tale regarding the origins for this stew were missing.

If memory serves me well (and most of the time it doesn’t), there was some debate over the true origins of this stew. It is considered to be a Peasant Food – and like most Peasant dishes, the origins are almost impossible to trace.

Some claim it is actually a Portuguese Stew with an African influence, while others hold to the assertion that it is the other way around – that Portuguese settlers to Africa influenced a stew that was already there.   That said, no one will really know if this stew is truly an African or Portuguese concoction. What we do know is that Portuguese is spoken in many parts of African; and Portugal has had an influence on the continent since the 15th century.  It is this blending of Portuguese and African traditional that has given birth to many dishes over the century. Regardless, variations of this stew can be found in the street side cafés of South Africa as well as Portugal. It is meant to be spicy, topped with fried potatoes and bread for soaking up all the wonderful juices.

While most beef stews call for hunks of stew meat, my take on this dish uses a flavorful Tri-Tip Roast. I’ve replaced the fried potatoes with oven-baked French Fries. While the French Fries remain loyal to their fried potato cousins, by baking the fries in the oven it makes this dish easier to execute without adding additional oils.

Just a little side note before we get to cooking . . . the first time I made this stew, Hubby flipped. He could not believe that I had taken a nice Tri-Tip Roast and threw it into a stew. Give it a try, I insisted. One bite and he understood the use of Tri-Tip. The flavor of hunks of Tri-Tip in a stew is delicious!

African Craved Beef Stew with Fries & Crusty Bread
2 tablespoons spoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pound Tri-Tip Roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups coarsely chopped Spanish or yellow onions
3 or 4 small hot chili peppers, stemmed and chopped (retain the seeds for added heat)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaf
2 cups red wine
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
18 to 24 Green Olives, pitted
1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/4 cup beef stock
coarse salt & fresh ground black pepper as needed
French Fries (thick Steak Fries work best)
Crusty Bread for dunking

Peel and chop Onion. Set aside.

Stem and chop chili peppers, retaining seeds for additional “heat” to the dish. Set aside.

Peel and smash garlic. (I’ve seen cooks “smash” the garlic with the side of a knife.  Personally, I like to whack it with a small crafting hammer.  It’s more fun!) Set aside.

Trim the tri-tip of most of the excess fat, retaining some of the fat for added flavor.  Cut the tri-tip into 1-inch cubes. 

In a heavy bottom Dutch-oven over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil. Do not let the butter reach its smoking point. (Adjust heat if necessary). Working in small batches, brown the cubes on beef on all sides and transfer to a plate or bowl to hold.

Toss the onions into the pan drippings and sauté until lightly golden to bring out the flavor of the onions. Add the  hot chili peppers to your liking, along with the garlic and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute until it becomes aromatic.

Return the meat to the pot, along with the olives. Pour in the wine or and beef stock (not broth) so that it just comes over the meat about an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about an hour, checking liquid to make sure the meat is fully submerged.

After an about an hour; taste the sauce and season with a little salt and pepper. (Be sure to taste the sauce prior to adding salt as the olives will add a salty-flavor).  Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes longer to allow the salt to do its thing.  (Salt breaks down the proteins in meat, helping it to become more tender).

Mix the flour with a little beef stock to create a slurry and stir into the pan. Cover and continue to simmer for until the meat is very tender, checking every 15 minutes or so for tenderness. (About 30-45 minutes longer will do the trick). Once tender, keep the stew warm until ready to serve.

Make a large batch of oven-baked French Fries.  Thick steak fries or long seasoned fries work best. Note: Curly fries or skinny fries are less desirable as they will fall apart in the stew.

Once the fries are done, ladle the stew into serving bowls.  Top with a generous handful of warm fries.  Serve with a thick slice crusty bread for dipping. DO NOT WARM BREAD – soft bread is best for soaking up all the juices.

Delightfully Lazy – Beef And Broccoli Slow Cooker Supper

Before getting into today’s recipe, I want to take a moment to wish my soul mate a wonderful birthday. He is my rock, my best friend and the love of my life. If you are interested in knowing what wonderful things I have planned, be sure to check out Spicing Up a Birthday Party Fiesta Style! All his favorites with a Mexican flare. Hubby loves his Mexican Food, I’m a big fan of all things Italian and Kiddo – he likes just about everything. One thing we all agree on is Asian. Yum!

It dawned on me, especially since posting my Mom’s Basic Fried Rice with a Dash of Tagalog that we are big rice-eaters, too. I guess childhood tastes do not necessarily change. Oh sure, we grow and expand our culinary habits, but the basics of childhood stay with us through the years. We love our rice. We also adore dishes with an Asian flair. While not all our “Asian” cuisine is truly Asian, the influence is clearly present.

When Kiddo made the big cross-over from grammar school to middle school, we went out for lunch after the ceremony to “celebrate” the event.  It was Kiddo’s choice. While other fifth graders were dining that afternoon on pizza or burgers, Kiddo chose to go to our usual Chinese Restaurant and ordered all of his favorites.

Kiddo’s always marched to a different drum. On his 21st birthday, instead of celebrating with a six-pack or heading to a bar to hit the hard stuff, he asked us to take him to an upscale Steak House. He wanted a well-prepared Filet Mignon and to show off his knowledge by selecting a good Merlot. That’s our kid – no doubt about it!

This Beef and Broccoli dish is so flavorful – the beef fork tender, the broccoli tender-crisp.  A mound of rice swimming beautifully in a sea of temptation – the awesome sauce. This dish is perfect for a lazy weekend when you want to have a great meal but don’t want to spend the day in the kitchen slaving away. It’s a big hit with my guys – I hope it becomes a favorite in your house, too.

Beef And Broccoli Slow Cooker Supper
4 lbs sirloin steak, sliced thin
Pepper to taste
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cup beef broth
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
2 Tablespoons Sesame Seed, for garnish
2 Cups Cooked Rice for serving

Lay sirloin steak on a cutting board and cut against the grain into thin strips. Season lightly with a little pepper and set aside.

Peel and mince garlic, set it aside.

Heat a large non-stick pan or wok over medium-high heat with just a little Sesame Oil. Once the pan is hot, flash sear the strips of beef. (May be done in two batches if necessary. – If in batches, remove first batch with a slotted spoon, leaving pan drippings in place).

While the meat is searing, place beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic and ground ginger into the crock pot. Give the pot a quick stir to combine everything.

Add seared meat and all the pan drippings into the crock pot. Toss meat in the liquid to coat.

Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for an additional 3 hours.

After 4 hours of cooking, whisk together cornstarch and water in small bowl. Pour into crock pot and stir with a wooden spoon to mix well.

Break up the broccoli into just slightly larger than bit-size chunks. Add the broccoli to the slow cooker and gently stir to combine. Cover with lid and cook 30 minutes longer, until broccoli is tender and the sauce has thickened.

To serve: Using a small bowl, push a serving of rice into the bowl. Invert onto individual plates. Ladle beef and broccoli alongside the mound of rice. Sprinkle each serving of beef with a little sesame seeds, serve and enjoy!

Original source:

Filet Mignon Oscar-Style with Shrimp

If the recipe for Steak Oscar seems familiar, you are right . It was first featured as part of my Mother’s Day Menu posted way back in May 2014. The menu included recipes for Steak OscarRoast New Potatoes with Caviar & Crème Fraîche,  and for dessert an Orange Chiffon Cake with Lemon-Orange Buttercream Frosting. All yummy stuff – perfect when you want to Put on the Ritz so to speak. While it may sound complicated, my men folk served up an awesome Mother’s Day feast.

Kiddo, Hubby and I are back home again, after a wonderful week of meandering on the Central Oregon Coast. There is nothing like a change of scenery to get the creative juices flowing. I love checking out new menus, sampling new specials and learning new things, be it at home or when traveling.

A traditional “Oscar Style” recipe is seared meat (usually Filet Mignon or Veal Cutlet) topped with asparagus, crab and Béarnaise sauce. Truth be told, “Oscar Style” recipes can be made in a variety of ways, including but not limited to Salmon Steaks, Halibut or other firm white fish, with just about any crustacean (shrimp, crab, lobster – even fresh-water crayfish) that has been topped with asparagus and drizzled in sauce such as a Hollandaise or Béarnaise sauce. After all, what is a Béarnaise sauce but a Hollandaise sauce at its core. Both sauces are created by emulsifying butter and egg yolks, while adding just a hint of acidity. Hollandaise Sauce is the final of the five French Mother Sauces, while Béarnaise sauce was introduced to the culinary world much later, and is classified as the daughter of Hollandaise.

Not familiar with the Five French Mother Sauces or wish to learn more? Check out this very informative link:

This particular spin on Steak Oscar-Style utilizes seared Filet Mignon that has been topped with shrimp and drizzled with a Hollandaise Sauce. It is absolutely delicious!

Filet Mignon Oscar Style
Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce:
3 egg yolks
Juice of 2 lemons
2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
Dash of kosher salt
Cayenne pepper, as needed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Add the egg yolks to a blender or a food processor and blend well. The yolk should begin to thicken and increase in volume as the friction from the blades begins to heat the yolks. Add the lemon juice and blend for several seconds.

In a small sauce pan, slowly melt butter. The goal is to melt the butter without allowing it to burn or become browned. Remove from heat and let cool for about a minute. With the blender on, slowly drizzle the melted butter into the yolk mixture a steady stream.

Turn off the blender, add in a little salt and cayenne and whip it again until combined. Add the chopped tarragon and pulse. Set aside.

Filet Mignon:
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Four 2-inch-thick Filet Mignon (about 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Remove steaks from the refrigerator. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the steaks and let rest on the counter for about thirty minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat an empty oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. (A well-seasoned cast iron skillet works best). Once skillet is hot, add the butter and olive oil. When the butter melts, give the skillet a good swirl to blend the butter and oil. Add the steaks to the skillet and sear on both sides until nicely seared, about 3 minutes per side.

Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking the steaks. Cook until medium rare, 4 to 5 minutes. Cover loosely in foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Remove skillet with steaks from the oven, cover loosely with foil to retain heat and let rest.

Roasted Asparagus:
12 medium-sized asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Jumbo Shrimp
2 tablespoons butter
12 jumbo Prawns (16 to 20-count), shelled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish if desired

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute until pink with specks of dark golden brown. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Set aside. It it now time to assemble the Steak Oscar Style.

To Assemble the Steak Oscar: Spoon a little of the Hollandaise sauce in the middle of four individual dinner plates. Place each filet steak on a plate over the sauce and place three to four asparagus spears on top. Pile on some sautéed shrimp and drizzle on some Hollandaise sauce. If using, sprinkle chopped parsley over and around the steaks for an attractive presentation and serve.


Beef Burgundy Round Steak Stew

Normally such a hardy, filling supper would be reserved for the fall, when evenings are cool and crisp. So why are we dining on a stew in June? Here in the central California valley, we’ve been experiencing a major heat wave – temperatures tickling the 110 degree mark. We’ve been breaking records as everything withered – plants, animals and people – under the scorching sun. For an entire week we avoided heavy foods and anything involving the oven. Chef Salad – Perfect Summer Supper and Mile-High Hoagie Style Sub Sandwiches were the suppers of choice. Then the heat wave broke, and in celebration of ninety-degree temperatures, we decided a rich, decadent wine-based stew was in order.

The sauce is a deep color, bursting with rich flavor. The mushrooms and onions enhance the wine sauce. The herb mashed potatoes make the perfect base for the luscious stew. And the nutty, seared asparagus tips add color while giving yet another layer of flavor and texture to the dish.

Beef Burgundy Round Steak Stew
4 lbs Beef Round Steak, 1-inch thick
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 Teaspoons Salt
¼ Teaspoon Dried Marjoram Leaves
½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
½ Teaspoon pepper
1 Bag Whole Pearl Onions (frozen)
1 lb Button mushrooms
1 Cup Beef Broth
2 Cups Burgundy Wine

Cut beef steak into 1-inch cubes; set aside.

Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch-oven over medium-heat.

Mix flour and seasonings in a zip-lock bag. Add beef steak to the bag. Seal and shake to coat meat.

Empty contents into pot.

Cook beef, stirring often, until well browned.

Stir in broth and wine. Add onions and mushrooms. Heat to a boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer about 1 1/2  hours or until beef is tender.

Uncover pot and let everything simmer another 30 minutes, as the cooking liquid thickens to a deep, rich gravy.

Garlic-Herb Mashed Potatoes
3 Lbs Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 Cups WHOLE milk (for creamier potatoes, use Half and Half)
2 Tablespoons Minced Roasted Garlic
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Pepper to Taste
1 Teaspoon Herb Blend such as Herbs De Provence

Peel potatoes and dice into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large pot and cover with about 1 inch of cold water. You can do this ahead of time, holding the potatoes in the water until you are ready to turn up the heat. That works really well if you have a lot going on in the kitchen.

When ready, turn heat on to medium-high. Bring pot to a nice boil, reduce heat to a gentle boil, cover part way with a lid to help retain some of the steam. Cook potatoes for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender.

Carefully pour contents of pot into colander, drain potatoes well, then return potatoes to the cooking pot. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until potatoes are thoroughly dried, about 1 minute. Set aside until ready to mash.

Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking until smooth, about 3 minutes. Cover and keep warm until ready to use.

Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip potatoes into small pieces on low-speed, about 30 seconds. Add in the garlic and herb seasoning. Whip again for about 30 seconds to blend.

With the mixer running, add half of the milk mixture in a steady stream until incorporated.

Increase speed to high and whip until potatoes are light and fluffy and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Check for creaminess – add remaining milk mixture as needed until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, giving everything one final whipping.

Braised Asparagus
1 lb green asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon Basil olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Garlic-Herb Seasoning

Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends, leaving spears about 8 inches long.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and butter to sizzling. Turn down the heat to medium and add the asparagus.

Using a broad spatula, turn the spears over from time to time until they are browned more or less evenly, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. The spears will remain mainly green, with patches of crispy brown. Check for doneness by tasting a spear. It should be tender but slightly al dente.

Sprinkle the asparagus with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and garlic-herb seasoning. Give the pan a good shaking to blend all the flavors. Set aside and keep warm until ready to top the beef and potatoes.

To Serve: Place mashed potatoes into individual bowls. Top potatoes with Beef Stew mixture, then garnish the bowl with a few asparagus spears. Enjoy.

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Yum!

I’ve been spending time with the Ghosts of Posting Past – those early shares when Rosemarie’s Kitchen was new to the whole blogging scene. The best part of reading posts from the past is the nice reminder – we haven’t had that in a while . . . like these crunchy Double-Decker Tostadas from 2014. These tostadas have all the makings of  a Super Nacho Supper  you can hold in your hand without all the gooey mess. (Although there’s something to be said for gooey-goodness, now isn’t there?)

Double-Decker Tostadas
16 Tostada Shells
1 lb Ground Beef
1 Lb Chorizo
1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
1 Can Refried Beans
1 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings
1 Jar Nacho Cheese Sauce
24-32 Nacho Jalapeño Peppers (optional)
4-5 Lettuce leaves, shredded
1 Tomato, diced

Garnish Suggestions
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 or 2 Avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1/2 Cup Chopped Cilantro Leaves

Warm oven. Place tostada shells on a baking sheet and warm in oven.

In a heavy cast iron skillet, brown ground beef and chorizo meat together, crumbling into small pieces as it brown. Season with taco seasoning to absorb some of the excess fat. Drain well, keep warm and set aside.

In a skillet, heat refried beans with bacon drippings until warm.

Divide refried beans between 8 tostada shells, spread beans on shells. Place remaining 8 tostada shells on top of beans. Spread a layer of nacho cheese on each top shell. Divide meat mixture between the 8 double-Decker tostada shells. Place 3 or 4 Nacho Jalapeño Pepper on top, if using.

Return tostadas to warm oven for 5 minutes.

Remove warmed tostadas from the oven. Dollop with sour cream. Sprinkle with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. Garnish as desired.


Spicy Korean Beef Stir-Fry with Mirin Sauce

Hubby had a strange look on his face as he checked our grocery list this week.

“Is there a problem?” I asked as I slipped on my comfy shoes for shopping.

“What is Mirin and do we have any?” He asked, peering into our pantry.

“Nope.” I smiled. (Our pantry is packed with little bottles and jars of all sorts of things – mainly a smorgasbord of flavored oils and vinegars). “We’ll need to pick some up. Just look in the Oriental section at the store.”

Although sometimes confused with rice wine vinegar, Mirin actually is a sweet rice wine used predominately in Japanese cooking. It doesn’t just add flavor to your food, the shimmering sweetness also gives a beautiful luster to the finished sauce.

When it comes to stir-fry cooking or when I have a lot of little ingredients to add to a dish, I like to use my little metal bowls, not much bigger than a shot glass. They stack easily, don’t take up much room and are great for all sorts of things. These little bowls are wonderful when cooking, letting me line up the ingredients next to the pan, just waiting their turn for addition to whatever I am whipping up. You can weigh/measure ahead of time and have everything at the ready. We also use them for personal add-ons (great for holding chopped chives and bacon bits for baked potatoes or shaved cheese for pastas – you get the picture).

Measuring and holding is also why I have four sets of measuring spoons and stacking measuring cups. While I love lining everything up, it drives Hubby crazy – more little things for the KP crew to deal with.

Spicy Korean Beef Stir-Fry
Mirin Sauce
3 tablespoons Mirin
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a small bowl, combine Mirin, soy sauce and cornstarch. Using a small whisk or spoon, stir well to blend and set aside until ready to use.

Beef Stir Fry
10 oz Flank steak
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, chopped (seeds optional, depending upon desired heat)
1 1/2  teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 cups Bean Sprouts
8 oz Baby Spinach
1/4  cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2  tablespoons Sesame seeds

Place Flank Steak in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once firm but not frozen, slice thin against the grain. Set aside.

Line up small bowls (about the size of a shot glass) to hold the Garlic, Jalapeno Pepper and Ginger. Chop garlic, place in bowl. Finely chop Jalapeno, place in next bowl, and finally grate Ginger into the last little bowl.

Heat  canola oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Swirl pan to distribute the oil up the sides just a little. Spread the thin slices of steak in the wok and brown, about 2 minutes or so, stirring as it browns. (You need to keep an eye on the flank steak so as to not over cook it and the meat will remain tender).

Add Garlic, Jalapeno and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. (The aroma is awesome at this point).

Add the bean sprouts and give them a quick stir to incorporate into the meat. Tear the baby spinach directly into the wok.

Give the Mirin mixture a quick stir just to make sure everything is nicely blended. Pour mixture into the wok and stir gently in a folding motion until the sauce thickens and the spinach is wilted, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the cilantro and sesame oil.

Place stir-fry in a serving bowl or high-rimmed serving platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

This stir-fry can be served alone or over sticky rice. Be sure to have a little soy sauce at the table for those who might want more with the rice.

Korean Spice Stirfry (1)

Broiled London Broil with Mushroom Sauce

Make no mistake about it – London Broil (a thick cut of top round) is an easy cut of meat to turn into something akin to shoe leather. If you don’t like your meat bloody, avoid – I repeat – AVOID this hunk of beef. However; hunk of meat still mooing is to your liking, London Broil is a cheap steak that can be delicious.

While the USDA recommends a minimum temperature of steak to be 145 degrees, (classified by most chefs as “medium” and by many streak lovers as overcooked) “Medium rare”, the temperature when most steaks are at their most tender and juicy, is achieved at about 130 degrees at most. (Somewhere between rare and medium-rare and no more).

No matter how you cook it  – be it pan-seared, grilled or “broiled”, the key to a successful London Broil is to create a nice outer “crust” while keeping the interior a bloody medium-rare. Not pretty and pink, but red. Once cooked, let the steak rest for ten minutes, then slice against the grain into thin cuts before serving.

London Broil with Mushroom Sauce
1 London Broil, 1 ½-inches thick
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2-4 Garlic Cloves, pressed
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Black Truffle Oil (Optional)
2 Cups Fresh Mushrooms, sliced (about 6 oz)
1/2 cup Red Onion, chopped
1 Can Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/3 Cup Milk
3 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Season London Broil with salt and pepper. Rub with pressed garlic.Place steak on the unheated rack of a broiler pan and let rest on the counter for 45 minutes to an hour. This will let the salt do its thing to breakdown the proteins and tenderize the meat. A steak broiled at room temperature will allow meat to cook evenly and quickly without becoming too dry.

Heat broiler element. Let the oven get good and hot.

Broil steak 4 inches from heat element until desired charring is reached, turning once midway through, about 18 to 20 minutes at most for medium-rare. DO NOT OVER COOK the steak or it will be tough. Charred on the outside, red on the inside – perfect. Be sure to keep your eye not only on the timer, but the temperature of the meat as well.

While the meat is broiling, melt butter with truffle oil (if using) in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onions. Sauté until vegetables are tender and liquid has evaporated, about 5-8 minutes.

Add soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Heat through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

When steak is done, transfer to serving platter, tent loosely and allow to rest 5-10 minutes to retain juices.

Thinly slice meat diagonally across the grain. Spoon mushroom sauce over sliced meat and serve.