Archive for ‘Beef’

June 3, 2020

Hamburger Helper from Scratch

ONE POT LUNCH. Took about half an hour. Made it up as I went along so sorry for lack of precision.

Now that the baby is mostly over her milk allergy, she’s been running around shaking her fist demanding “CHEEEEEZE!!!” all day. Super easy to disguise veggies in here. Also super easy to make vegetarian or dairy free.


  • 1 lb ground beef or beef substitute
  • 1.5 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1 large carrot, small dice
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1-2 tsp paprika, sweet
  • 2 tbs tomato paste (or 1/4 cup tomato sauce? Ketchup?)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbs+ Worcestershire sauce
  • chopped spinach or other veggies
  • 8-10 oz dried pasta (~ half a 1lb box)
  • 1 cup milk/milk substitute
  • 4 slices American Cheese (’cause it melts so easily and is super creamy)


  1. In large dutch oven, heat over medium heat. Add a bit of cooking oil. Coat pan. Add beef, salt generously, and mix in Worcestershire sauce. Mix and brown until most of the pink is gone. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add onions and carrots (because no one wants crunchy carrots, we add it early). Salt and season with bay leaf, parsley, thyme, paprika. Saute for 5 min. Add garlic and continue to saute 1-2 min until fragrant.
  3. Add chopped spinach (I always have frozen spinach in stash), cooked beef, tomato paste, and chicken broth. Salt to taste. Adjust taste: Red wine vinegar if too sweet, sugar or ketchup if too acidic.
  4. Reduce heat to low, stir in milk, then pasta. (We used oatmilk. With regular milk you dont want to heat too much or it’ll curdle. So keep it to a simmer). Pasta wont be completely submerged nor should it. COVER and simmer for 2-3 min more than what the pasta box says. I would use pot gripper and swirl the pot a bit every once in a while to make sure the pasta cooks evenly without opening the cover.
  5. Remove cover and test for al dente. Cover and add more liquid if the pasta is too hard and or dry.
  6. Remove cover and turn off heat. Stir in cheese. Feel free to add more, but 4 slices was perfect for us.

March 30, 2019

Galbi Jjim: Korean Braised Short Ribs

Winter has come and gone, but it’s still in the 30’s in NYC. I think we have a few more weeks of stews and braises in our house. Plus, now that I gotta feed a family of four, any dish that lasts a whole week is a win. (I guess the baby eats it indirectly from me. Soups are great for nursing mamas!)

Typically I make stews at the beginning of the week then eat it with rice one night, noodles the next, and as a side dish to another meal when we get to the dregs. If it even lasts that long.

Note on cutting veggies for stews: roll cuting is your friend! Just make sure you keep the pieces relatively equal in size. With large veggies like daikon, you have to get creative. Roll cut then halve or chop into 3’s.

Parboil vs Sear: Unlike lamb shanks or boeuf bourguignon, Asian braises and stew recipes typically do NOT call for browning the meat first.  Instead, parboiling the meat results in a clear, cleaner looking soup. Is it ok to sear instead of parboil? Sure. But if you want a cleaner presentation, I’d recommend skimming off the meat foam before adding veggies.


  • 3lb country style beef short ribs, or 4lb bone in short ribs, cut into large equal sized chunks
  • 1 medium yellow onion, large dice or puréed
  • 1 korean pear, peeled and pureed, OR:  ~6oz apple sauce
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped into 3 inch pieces
  • two thin slices of ginger
  • 1/2 lb daikon radish (half of a large radish), chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped (see note on roll cutting)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cup water
  • Sesame oil

*you can puree onions with the pear. Makes the soup thicker. But as I am lazy and didn’t want to wash yet another device, I just diced the onions and used packaged apple sauce.


  1. Parboil method: Place meat in a pot of COLD water. Just enough to submerge. Bring to a low boil on medium heat. Once you reach a low bubbling boil, wait 5 min, then strain out meat. Reserve the strained water (saves the flavor you would otherwise lose from parboiling). Rinse meat off and remove debris.
  2. In dry dutch oven, heat on medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 tbs cooking oil and heat until shimmery. Add aromatics: green onion (and regular onion if not purée-ing it with the apples), ginger, and garlic and quickly stir as it pops and sizzles.
  3. Once fragrant but nOT burned, add mirin and soy sauce, reserved liquid from step one, and bring to a gentle low boil.
  4. Add ribs back in, stir in apple sauce (and onion purée), turn heat down to low and cover with lid. Simmer for two hours.
  5. Add daikon and carrots. Simmer another hour.
  6. Set in fridge over night and skim off fat the next day. Remove ugly green onion pieces. Reheat on low simmer.
August 5, 2014

Thai Beef Salad

This is a rather versatile recipe. Feel free to add/adapt as you see fit! Speaking of fit, this counts as healthy food, right?

thai beef salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • ~1.5 lb flank steak
  • 1 tbs thai red curry paste
  • Marinade:
    • 1/4 cup (4 tbs) soy sauce
    • 2 tbs fish sauce
    • 2 tbs oil
    • 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 basil leaves, julienned (stack and roll, then rock the knife to create thin strips)
  • green onion, julienned (cut thinly on the diagonal with a SHARP chef’s knife)
  • 1/2 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, julienned
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • handful or two of cherry tomatoes
  • 10 oz fresh spring salad mix
  • crushed peanuts
  • sesame seeds
  • fried shallots


  • 3 parts soy sauce
  • 1 part fish sauce
  • 1 part sesame oil
  • 1 part thai sweet chili sauce (Mae Ploy is my brand of preference)
  • optional if you like sweeter: honey to taste
  • dash of lime juice


Mmm… all prepped?


  1. Marinate steak, uncut, in a ziplock bag for 4-8 hours. Remove and rub with a thin coat of red curry paste.
  2. On an aluminum foil lined grill (or cast iron griddle with grill lines), bring heat up to high. Drizzle aluminum with oil and grill meat 4-5 minutes per side (depending on thickness). Better to undercook than overcook!
  3. Let meat REST for 3-5 minutes. Slice on the diagonal (against the grain) in thin slices.
  4. Combine veggies and toss with vinaigrette. Top with sliced meat, then sesame seeds, peanuts, shallots, or whatever toppings you please.


July 14, 2014

The Meatball Shop: Beef and Ricotta Meatballs

Tip on salting ground meat: 1 tsp kosher salt per pound.

Works out pretty well. Seeing as you can’t taste as you go…

Other random notes on meatballs: 

  1. Eggs are for binding
  2. Bread crumbs (and I am partial to panko) are for added tenderness. Crumbled unsalted saltine crackers work in a bind. In fact I prefer this when making meatloaf. Just make sure you get unsalted.
  3. Never over-mix meatballs and always use your hands, not a stand mixer. Over working meat makes it tough.
  4. Always serve with something green! A shock of green always looks pretty next to a simmering red bowl of meaty goodness. Plus it makes me feel better to have something light and healthy while eating a pound of carne.



  • 2 lb 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1.5 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1.5 tbs dried parsley (or 1/2 packed cup of fresh chopped)
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp  crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 32 oz jar of tomato sauce
  • optional for serving: parmesan cheese, fresh greens, roasted carrots, roasted beets, sautéed mushrooms, or a large toasted roll with fresh greens and slices of cheese


  1. Mix all ingredients (except tomato sauce) in a large mixing bowl with your hands. Do NOT over mix as this results in a tough, crumbly meatball.
  2. Preheat oven to 450F
  3. Line a large rectangular baking pan with aluminum foil and drizzle with oil. Spread oil evenly with a finger.
  4. Roll mixture with your hands into 1.5 inch diameter meatballs. Golfball size. Line meatballs up evenly on the baking pan, so that they are touching.
  5. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. While baking, heat up tomato sauce (or make from scratch if you’ve got the time) over medium low heat in a 3-5qt pot, covered, until heated through.
  7. Remove meatballs (it’ll be a greasy mess) one by one with tongs so as to not pick up the excess fat. Place in pot. Mix to coat in sauce. Cover and continue to heat through over low heat, 15-20 minutes. Mix meatballs periodically, gently, so you don’t break them up.
  8. Roast your veggies at this time while the oven is hot. Reduce oven heat to 425F, roast 20 minutes (works for carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, what have you).
  9. Serve over fresh greens and roasted veggies, or on a toasted hoagie with sliced cheese


July 4, 2014

Steak Fajitas and Grilled Peaches

Happy Independence Day, y’all.

I’ve reaaallly been craving fajitas. Unfortunately, I don’t trust the yankees here in NY to make this TexMex favorite of mine. Or any TexMex, for that matter. The perfect opportunity to try it out myself arose this weekend, for R’s/America’s birthday shindig. Between the chaos in the kitchen and entertaining guests, I totally forgot to take pictures. I even made roasted corn!

And what’s more ‘merican than Mexican corn and fajitas?!? Yea, ok. To balance it out, I served grilled peaches and ice cream for dessert. That sounds pretty American, doesn’t it?

Some notes:

  1. Err on the side of undercook! You can always slap it back on the grill. You can’t UN cook a tough piece of meat, though.
  2. I do not have a grill. I used a cast iron griddle. The kind that spans two stove tops, with grill marks. This thing is the bomb. 30 bucks off Amazon.
  3. Skirt steak is fattier than hanger steak. Makes for juicier fajitas.
  4. Don’t use soap to wash cast iron. Use hot water and scrub scrub scrub… Learned this the hard way five years ago. Also, never leave cast iron in the sink… dry it off when you’re done by sticking it in the oven or over the stove for a few minutes.


  • 2 lb skirt steak (or chicken)
  • 1 cup lime juice (make life easier for yourself. buy a bottle instead of squeezing limes)
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium onion, sliced


  1. Marinate steak and veggies 4 hours – overnight.
  2. Heat skillet over medium high heat until smoking hot.
  3. Grill meat, 2-3 minutes per side. (I like to fold up the thinner sides a bit early so they don’t overcook)
  4. Remove and let meat rest for a few minutes while you start the next batch. This is essential as it allows the juices to redistribute into the meat. The meat also continues to cook while it rests.
  5. Slice on the diagonal, against the grain of the meat.
  6. Toss the veggies on to the grill. Cook until soft and onions become translucent.


  • Ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • vanilla/bourbon/whatever ice cream


  1. Brush flat side of peach half with oil.
  2. On a clean HOT grill/griddle, place peach, flat side down. 2-3 minutes. It should develop nice dark grill marks.
  3. Rotate 90 degrees, continue to grill 2-3 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix a pinch of cinnamon with a few tsps of brown sugar (remember, cinnamon is sstrooonng. a little goes a long way.)
  5. Flip peach over and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Cover with a heat resistant bowl. A metal mixing bowl that has no plastic/rubber on it will work. Or if you have a real grill, just close the lid. 10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Remove and place in serving bowl, drizzle with honey, then serve with ice cream.



January 20, 2014

Beef Stew

Gonna be low of 10F tomorrow. No better reason to make a pot of warm stew. (:



  • 3lb well marbled beef chuck or stew meat
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • ~1 lb carrots (4 large), chopped
  • ~1 lb white sweet potatoes (2 medium), chopped *
  • 2 medium small onions, chopped in large 2 inch pieces
  • 7 cloves garlic, roughly chopped and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ~half a 8oz can of tomato paste (roughly 2 tbs)
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • flour
  • 4 cups beef broth

*healthier than potatoes. Japanese variety with purple skin and white flesh. Yukon gold or russets can be used as instead, the later being softer and grainier.


  1. Preheat oven to 320F
  2. Salt and pepper beef generously. Toss and rub in ~ 1 tsp brown sugar. This will help with caramelization.
  3. Heat medium size pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 tbs oil (I like avocado oil these days, smoke point at 480F!) and sear meat until browned evenly on all sides (5 min or so). Do this in batches to avoid crowding (crowding = steaming, not browning). Add oil, 1 tsp at a time between batches as necessary
  4. Remove meat and set aside. Lightly dust with flour.
  5. Add onions and garlic. Saute 3 min or so. Add tomato paste and mix. Continue stirring and sautéing another 3 min or so, or until onions are soft and translucent. Salt.
  6. Add balsamic vinegar. Scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  7. Add wine and broth, continue to scrape up bits from the pot (wooden spoon is your friend. don’t eff up your pretty pot with a metal utensil).
  8. Return beef to pot. Stir, cover, and place in oven for at least 2.5-3 hours.
  9. Remove pot from oven. Stir in chopped carrots and potatoes. Cover and return to oven for another hour or until carrots are fork tender.
  10. Serve with crusty bread
April 24, 2013

Lemon Thyme Meatballs 2.0

Citrus-y meatballs, TAKE TWO! This time I managed to take photos before total consumption… lemon thyme meatball1

INGREDIENTS: (makes 16-17 meatballs)

  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or other hard, sharp cheese
  • ~1 tsp dry sage
  • ~1 tsp dried thyme
  • ~1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • salt/pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbs butter
  • <1 tsp corn starch


  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Heat 1 tbs oil over high heat. Saute onions until just brown (5 min). Salt generously. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat, panko, cheese, cooled onions, seasoning, ~1.5-2 tsp kosher salt, several cranks of black pepper, zest from 1 lemon, and 1 egg. Mix with hands until just combined. Roll into racket ball sized meatballs.
  4. Bake meatballs in oven on a greased aluminum lined pan ~ 15 min or until cooked through. It’ll be browning slightly on the top.
  5. SAUCE: Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat. When completely melted, slowly add 1 tsp corn starch/flour. Stir continuously until evenly incorporated. Add white wine and reduce on med/high heat. When wine is mostly cooked off (you can smell it cook out) and 1/2 cup chicken stock slowly. Continue to stir and reduce liquid by half. Add a pinch more thyme and sage. Stir in more chicken stock if necessary to reach consistency of your liking. Reduce heat.
  6. Add meatballs into sauce. Toss to cover, serve.

photo 3

May 20, 2012

Sloppy Joes + Buttery Chive Mashed Potatoes

What’s better than Sloppy Joes? Sloppy Joes while watching zombies. Mmmm….braaains…

Finally catching up on Walking Dead. An unintentional combination. Really. I totally forgot about the second half of this season, which started in February when I was preparing for national board exams.  I think it was the mound of ground beef sitting on my kitchen counter after grocery shopping today that reminded me I had many episodes of brain noshing excitement to catch up on. How appetizing.

Adapted from this recipe.


  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef*
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tbs salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns (I like potato bread)

*feel free to use imitation meat. I actually had about half a package of Upton Natural’s ground seitan left over in my fridge and mixed that in with my 1.75lb of beef.

In a large skillet, brown meat over high heat. When the pink of the ground meat is almost gone, add onions, garlic, and bell peppers and saute on high until just soft. Add tomato paste, vinegar, chicken stock, and seasonings. Mix well and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes to let flavors meld. Uncover and let thicken for ~5 minutes or so, while you toast buns. Top buns with meat and serve.

Buttery Chive Mashed Potatoes:

Cut up potato into small cubes. Place in bowl, cover with wet paper towel, and nuke ~5 minutes or until fork tender. Mash. Add 1 tbs of butter per potato used, and stir in milk (warm) until you reach the consistency you prefer. Salt to taste and mix in chives.

May 4, 2012

Guiness Braised Beef Stew

Perfect thick and hearty stew! Serve with toasted sour dough or Irish soda bread. I’m still trying to finish off the other 5 bottles of Guinness left over from this recipe. Probably not a bad thing….

Adapted from My Recipes.


  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 cups chopped onion (about 3 onions) $
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout $
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 0.5 lb carrot, cubed
  • 0.5 lb parsnip, sliced diagonally
  • 0.5 lb turnip, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; dredge beef in starch or flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and beef.
  2. Add 4 cups of onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  5. Return meat to pan. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stew should have small, infrequent bubbles.
  6. Uncover and bring to a boil. Add carrots. Reduce to low.  Cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add 1 cup of reserved onions, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Salt to taste. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

NOTES: I feel the flavor of the parsnips is rather overpowering. In the future I might reduce the parsnips by half to 1/4th lb, and use rutebega or celery root instead. Also, the turnips also didn’t do much for me. They don’t bring much to the stew in terms of texture or flavor. I might just substitute with potatoes in the future.

March 27, 2012

Chinese Oxtail Stew

Amazing recipe. Who would’ve thought that I could find such authentic Chinese flavors on NYTimes?…


  • 5 to 6 pounds oxtails, cut into pieces, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 star anise, broken into pieces
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths, plus 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
  • 6 slices fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 orange, 4 large strips of zest removed with a vegetable peeler and reserved
  • Cooked rice, for serving.


1. Heat oven to 300F. Season oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, brown oxtail all over, removing each piece when done. Add oil as needed.

2. When done browning, pour off extra fat from bottom of empty pot and set pot over high heat. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. In a bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar with 2 cups water and pour into pot. Add star anise, 2-inch pieces of scallions, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Return oxtails to pot and add orange zest. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook 1½ hours.

3. Turn over pieces of oxtail, cover again and cook 1½ hours more, or until oxtail is very tender. Transfer oxtail pieces to a baking dish. Strain sauce into a separate saucepan; discard contents of strainer. Cover oxtails and sauce and refrigerate overnight.

4. The next day, heat oven to 300 degrees; remove oxtails and sauce from refrigerator. Lift off any fat on surface of sauce and discard. Gently warm sauce until liquid, then pour over oxtails. Cover with foil or a lid and bake 30 minutes.

5. Uncover, stir and raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir again and cook another 15 minutes, until hot and glazed thickly with sauce. Meanwhile, squeeze ¼ cup juice from orange. Remove oxtails from oven, stir in orange juice, and serve in bowls over rice. Sprinkle each serving with thin scallion slices.

Yield: 4 servings.