Beef Stroganoff and a Salad

Beef Stroganoff:

I can’t recall where this recipe originated from… But, I’ve altered it heavily so I could grill the meat. Using flank steak – instead of the chuck roast in the original recipe – it gives you much more surface area to char the exterior of the meat.

1½ lb flank steak
Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup shallots, finely chopped
1 lb small Crimini mushrooms, stems trimmed and thickly sliced
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp cognac (Which I never have on hand – so I usually end up using cream sherry)
¾ cup crème fraîche
1 tbsp Zatarain’s mustard
1 tsp Coleman’s dry mustard
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 package of pappardelle noodles (I like to use Cucina Fresca)
1 tbsp paprika

First, make the beef broth. Bring one cup of water to a boil and stir in one teaspoon of Better than Bouillon Beef Base. Lower heat and mix in one and a half tablespoons of red wine, one teaspoon of Tamari and one teaspoon of Johnny’s Au Jus Concentrate. Turn of heat, cover and set aside.

Next, the mustard mix… Mix the Coleman’s and Zatarain’s in a small bowl and set aside.

Pre-heat grill to 400°. Season the meat liberally with Tony’s.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped shallots and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add Crimini mushrooms. Sprinkle with pepper and sauté until liquid evaporates, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile… Before the 12 minutes are up, put the meat on the grill. Cook 7½ minutes a side. Also, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Add beef broth, then Cognac to the mushrooms and shallots. Simmer until liquid thickens and just coats mushrooms, about 14 minutes.

During those 14 minutes, start cooking the noodles as per directions on the package. By now, the meat should be done. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes, and then cut the flank steak in half along the grain. Then cut into ¼ inch pieces, going against the grain.

Stir in crème fraîche and mustard mix into the sauté pan. Add meat and any accumulated juices from the cutting board. Simmer over medium-low heat until meat is heated through but still medium-rare, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide noodles among plates. Top with beef and sauce. Garnish generously with paprika.

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I served this with a simple green salad with my take on my mother’s salad dressing – which is sort of a garlic-mustard vinaigrette. I’ve never written down the recipe. It’s always been one of those “a little of this and a little of that” sort of things.

To drink, I decided to go with a bottle of the Oddland Peppercorn Saison from Elysian Brewing.


Thai Mussels with Dồi Xá Chiên Tây Hồ Sausage, Asian Slaw and Sticky Rice

Thai Mussels with Dồi Xá Chiên Tây Hồ Sausage:

This recipe started out as a Bobby Flay recipe… I’ve simplified it a little, so I can do it on the stove in a large pan – making it easier to cook the mussels more evenly and so that you transfer them to the serving dishes as each mussel is ready. I also added the Dồi Xá Chiên Tây Hồ sausage – which has fried pork skin and lemongrass in it (available at some Asian Markets).

1 package of Dồi Xá Chiên Tây Hồ sausage
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 stalk lemongrass, crushed
3 tbsp Thai red curry paste (I like to use True and Thai)
½ cup white wine
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
1¼ to 1½ lbs mussels, debearded and scrubbed
2 tbsp chopped cilantro – leaves only
4 tbsp chopped basil (Thai basil, if you can find it but regular works fine)

First, grill the Dồi Xá Chiên Tây Hồ sausage for 7½ minutes a side at 400°. Remove from grill, slice into half inch pieces, cover with tin foil and set aside.

Heat oil in large sauté pan at medium high heat. Add the lemongrass, curry paste, wine, coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice and bring to a simmer, whisking. Add the mussels, cover the pot, and let steam until opened. Serve from pan into individual bowls, discarding the lemongrass. Put sliced Dồi Xá Chiên Tây Hồ Sausage on top and garnish with the cilantro and basil. I added a kaffir lime, as well.

Asian Slaw:

This recipe is based on Corinne Trang’s Asian Coleslaw recipe from her book The Asian Grill.

1 large clove of garlic
2 Thai chili peppers, de-seeded.
⅓ cup of fish sauce
⅓ cup of lime juice
⅓ cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
½ head of Napa Cabbage
1 small Red Onion, julienne
A handful of Carrots, julienne
1 cup chopped Cilantro – leaves only

Throw the garlic and Thai chili peppers into a food processor and chop fine. Add the fish sauce and lime juice and mix. Next, add the sugar and mix. Them add the vegetable oil and mix well.

Slice the Napa cabbage from the top. Use only half of the head. Place in a bowl with the julienne onions and carrots. Mix in dressing, cover and refrigerate for up to an hour. Mix in cilantro just before serving.

Sticky Rice:

Soak one cup of Thai glutinous rice in a bowl of water with at least on inch of water on top of the rice for up to 24 hours. Steam for 15 minutes. I use a pasta cooker with a build in colander that has very small holes. Works perfect.

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As for what to drink, I went with a bottle of the Barrel-Aged Flora Rustica from Upright. And for dessert… I had some Coconut Milk with Cashew Brittle and Pandan ice cream from Salt & Straw with a Cavatica Stout from Ft. George.

Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin, String Beans and Mémère’s Mac & Cheese

Honey Roasted Pork Tenderloin:

This recipe is the reason why I started grilling. I tried replicating this recipe every imaginable way when I lived in apartments and lofts. It wasn’t until I got a gas grill that I got this to work.

1 Pork Tenderloin*
Lemon juice
Estilo Azteca Seasoning (I get this pre-made from a local bar-b-que joint, but Tony’s will do just fine).

* Pork Tenderloins are usually sold in pairs, but I usually get one big one – at least a pound by weight – unless I am cooking for more than two. Whenever possible, I buy Carlton Farms.

First, rinse the Pork Tenderloin in the sink with cold water and then cover with lemon juice (the stuff in the little lemon shaped squeazy bottle works just fine). Then, season liberally with your seasoning.

Grill at 400° for 25 minutes. Flip. Then grill for another 20 minutes. Turn off gas and put the meat in a roasting pan with a rack, and put back on the grill. Coat heavily with the honey. Close cover, and let it rest for five minutes. Slice and serve.

String Beans:

¾ lb string beans (a.k.a. “haricot vert”), ends trimmed / removed.
2 tsp butter
1 tsp bacon fat
1 large shallot, finely chopped – yield roughly 3 tbsp
½ cup white wine
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

Melt the butter and bacon fat in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Sautée shallots until fragrant. Pour in white wine, then add in beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then let simmer for 10 minutes.

Mémère’s Mac & Cheese:

Large elbow macaroni
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ lb Emmentaler, grated
1 tbsp butter
Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
1 cup whole milk
1 egg

This is my grandmother’s – my Mémère’s – recipe that I have tweaked a little.

First, grate all of the cheese and mix well in a large bowl. Then, prepare the macaroni as per the instructions on the bag / box. Strain in a colander, and rinse with cold water. Then, grease a 9 x 9 Pyrex baking dish with the butter. Put down a layer of cooked macaroni, then season the noodles with Tony’s, then a layer of cheese. Repeat two more times, and that should bring the layers to the top of the baking dish.

Next, scald the milk… Now, I have no idea what that means. I remember my grandmother using a double boiler. What I do, is put the milk in a small sauce pan on high heat and watch for a layer of skin to form on the top of the milk – just before it starts to boil. Take the pan off of the heat, and mix in the egg. Then, pour the egg-milk mixture over the baking pan with the macaroni and cheese. Throw into a 350° oven for at least 35 minutes. I like to let it go until the cheese on top starts to get brown and crunchy. Usually about 40 to 45 minutes, depending on your oven.

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I went with a bottle of Rebecca’s Divine Wit by Captured by Porches to drink with dinner.

Rouladen and Spätzle, Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

I had no idea what Rouladen was when I bought it at Edelweiss Sausage & Delicatessen. All I knew, was that is was a flank steak stuffed with bacon, onions, mustard and pickles tied up in neat little bundles with butcher’s string. Originally, I thought I would just throw them on the grill. But, that was before I did some research. Come to find out, they are supposed to be simmered in beef broth – for up to two hours.

I browned the meat on all sides in some pancetta grease* in a heavy pot, then took the meat out and deglazed the pan with red wine. I then added two cups of beef broth, stirred the wine and broth together and added the meat. I simmered on low for 50 minutes. Then I turned the meat over and simmered for another 50 minutes. Then, I took the meat out and thickened up the gravy with some Tony’s Roux Mix. And then I put the meat back in for a few more minutes to coat with the gravy – which I served up on some spätzle (I use a pre-packaged brand. Making it from scratch is too much work.).

As for the Brussels sprouts… This recipe started out as an Alton Brown recipe for grilling Brussels sprouts. But since I do not own a microwave, I have to cut them in half and boil them for a few minutes to get the insides cooked. And then I had to add pancetta, of course…

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta:

10 paper thin slices of pancetta
1 pound Brussels sprouts, as uniform in size as possible
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp powdered English mustard
1 tbsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

First, fry the pancetta until crisp (I used some La Quercia Acorn Pancetta that I had picked up from the Cheese Bar. Highly recommend if you can find it.) and set aside. Save the grease*.

Mix the powdered English mustard, smoked paprika, sea salt and ground black pepper in a large shaker – like the kind you would see the cracked red pepper in at a pizza restaurant.

Cut the bottom off of the Brussels sprouts, then cut in half – so each half has part of the bottom to keep the leaves together. Remove any discolored leaves. Drop the Brussels sprouts into a large pot of boiling water (with some salt) and boil for 4 minutes. When done, pour into a colander and rinse under cold water.

Melt the 2 tbsp butter in a large cast iron pan on medium high heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant. Then add in the Brussels sprouts. Using the shaker, pour on roughly two thirds of the spice mix on to the Brussels sprouts, and stir to coat. Then pour on the remainder of the spice mix on the sections of the Brussels sprouts that look like they could use more. Cover, and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes.

To get the char that you would have gotten from having done these on the grill, I usually broil them in the oven for about 4 or 5 minutes. But since it was a hot day and the stove had already heating up the kitchen, I decided to try something new this time – and busted out the culinary blow torch. They didn’t come out quite as good, but it worked. To finish, first crumble the pancetta over the Brussels sprouts then garnish with the fresh chopped parsley.

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For the beer to serve with dinner, I decided to go with a bottle of the Sahalie from The Ale Apothecary.

Unplanned and Unsupervised…

This is what happens when I don’t plan ahead.

I was out running around town, and just buying a bunch of stuff that looked good. I didn’t really have a meal planned. I just thought that I would figure it out later when I got home since I was only cooking for myself… And this is what I ended up with.

The chili and garlic rubbed pork tenderloin and the parmesan garlic pinwheel sausage I picked up at Laurelhurst Market’s butcher counter. The tenderloin, I grilled for 15 minutes a side at 350° ~ 400° – the sausage about 8 or 9 minutes a side.

The broccoli and the olive parmesan focaccia I had picked up at the farmer’s market. I steamed the broccoli for about 10 minutes, coated heavily with cracked black pepper and butter. Then put a little tamari on it.

All in all, pretty tasty. But it was kind of like two different meals on the same plate. The tenderloin and broccoli worked well together, and the pinwheel sausage and focaccia were good with each other. I washed it all down with a bottle of Ferme De La’ Ville Provision from Block 15.