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Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Steak Pizzaiola

In Beef on June 10, 2010 at 8:22 am
steak pizzaiola

Slow down and chew, for goodness sake!

Ooooohh yeeeeaaahhhh….. This is a godless, hedonistic feast for the glutton in all of us. Steak smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, broiled to golden, bubbly perfection. How can you resist? It’s all the homey yumminess of lasagna with a good bit of red meat thrown in to satisfy the flesh craving. Love, love, love this dish!

Mr. Gorilla was taste-gasmic, as it is the trifecta of masculine culinary dreams. And you know what? It’s so easy to prepare, there’s no reason why you can’t eat it all the time. Well, actually, I can think of several. They’re called fat, calories, and cholesterol. But health issues aside, this dish is so delicious, and produces very impressive results with minimal effort. Try it with me…

Steak Pizzaiola


8 thin-sliced steaks, whatever cut you like

4 cups tomato sauce (your favorite. one with a bit of a peppery kick is great here)

6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thick (fresh is best here. the processed kind won’t bubble as nicely)


Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, and brown the steaks quickly – about 30 seconds each side. You don’t want them cooked through, or they will be tough.

In an 8×8 baking dish (or a cake pan), pour enough sauce in to cover the bottom. Add four steaks in a single layer.

Add more sauce to cover the steaks. Be generous – we want this as sloppy as possible.

Layer the other four steaks on top, and cover with the remaining sauce.

Layer the sliced mozz on top, evenly spaced. Aim to cover the top of the steaks entirely if you can.

Pop that baby under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly like a good pizza, about 7 minutes, depending upon the thickness of your slices. Top with oregano if you wish.

Serve with a good, crusty bread, making sure everyone gets some cheese. Really. If someone doesn’t get cheese, they’ll be bitchy all through dinner. In fact, make sure everyone gets the same amount of cheese, to avoid petty bickering.

Keep bleach handy, because there will be stained shirts.


Steak and Guinness Pudding for the Daring Bakers April Challenge!

In Beef, Breads / Grains, Daring Baker's Challenges, Uncategorized on April 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm
steak and guiness pudding

It's English, and it actually tastes good!

I’m Back!!!!

Yes, I have returned, albeit sporadically. You see, we bought the money pit. Yes, my new appliances are all in except for the fridge, which is coming on Saturday, but my new cabinets and countertops and floor are, sadly, waaaaay off in the distance. It’s one thing after another with this house. I’ve had the bamboo floors ripped up in the living room for a month now, and apparently it’s going to take a miracle of physics to fit it back down again. The pool, after four weeks of daily maintenance, is almost swimmable, and we have a lamp in the dining room now. Yay. A lamp. Renovations have all but stalled out because of unforeseen financial emergencies, but Mr. Gorilla and I haven’t killed each other yet!

So, I come humbly back to you, my dear readers, hoping you have stuck with me. I hated disappointing you all those days, and I’m so happy to be back! I cannot guarantee that I’ll post every single day, because you never know when the gas line will explode, or the roof will fall in, or whatever. But I will post as often as possible, I promise!

Today’s post is about the Daring Bakers April Challenge – Steamed Pudding! I’ve never been a fan of English food, but this was very good! Mr. Gorilla is a huge Anglophile, so I kind of made it for him, not expecting to like it, but I did. So did Penny. She is, after all, English.

So, we had free reign over fillings, so I took a savory turn and made it for dinner. It takes awhile to steam, and the setup is complicated, but it’s worth it. Good rainy day comfort food.

he April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet. I did not use suet. I used Crisco. Suet is gross, and the thought of it makes me blart. So there. It turned out fine.

Steak and Guinness Pudding


1 1/2 pounds steak

2 cups finely sliced onion

1/3 cup flour

salt, pepper, parsley

4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 bottle Guinness

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

3/4 cup Crisco

salt, pepper

a few tablespoons of water


Cut the steak into small cubes, and toss with the 1/3 cup of flour, salt, pepper, and parsley to taste. Add the onions and toss. Add the Worcestershire sauce and toss. Finally, add the Guinness and toss. Let it sit and marinate while you make the crust.

Okay, this takes some prep. Find a heatproof bowl that’s big enough to hold all the steak, but small enough to fit in your biggest pot. I know. Now crumple up some foil, lay it in the center of the pot, and set the bowl on top. Still fit? Good, go with that one. Don’t worry, it gets even more complicated in a minute.

Combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Cut in the Crisco until the mixture is mealy, and drip in enough water to form the dough into a ball. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, knead once or twice until smooth. Set aside about 1/4 of the dough – that will be the lid. Roll the rest out into a circle big enough to line your bowl, and lay it in. Easier said than done. Pinch and seal any rips.

Add the steak and stuff to the bowl, liquid and all. Make sure the edges of the crust come well past the top of the liquid.

Roll out the reserved dough to form a disc large enough to cover the bowl. Lay it on like the top crust of a pie, and fold the edges of the bottom crust over. Press to seal, dabbing with water if necessary. Pretty? Pretty.

Now. Cover the bowl with foil, pleating the center to allow for expansion. Using twine, yes, twine, tie the foil down tightly over the foil, under the edge of the bowl. You want a steam-proof seal. Make a handle out of the twine, and tie it like an X across the top. Phew. Crack open another Guinness for yourself.

Place the bowl on top of the balled-up foil in the pot, and add water to the pot so it comes up no higher than 2/3 the height of the bowl. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a slow simmer, and let steam for four or five hours. WHAT? Yes, it takes that long. And you have to keep adding water, too, or else it boils away.  I know. Check it every once in a while, and when the crust is nice and golden, it’s done.

pudding crust

Much of the color comes from the Guiness.

To serve, gently unmold on a large plate, and slice like a cake. A wet, sloppy cake. A word of warning – my crust came out waaaay too thin and delicate to unmold, so I just served it like a casserole. It’s so juicy, you don’t even need an extra gravy. Yum.

Burgers Parmesan!

In Beef, Sandwiches on March 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm

These burgers have a surprise inside!

Oooooh! A surprise? Yes! A surprise! Cheese! Inside the actual burger! Yes, it is possible, and no, it’s not illegal. There is cheese inside of, on top of, and underneath the burger. Cheeesy goodness. I know. This one is definitely NOT low-calorie, folks.

It is my holy combination of Chicken Parmesan and Cheeseburgers. A Burger Parm. So freakin’ good, it doesn’t even need a side dish. And no ordinary hamburger bun can stand up to it, either – you need to use ciabatta squares. Not only are they firm enough, but they have all those nice big air pockets to hold the sauce. I got mine at Target, believe it or not – they actually have a pretty decent little bakery there.

A note about the beef – I know everyone instinctively buys the leanest ground beef they can find, but you don’t want to do that when it comes to burgers. You just end up with a dry burger. It might work out okay for this particular recipe because of the tomato sauce, but in general, stick with 80/20. It’s jucier, and it’s cheaper. If you want to eat low-fat, don’t eat a cheeseburger, especially one with three slices of mozzarella cheese. Just sayin’.

Burgers Parmesan

(makes two giant burgers)


1 pound ground beef

1 cup spaghetti sauce

3 tablespoons parmesan

6 slices fresh mozzarella

2 individual ciabatta squares

a few fresh basil leaves


In a large bowl, mix the beef, 1/3 cup spaghetti sauce, and the parmesan cheese. Don’t mix it too much – just until combined. Divide into fourths.

Flatten each portion into a THIN patty. Place a slice of mozzarella each on top of two of the patties, then top with the other two patties. Like a sandwich, kind of. Pinch the edges together, and generally refine the shape into a burger-like one. Refrigerate for about an hour. Go watch that show you taped last night.

Now, heat a large (because the burgers are large) pan over medium-high heat, and preheat your oven to 425.

When the oven beeps, put the ciabatta squares inside, and turn it OFF. They will be perfectly toasted when you take them out, I promise.

By now your pan should be hot, so cook your burgers to desired doneness. Remember – they look thick, but some of that is cheese, so don’t over cook them. Mine took about ten minutes, flipping halfway through.

Remove the burgers from the heat and set aside. Remove the Ciabatta from the oven. Now run your hands under cold water because you didn’t use an oven mitt.

Slice the ciabatta squares in half. Spread two tablespoons of sauce on the bottom half, top with a slice of mozzarella, add the burger, put two more tablespoons of sauce on top, add another slice of mozz, and a few basil leaves. Now put the top of the bun on.

Stand back and admire your work, but try not to drool on the floor. Just take a bite. Try not to wear a white shirt. You’ll see.

Surprise! omg....

Mongolian Beef

In Beef on February 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Mmmmm....and I didn't even have to tip anybody.

Mr. Gorilla LOVES Mongolian Beef. Any time we go to Pei Wei or P.F. Chang’s, he doesn’t even have to look at the menu. But alas, they do not deliver. You know, I wish every store and restaurant delivered, and they should all be open 24 hours. Because I am lazy, and I keep odd hours.

Anyway, our local Chinese take-out places suck at Mongolian Beef. It’s more like Mongolian Onion, garnished with a few shreds of meat – it makes me crazy, because I have frequent beef cravings and I’m not that good at cooking it myself. Usually. I believe I may have changed my record, because this recipe was really, really good. Really good.

I was feeling generous while planning this week’s menu, and I thought I would make a dinner especially for the mister. So I searched the Google for a Mongolian Beef recipe, and found one by Tish on RecipeZaar that claimed to be a copycat of P.F.Chang’s, which happens to be Mr. Gorilla’s favorite. Aaawww, aren’t I sweet?

I did do a little bit of adapting, and I served it with roasted asparagus. I know it’s weird of me to do that, but I had like, a ton of asparagus, and we haven’t really been eating our veggies. Like I’ve said before – there is no authenticity prize at home.

The recipe as written is good, but I just added a few touches that I thought made it a bit more special. For the record, Mr. Gorilla said it was BETTER than P.F. Chang’s. He may have just been kissing my butt, or he may have been laying the foundation for a no-more-restaurants campaign; but judging by the rate at which he cleaned his plate, I think he meant it!

Mongolian Beef

(adapted from Recipezaar)


1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, pressed

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

dash chili sauce

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 pound beef (flank steak, skirt steak, or even leftover roast or London broil)

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 large scallions


Heat the 1 teaspoon each of vegetable and sesame oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and ginger, and give it a good stir a couple of times around the pan.

Add the soy sauce and water, stir.

Add the brown sugar, honey, chili sauce, and pepper flakes. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then raise the heat to medium and let the sauce boil for a minute or two, but don’t let it thicken.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut the steak into stir-fry sized pieces – cut on a 45 degree angle across the grain, so the slices will be more tender. Place beef in sauce, toss to coat, and marinate for about an hour.

When the hour is up, remove the beef from the marinade and dust with cornstarch. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so the cornstarch can sink in.

Meanwhile, heat the 1/4 each of vegetable and sesame oils over medium-high in a wok or large pan. When the oil is shimmery and VERY HOT, it is ready to go to work.

Add the beef, and stir fry just until edges are done – leave it a bit rare in the center.

Drain oil, add sauce to the pan, and stir to coat.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat before the sauce gets too thick – it will thicken more as it cools.

Cut the scallions on the diagonal into 2-inch long pieces, and sprinkle on top of the beef.

Serve over rice. The original recipe says to leave the extra sauce in the pan, but I think that’s a huge mistake – you miss out on the deliciousness. I just poured it all on top and let it sink into the rice. Omigod! It was one of those dinners where you just want to keep eating it forever and ever. But eventually, you run out. My waistline says thank god.

Boef Stiu

In Beef, Soups/Stews on January 7, 2010 at 6:05 pm

My beef stew is superior to yours. And healthier, too.

Okay, okay. This post is about plain old beef stew. But Boef Stiu looks fancier. I’m on a comfort food kick lately, what do you want from me? Jeez.

“But beef stew?” I can hear you whining, “Beef stew is fattening and boring.” Yes, it is. Usually. But if you leave out some of the things that make it so, you are left with a delightful little meal for a cold night. I serve it over egg noodles, but you could eat it in a bowl like soup, or with bread, or if you’re really hot stuff, in a bread bowl.

The entire recipe is fully customizable – just use what you have on hand. If you don’t like carrots, leave them out. If you love turnips, throw them in. And, since it’s made in a crockpot, you get to smell it cooking all day, and you don’t have to tend to it.

You can also use whatever beef you want – I used leftover London Broil I had in the freezer (thrifty, I am!), and the meat came out a bit dry. Generally, you want a fattier cut, because it will stay jucier, but that also adds calories. You can’t have everything.

Beef Stew

*This recipe fed two until they burst, but if you eat like normal people, it could potentially feed four.


8 oz. beef (any kind, the fattier the better)

6 petite red potatoes, peeled, quartered

1 cup roughly chopped sweet onion (Vidalias are  my favorite)

3 cloves garlic, pressed

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

4 cups beef broth (low sodium, of course)

sea salt, black pepper




bay leaves


Okay – this is so easy, if you blink you’ll miss it. Ready? Go.

If you are starting with raw beef, brown it in vegetable oil over medium high heat. Don’t cook it all the way through, just sear the outside to seal in the juices. Like a rare steak. Now set it aside.

I’m assuming you’ve done your chopping of vegetables already (ahem), so I won’t cover it here.

So, drag out your crockpot, and start layering. Layering? Yes. Because you don’t necessarily want some things in direct contact with the heated surface, and some things turn out better that way. The layers go this way: (from the bottom up)

1. potatoes

2. onions and garlic

3. meat

4. celery and carrots

Basically, your root vegetables go under the meat, giving it a nice cozy bed. Then the lighter veggies go on top, so their juices drip on down and mingle.

Pretty, cozy layers. Aaaaawwwww.

Now, pour about a cup of the beef broth into a small bowl, and add your spices. Whisk it all together, and dump it on top of the whole pile. The pieces of dried herb will stick to whatever they touch, and that makes it good.

Next, gently (gently!) pour the rest of the broth into the crockpot – pour it down the side so it doesn’t wash off all the herby goodness.

Okay! Lock and load. Actually, lock down the lid of the crockpot, turn it on high, and leave it alone for about 4-6 hours, depending on the thickness of your meat. Avoid the temptation to open up and stir – you’ll lose heat that way, and it will take awhile to build back up, lengthening the total cooking time.

Around the 4 hour mark, remove the lid and stir. If the potatoes are not soft and the meat still feels a bit hard, close it back up and be patient. When it’s done, the meat will break apart into large chunks as you stir. So tender!

OMG I've been smelling this for four hours. Can I eat it yet? Yes.

As I said, I served it on top of wide egg noodles because that’s how my moom did it. If your mom served it over mashed potatoes, go right ahead. Or don’t serve it over anything but the bottom of a bowl. I will be delish either way. Promise.

If you skip the noodles and just eat it in a bowl like soup, you’ll save a couple of hundred calories. Really. Me and pasta = love/hate.

Okay loves, happy cooking. I’m trying a new recipe for tomorrow – I hope it turns out right, or I won’t have dinner tonight! The suspense must be killing you – come back tomorrow and see!