Fancy Schmancy Frank and Beans

I’m not sure what the weather has been like by you, but this winter has been so ridiculously mild. I’m someone who loves winter for the cold and the snow. Being able to go for a run in my shorts and to relax at home with the screen-door open, well, it throws me off. Despite this, I still crave the big, bold, hearty flavors you would find in winter food; something to warm your insides…even if they’re already pretty warm.

When I was young, on a rare occasion, my mom would put together a quick and simple treat for dinner: frank and beans. No its not fancy and yes, many people will lift up their nose at the thought. I loved it. Not really sure why–maybe it was just how infrequently it was a dinner option, but it was just one of those dinners that hit the spot. So I thought I would totally miss the point and make… click to read more…

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Soutzoukakia Smyrneika with Olives (Greek Lamb Meatballs)

I discovered this dish at one of my favorite Greek food blogs and knew I had to try them one day. Until I can pony up the cash for a trip to Greece, cooking more Greek food at home will have to do. The dish is charming, rustic, and man does it hit the spot: lamb meatballs in a sauce of tomato and olives.

Soutzoukakia Smyrneika with Olives

I was very tempted to add a little more here and there to pump things up a bit, but resisted the urge and am glad for it. The ingredients make this sound simple in flavor, but it is really to the benefit of the final product–the sharp flavor of cumin cuts through the distinct, delightful lamb flavor, which all just sings in a mellow, but perfectly complementary sauce focused on tomato and olive (lamb and olive is a combo that always nails it for me). The sauce takes on the richness of… click to read more…

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Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

I’m not sure what it is about baked pasta dishes, but I can’t think of one that isn’t comfort food. Rich, creamy dishes like macaroni & cheese and pastitsio readily pop into my head. Another common craving: lasagna. I didn’t feel like putting in the time to make a good bolognese sauce to make that lasagna happen, so instead I opted for a lasagna with a bit of an autumny twist. The usual pasta, Bechamel, and cheese remain, but in place of a meaty, tomatoey sauce, I cooked up a butternut squash-centric sauce with a bit of Italian sausage.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna

The sauce reminded me a bit of a hearty squash soup I had made last season. It had sweet, smoky, spicy notes that warm you from the inside in the way that you just crave during the autumn months with touches of thyme and anisey flavors. The lasagna treatment for… click to read more…

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Carne Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Elote

A while back, I had tried a playful twist on carne asada in the interest of trying something different, so I thought it would only make sense to simplify, satisfy my craving, and try the real deal: carne asada.

Carne Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Elote

Honestly, the actual inspiration for this came from another direction. The side dish was what planted the seed for this in my head. I had seen a curious recipe for something called elote, that I had to try. Honestly, the idea of mayo + corn sounded….bizarre…to say the least, but I’d heard of it on more than one occasion (and for those who are skeptical, I have to say, this is probably one of the most incredible ways to eat corn. I will preach the gospel of elote to anyone who will listen from now on. Its tangy, bright, zippy, and somehow, cornier than plain corn). So with elote on the menu, I figured Mexican was… click to read more…

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Thai Curried Beef Burgers

After grinding my own steak burgers, I couldn’t wait to try doing so again. In the name of keeping things interesting, I thought I’d keep my Asian kick going, and sought some inspiration from my recent Thai green curry with beef. I was sad to run out of the stuff, so I thought how could I make it again, but in burger form?

Thai Curried Beef Burgers

I chose two well marbled and very beefy cuts for the burger: ribeye and shortribs (and this is entirely personal preference–you want intense flavor and a good bit of fat). Then, I incorporated other flavors from green curry–green curry paste, peppers, ginger, lime, basil, coconut–and worked all of that into the ground beef. The flavor was a bit more subtle than I’d expected; kind of an upfront aftertaste–a pretaste–before the dominant beefiness dominated. You pick up a hint of coconut, the distinct green curry flavor, a bit of heat, and a green… click to read more…

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Thai Green Curry with Beef

I love Thai food, but I’ve always shied away from it. I’m not sure why really–something about it just scared me. It seems like a cuisine where the preparation is fairly simple, so the quality of ingredients and attention to detail becomes that much more important if you’re to have a convincingly good result (like sushi). I don’t really base this on anything in particular, but I finally decided to take the plunge. Does it have anything to do with a recent meal of green curry I had? Or the fact that I finally encountered lemongrass at the grocery store? Whatever the case, I’ve tried my hand at a Thai green curry with plenty of veggies and beef, and I’m very glad I did.

Thai Green Curry with Beef

The outcome was excellent–the curry had an intense and intriguing flavor. It was close, but not 100% authentic since I had to make a few substitutions (e.g. zest and juice… click to read more…

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