Tag Archives: Spicy

Satay Stir Fry Sauce *****

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When I am in need of a quick dinner, stir-fry is my go-to dish. I’ve always got an abundance of veggies in the fridge for my morning omelets, so I rarely even need to make a trip to the grocery store for ingredients. Plus, it doesn’t really matter what is in the dish (i.e. chicken, veggies, steak, tofu), because we all know the secret to an incredible stir-fry lies within the sauce.

Finding just the right sauce can be tricky though, which is why I am sharing this incredible recipe for Satay Stir Fry Sauce. It only requires a few ingredients and it makes just about anything taste amazing! The surprise ingredient is chucky peanut butter, which thickens the sauce and allows it to better adhere to the veggies and/or meat for a more flavor-packed bite. I love this sauce because it is just the right consistency and balance of Asian flavors—incorporating soy, orange, ginger, peanuts, and garlic.

Use this for vegetarian stir-fries with eggplant, mushrooms, onions, snow peas, and carrots served over rice or use it as a dressing/dipping sauce for grilled meat kabobs.

All you need is….

{ Ingredients for Satay Sauce }

  • 4 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons Tamari sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 orange, juiced

{ To Make the Satay Sauce }

Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and stir until well combined. The peanut butter and honey should be dissolved.

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{ Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde }

Turns out my spicy avocado dipping sauce was so good last night, that it was eaten at an unproportional rate with repect to my empanadas. I have left over empanadas, but no more sauce, providing me the perfect opportunity to experiement with cooking a new one. In keeping with the green theme, I decided to give roasted tomatillo salsa (aka salsa verde) a whirl tonight. I would love to say it is my own recipe, however, I stole it from Tyler Florence. And with this confession now out in the open, I say that it deserves two thumbs up and earns a respectiable place among my collection of favorite recipes.

This salsa combines the favors of roasted garlic, Spanish onions, sweet tomatillo tomatoes, spicy jalapeños, and lime juice to create a condiment suitable for topping any protein or corn product. You can put it over chicken, over pork, over seafood, over nachos, hell, you can even spread it on a piece of toast for a banging Mexican-inspired snack. It is flavorful, yet not overpowering, which makes it one of my new favorite condiments.

{ Ingredients }

  • 10 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1-2 jalapeños, stemmed
  • 1 spanish onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

{ To Make the Salsa Verde } Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the tomatillos in half (NOTE: you should have already removed the husks and washed them). Place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Add the garlic cloves, jalapeños, and onion to the tray and roast for 12-15 minutes.

Transfer the roasted vegetables and the juices from the pan into a food processor. Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse the mixture until well combined but still chunky.

Adjust the seasonings to desired taste. I always add a couple dashes of tobasco for more spice, as well as extra lime juice.

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{ Faux Pho }

After my first Pho experience, I became a pho feign. I simply can’t get enough of the stuff–it’s the epitome of comfort food and even better its super healthy for you! Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have an awesome Vietnamese restaurant  (Pho & Beyond) close to my home in Philly so I can get my pho fix there, but finding Vietnamese food in Argentina has been quite a challenge. There is one good place called Green Bamboo, serving up tasty Asian inspired dishes including pho, but it is not authentic and it comes at a rather steep price (almost 90 Arg pesos per bowl….totally not in my budget these days!). As a result, I have decided to experiment with making my own Pho, which I will be the first to admit is really faux pho….the real stuff requires a lot more ingredients and whole lot more cooking time.

This being said, my imitation version still gives the unique flavors of the traditional pho broth and the hearty satisfaction of beef soup. Remember though, this soup is all about the garnishes so don’t skimp on those ingredients!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons star anise seeds (or 1 whole star anise)
  • 1 3″-4″ cinnamon stick
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2-3 cups of mixed mushrooms, chopped (oyster, baby bella, crimini, shitaki)
  • 1 whole scallion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 package of thick rice noodles, cooked out
  • 1 pound of eye round steak, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • Bean sprouts, sliced chilis, fresh basil leaves, sliced scallion, and lime wedges for garnish

{ To Make Pho } Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add the onion (cut side down), crushed garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant–approx. 3-4 minutes.

Add the water, bouillon cubes, star anise, and cinnamon stick, bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Using a small handheld strainer, skim the seeds and cinnamon pieces out of the stock (you can also remove the garlic and ginger if they are not resting at the bottom of the pot).

Add the mushrooms and sliced chiles, and allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the scallion and season with kosher salt, according to taste. Remove from heat.

Add the sliced beef to the soup and stir to combine (the beef should cook through almost instantly, if it has been sliced thinly enough).

Divide rice noodles among bowls and ladle broth into each bowl. Garnish the soup with basil, bean sprouts, lime juice, scallion, and sliced chiles. If you like spicy, then add a dash of Sriracha sauce!

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{ Homemade Empanadas }

I’ve been hunting for BA’s most delicious empanada for months now, and so far, my favorite contenders for the title also happen to be the spiciest (list of top 10 picks coming soon!). However, finding the right combination of tender meat, flakey dough, and proper spice can be quite a challenge in a country where hot sauce and chili peppers are shunned like the the plague. Also, Argentines don’t like to combine different food groups when it comes to stuffing empanadas (in a manner akin to children segregating their mashed potatoes from their meatloaf, as if an imaginary forcefield was dividing their plate). It’s either meat or cheese….never both in one pastry!

This continues to boggle my mind, because they have all the best ingredients at their disposal…they just never seem to get assembled in the way that I would combine them. I love meat and I love cheese….so why not put them together in one super delicious empanada, rather than forcing me to take a bite of caprese followed by a bite of carne (besides that fact that it always lures me into purchasing two empanadas, of course)?!

In an effort to solve this rather distressing empanada dilemma, I have decided to try making my own! Which brings me to TheGrubDaily’s first ever food event–a DIY Empanada Party, hosted in conjunction with the fabulous KitchenParty.org and LVstudio! I offered my home and empanadas caseras in exchange for good company and a bottle of wine to share! It turned out to be a wild success, as 120 empanadas were served before people began using their paper plates as fans in my tiny, overheated apartment.

I laid out a buffet table with various ingredients for filling the empanadas (chicken, beef, cheese, tomato, act…), and all 25 attendees were given the opportunity to come and make their own creations! With the help of a few native Argentine girls (Valeria and Elvira), everyone was shown how to properly stuff and close the empanada dough and then they were sent into the oven for baking!

The following recipe is a very Traditional Argentine Beef Empanada filling, showed to me by my very dear cleaning lady. The one below it, is a spicy “Gringo” version of that recipe, as adapted by myself. I recommend using Saltena empanada shells (or Goya, if you are in the US), rather than wasting time on homemade ones.

Traditional Argentine Beef Empanada Filling:

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) of lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white & green parts)
  • 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped

{ To Make the Filling } Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and kosher salt. Sautee until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Add the ground beef, breaking it up with back of a spoon. Add the cumin and beef bullion. Cover pot with a lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Mix beef, stirring in scallions and chopped olives. Once the meat is cooked through, remove from heat and fold in chopped egg. Allow to cool and then use for empanada or taco filling.

“Gringo” Spicy Beef Empanada Filling:

{ Ingredients }

  • 1/2 kg (1 lb) of lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 beef bullion cubes
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white & green parts)
  • 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 1 yukon potato, boiled and chopped small

{ To Make the Filling } Heat the vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, peppers, and kosher salt. Sautee until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Add the ground beef, breaking it up with back of a spoon. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, tomato puree and beef bullion. Cover pot with a lid and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Mix beef, stirring in scallions and chopped olives. Once the meat is cooked through, stir in chopped potato and remove from heat. Allow to cool and then use for empanada or taco filling.

**I like my meat extra spicy, so I also added a couple of dashes of Cholula Hot Sauce while cooking!

Spicy Shredded Chicken Empanada Filling:

{ Ingredients }

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2-1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 scallions, chopped (white & green parts)
  • Slice Jalapeños (optional)

{ To Make the Filling } Place chicken breasts in a large stock pot, adding enough water to cover the meat. Heat over a medium-high flame, allowing to simmer until cooked through.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, before beginning to shred chicken (using hands or two forks).

In a large stock pot of a medium high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and sautee until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, green onion, kosher salt, chicken stock, and 1/2 cup of the tomato puree. Return the shredded chicken to the stock pot and stir to combine (if the meat needs more moisture, add more of the tomato puree).

Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and use to as empanada filling or taco meat!

{ To Assemble the Empanadas } Remove an empanada dough from the package and wet one half of the pastry edge using a finger dipped in water. Spoon a your desired filling into the middle and fold over the ends (so moist end meets dry end), pinching hard to ensure that they are properly shut.

Then crimp the edges using a fork or your fingers, as we have done here:

Place onto a greased baking sheet and allow to bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until the edges and tops are golden brown (about 10 minutes).

Remove from oven and enjoy!

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{ Cuban Ropa Vieja }

The beef in Argentina is ri-freaking-diculous. Its tender, juicy, and requires nothing except a little salt and charcoal to taste divine (and this is coming from an au poirve/bernaise enthusiast) So why is it so much better, you ask? Because the the cows in Argentina roam about in pastures and feed on grass all day. Unlike the cattle in the US, which are kept in tiny pens, unable to move around, being force fed steroid-enhanced grain day in and day out. Of course thats not to say you can’t find grass fed beef in the US at all, but it’s usually that little package of meat in the Wholefood’s fridge thats like double the cost of all the others. You stare at it for like 10 minutes straight, debating whether or not it will really taste $15 dollars better than the other cuts of meat. Ahhh screw it, you’d rather get 2 for 1 drinks at happy hour with that money….back in the case it goes.

But in Argentina there is no meat grade hierarchy, it’s all good. You just have to decide which cut of meat is your favorite– a task that is easier said than done since they utilize a lot more of parts of the cow than we do in the US. Sometimes, I think they try to use too many parts…I found brain to the right of my filet mignon yesterday…ewe!

Anyways, while I am here, I am attempting to make every beef recipe that is in my pinterest “grub” file (aka my “to cook” list) because I know that it is going to be damn good. Recipe number one: Ropa Vieja….a little tribute to Casa Larios in Miami, which I happen miss more than anything.

Ropa vieja is shredded flank steak stewed in tomato sauce with peppers and onions, usually served over a bed of rice with black beans (and gobs of hot sauce in my case!). So fa, this dish has not made an appearance in Argentina, and so tonight I decided to cook it myself. The meat was very was to cook, although the shredding takes a little elbow work (I enlisted the help of my roommate since I had to shred 1.1 kilos!). And instead of serving this over plain white rice, I made a lime cilantro rice with corn, beans, and tomatoes. Top the dish with a little sliced avocado and some fresh green onions, and disfruta los sabores de Cuba!

{ Ingredients for Ropa Vieja }

  • 2 1/2 pounds flank steak (or 1.1 kilos of entraña if your in south america!)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 onions, 1 diced for sauce and one halved for broth
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 hot pepper, diced
  • 2 cups of canned diced tomato and their juices
  • 1 cup beef broth (from cooking meat)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, as desired

{ To Make the Ropa Vieja }

Place the flank steak, the onion, the carrot, and the celery in a large stock pot and cover the contents with water.

Add some kosher salt to to the water and bring the water to a boil. Then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for an hour or two, until the meat is tender.

Remove the meat from the pot and allow to cool. Then using two forks, or your finger tips, shred the beef and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium high heat. Sautée the chopped onion, garlic, onions, and peppers until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin and cayenne pepper, stirring to combine. Add the tomatoes, beef broth, and kosher salt to desired taste (I also add a couple dashes of tobasco sauce, since I like my food spicy).

Add the shredded beef to the pan and continue cooking for another hour on a low heat. The consistency should be thicker than soup, more like a stew. Use tomato paste to thicken the sauce and extra beef broth to thin it out.


To serve Laddle the Ropa Vieja over plain white rice, or my cilantro lime rice, and top with sliced avocado. Or use the meat to make a delicious burrito filling, similar to a barbacoa.


**Remember: Ropa Vieja, like all soups and stews, develops more flavor the longer it sits. So this dish will taste better the following day, making it an ideal pre-made party food.

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La Cocina *****

Pueyrredon 1508 
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Recoleta
(+54).4825.3171

 

La vida locro…

On the days when I don’t have time to sit down and eat half a cow for lunch, I find my way over to La Cocina located on Pueyrredon in Recoleta. This tiny, fast service restaurant only really offers two things; empanadas and locro. But they do both better than anyone else, and so the dinning room is always packed. Then again, this might have something to do with the fact that there are only 10 seats in the place…half of those being bar stools. None-the-less people are rushing in and out of this restaurant  all day to get their ribbon-tied empanada packages on the go. Ohh, and they use pink ribbon, which makes me happy…as if the empanada inside hadn’t already!

If I had to chose my favorite empanadas from La Cocina (easier said than done), I would have to go with the Jamon y Ricotta (7 pesos) and the Carne Picante (7 pesos). The carne picante heads straight to the top of the list simply because it is spicy–a rare find in Argentina. I also like that it doesn’t have the egg in the meat filling, which is very typical of Argentine meat empanadas. On the other hand, the Jamon y Ricotta is perfect for breakfast, because the fluffy cheese seems to be whipped with egg. It’s the closest thing to an egg sandwich this many miles away from home!

If you’re craving more than a snack though, try a bowl of their hearty Locro–a thick stew made with beans, chorizo, ham, potato, and corn (27 pesos). It’s a stick to your ribs kind of lunch. A lunch, which is completely necessary in a country where they don’t eat dinner until 11 pm. I am still struggling with this concept because I prefer to eat like a baby–every two hours! If you like spicy, then ask for your locro picante and you’ll receive a generous drizzling of red hot chili oil on the top. It an experience for your taste buds.

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{ Chicken and Lime Tortilla Soup }

As I walked downstairs to get breakfast this morning, my olfactory was assaulted by the pungent aroma of vinegar. I can’t say that I altogether hated it, because I love vinegar…but why did my home suddenly smell like a bag of Herr’s salt & vinegar chips? I headed towards the kitchen and as I rounded the corner, I was greeted by both of my parents who were standing at the center island, casually canning tomatoes and pickling cucumbers… at 8 am in the morning! And let me tell you, this was no little home-ec “project”—this was a miniature factory. There were at least 75 ripened tomatoes on the windowsill, along with dozens of cucumbers and jalapenos peppers, not to mention the several cases of Mason jars that were being sterilized in cauldron-like pots on the stove. I felt like I had stepped into one of Professor Snape’s potion classes from Harry Potter.

By 10 O’Clock they had canned about 15 jars of tomatoes, pickled 9 jars of cucumbers, and made 10 or so jars of fresh salsa. Needless to say, if you’re coming to our house this month, you’re leaving with a Mason jar in hand…but don’t even think about keeping it and using it as a vase if you want salsa next summer! Anyways, when all was said and done, there were still a decent number of tomatoes and hot peppers left and I decided to look for a recipe that would put them to good use. I took out the Soup for Supper cookbook by William Sonoma and resolved to make this spicy chicken and lime tortilla soup, which turned out fabulous!

I like this recipe because the tortilla strips are used as a garnish rather than an ingredient cooked in with the broth, which keeps the soup a lot lighter and healthier. I absolutely hate when I get tortilla soup at a restaurant, and the consistency is so thickened that it resembles porridge more than broth. I also like that the chicken is cooked in advance and separate from the stock because it keeps the broth clear without all of the necessary straining (for those of you who make homemade chicken noodle soup and stock, you know what I am talking about!). Overall, there are very few ingredients required to make this soup and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to cook—so it’s cheap and fast!

It provides the comfort of traditional chicken noodle soup, but the jalapeno pepper adds a nice unique twist. If you don’t feel like making the homemade tortilla strips (which are a little messy with the frying oil), then serve this soup over rice…or do both, as I did! When serving, I like to garnish my soup with the tortilla crisps, cubed avocado, and chopped cilantro.

Ingredients }

  • 9 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large spanish onion., chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2-3 jalapenos, sliced (remove and discard the seeds to make soup less spicy)
  • 1 1/2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes (I use fresh, you can use canned)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (do according to taste though, because amount varies if you use low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 very thin slices of lime, cut into quarters
**If you are making the tortilla crisps then you will also need vegetable oil for frying and 3 corn tortillas cut into 2″ strips!

 

Directions for Soup } In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a low simmer. Add the chicken breast and allow to cook through (about 8 minutes), doing so in batches if needed. Note: I like to add a little salt and pepper to my chicken for additional flavor (see photo), but the recipe does not call for this and you don’t have to.

Once the chicken has cooked through, transfer to a cutting board and once cool enough to handle, cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces (I cube my chicken, but you can also shred it!). Set aside and discard the stock.

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes to soften. Add the chicken stock, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once the stock boils, reduce the heat and add the chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the chicken is heated through, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve in warmed bowls with garnishes.

To Make the Tortilla Strips } Cut the flour tortillas into 2″ strips, using a pizza cutter. Heat vegetable oil (2″ deep) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until it reaches about 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, then test the oil by throwing bread crumbs into the oil….if it doesn’t begin to fry immediately, then the oil isn’t yet hot enough!Once the oil is hot and ready, add the tortilla strips, working in small batches. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow them to dry on paper towels to absorb the oil!

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Flip the tortilla strips with slotted spoon, if they begin to cook too much on one side

Let the paper towel absorb the grease, and sprinkle with Kosher salt

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{ Jalapeno Cheddar Mini-burgers and Chipotle Aioli }

Jalapeno Cheddar Mini-Burgers

Words of wisdom from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle:

Burger Shack Employee- “Just thinking about those tender little White Castle burgers, with those little itty bitty grilled onions that just explode in your mouth like flavor crystals every time you bite into one…”

Harold- “I want that. I want that feeling. We gotta go to White Castle. I am so hungry. I’m gonna eat, like, 20 of those little burgers, man.”

Kumar- “Dude, I will see your 20 burgers and raise you 5 orders of fries.”

Fact: Everyone loves and craves a thick juicy hamburger from time to time. Vegetarians, don’t even kid yourselves, I know you do too. You just have more self-control than the rest of us and I’m still in the process of trying to decide whether I find that admirable or insane. Anyways, with the economy down the past couple of years, Americans are beginning to downsize the many aspects of their lives. Toll Brothers is building smaller homes, people are starting drive smaller cars (they finally realized that gas prices will never be below $2 again…goodbye H2), and the biggest names in burgers are producing mini-burgers faster than you can say recession.

White Castle first introduced the mini-burger concept back in 1921, dubbing their creation the “Slyder.” Today, many people refer to all small burgers as “sliders,” but this is just incorrect. Society is so focused on being politically correct, but lets get our culinary terms straight too while we are at it! You see, in order for a miniature burger to be a true slider, it must be a very thin slip of beef cooked atop onions and garnished with pickles. The steam from the onions does as much cooking as the griddle, and the burger buns absorb their pungent aroma. This is the method of preparation still used at White Castle today—that’s if you can manage to find a White Castle, of course. I think Harold and Kumar prove that it can be a rather long and difficult journey!

On the other hand, mini-burgers (a reduction of the same old thing we know and love), are popping up everywhere and they are absolutely irresistible. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of getting to eat multiple burgers (with less guilt might I add), or the ability to try out several different topping combinations, or maybe things really are better fun-sized (except women of course—coming from one that’s 5’ 9”). Whatever the reason, mini-burgers have created a loyal, almost cult-like, following all across America and I consider myself to be a “patty purveyor,” always looking for the latest and greatest in burgers. (So far my favorite mini-burgers are; (1) STK’s made with Japanese Wagyu Beef, secret sauce, truffle mushrooms, and sesame bun, and (2) Sugarcane’s made with Kobe beef, tonkatsu sauce, and fried quail egg).

I knew that I wanted mini-burgers for my birthday, so I decided try my hand at making my own! I made Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers and Mushroom Swiss burgers. Just fold the desired amount of your toppings into some ground sirloin beef, season with salt and pepper, and mold into 3 ounce patties with your hands. Then simply grill to desired cooking temperature! I purchased whole wheat slider buns from Wegmans, and made this Spicy Chipotle Aioli as a condiment. The aioli turned out awesome and I have since been eating it with chicken and using it as spread for sandwiches. It will hold for quite some time in your refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make a lot.

{ Ingredients for Chipotle Aioli }

 

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

{ To Make Chipotle AioliCombine all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Adjust levels of adobo sauce, salt, and pepper to taste preference.

Spicy Chipotle Aioli

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Kendall’s Spicy Beef Taco Meat *****

Kendall’s Spicy Beef Taco Meat

Obviously this recipe gets 5 stars, considering it is my very own creation, which I have spent 2 years now perfecting. I could have posted it prematurely, but instead, I waited until I got everything just right before putting on the blog (be thankful for this because I experimented with a lot of different types of hot peppers, and lets just say several tears and sweat when into getting the measurements just right). The final recipe is not crazy spicy, but it packs a little heat. If you can handle the Fire hot sauce as Taco Bell, then you are fine. If you can’t handle the Fire hot sauce, then go lighter on the cayenne pepper and omit the jalapeno!

This taco meat is almost like a chili, because I let it stew in tomato sauce and chicken broth. It goes great on taco salads, nacho platters, over rice, and of course, on tacos!

The only piece of advice that I can give is make sure that you splurge and buy the lean ground sirloin meat. Yes, it is more expensive, but it is so much less fatty than the ground chuck. The one time I accidentally bought ground chuck, the meat was so oily it was almost inedible. The grease just coated my mouth.

Also, this meat freezes really well. I like to make it and put it in individual freezer containers and it lasts months. Just pop it in the microwave and defrost when you’re ready to eat it.

**This can be made with Ground Turkey as well, and if you like black beans, feel free to add a can (drained and rinsed)**

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 16-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, 8 diced and 1/3 cup juices
  • 4-5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Worcheshire Sauce
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 ½ lbs of ground sirloin
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or beef stock
  • 2 Jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 4-5 shakes of Cholula hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the onion and allow to sautee for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the garlic and allow to sautee until fragrant (about 1-2 min), but do not let burn!!

Add the ground sirloin, Jalapeno, Worchesire sauce, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin, and Chili Powder, salt, and pepper and crumble meat using the back of the spoon. Keep moving the meat so that it starts to break apart and cook faster. Once the meat looks brown and crumbly, increase the heat and add the tomatoes and their juices and allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Add the chicken or beef stock and cholula hot sauce.

Reduce heat to medium and let cook uncovered for 15-29 minutes, until the sauce reduced slightly. (Note: Check the seasonings at this point, add more salt, chili powder, or cayenne pepper now if you need too. Remember, seasoning after something has cooked if not the same as seasoning while its cooking, you need to do this now!)

Removed from heat and serve!

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{ Thai Lemongrass Vegetable Soup }

Thai Vegetable Lemongrass Soup

One of the most challenging aspects about cooking as a college student is that you’re typically only cooking for yourself and so there tends to be a lot of waste. You make a tray of lasagna on Monday and you have to eat it for every lunch and dinner all week to get rid of it. But since no one enjoys eating the same thing at every meal (unless you are a freakish creature of habit), it usually ends up getting left in the fridge until a roommate complains about the smell and makes you throw it away. I’ve found that the best solution to this wasteful dilemma is to cook soup! You can make a large pot of it and store a desired amount in the fridge for the week, and then freeze the rest in individual serving-sized plastic ware. This week I was craving something hearty and healthy, and I decided to experiment with Thai flavors. I always order Tom Kha Gai soup to start at Thai restruarants, which is a lemongrass chicken soup (sometimes made with coconut milk), and I wanted to create my own version at home. I don’t really know how to cook Thai, but since I love to eat it so much, I am familiar with the flavors and how to combine them. What I didn’t take into account was how hard the ingredients are to find, how expensive they become, and how difficult and unusual they are to work with!

I went to Whole Foods, and $80 later, I had a had 4 large bags filled with enough groceries to open a small Thai restaurant myself. Since I couldn’t find a recipe that I liked online, I decided to combine aspects of 4-5 different ones I saw, and create my own. I felt like a little kid, just throwing things into the pot as I went, but it turned out awesome! I used a lot of really great vegetables, and the broth has an awesome spicy lemongrass flavor.

To serve the soup, I took inspiration from Vietnamese Pho and garnished the bowl with bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, jalapenos, lime wedges, and Siracha hot sauce. I ate the vegetables with my chopsticks in my right hand and held a spoon for the broth in my left! None of this soup made it to the freezer, because I looked forward to eating it for every meal of the week (I also shed some pounds, because it is super lo-cal!). Hopefully, you will enjoy the recipe!

{ Ingredients }

  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2-3 stalks fresh lemongrass, peeled and chopped into 2 inch lengths
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated or minced
  • 5 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (less if you don’t want it to be as spicy)
  • 2 cups shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, thinly sliced (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Garnishes: bean sprouts, green onion, sliced jalapeno, cilantro, and Siracha

{ To Make Soup }

 In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable stock, chicken stock, and lemongrass pieces. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

In a small pan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil and then sauté the garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant but not burnt! Add the Thai red curry paste and combine mixture over heat for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger, curry paste to the broth in the stockpot and stir well. Add the broccoli, red peppers, jalapenos, and zucchini. Allow to boil for 5 minutes and then reduce heat to low. Add the cabbage, green onion, and shitake mushrooms and allow to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in soy sauce, lime juice, and cilantro. Season to taste with these ingredients and serve in individual bowls with garnishes.

Lemongrass Vegetable Soup with Plate of Garnishes

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