Saturday, March 16, 2019

Andalusian Pot Roast with Peas

This is an adaptation of the recipe for Ternera con Guisantes from the amazing tome "A Mediterranean Feast" by Clifford Wright. Given that veal is all but impossible to find, I switched it to beef. We used a sirloin roast that was part of the quarter beef we bought, but I think it would also be good with a chuck roast. I made this version crockpot or Instapot friendly, which is more convenient for most. It yields a wonderfully spiced roast with not a ton of effort. We used a sirloin roast of some kind from the quarter of beef we bought, but I don't know specifically which cut. I don't think it matters much for a slow-cooked dish like this. We served it with risotto, which was a great combo. We devoured it too quickly to take a photo, though!


One 3 lb. beef roast, tied
One bag of frozen baby peas
Parsley to garnish


3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 good pinch saffron, crumbled
1/3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1+ c. beef broth (have some extra ready in case you need to thin the sauce)
1 c. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour


Brown the roast on all sides in the olive oil in the frying pan. Add the meat and remaining oil into your slow cooker. Add the sofrito ingredients to the frying pan and cook for 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes soften, loosening any bits from the frying. Add the sofrito to the slow cooker. Obviously you can do this all in the Instapot if you have one.

Add the 1 c. beef broth and 1 c. dry white wine to the slow cooker. Set on LOW and cook 8-10 hours. 

When the meat is tender, remove it onto a serving platter and cut/pull apart into pieces, covering with tin foil to keep warm. Strain the sauce and set aside.

Make a roux with the butter and flower, then add the strained sauce. Whisk together until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, and add more broth if needed to thin. Add the peas to the sauce and simmer 3-5 minutes until they are cooked to your liking. 

Serve the beef and top with the pea sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Chicken Tinga

We make this really easy recipe often enough that it's worth posting. It's chicken in a simple sauce, often served on a tostada with refried beans and whatever tasty toppings you want (esp. avocado and cotija cheese). A local restaurant near us has this style of chicken as one of their standard meat options, and it's supposedly their specialty. I personally think this recipe produces something very, very close to the same.

The adobo peppers tend to be a bit spicy for some eaters - one way to moderate this is to alter how much of the sauce you mix with the shredded chicken. I also suggest making a double version of this recipe and reserving some sauce - that way, next time you want to make it, you just throw sauce on chicken and you're done.

You can use raw chicken, or you can use the sauce to cleverly use leftover poultry from other meals (this actually might make turkey edible).

The recipe below is adapted from the recipe here, in turn adapted from the Minimalist Cookbook.


3-4 raw chicken breasts/thighs

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to taste, they are spicy for the spice adverse)
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 can tomatoes - fire roasted is extra tasty if it doesn't have weird stuff in it
1/4 c. water or chicken stock if you aren't using raw chicken


1) Optional if pressed for time: Saute onions in olive oil until starting to get brown on the edges, add garlic near the end then spices for a minute. If pressed for time, throw all of the above directly into the crock pot, it'll still be tasty.
2) Put everything in the crock pot. Cook 4-6 hours. If you wanna be fancy and you'll be at home, put chicken breasts in towards the very end.
3) Remove the chicken. Blast the sauce with an immersion blender. 
4) Shred chicken, add sauce to taste - again, you can moderate spiciness by how much sauce you add.
5) Freeze any remaining sauce for later, or use as a sauce at the table.
6) Serve as tacos, tostada toppings, whatever.


This calls for about half a can of the peppers so you reserve the remainder in a baggie in the freezer. Or you can just double the recipe and have extra sauce in the freezer. I find the latter to be more useful.
In tacos with extra sauce and fixins

Friday, November 23, 2018

Bavarian Krautsalat (Coleslaw)

I can't believe I didn't post this after we had it at an amazing real Oktoberfest event that we were fortunate to be invited to in Bavaria. It is very simple, and based on this recipe. Unlike American coleslaw, this one is blanched, so it has a softer texture and is more easily digested. It is very simple, and I have had it requested several times for potlucks. It is a lot easier to make if you have some kind of mandoline.


1 head of green cabbage
3 qts. boiling water + 2 Tbsp. salt
1 small white onion


6 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt, to taste
1 tsp. white pepper


Boil the water in a large stockpot and add the 2 Tbsp. salt.

Remove several of the outer layers of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into 4 wedges, and cut out the cores. Shred the entire head of cabbage very fine. I recommend using a mandoline or shredder--I have one like this, and I actually use it several times a year for sauerkraut or pickles, so I feel it was a worthwhile purchase. Shred the onion and set it aside in a medium bowl.

Place the shredded cabbage in the boiling water and put the lid on the pot, turning off the flame. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then drain, rinsing briefly with cold water. Squeeze the cabbage out thoroughly and put it in a large bowl.

Submerge the shredded onion in cold water, then drain and add to the cabbage.

Mix together the dressing ingredients with a whisk. Pour over the cabbage and toss well. Adjust the seasonings to taste. The salad is best after it sits for at least an hour.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Too many peppers!

Too many peppers!

Well, it's that time again! Those peppers you have nurtured all summer, waiting for them to turn a seductive shade of red (or deep green) are coming in fast. Here on the prairie, we seem to have skipped our warm intro to fall, and landed smack dab in the middle of dank, misty rain. Buckets of peppers (and tomatoes) line our kitchen floor, waiting to be turned into something we can enjoy in the deep, dark winter months. One solution is PICKLED PEPPERS,  a favorite of my youth. My Yiddish grandmother with my mother alongside her would fill gallon jars with these mouth-watering delights, and most years my brother and I could not keep our hands off them for the full time. I am honored to have my mother's hand-written recipe, in her lovely Catholic school handwriting. It is a little dim from time, so I have transcribed it in detail:

  • Cook peppers (roast)* on top of stove over flame (till black all over)
  • Dunk in water and peel (or put in plastic bag when cool to hasten peeling process)
  • Place in jar 
  • Pour in white vinegar (to cover)
  • Add 1 clove garlic and pickling spices (quantities vary, depending on who you ask)
  • A little salt
  • A little sugar
  • A little oil
  • (Try to) wait about a week before eating. Refrigerate? Who knows?

*(I have added my own notes in parentheses)

Thanks, Mom. I love you. 💕

Monday, September 3, 2018

Stuffed Peppers, East German Style

Apparently it's been 11 years since I last posted a stuffed peppers recipe! I am posting a new one, which a) is a different style, and b) I think is more delicious. My previous recipe was more of a Turkish style. This is based on Das Original DDR Kochbuch, which we purchased in Weimar, Germany.  I have added some spice to what would have been a rather stodgy recipe.

This is great to make if you are practically drowning in peppers from the garden, as we are at this time of year. We used about 12 peppers of varying sizes, mostly small. If you are using store-bought peppers, 6 will probably do.

Before. Note: some extra peppers were placed in my massive Dutch oven as spacers (and not filled with rice). 
Bonus picture of Violet's favorite game that she invented--pepper tops! They say "Helloooo!" and jump around a lot.
Melt-in-your-mouth taste of summer.

Preheat oven to 400° F


6-10 green bell peppers
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
2 c. cooked basmati rice
1 large onion, minced
1 lb. ground pork
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. dried white onion
1 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. freshly ground whole coriander seeds (yes, you can just use ground, but this has more flavor)
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into pats

In a large frying pan, cook the ground pork in the butter and olive oil, breaking it up so it is very fine. When it is mostly cooked, add the fresh onion, garlic, and spices. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the onion starts to go translucent. Remove from heat and gently fold in the cooked rice. Taste and adjust salt--should be fairly salty to overcome the rice.


1 can tomato sauce
1 can water (15 oz.)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. white pepper

In a small saucepan, melt the butter until it starts to sizzle. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.  Whisk in the tomato sauce and water, and bring to a simmer. Add the garlic, coriander, and white pepper, and simmer for 2 minutes.


Cut the top off of each pepper, leaving the "shoulder". Empty out the seeds and pith. Lightly oil a large dutch oven or deep casserole with a lid that can accommodate your peppers. Fill the peppers loosely with the rice mixture and place them into the casserole, putting the pepper tops back on as lids. Pour the tomato sauce in-between the peppers and ensure it covers the bottom of the dish (add more water if it doesn't). Place some pats of butter over the peppers, and cover. Bake at 400 for 35-45 minutes, or until the peppers are cooked and tender. Serve with the sauce spooned over. Makes great leftovers!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Farfalle al Tonno (Bow-ties with Tuna)

This recipe based upon one from the grand tome "A Mediterranean Feast". It is the rarest of the rare: a true half-hour meal. Great for the tired, the desperate, the hungry. The original recipe calls for a 6-7 ounce can of tuna, but the largest I found was 5 ounces, and that worked fine. You could double to 10 oz tuna if you want it more meaty.

Pictured with a simple salad of arugula + spinach, tomato, tossed with salt, olive oil, and balsamic.


1 lb. farfalle (bow tie noodles)
1 5 oz. can tuna packed in olive oil (do not drain)
Handful of fresh parsley leaves, lightly chopped
1/4-1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Salt the pasta water generously, and bring to a boil. Boil for the time listed on the box. Drain.

Empty the tuna, including the olive oil it was packed in, into a large bowl. Add the parsley leaves. Dump in the noodles and toss. Add olive oil to your liking, to keep it easy to toss, but not swimming in it. Sprinkle over the cheese, black pepper, and salt to taste, and toss gently a few more times.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Sauerkraut Soup

This recipe comes from my friend Marisa, who shares a love of pickled things. It is very simple and does double-duty as hearty, but also somehow refreshing due to the tangy kraut. In my recipe I used some winter savory and chervil from my garden, which I have included on the blog just to annoy Alex, because I know he loves obscure ingredients. The recipe will be just fine without them, though (or try experimenting with other herbs!).

1 ring kielbasa
1 large can or jar of sauerkraut, drained
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots (optional, for color), peeled and sliced
6-8 small white potatoes
2-3 qts chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. winter savory, leaves only
1 handful chervil fronds
1 tsp. white pepper
1 pinch of nutmeg

Place the kielbasa on the grill (or in a hot frying pan) for a few minutes to get some color around the edges, then slice. Meanwhile, saute the onion in some butter in a Dutch oven until they begin to soften. Rinse the sauerkraut, maybe 30 seconds if you want it extra zingy, or 1-2 minutes if you want it milder, then drain and add to the pot. Add the kielbasa, carrots, and spices. If the potatoes are small enough, leave them whole and add to the pot. Otherwise, cut them into cubes. Add enough broth so that everything is covered, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and put the lid on ajar, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until your potatoes are tender. Add the savory one minute before serving and adjust the salt. Serve with fresh chervil.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Penne Pasta with Zucchini and Sharp Provolone

This is a simple and hearty meal; basically a stovetop version of mac'n'cheese, but with a northern Italian style. Keep this one in mind for summer when you have zucchini to use up!

1 lb penne rigate
Generous salt for pasta water
3 small zucchini, sliced into thin strips (about 3 c.)
1 clove garlic,*
5 oz sharp provolone, grated
2 c. milk
4 Tbps. butter, divided
1 Tbsp. flour

*The garlic step is optional, and a little bit fussy, but gives you more flavor

Slice the zucchini into strips about 2" long and 1/4" wide.

Make a roux by heating 1 Tbsp. of the butter in a small saucepan until bubbling, and adding the flour, whisking until smooth and bubbling. Add the milk and bring to a bare simmer, whisking until it thickens ~5 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted. Set aside.

Boil the pasta in generously salted water and cook until al dente . Do not drain--try to time this to coincide with finishing the zucchini.

*Fussy garlic step: heat the remaining butter in a large frying pan until bubbling, and gently saute the garlic until just starting to color. Remove the garlic so you have garlic-flavored butter. Seriously: if you leave it in, it will overpower the delicate flavor of the cheese.

Otherwise just heat up the remaining butter and omit the garlic.

Saute the zucchini strips over medium high heat until the edges are starting to brown. Use a slotted scooper to add the pasta to the pan, and continue to stir so it doesn't stick. You want to add it this way, so that the pasta water makes a bit of a creamy sauce. When you have all the pasta added to the pan, pour over the cheese sauce and toss to coat. Adjust salt if necessary, and turn off the heat. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.

Marmitako - Basque Tuna and Pepper Stew

It am sure it is no coincidence that the last blog post is about the same age as Zayn and Violet! Tonight I find myself with a lull in the toddler fray to post this lovely dish we had in San Sebastian, Spain. This recipe is adapted from The Basque Table. The original recipe calls for Biscayne sauce, but that is a pain to make and it says you can substitute paprika. I used La Dalia agridulce smoked paprika.

Delicious and simple: a true 30-minute-meal.

1/3 c. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 green peppers, sliced into strips
4-5 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large-ish bite sized pieces
1-2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. ahi tuna, cut into bite-sized pieces
3-4 c. chicken broth
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a cast iron pot. Add the onions and saute 5 minutes until starting to become translucent. Add the pepper strips and cook for 3 minutes. Add the smoked paprika, garlic, and tomato paste and stir to combine, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the potatoes and broth to just cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until fork tender. Add the tuna and stir in, simmering for only 1-2 minutes more or until just barely cooked. Salt to taste. Simple as that!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dragon Noodle Salad

This is one of our summer favorites. It's derived from a recipe by Isa Moskowitz, I think from the book "Isa Does It." She's a vegan, and so we've made this carniverous, removed some hippy stuff (agave nectar, really?),  changed some ingredients (originally calls for radishes, which I guess is a way to use radishes.) and doubled the amount of sauce

As long as you're grilling the chicken, I strongly recommend you also grill some baby bok choy because it is delicious and would go well on the side.



2 grilled chicken breasts (just keep this simple, the sauce is strong), chopped into small thin slices
1 14oz package of rice noodles, I prefer the ones that are one width up from the thinner pad thai noodles, cooked, clipped with scissors
2-3 carrots, sliced into thin carrot sticks
3 persian cucumbers, cut into thin sticks
1 bag/container of salad green mix


1 c. smooth peanut butter
3 cloves garlic
2/3 c. water
1/3 c. soy sauce/tamari (or a little more)
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 tbsp sriracha to taste (it gets less spicy over time too)
salt to taste (it actually needs it)

Garnishes (optional)

Sesame seeds
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (I think this adds a good dimension)


Combine dressing ingredients in food processor, blast until smooth. Rinse the rice noodles in water immediately before mixing until they are no longer sticking together. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Morning Glory Muffins

Somehow we don't have a recipe for these on the blog, and they're one of my favorites. Think of them as operation icebox muffins - that old apple way too soft to eat? Got a can of pinneaple around? Bam, you probably have what you need for these.

I'm also putting this online because the recipe I'm using is printed out and I'm afraid I'll lose it since it turns out fabulously every time.

The veggies/fruits in the recipe are subject to what you have and your whims. Personally, I think the pinneaple and coconut are essential to the recipe, and we like the raisins a lot. Otherwise, you can tinker - I've replaced the apple with ripe pear to great effect, I've added a peach, and you can play around further.


2 1/4 c. white flour (don't mess with whole wheat, these have plenty of fiber)
1 1/4 c. sugar (don't short this or they'll taste way too healthy. The fruit doesn't make them too sweet either)
2-3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. applesauce (two small applesauce containers works)
1/2 c. veggie oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Fruit mix-ins
1 carrot, grated or blasted in food processor
1 apple, cored and as above, no need to peel
1 can crushed pinneaple, or diced pinneaple then blasted. I just throw in the juice too.
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. chopped walnuts if you're into that sort of thing


Mix dry ingredients, wet ingredients and fruit mix-ins separately. Combine wet and dry until just moistened. Mix-in (fold) fruit mix-ins. 

I tend to use muffin cups because it's cleaner, though sometimes a lot of muffin gets left on the wrapper, so you may want to grease the muffin pan directly. 

Normally this makes 12-16 muffins depending on how many fruit mix-ins you added and the size of your muffin pan.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out mostly clean. They take longer than you expect since they're so moist.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Koreanish Beef with Carrot and Turnip

I made this last night and it turned out fantastically - I wasn't going to post it since it was a bit improvised, but we haven't had a post in a while.

I was going for a cross between (American) Chinese and Korean flavors. This is really easy to make, and doesn't even involve chopping an onion. It's pretty similar to galbi jjim in some ways, but again, a lot easier.


1 large (2-3#) beef roast, preferably something with a bit of fat (I used bottom round)
4 carrots, cut into thick circles
1 medium purple turnip, peeled and cut into medium chunks. Daikon radish would work just fine too, it's harder to get around here.

3/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. water
4 cloves garlic
1-2" of ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon rice wine/dry sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp (or more) ground black pepper
dried chinese chilis to taste (2 wasn't quite spicy enough for me)
1 tsp szechuan peppercorn (optional)

2 tbsp corn starch mixed with cold water


Combine sauce ingredients. Taste - you want it to be sweet, but not cloyingly so, especially since the carrots will add sweetness. 

Put beef and turnip in crock pot. If you will return home more than 1 hour before eating, you could reserve the carrots until you get home, so they have a little more bite. Otherwise, add carrots as well. Pour sauce on top. Cook until delicious (I did 6 hours on high and my beef started frozen). When it's finished, remove roast, cut into chunks. Before adding the roast back, add the corn starch-water mixture to the sauce in the crock pot until is thickened enough for your taste. Add the meat back, stir to coat, serve over white rice.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Braised pork with apples and rosemary

I wanted to make something that was very Autumnal and so I started looking up pork and apple recipes. Almost all of them called for cinnamon and sounded foul, so I came up with this which I wanted to be more balanced. It turned out better than expected so I figured I'd write it up.

I made it in the slow cooker, but you could probably use the oven also if you're a masochist. 


2# pork tenderloin
1 onion, cut into thin strips
2-3 cloves garlic, cut into large chunks

1/2 c. white wine
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 water or chicken broth

1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
1 6" sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stem, or equivalent dried, but fresh is way better

3-4 cooking apples, cored and cut into chunks (they'll melt, no need to stress over this)


Carmelize the onions in a heavy skillet. Salt the pork tenderloin on both sides. Put onions in slow cooker, add oil and brown the tenderloin. Once brown, add it to the slow cooker. Briefly saute the garlic, and then use white wine and water or broth to unstick the browned deliciousness. Stir spices into the liquid. Throw the apples in the slow cooker, then pour the liquid over everything. Cook 4 hours on high, or more on low.

Would be super tasty on mashed potatoes or somewhat smashed fingerling potatoes. I served it with vinegary collard greens as well, which were a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the dish.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Moroccan Style Couscous

Couscous in Morocco is traditionally eaten on Fridays during lunch time, following the Friday mid-day prayers, similar to the idea of a Sunday roast after church. It's usually a family affair, and is eaten off of a giant central platter. If you're good, you can eat it with your hands, forming a ball of veggies, meat and couscous and popping it into your mouth. Otherwise, you can just use a large spoon. Also, it's often served with "rayb" Moroccan buttermilk as an accompanying beverage, but I tend to skip that.

This recipe is based on Melanie's Moroccan family's recipe. You can make it with any meat you like, but she prefers chicken. The veggies here are just a suggestion - you can use whatever is in season. The microwave bit is not strictly traditional, but her family in the US really prefers the convenience of it to the more traditional double-boiler. The main 'technique' in this is that you're cooking the meat and veggies first, and using the broth to make the couscous.

This recipe makes enough for about 4 people at least - adjust quantity of veggies for more or less food.


1 onion, peeled and sliced thin
1-2 small zucchinis, cut into 4 inch chunks
4-5 carrots, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, core is traditionally removed, cut into 4-6" chunks
2-3 purple turnips (cut into 4-8 chunks, optional, but delicious - I think all Magidows will like this)
2 tomatoes, cut into large slices
1 clove garlic minced or crushed garlic (or to taste)

Other possible veggies/additions:
Summer squash (cut like zucchini)
Winter squash (with skin, cut into 2"x2" squares)
Beets (peeled, cut into small chunks)
Cabbage (cut into large chunks)
Potatoes (or sweet potatoes)
1 whole Anaheim or poblano pepper (optional, but this is super tasty as long as you're ok with spicy, whole) 

Chickpeas (canned, drained)

2-3 tsp powdered ginger
2-3 tsp turmeric
1.5-2 tsp black pepper
1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, minced
1/4 c. cilantro, minced
pinch saffron (optional)

1 whole cut chicken or equivalent pieces (or whatever kind of meat you prefer)

1/2-1 c. dry couscous per person, depending on level of hungriness and whether you're doing the microwave or mix-and-cover method
Butter (optional)


In a thick bottomed, large stock pot (we often use our pressure cooker bottom) on medium heat, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, add onion, sautee until transparent, then the garlic, cilantro and parsley. Stir and cook, then add all of the ground spices and salt. Stir and cook briefly, then add tomatoes and heat until they break down and begin to form a sauce. Add the meat, stir until all pieces are coated, then let cook a few minutes. Add 6 cups water, or whatever is needed to cover the meat and veggies and bring to a boil. 

At this stage, depending on the meat you're using, if you're using a pressure cooker, you can put the lid on for the pressure. This would be good if you're using a beef roast of some sort, or if you are in a hurry while cooking chicken, though it is easy to overcook it. Also, hold in mind that you'll be cooking at least 30 more minutes for all of the veggies, so cook the meat accordingly.

Begin adding veggies based on relative hardness, starting with the veggies which require the most cooking first. Keep adding the veggies at the appropriate time to ensure that they will all be properly cooked. This is more of an art than a science and depends on which veggies you chose to use but you want the veggies to be tender enough to cut with the edge of a spoon, so overcooking them isn't a big issue. You can add additional water as needed.

If you want a hot pepper, but the rest of the people eating do not, you can take some of the broth, put it in a small saucepan and boil the pepper in that. 

Taste the broth, and adjust the salt and spice levels. Then carefully pour the broth into a large container or measuring cup (you can use a colander also, but put the veggies back in the pot to keep them warm.) You will be using this broth to cook the couscous.

Mix-and-wait method for couscous
As far as I can tell, all couscous in the US is pre-cooked. This means that if you do not want to do any more work, all you have to do is mix water and couscous in a 1:1 ratio, cover, and wait 5 minutes. Add some butter (optional), and fluff well with a fork.

Microwave method for couscous
Alternatively, you can do a slightly more involved method which will produce fluffier couscous. Mix the couscous with enough broth to just cover it in a microwave safe container with a loose lid. It is easier to add more liquid than it is to add more couscous, so err on the side of too much couscous. Microwave for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. If it seems too dry, add more broth and microwave for 5 more minutes. 10 minutes is the minimum, but you can keep adding liquid and microwaving if it seems too dry or undercooked. You should also check for flavor - add more salt if needed. When the couscous is cooked, add butter to taste (optional) and fluff well with a fork.

Serve the couscous in a large platter, with couscous on the bottom and the veggies and meat arrayed on top. I've seen people crown it with a hot pepper, which looks nice, but you can also put that to one side if you don't want to make it spicy for everyone. Reserve some broth on the side - you'll often find that you want a bit more broth to keep things from being too dry. 

If you're feeling fancy, you can caramelize onions and cook some raisins in the same pan and use as a garnish - this tends to be done with beef more than chicken.


Monday, July 4, 2016

Thai Beef Salad - Nam Tok Neau

I cooked this one directly from one of my favorite food blogger's sites, Eating Thai Food. It basically takes your laab game (beef or chicken) up to the next level. Grilled beef, mint, Thai spices...what's not to like?

My version, served with cabbage leaves (you can roll them up like a taco with the meat; lettuce also works) and sticky rice.


1 lb flank steak
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce

Marinate the beef for about an hour. Grill the steak and allow it to rest 5 minutes or more on a plate, reserving any juices. Slice across the grain into bite-sized strips.


2 Tbsp khao khua (toasted sticky rice powder, check out the recipe here)
4 Tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 – 2 tbsp chili flakes
3 Tbsp lime juice
6-7 small shallots, sliced thinly, ~1/3 c.
2 green onion, minced
1 handful mint leaves + more to garnish

Combine the sliced beef with the salad ingredients and any beef juices that collected on your plate. Check the seasoning and adjust if needed.

If you are too lazy to make the sticky rice powder, the salad will still be good, but it won't have that same toasty flavor and it will be more liquidy. Don't let the rice powder stop you! Note: you can actually buy it pre-made here on the Eastside, but who knows how long it's sat on a shelf.