Sunday, October 16, 2016

Secret Recipe Club - French Dip Sandwich

Sadly, it is the second to last Secret Recipe Club reveal day. I've loved Secret Recipe Club since I joined over two years ago. It has kept me diligently blogging and making new, delicious recipes on a regular basis. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to stay motivated to keep up this blog now that it's gone, but if any of you know of other good food blog challenges, please let me know!

Secret Recipe Club is a great collection of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and write about it on a given reveal day. This week is group C's reveal day and I think I picked an excellent choice for my reveal.

I was assigned Lynsey Lou by Lynsey, a wife and food blogger. Her blog is full of delicious looking recipes (especially desserts). She had a great number of recipes I wanted to make, including Sour Cream Doughnut and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies. However, I knew we needed a main dish option this week so I ended up making her French Dip Sandwiches.

Man, this was a delicious sandwich. The store was out of brisket, so we ended up using a cheaper chuck roast instead (which I honestly always prefer for braises). This meal came together so quickly, easily and perfectly. It was a perfect Monday night dinner that smelled amazing after coming home from a long day at work. Best of all, this meal served us for multiple nights, including rice bowls and a great, re-purposed beef ragu  with red wine fettuccine (recipe for that to come later).

This meat was super tender and perfectly savory. This will certainly make it into our regular meal rotation and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs a new, delicious slow cooker recipe.


  • 1 3lb beef chuck roast
  • 1 Tbsp bacon fat (or 3 slices bacon)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 gloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • Hoggie rolls
  • Fresh parsley for serving
  1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Sear in the rendered bacon fat until well browned on all sides.
  2. Place onion, garlic, mushrooms, bay leaf, Worcestershire, honey, thyme, and broth in the crockpot. Place beef on top and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Toast the bread in a little butter. Place cheese on the bread and place hot shredded beef on top. 
  4. Serve sandwich with leftover broth for dipping and enjoy

Five years ago Bagels 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

West African Chicken and Peanut Soup

One of my favorite blogs has always been Taras Multicultural Table. I discovered it as part of Secret Recipe Club and I always wanted to have her blog as my partner. Sadly, that never happened (but I did add a "By Region" section in my recipes because of her).

I'm always trying to make different ethnic foods. This is a wonderful recipe that has easy ingredients you can get anywhere. This West African chicken stew with peanuts, greens and yams is super hearty and delicious. I like this recipe because it doesn't have a too much peanut butter like some of the recipes I found. Some of them call for a full cup or even 2, which just sounded so fatty and too strong. This one was just right (though it could have used a little more heat. Adjust to taste as you desire).


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 6 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, sliced into thick strips
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, plus extra for garnish.
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
  1. Sautee onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil until fragrant. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned.
  2. Add peanuts, chicken stock, yams, tomatoes and collards and cook until potatoes are tender. Sir in peanut butter and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Serve with right and a few extra peanuts for garnish.
Five years ago: Chicken Kiev

Friday, October 7, 2016

Creamed Spinach: A Steakhouse Classic

My husband and I rarely go out to steakhouses (I'm usually to the biggest fan of that much meat) but when we do, we basically order the same thing every time. Why mess with the classics?

We start with clams casino or something of that nature. Follow it up with a wedge or caesar salad. Main dish is usually a Porterhouse for two with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Key lime pie for dessert.

It's the same thing, but why mess with the classics. I love clams casino (mmm need to make that sometime) and I love creamed spinach. The steak is ok too, I suppose.

I make a "lighter" creamed spinach than you'll find in a steakhouse, but its still pretty rich. If you want something delicious and rich feeling, try this as a side dish with your next steak


  • 2 large bunches of spinach (about a pound and a half)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • a splash of cream
  • 1 heaping spoonfull of greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
  1. Blanche spinach in well salted water until tender. Remove from water, shock in ice, drain and chop into small pieces
  2. In a large sautee pan, melt butter and stir in flour to form a blonde roux. Slowly add milk while whisking so no lumps form
  3. Stir in parmesean cheese and a large spoonfull of yogurt. If mixture begins to break, add a little cream to bring it all together. 
  4. Add spinach and simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Two years ago Watermelon Sorbet
Four years ago Easy Coffee Cake
Five years ago Chicken Kiev

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Savory carrot and corn oats with dashi

Yesterday was a good day. We went for tailgating and drank a lot of bud light in the bright afternoon sun. Cal football won a beautiful game against Utah, we took a nap and then we met a few friends for drinks/eats for their engagement party. We drank champagne and large punch bowls of far too sweet liquor and fell into bed exhausted at 1am. It was a good day.

Needless to say, this morning was not the best day.

I wasn't feeling terrible, but I wasn't feeling my best. I was certainly not up for yoga this morning. I only wanted miso soup or ochazuke, which is what I normally have on mornings like this. Unfortunately, I am out of both rice and miso paste (today is grocery shopping day) so I decided to experiment. I've never been a fan of savory oatmeal, but this may change my mind. It is perfectly savory and without too much liquid, the oats are more like a great grain than a porridge. I think that's why I never liked savory oatmeal before... I always added too much liquid.

These oats were cooked with chicken stock and dashi though they could very easily be made vegetarian with veg stock and a mushroom dashi. . They tasted a little like ramen, but was still a delightful breakfast that's hearty and full of fiber. Highly recommended the next time you want something different for breakfast.


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 cup dashi (fish or mushroom)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • a little frozen corn
  • kale leaves,sauteed
  • 1 fried egg
  • Whatever other items you desire
  1. Toast the oats in a little browned butter in a pan. Add carrots, stock, dashi and corn. Cook until oats are tender and liquid is fully absorbed. Season with more salt and pepper to taste, as needed
  2. Spoon into a bowl. Top with sauteed kale, fried egg, kimchi and whatever else sounds good.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Vietnamese inspired turkey meatballs

Ground turkey is one of those things I never purchase unless it's on sale. It's always pricey but when its on sale, I stock up. I'm always looking for new things to make with turkey that aren't chili or burgers, but these meatballs were a great change. They include all the great flavors that you love from Vietnamese food and keep well through the next day. They make a great salad and they would be just as great in soup.

Summer may be ending, but I always love one of these hearty salads every day of the year. Give it a try when you need something delicious and different.

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 piece lemongrass, tender center part minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 bunch scallions
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped mint leaves
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • corn starch, as needed
  • lettuce, rice noodles, cucumbers, tomato, carrot, herbs and nouc cham for serving
  1. Mix all ingredients together except the items for serving. Cook a small amount in a pan and adjust seasoning to taste.
  2. Form into meatballs and brown on all sides in a pan. Move to a tray and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes or until cooked through

One year ago: Potato Perogies
Two years ago: Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
Four years ago: Easy Coffee Cake
five years ago: Coconut Milk Agar Agar

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Blackberry Jam Swirl Cookies

Hello readers! It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again. For those of you who don't know, SRC is a group of bloggers who make another member's recipe (in secret, of course) and blog about it on a given reveal day. It's the third Monday (in Pacific time zone, Sunday night ) of the month, which means it's reveal day for Group C. I love SRC because it makes me blog on a consistent basis, I get to learn some new recipes AND I get to discover some of my favorite old recipes as well.

This month, I had Helen's blog Casa Costello. Helen is a mother of 3 living in the UK and has a amazing assortment of recipes. She has a section on her blog called "Bake of the Week" so I knew I should really do some sort of baked good. I had a potluck to attend a couple weeks ago and cookies seemed like an easy but popular thing to bring. I opted for these delightful looking swirl cookies (she did orange raspberry whereas I did lemon blackberry fig, simply because that is what I had available)

These cookies were delightful and very easy. They even kept well for few days after and were delightful with a cup of tea in the morning. I know this will make its way into my regular cookie rotation.

Thanks for this amazing recipe Helen!

  • 200 grams unsalted butter, at room temp
  • pinch of salt
  • 110 grams sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons (and juice of half)
  • 250 grams flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • blackberry jam


  1. Cream together butter, salt and sugar until well combined and fluffy. Add lemon zest, juice and egg and mix thoroughly. 
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. Add that to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
  3. Remove dough to plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Roll out dough to a little less than 1/4 inch thickness in a large rectangle.
  4. Spread jam over the entire surface, up the swirl, then wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze until firm enough to slice
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. and slice cookies to 1/2 inch thickness. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a light golden brown. Let cool completely on the tray before attempting to remove (because that hot jam is like napalm on your skin)

Two years ago Slow Cooker Pea Soup
Four years ago Easy Coffee Cake
Five years ago: Coconut Milk Agar Agar

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bananas Foster Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is one of the things I've always enjoyed making. I love all the strange flavors you can't get in the store. The texture and flavor is just so much better than anything else you can find and you always know exactly what's in it.

This ice cream recipe came from the Bi Rite Creamery recipe book, Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones. Bi Rite Creamery is an amazing ice cream shop in San Francisco and their banana ice cream was always one of my favorites. The line may be out the door, but it moves quickly and their flavors are so interesting and delicious. If you are in their area, I highly recommend checking them out.


  • 2 brown bananas
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp dark rum
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  1. Place bananas with brown sugar and cinnamon in a large pan. Heat until sugar dissolves and bananas start to bubble. Mash well with a fork
  2. Add rum and flambe quickly until the alcohol has burned off. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. In a small bowl, mix egg yolks and vanilla bean scrapings until the yolk comes up in ribbons. 
  4. In a small saucepan, mix together cream, salt, vanilla pod and milk. Heat until barely scalded.
  5. Temper egg yolks with the cream and add back to the pan. Heat until mixture coats the back of a spatula. Strain and remove from the heat. 
  6. Add banana mixture and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Churn mixture according to ice cream maker directions.
One year ago Bengal Style Daal
Two years ago Vanilla Ice Cream
Four years ago Easy Coffee Cake
Five years ago Fruit Gummies
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