Category Archives: Beef

Spaghetti and Roasted Meatballs

Spaghetti and Roasted Meatballs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

While watching FoodNetwork’s “The Kitchen” show, they were siting that their poll states that spaghetti and meatballs is the number one comfort food. I love a good spaghetti and meatballs but in the south I would bet that fried chicken, dumplings, BBQ or some casserole would top the list.

When I think of Spaghetti and Meatballs, I think of my brother. My mom makes every kid’s favorite dish for his or her birthday. It’s funny because once she locks in that it is “your” favorite she doesn’t depart. My brother must have said he liked her spaghetti and meatballs in high school and to this day when we get together for birthdays you can bet that on my brothers day he is getting his spaghetti and meatballs.

So back to the recipe.. Geoffrey Zakarian showed how he roasted his meatballs. I usually fry mine in a cast iron skillet but typically have to babysit them by rolling around to get a good crust on each side. Roasting is a no fuss way of accomplishing the same thing without the hassle.

GZ has been hitting it out of the park with his recipes. He adds a few unique steps that really make a huge difference. I did depart from his recipe quite a bit. Mine was absolutely fabulous and I am sure his is even better. He used panko bread crumbs but I had two heels of my sourdough loaf left and used them. He also uses ground pork and pork sausage but I didn’t feel like grinding my pork so went with Turkey Sausage (kinda odd but it worked). I did screw up the noodles by over salting my water. The water is supposed to taste like the sea but not the Dead Sea.

5 tbs of bread crumbs (Panko, I used Sourdough)
6 oz of heavy cream
1/2 cup of finely diced yellow onions
3 cloves of finely diced garlic
1 tbs of finely diced fresh rosemary
1/4 cup of finely diced parsley
1 egg
5 OZ of grated parmsean cheese
1 tbs of canola oil
12 oz of ground veal
12 oz of ground turkey breakfast sausage

20 oz of San Marzano Tomatoes or Rao’s jarred Arrabiata Sauce
1/2 finely diced onions
1 tbs of Basil (fresh if you have it)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbs of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 cup of Red Wine
1 tbs of tomato paste

Spaghetti noodles cooked al dente
Parmesan cheese to top

Here is you tackle this. The meatballs need about an hour to set up so tackle them first. If you like concentrated sauce like I do you can make them and start your sauce right after that and let it simmer OR you can start it right after you put them in the oven.

1. Pulse your bread crumbs in a food processor until they are fine. Now this was odd to me but pour them into a bowl and add heavy cream. the crumbs are going to suck this cream up and you are going to be left with a pretty thick bowl of goo. GZ used panko so I don’t know if they reacted the same as my sourdough crumbs. Don’t freak out.

2. Take the onions with a tbs of canola oil in small pot or the same pan you’re going to use for your sauce. Sweat them out on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Then chop and add your garlic and rosemary. Cook for about 3 minutes and then remove from the heat to let the mixture cool.

3. Now everything you see in the meatball ingredients goes into a mixer. Mix this until everything is incorporated. You might need to do some hand work on the bread crumbs if you get lumps. Roll the balls into the size you like. I prefer smaller meatballs to maximize the amount of crust I can get with each bite. Put the meatballs onto a sheet pan, cover and let them set up in the fridge for an hour. You can cheat if you’re time crunched. IMG_9525IMG_9526

4. Two stepper… In a preheated oven at 425 degrees place your meatballs in the middle rack. Set your timer to 25 minutes. Right after start your sauce.

5. Stay with me here. You are going to have three pots on the oven. One for cooking the pasta, one for the sauce and the third we are going to use as a landing spot for the pasta.

For the sauce follow the same process you did for the meatballs by sweating your onions in a medium to large pot on medium heat. When onions are soft, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the rest of your sauce ingredients and let it simmer. If you like rich sauce cook it longer but careful not to burn it. IMG_9527

6. When your meatballs are done, remove them and set them aside. Start your pasta water by bringing it to a boil with salted water. 3 tbs or so of Kosher salt. I don’t know the size of your pot or how high your fill it. Cook to the directions on the box to get them al dente. IMG_9528IMG_9530

7. Ladle in a cup or so of the sauce into the third pan/pot and then take your noodles directly from the pot using tongs and add them to the pan. The point of this it to introduce the noodles and the sauce so that you get full coverage. Add the meatballs to the non-noodle sauce pan to get those two acquainted.
Serve by plating your noodles first and then top with the meatballs. You can leave the extra sauce on the side or spoon a little on top. Apparently that technique of putting sauce on top is a “no no” but I don’t see big deal.


Ginger Beef Sandwich (Num Pang, NYC)

Ginger Beef Sandwich (Num Pang, NYC)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Num Pang - New York, NY

I was in NYC for work and stopped by Num Pang after hearing the buzz about their Cambodian sandwiches.
Despite it being below freezing outside, the lunch line snaked outside into the cold as the eager sandwich eaters awaited their turn to order.

Two sandwiches seem to get the most attention: The Ginger BBQ Brisket and the Pork Belly. I opted for the Ginger BBQ Brisket. Incredible sandwich… for me a game changer. One of those sandwiches that I will likely go out of my way to find and devour when in NYC. I am craving now.

They have several locations around the city but I was in the Midtown location that didn’t have any seating. So I exited with my bag in hand and found a frozen table around the corner. I did the Guy sandwich hunch and had my first bite..oh hell yeah. The ginger with the bbq beef is a combo I have never tasted. They claim BBQ but it’s not what I think of in BBQ (tomato base or vinegar) it was more like a pot roast with ginger notes. The spicy and creamy mayo did it’s thing and the slightly pickled long cut cucumber, cilantro and carrots gave it a freshness and crunch.

Here is my attempt at replicating it based upon an article and outline of the original. I tried to scale it down to a family or 4-5 servings. The sandwich turned out great but I thought it was a little heavy on the apple cider vinegar so I am going to adjust that without trying it.
Grass Fed Brisket
2 onions rough chopped
3 carrots cut into large chunks
Big chunk of ginger (skinned and sliced)
2 tbs of mustard seeds
2 tbs of peppercorns
1 tbs of Korean Chili Flakes
2 tsp of Kosher Salt
1 quarts of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 beers (Guinness)
2 cups beef stock (or to cover the meat)

Cambodian Ginger BBQ Sauce

1 28oz canned tomatoes
knuckle of ginger chopped
28oz of the beef cooking liquid
8oz of Tomato paste
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1 tbs of white vinegar
5 dried arbol chilies
Honey and Sugar to taste

Sandwich roll (Jalapeno and cheese)
pickled carrots and cucumber
Chili mayo (Dukes Mayo with Sriracha)

1. In a slow cooker add all the beef ingredients and cook for 8 hours until fork tender. Make sure the meat is covered in liquid so depending upon the size of yours you may need to add some beef stock or more vinegar.

2. To make the BBQ sauce. Grill onions so that they have char marks. In a suace pan add everything and let all the flavors meld together. Add everything in a blender and blend slowly(careful because the liquid is hot). Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. IMG_9416

3. Assemble the sandwich by toasting your bread by broiling until golden brown and crusty so it holds up. Mix Dukes mayo and Sriracha and slather that on the bottom and top of the bread. Remove the fat from the beef, fork shred it and add it to a bowl with the the bbq sauce. Right before you are ready to eat add the beef and top with cilantro, pickled carrots and cucumber. Let the juice drip down your arm as your mind is blown from what you are eating.


Filet Mignon, Twice Baked Potato, and Blue Cheese Wedge Salad

Filet Mignon, Twice Baked Potato, and Blue Cheese Wedge Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Filet Mignon, Twice Baked Potato, and Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
Two days a year I try to avoid restaurants, Valentines Day and New Years Eve. Maybe it’s because we eat and enjoy each other all the time and not treat it as something to tick of the list. You know the “I took you to dinner and bought you flowers so I am done” mentality.

Jill’s favorite or last meal would be a 5oz Filet Mignon with a Blue Cheese Wedge Salad. My only complaint is that she likes it cooked medium well. 😦 That puts a lot of pressure on me as her cook because while I am respecting her desires I am not properly honoring the protein. Oh well we like what we like.

Tonight I thought I would make a red wine reduction sauce and then also make a twiced-baked potato to accompany it. Finished up with a little Chocolate Pie. We go small on the steaks by most standards because we just cant seem to eat more than 6 ounces.

2 5-6oz Filets
Kosher Salt
Course Ground Black Pepper

Cup of Red Wine
Green onions or shallots
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs of butter

Twice Baked Potato

2 Idaho russets
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 cup of fresh shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup of sour cream
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Green onions

Blue Cheese Wedge
Iceberg lettuce or Romaine (cold and crunchy)
Shredded carrots
Green onions
Blue cheese crumbles

Blue cheese Dressing
1/2 cup of Dukes Mayo
1/4 cup of blue cheese
1/4 cup of Sour Cream
whole milk or cream to thin it out
1 tbs of Red Wine Vinegar
4 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes of Tabasco
1. Oil, Salt and Pepper your Baked potatoes. Stab them with and ice pick and placed into the oven uncovered at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

2. Make your dressing by mixing the ingredients. Taste and season accordingly. Also if you like dressing thin use milk or cream to get it to the consistency you prefer. Place back in the fridge.

3. While your potato is baking go ahead and shred your cheese, carrots and cut up your onions. Also wash and cut your lettuce into a wedge. Wrap in a paper towel to absorb any residual water from the washing. Put in the coldest part of your fridge.

4. Cooking the steak. It will take about 15 minutes plus a 10 minute rest. Salt and pepper the outside of the steaks and tend to your potato. What I like to do is to start when my potato is done. I halve the potato and scoop out the white part. I mix it in a bowl with the cheese, cream cheese and sour cream. Taste it and season accordingly. Now top with some extra cheddar cheese and “tent it in foil” and put it in the oven at a lowered temp of 350 degrees.

I used two cast iron skillets for the steak because I was making a sauce too. So I put one in the oven on a second rack with my potatoes and added a tablespoon of butter.

Put your other cast iron skillet on medium high heat with some grapeseed oil. When it shimmers add your your steak and let it cook and crust on both sides. About 5 minutes each side.

5. When you get a good crust remove your steaks and put them into the pan in the oven with a little blue cheese on top. Baste with the butter ever 3 mins. Lower the heat on the original steak pan and add the whites of the green onions along with the mushrooms to soften. Remove from the heat and add the wine to deglaze the pan. Reduce by half and then add back the onion mushroom mixture with 3 cloves of smashed garlic. Reduce the heat to warm.

6. Remove your steak from the oven when it is medium rare or however you like it. Let the steak rest for 10minutes. Absolutely necessary for the best steak. So while the steak is resting assemble your salad and right before serving remove your potatoes and plate everything up. We ended up splitting a potato.


Asian Steak Salad with Siracha Honey Lime Dressing and Blue Cheese

Asian Steak Salad with Sriracha Honey Lime Dressing and Blue Cheese

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Asian Steak Salad with Sriracha Honey Lime Dressing and Blue Cheese

I first found the base of the recipe from the cookbook “Guy Gourmet”. It’s a really great cookbook for the fellas. It’s based upon the Men’s Health magazine coverage of one of kind foods, cooking and nutrition. Adoma Steinmen and Paul Kita are the two that put it together with the editors of Men’s Health. The 150 healthy recipes are from various star chefs like Rick Bayless, Thomas Keller, Tyler Florence and Morimoto to name a few. Valentines day gift for your dude chefs perhaps?

This Asian steak salad recipe has a wonderful flavorful from the simple dressing. The freshness of the lime paired with the saltiness of the soy and the pop of heat and sweet from the Sriracha and honey is a harmonious flavor bomb. It’s just great. You can use what ever veggies wet your whistle. I omitted cucumber and avocado simply because I didn’t have them on hand.

The steak is a great choice over the typical chicken used in most salads. Cooking the steak medium rare gives you a buttery and tender bite that just works splendidly with the salad dressing. I added blue cheese because I think it works so well with steak despite the Asian flavors of soy and Sriracha. Goat cheese would also be nice.

At the end of the day, the dressing is the star of this show so you can alter the supporting cast to your tastes and preferences.

1 lime juiced
1 tbs of Soy Sauce
1 tbs of Sriracha
1 tbs of Local Honey
Black Pepper

Grass Fed Beef (flank, or any cut works)
Blue Cheese
Walnuts (toasted and tossed in honey)
Green leaf lettuce
Cut spinach
Cherry tomatoes
Red onion (diced)
Purple cabbage

1. Mix your dressing by juicing a lime and adding Sriracha, Honey and Soy and whisk until combined. Set aside.

2. Marinate your steak with a a few glugs of soy and some oil. About 30 mins to 4 hours.

3. Cut all your veggies and combine in a big bowl with the lettuce.

4. In medium heated cast iron skillet add your walnuts and toast them up. Once toasted pour those hot nuts in a bowl with honey. Mix it around to coat. The heat will loosen up the honey and coat it nicely. Set aside.

5. Return the cast iron skillet back to the heat and let it sit for a few minutes. Add some grapeseed oil and then sear your steak. Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes until a nice crust develops. I like this meat medium rare to medium. Set your steak on a cutting board and let it rest for 7-10 minutes. Slice thinly on the bias.

6. Lower the heat to medium low. Dice your red onions and put them in a bowl with some rice vinegar and a glug of soy. In the same pan add the diced red onions and soften them just a bit. This will take some of the bite out of the onion. Remove from the heat and pour in a bowl to cool.


Cheddar Brat Dog Wickles Kraut

Cheddar Brat Dog Wickles Kraut
I mentioned this early this week in a post about watching football and eating bad food. Jill always request that I whip up my nachos or my hot dogs. We went with the Cheddar and Beer Brat given the Packers were playing. We enjoyed these while watching the Packers beat our Cowboys. Cough…questionable “no catch” call. Even if the Cowboys scored Aaron Rodgers was playing unstoppable so with 4 minutes they likely would have scored anyway.

On to the dog. I posted a hot dog recipe called Mr Jones and Me Hot Dog. I loosely use that as my base for hot dogs. I love the sweet, spicy, mustardy, krauty relish concoction I make to top the dog. The blistered wiener and the creamy but sharp freshly grated cheddar just work together with that relish kraut. So good… So easy.

Lastly a shout out to Wickles Pickles. I have them listed as product I always have on hand. Both the relish and the pickles. Damn they are so good. Sweet, Sour and Spicy. You really need to try them.
Cheddar and Beer Brat
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Wickles Pickles Relish
Pickled Jalapenos
Stone Ground Mustard
Soft Fresh Hot Dog Buns

It’s a hot dog people. There are two steps I take that might be unique.
1. I split my wiener in half and place a lid on top of them while they are cooking on medium heat. Jill and I like them partially black.

2. I put 2 parts kraut 1 part Wickles Pickles Relish and a handful of jalapenos diced up and mustard. I cook this on medium heat until it’s starting to dry out and crust up on areas.

3. Ketchup on one side of the bun and mustard on the other side. Lay the dog down, top with kraut relish and top with cheddar.

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs over Creamy Parmesan Polenta

I don’t ever recall having short ribs…ever. I am embarrassed to admit it but when at a restaurant and I want meat I always lean towards Filet Mignon. Ive looked at them in their package and thought “whats the big deal and where is the meat?” However people tend to rave about them. Lately in fact, I am either hearing more people liking them or just noticing them.

So I decided this week I would give them a try. Monday night we went to a dinner party for some of Jill’s friends from work. The hostesses husband served… short ribs. Perfect timing because I was planning to make them in two days from the party and I could give them a test run to see if I actually wanted to make them. They were fantastic and now I get it…. basically melt in your mouth meat with layers of flavors because they cook so long. You get the fat and the concentrated sauce creating really sophisticated flavors.

They are pretty rich so having them served or mashed potatoes or polenta seems fairly common. You need something to balance the richness from the wine sauce. You know “a ying and a yang thang.”


Short Ribs (if small think 4 per person or if they are long maybe 2)
3 carrots diced
3 onions diced
3 celery stalks diced
10 gloved of garlic (minced)
2 tbs of tomato paste
1 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon
2-4 cups of beef stock
3 tbs of flour
3 tbs of grape seed oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of oregano
4 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves

Parmesan Polenta
4 1/2 cups of water
1 1/4 cups of yellow cornmeal
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
2/4 cups of whole milk
4 tbs of unsalted butter
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Before the steps let me paint the picture for you. We are going to sear, sweat the veggies, reduce the wine by half while thickening it and then bake them in the oven. The “sauce” will be strained so don’t worry about the sprigs of herbs nor the dice of your veggies.

1. Short ribs…. In a large pot on medium high heat add 3 tbs of grapeseed oil. Dust your short ribs with Kosher salt and black pepper. Once your pan is hot enough sear your short ribs on all sides working in batches (careful not to crowd the pan) Remove the seared short ribs and set them aside.

2. Remove the rendered fat and oil left behind EXCEPT for about 3-4 tablespoons. Add your chopped carrots, celery, onion to the oil/fat and sweat them out.

3. Once translucent add the 3 tbs of flour and tomato paste stirring constantly for about 3-5 minutes. Pour in your wine and add the seared short ribs back into the pot. Simmer and reduce by half. (30mins or so).

4. Add the garlic, herbs and beef stock to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil and put the dutch oven into your oven at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.

5. Remove the spare ribs and wrap them in foil while you filter your sauce by pouring through a cheese cloth or fine meshed strainer. Maintain some of the sauce to pour over the top of the dish.

6. For the polenta, I boiled the water with a tbs of salt and then slowly whisked in the yellow cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook the cornmeal for about 17-20 minutes. Stir often. Once it thickens, remove from heat and add the milk, butter and Parmesan cheese. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Take a large bowl and spoon in the polenta. Place your short ribs on top of it and ladle a little of the strained sauce over the top and garnish with a sprig of herb.

Uncle J’s Chili #103

Uncle J's Chili #103

  • Servings: 41
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chili #103

I posted a chili recipe a while back titled “Chili 102”. That recipe was based upon the popular recipe called Major Cojone’s Chili. Jill friend Abby tipped us off on his recipe. Thanks Abby. I hosted a little pre-Christmas shindig at our house. I was going to go Asian fusion but I noticed at my Mom’s Slider Bday party a lot of the gals were going bun less. So concerned about the gluten free crowd I opted for a nice chili. The older folks in our family don’t like the spice levels that I prefer so I toned it down a bit and added more sugar than I otherwise would. It turned out great. We had about 20 folks and almost everyone went back for a little more. Always a good sign.

I severed the chili with Fritos, diced sweet onions, Shredded Cheddar from a block, and Zesta crackers. I grew up a Zesta guy but converted to Fritos.
4 lbs of Grass Fed Ground Beef
2 lbs of Turkey Breakfast sausage
1 lbs. of Thick cut bacon
4 jalapeno peppers (seeded for less heat)
4 yellow onions diced medium
3 green pepper diced medium
5 cloves of diced garlic
2 cans (15oz) of beans (chili, pinto or kidney)
2 cans (15oz) of fire roasted tomatoes
1 can (28oz) tomato Sauce/Puree
1 cup of ketchup
1-2 beers (or beef stock or blend of stock/beer and water)
3 tbs of Adobe sauce (you can dice a chili or two if you want but I used the sauce only)
3 tbs Tabasco
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
8 tbs of Chili powder
5 tbs of Ancho chili Powder
2 tbs of black pepper
2 tbs of mustard powder
1 tbs of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup of sugar
1. First brown the beef and sausage and break them up as you brown (med heat). Drain the fat and remove the meats and set aside.

2. While beef and turkey sausage are browning dice up all your peppers and onions. You want a small dice.

3. Last meat… Bacon.. trim off some of the fat. Those big white spaces and throw them out. You dont need that much fat. Small dice the rest of your bacon. We are talking bacon bits size. We want the chili to be uniform and nothing stealing the show. Turn your heat to medium low and add your diced uncooked bacon and cook until browned (right before crispy) Remove the bacon bits but keep the fat for sauteing your veggies.

4. In the same pot with the remaining bacon fat add your onions and peppers until softened.

5. Add your garlic and spices to open them up and to get the oils distributed well. If you need more oil add a glug of olive oil. 1 or 2 mins.

6. Now add your wet ingredients and, browned meat and beans to the pot and let it simmer for 4-5 hours. Keep an eye on it and stir often. If it needs liquid to loosen it up add some more beer, beef stock or water.