Beef Rendang and Coconut Butternut Squash

Julia Roberts is hands down one of my favorite actresses. She’s so natural. She looks natural, she acts natural; I feel like if I knew her in real life we would get along wonderfully. I love watching movies with Julia in them because she adapts to the parts she plays so well. She is absolutely convincing.

For Food ‘n Flix this month we watched the movie Eat Pray Love – hosted by me!

I actually read the book Eat Pray Love before I saw the movie. I loved the book. I was drooling through Italy, I was reminiscent through India (because I went there once and I missed it,) and I felt peaceful through Indonesia. When I found out that a movie was coming out of the book, I was actually disappointed. So much of the time the movie versions of books just don’t quite capture it. But when I found out that Julia Roberts was starring, playing Elizabeth Gilbert, I knew I had to see the movie. I’m really glad that I did see it, because the book truly was captured in the movie. I probably drooled more, felt more reminiscent, and felt more at peace watching the movie than I did reading the book. This is rare. Usually the movie just can’t compare. But in this case, seeing the foods, the sights, and the people really added that element that my mind wasn’t able to fill in when I was reading the book.

The majority of the food in this movie is seen in Italy. I intended at first to make Italian food, because I was literally slobbering while I was watching the movie. With all the pictures of Italian food, I just wanted it all in my belly, from gelato to pizza to spaghetti. But then when it got to India, my mind changed. Indian food is actually one of my favorite cuisines, so it only made sense to make some curry and naan. But then when I got to Indonesia I realized I actually needed to make something that I think Elizabeth Gilbert would have eaten in Indonesia, in the the part of the movie where she really finds herself. It is in Indonesia that Elizabeth is able to fit all the pieces of herself together, to find what makes her happy. Though food wasn’t a huge component of these scenes, it seemed fitting to make a dish representing this part of the movie.

I have no idea what Indonesian food is. I did search the internet a little bit for some information and found that rendang is a ceremonial dish used to honor  guests that originated in Indonesia. Perhaps when Elizabeth visited Ketut he had an honorary dinner for her, with rendang as a dish. I served the rendang with a coconut butternut squash. The flavors melded together beautifully.

Beef Rendang

1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup ginger, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 whole cloves
1 anaheim pepper, chopped
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
2 lemongrass stalks, crushed
2 lbs boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked rice


1. Place the first 9 ingredients (through the pepper) into a food processor. Add 1/4 cup coconut milk and process until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

2. Place 3 tbsp coconut milk and the flaked coconut in the food processor. Pulse until a thick paste is formed. Set aside.

3. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion mixture and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, lemon juice, sugar, lemongrass, chuck roast, and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Discard the lemongrass. Stir in the flaked coconut mixture and cook for 10 more minutes.

4. Serve the rendang over cooked rice.

* serves 6
* 621 calories per serving (this includes the rice)

Coconut Butternut Squash

1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sriacha


1. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and ginger. Saute for about a minute, until fragrant.

2. Add the squash, coconut milk, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and sriacha. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.

3. Remove the squash from the pan and reduce the liquid, until it creates a thick syrup. Pour the liquid over the squash.

* serves 4
* 99 calories per serving

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Despite this rather warm winter, I’m still shivering. Here in Sacramento this winter has been mild. Unfortunately for the snow businesses in California there hasn’t been much snow. My brother works at a sports store in the ski and snowboard section and had his hours cut because of the lack of snow, therefore the lack of business. While it sucks for the economy that there has been no snow and it will probably result in a drought, the fact that I’m shivering when it isn’t even cold makes me happy that the mountains aren’t white. But really, when I say it isn’t cold I mean that it’s above freezing. It’s still only about 50 degrees out right now, which I think is painful.

So while I’m sitting here shivering with my heater on and covered in blankets, I get to tell you all about my soup recipe that warmed me up from the inside out. I think that’s the best part of soup; it makes you soooo warm. This recipe was yanked out Food Network Magazine‘s October 2011 magazine on page 108. The soup is actually featured on the cover of the magazine also. It’s easy to make, it’s hearty, it warmed up my belly, and it tasted incredibly delicious.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb yams, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/3 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery. Cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, half-and-half, potato, yam, broccoli, bay  leaf, 2 cups of water, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, for about 10 minutes.

3. When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf and transfer the soup to a blender.  Puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Simmer over medium-low heat and season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

* serves 4
* 607 calories per serving
* This recipe is being shared with Kahakai Kitchen‘s Souper Sundays and with Cream Puffs in Venice‘s Magazine Mondays.

Around The World In 52 Weeks: Coupé Coupé and Yucca Fries

Like I mentioned in my introduction to my journey around the world in 52 weeks, today starts my journey around the world. I’ve invited you all to join my trek across the globe with me. Every week (including this one) I am going to open it up to you guys so you can share your worldly dishes with me. They can be from anywhere!

Guinea is a country in Western Africa and was definitely an adventure for the week! Not only is it likely that I’ll never get to go anywhere in Africa, I also used yucca for the first time ever which was quite an experience. 

Coupé coupé is a dish prevalent throughout Africa, being their version of what we know as barbecue. Originally when I had planned my 52 week journey I had planned to go to French Guinea. Apparently French Guinea doesn’t actually exist anymore, but just because the country borders have changed, the influence that the French have on this region must still be in existence.  The name of the this sandwich, coupé coupé comes from the French word “couper,” meaning to cut or to slice. Traditionally the meat is grilled over hickory wood chips and has a smokey flavor.

Unfortunately, my grill was not yet set up. So rather than fly past this region in West Africa straight to Jamaica (my next week’s adventure,) I decided to make it work and find a way to recreate a barbecue in my oven.  While I’m sure the flavor would be more extreme had I grilled the meat over the wood chips, it was still a tasty sandwich. Also, it would have been better if I hadn’t bought already sliced beef, but had grilled a big chunk. Oh well though.

Additionally, I made yucca fries! I have never used yucca before. I have seen it in the grocery store and have been intimidated by the root. I had no idea how you would prepare it or what it would taste like. The yucca fries however were delicious and actually, I would consider never having french fries again and just replace them completely with these fries. They were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and they gave me a reason to pull my deep fryer out from the depths of my kitchen supplies.

Coupé Coupé

3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp powdered chicken bouillon
1/8 tsp cayenne
12 oz steak
1 tbsp mayonnaise
half anaheim pepper, cut into chunks
half onion, sliced
1/2 baguette


 1. In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, bouillon, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Rub half of it into the steak.

2. In your broiler brown the steak on both sides.

3. In a roasting dish place 1/4 cup water and the steak. Lower the oven to 350 and cook for a half hour. Remove from the oven, add another 1/4 cup of water, and lower the heat to 250. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven and check if it’s cooked or not. If not, continue this process checking roughly every 20 minutes. Once done, slice the steak.

5. In a skillet with a little bit of oil, cook the onions and pepper. Slice the baguette down the middle and then in half. Put it in the oven for about 10 minutes.

6. To make the sandwich spread some mayonnaise on one side of the bread. Place the onions, pepper, and steak on the bread to make the sandwich.

* serves 2
* I’m sharing this sandwich with Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen 

Yucca Fries

1 yucca root
vegetable oil for frying


1. Peel and quarter the yucca.  Cut the yucca into smaller, fry size pieces.

2. Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, add the yucca pieces and boil for 10 minutes or until soft.

3. Either in a deep fryer or deep skillet, get your oil sizzling hot and fry the yucca fries in batches for about 5 minutes a batch.

4. Set on a plate covered with a paper towel. Put some salt on the fries.

* serves 2

NOW! Come travel the globe with me this year.
Every Saturday I will be posting my recipe, as well as pictures to ethnic cuisines you have made and want to share.

– You must mention The Law Student’s Cookbook‘s Around The World In 52 Weeks in the entry you link. You can either use a link or use the banner.
– In your post you must  at least mention what cuisine the dish is.
– Email me your recipe at Make sure to include:

* Your name or blog name
* The direct link to your post
* A picture of the dish or permission to pull a picture from the post

– Make sure to email me by Saturday at 12noon Pacific Standard Time

Butternut Squash Pizza

One of my resolutions for the new year is to lose 30 pounds. To lose that weight I have to make healthy decisions in terms of the food I put in my mouth. The meal I had tonight was definitely a healthy choice. It only took about a half hour to make too, so not only was it healthy, but it was also easy! The best of both worlds, yeah?

I really enjoyed the taste of these little squash pizzas. They were also really easy to eat and could be made for lunch or even a snack.

Butternut Squash Pizza

1 butternut squash
1 chicken sausage
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup kale, chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Olive oil, salt, and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Slice the neck off of the squash. Set the body aside. Slice the neck of the squash into 1/4-inch pieces (mine made 11 slices.)

3. Place the squash on a baking sheet. Brush a small amount of olive oil on both sides of each squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

4. Remove the squash from the oven and flip each piece over. Cover each squash with some sausage, cheese, kale, and tomatoes, splitting the ingredients evenly above your squash pieces. Bake for 15 more minutes.

* serves 2
* about 333 calories per serving
* this post is being shared with Bake with Bizzy at Bizzy Bakes

Chicken Saltimbocca over Noodles with Sauteed Kale and Garlic

Until recently my two favorite vegetables were sweet potato and spinach. Recently a new veggie has made the list: kale. Seeing kale
in the store, I would never suspect that it would be something  I wanted to eat so bad. But having kale for the second time, it’s definitely finding a way into my regular diet.

The chicken saltimbocca required more work than what I would normally put into a weeknight meal, but luckily I still am on break! The sage had such a delicious flavor. And the prosciutto. Basically, the whole dish was YUM!


Chicken Saltimbocca

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
8 fresh sage leaves
4 slices prosciutto
1 3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp Brummel&Brown (or other butter replacement or butter)
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth


1. Lay the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap.  With a mallet pound the meat to 1/4 inch thick. Season each breast with salt and pepper.

2. Arrange 2 sage leaves on top of each chicken breast. Wrap 1 slice prosciutto around the chicken like a belt, covering the sage. Pour 1/4 cup of flour in a pie pan. Dredge the chicken in the flour.

3. In a large frying pan, melt 2 tbsp Brummel&Brown. Add the chicken in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside, covering to keep warm.

4. Reduce heat to medium. In the same pan melt the remaining Brummel&Brown and whisk in the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp of flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine and the broth and cook until the sauce has thickened. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

* serves 4
* 318 calories per serving
* the calorie count does not include the pasta

Sauteed Kale and Garlic

1/2 lb fresh kale, stem removed and leaves chopped
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups water


 1. In the olive oil saute the red onion and garlic, until they begin to turn brown.

2. In the skillet add the kale with 1/2 cup water. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. Add another 1/2 cup of water and cook the water off again. Repeat one more time.

* serves 4
* 62 calories per serving

Chicken and Shrimp Stew

Awhile back my mom gave me this decrepit looking cookbook called the Low Calorie Diet Cookbook. I actually can’t even find a picture of it online, which shocks me. This book was published in the ’70s by Success Publications. When I first decided I wanted to lose weight my mom gave me a bunch of books which she had purchased previously for low-cal recipes. Some of the cookbooks she gave me flat out sucked. I was convinced this one was going to also, but tonight’s meal was just one of many that came from the cookbook.

I did end up making some variations from the original recipe, but that had to do with what I actually had to work with in the house.

This was a delicious meal for a cold night.

Chicken and Shrimp Stew

8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tbsp Brummel&Brown
3 cups diced potato
2 14-oz cans fire-roasted diced tomato
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped


 1. In a pot over medium heat, melt the Brummel&Brown spread. Add the potatoes until brown. In the pot add the onion, tomato, and bell pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender.

2. Add some water or chicken broth if it seems too thick. Add the chicken. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes more.

* serves 4
* 380 calories per serving
* shared with Cookbook Sundays over at Couscous & Consciousness