Belgian Carbonnade


I’m getting this dish submitted at the last minute for Formula 1 Foods hosted by Caroline Makes. This food challenge is following the Formula 1 Grand Prix, but in food. I don’t watch racing, but I do eat food, so I can participate.

This round was in Belgium, so we had at it and made food from that part of the world. Googling told me about carbonnade, essentially beef stew. Clearly, this did not photograph incredibly well, but it did taste good. Per what I read online, I served it with bread and applesauce. I think it would have been great with some roasted potatoes.

F1 Foods 1

Belgian Carbonnade

1 lb beef chuck, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 slices bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 onions, sliced
1 cup dark beer
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs tarragon
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Place the beef in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the flour.
  2. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a dutch oven. Brown the beef in the butter, cooking about 8 minutes. Remove the beef from the dutch oven and set aside.
  3. Add the bacon and cook for 8 minutes.
  4. Once the fat is rendered off the bacon, add the garlic and onion. Caramelize the onions. This takes about a half hour. Stir every 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add half of the beer and reduce. Scrape the bottom of the dutch oven.
  6. Add the remaining beer, browned beef, beef broth, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then cover. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Fish out the herbs. Serve with applesauce and bread.
    * serves 4

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs


This month’s Food ‘n Flix movie of the month is a double feature: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and it’s sequel hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. When I first saw this movie, a few years back, I loved it. My boyfriend and I even adopted the way they kiss.


Anyway, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was originally a child’s book. I never experienced the children’s book though, so the movie has been my sole experience with the story.

The movie is about Flint Lockwood, an aspiring scientist. His newest creation is a machine that can transform water into food. But, it backfires and it begins raining food, meatballs included. Both the first movie and its sequel, both feature a ton of food (and even food monsters!)



I could have been more creative and made something else from the movie, but alas, I chose the meatballs for the movie’s namesake. My boyfriend has the palette of a little boy and loves spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs I made have hunks of cheese in them, pieces of bacon, and were just all around delicious.

Anyway, you still have time to participate in this month’s movie! Check it out here.

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

4 pieces bacon
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 oz mozzarella, cut into chunks
1 tbsp chicken broth
14 oz marinara sauce
4 oz spaghetti noodles


1. Preheat oven to 400. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, until crisp. Set aside and let cool. Cut into pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the bacon, ground beef, onion powder, paprika, bread crumbs, pepper, mozzarella, and chicken broth together with your hands. Shape the meat into balls (like ping pong balls.) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes.)

3. Cook the noodles per the box directions and heat up the marinara.

4. When the meatballs are done, put them in the marinara sauce. Serve on top of spaghetti noodles.

* serves 2

FoodnFlix* Besides Food ‘n Flix, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking




Stir-Fried Beef with Mint

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This month for Cooking with Herbs, I opted to make a stir-fry. For February we were challenged to make something either romantic (for Valentine’s Day) or Chinese for Chinese New Year. I decided to make a stir-fry to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I grew up in San Francisco and went to a predominantly Chinese school. I loved Chinese New Year, for the red envelopes filled with money. I really could use one of those now . . . Filled with lots of money!

Anyway, this stir-fry features beef, mint, garlic, and onion. I love stir-fry for their simplicity and quickness. A meal ready in under 20 minutes is always nice.

Stir-Fried Beef with Mint

1 lb skirt steak, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp crushed red chili peppers
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped


1. Put the red chili, garlic, and onion together in a cup. Mush together to make something resembling a paste.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. Once hot, add the onion mixture. Cook the mixture until it turns golden brown.

3. Add the beef. Cook the beef until it’s no longer pink.

4. Add the fish sauce, sugar, water, and mint. Cook for several minutes, stirring consistently, until the liquid becomes thick.

5. Serve over rice.

* serves 4
* besides Cooking with Herbs, this recipe is being shared with #FoodieFriday Foodie Friday, & Tasty Tuesdays

Christmas Dinner 2013

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Though my 12 days of cookies may have fallen into oblivion (though I do have some cookies to share in the next few days that I did end up making,) December always for me is a month of cooking. I made cookies for Matt’s family for Christmas, I made my doggy chicken jerky, and I made my dad homemade barbecue sauce in two different flavors.

What always becomes a cooking marathon though, is Christmas Day. Some families go BIG and invite everyone they know for Christmas. My family is the opposite. My parents moved to California from Ohio in the ’80s and because none of our extended family is around, we tend to keep it small. We go for fancy meals instead of meals that serve a lot of people. Christmas is always a time that my mom and I spend the whole day in the kitchen, making sure we make our meal perfect.

This was another year of perfection.

Rather than share the recipes, I’m linking you to the recipes we followed.

2013 Christmas Menu in Pictures

photo 1 (2)

The star of the show was a beautiful Beef Wellington. My mom’s made Beef Wellington in the past, but we followed a new recipe this year. It was my first time ever making one. This dish took all day, but it was worth every second it took making it. The beef tenderloin was so juicy and tender, having cooked with the pate, mushrooms, and proscuitto wrapped tightly around it. Though my taste buds would have enjoyed eating all 3-lbs of the tenderloin, this is so rich that one slice was all the rest of my body could handle.

photo 2

As a side dish we had Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding from the cookbook that can do no wrong. I gave my mom Barefoot Contessa Foolproof last year for Christmas. She cooks out of the cookbook a lot and has told me everything in it is divine and flavorful and yet, easy to make. We decided to make this bread pudding and it hit the mark.

We also made Roasted Brussels Sprouts, but I did not take a picture of those. We seasoned them with salt and pepper and tossed them in some olive oil and roasted them. Though simple, this decadent meal needed a simple veggie.

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To put an end to our Christmas meal, we had Vanilla Roasted Pears with vanilla ice cream. The fruit dessert was a great end to the meal. My aunt had sent us pears for Christmas. This was a great way to use them. They were so soft and delicious.

What did you have for Christmas this year?

* This recipe is being shared with Full Plate Thursday

Spaghetti Bolognese


This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.


For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles


1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday


Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad



I would have figured that being done with the bar exam and having significantly more time in my life that I would have more time to cook. And that’s true – I have a lot more time to cook. But the weather has been making it really hard for me to want to. When it’s 100 degrees outside, turning on any source of flame just seems unbearable. So I’ve been eating out more than I should, so that I can pay other people to be in a kitchen that’s too hot.

Last night was an exception though. It wasn’t excruciating hot and I really did need to cook. So I made this very easy recipe.

I can’t even believe how easy it was. It was so easy. But despite being super simple, my boyfriend announced, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”

I’ll leave that credit to the very garlicky store bought hummus.

Though not pictured, we ate this with tortillas that I fried up in the leftover cumin infused oil.

Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb skirt steak, cut into small strips
1 tbsp ground cumin
6 tbsp garlic hummus
2 cucumbers
1 wedge lemon
salt, to taste


1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil. Add the beef and stir fry the beef for 2 minutes.

2. Add the cumin and continue to cook the beef until no longer pink. Stir occasionally.

3. While the beef is cooking, skin the cucumber. Then shave the remaining cucumber into thin ribbons, making sure to discard the watery seeds in the middle. Place the cucumber shavings in a bowl. Toss with the juice from the lemon wedge and salt.

4. Smear 3 tbsp of hummus on each plate. Top with the beef. Arrange the cucumber salad on the side.

* serves 2

Mediterranean Burgers


Nine days. This is the absolute worst countdown ever. But it’s coming closer and closer and before you know it I won’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been so intertwined studying I haven’t had time for much else. I have done some secret shopping and I’ve done a little cooking, but getting my cooked recipes up on here just hasn’t been happening. But 9 days. And then 3 days until it’s over.

All I’ve been able to think about all day is how I want to go camping, to go canoeing, to go on a picnic, to be outside. All I can keep telling myself is, soon enough.

Also, for an update on Pantry Party. Due to my unavailability this month, this month’s Pantry Party will be extended until the end of August.

Anyway, this recipe was made because of one of my favorite blog round ups: Random Recipes at Belleau’s Kitchen. This month Dom challenged us bloggers to pick the 30th cookbook on our shelves and turn to page 30. Luckily there was a recipe on page 30 in my book.

The 30th book on my shelf was The Mixer Bible, a book I got when I first got my KitchenAid stand mixer. I haven’t used this book nearly as much as I should. I like that it teaches techniques with the mixer. Page 30 had two recipes: Hummus and Roasted Garlic Hummus. I decided to go with the Roasted Garlic variety. It was good, but I think it actually needed more garlic. I spread it on the bun of this burger and YUM!


Roasted Garlic Hummus

1 head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt


1. Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic head. Place it in a large square of foil and drizzle with the 1 tsp of olive oil. Enclose in foil and place in an oven preheated to 350 for 45 minutes. When the garlic is done and cool to touch squeeze the cloves into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.

2. Place the chickpeas in the mixer bowl. Attach the flat beater. Set to speed 2 and mix until the chickpeas begin to break up. Increase to speed 4 and add the garlic, the remaining olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, 1 tbsp of water, and salt. Mix for 2 minutes until slightly lumpy, but creamy, add 1 tbsp more of water if necessary.

* makes 3 cups

Mediterranean Burgers

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cumin
juice from 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
handful arugula
6 hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 cup hummus


1. In a medium bowl combine the ground beef, spices, lemon juice, and egg. Mix together with your hands. Form the meat into 6 patties.

2. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the patties and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.

3. Spread the bottom layer of each hamburger bun with hummus. Place a patty on top. Divide the cherry tomatoes and arugula between the burgers.

* serves 6
* Besides Random Recipes, this recipe is being shared with Kahakai Kitchen‘s Souper Sundays & Weekend Cooking

Baked Lasagna Sandwich


I had no idea studying for the bar exam would be such a soul sucking feat. On days when I have the review class I’m there for at least 4 hours, to come home to 4 hours of homework (at least). The weekends provide me no break. For instance, today, I woke up and did an hour and a half of work, went out for an hour with my mom, did another hour and a half of work, drove from San Francisco to Sacramento with traffic for a total of 2 1/2 hours, and then worked from 6-11. I had no idea studying would be this awful. It’s not that this information was unknown to me, but I think not knowing made it more bearable to graduate. I mean, knowing that I was graduating just to study nearly eight hours a day would have been kind of devastating.

Anyway, bar prep isn’t taking away from my cooking (thought it will from my updating.)

I got this recipe through a swap. It was easy, filling, and kind of reminded me of being a little kid (though I never got these when I was little.)

Baked Lasagna Sandwich

4 hoagie buns
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 cup ricotta
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded


1. Preheat oven to 350. Make a wide V-shaped cut in the center of each of the buns, cutting down 1-inch from the bottom. Remove the cut out portions and save for another use. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet cook the beef over medium heat, until no longer pink. Drain off any fat. Add the spaghetti sauce, garlic powder, and basil. Cook for  minutes.

3. In a bowl combine the ricotta, Parmesan, half of the cheddar, and half of the mozzarella. Spoon the meat mixture into the buns. Top with the cheese mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

4. Uncover. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven for 3 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

* serves 4
* shared with Weekend Cooking

weekend cooking

Carbonnade Flamande



This dish was made for my ‘journey’ to Belgium. Carbonnade flamande is a stew chocked with flavor, with onions and beef. Google translates tells me that carbonnade flamande means: beef stewed in beer seasoned with garlic and served with boiled potatoes. I wish I had looked at google before making this, because it would have gone great with potatoes. Instead I just enjoyed the stew on its own.

The use of mustard in the broth was unlike anything I’ve made before. I loved how thick the broth was. It’s the perfect bar examination prep food.

Carbonnade Flamande

3 lbs chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 medium onions, sliced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups Belgian beer
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp brown sugar


1. Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper. In a heavy pot over medium-high melt 2 tbsp of the butter. Add the beef and brown, 3 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.

2. Add the remaining butter to the pot. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and season with salt. Cook until the onions are browned, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and stir until the onions are coated with the flour. Cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to get loosen the browned bits. Stir in the beer, thyme, bay leaves, and the beef.

3. Increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. A half hour before serving stir in the mustard and brown sugar. When time to serve, remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

* serves 6
* this recipe is shared with Tasteful Tuesday & Tempt My Tummy

Taco Salad



I’m part of the website swap-bot. I participate in a lot of recipe swaps. Recently one of the swaps I participated in was called Send Me Some New Recipes. The swap required that you mail an envelope with at least 25 recipes in it, taken from anywhere. I sent recipes to my partners cut from magazines, handwritten from my personal collection, and printed from blogs online. One of the envelopes I received was a ton (25) recipes written on neon index cards. I added these to my recipe box collection, which has become significantly fuller since I started swap-bot.

This recipe was written on a neon green index card. This was a super easy recipe and was very delicious.

Taco Salad

1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp Penzey’s Bold Taco spice
3/4 cup water
10 cups romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup onion, chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup salad dressing of choice
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
sour cream, optional (also, guacamole could work!)


1. In a large skillet cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain. Stir in the taco spice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl combine the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and cheese. Stir in the ground beef. Drizzle with the salad dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with the crushed chips. Serve with option sour cream or guacamole (or both!) on top.

* serves 5
* shared with Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday, & #Foodie Friday