Monday, December 28, 2020

Carne en su Jugo (Meat in it's Juices)



I first had this when a friend brought it over from a restaurant. I'd never heard of it, but I love Mexican food and this soup was amazing. It's also easy to make! The fun thing about it is since the toppings and veggies are served on the side, it can be customized to anyone's preferences. A great meal for a party or a cold wintry night.


8 fresh tomatillos
3 serrano chile peppers
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 cups beef stock or broth
12 slices bacon
3 pounds skir
t or flank steak
3 cans pinto beans (15.5 ounce each)
1 red onion
1 bunch cilantro
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Optional Toppings / Extras:
Diced Tomato
Diced Onion
Grilled Knob Onions (Cebollitas Asadas)
Chopped Cilantro
Lime Wedges
Hot Sauce or Salsa
Pickled or Sli
ced Radishes
Sliced or Diced Avocado
Mexican Rice
Corn Tortillas and/or Tortilla Chips or Strips
Cheese (Queso Cotija or Cheddar)


There are 2 options here; to truly make this from scratch, or skip a couple of steps and make it an easier way. I made it from scratch, but if you don't have access to tomatillos or an immersion blender, you can easily buy tomatillos in cans or even tomatillo juice in the Mexican aisle of any grocery store... or even go one step further and substitute the tomatillos for one bottle of mild salsa verde, in which case you wouldn't need to blend the soup at all.

Here's the from scratch version:  Cook the bacon until crispy, remove to drain and reserve some of the bacon fat. While the bacon is cooking, dice the skirt steak into bite sized pieces. Using some of the bacon fat as oil, season the skirt steak with a little salt and pepper and sear it in a frying pan until lightly browned. It doesn't have to be cooked all the way through, as it will be going into the soup; this step is just to give it a bit of caramelization so it will have more flavor. Once all the steak is lightly cooked, set it aside. 

Peel the tomatillos and rough chop the serrano peppers (remove the seeds if you want the soup to be less spicy). Rough chop the garlic and red onion and remove the larger stems from the cilantro. Add the tomatillos, peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, beef broth, about 1/2 cup of the cooked steak and a few slices of the bacon to the bottom of a large soup pot. Use an immersion blender to blend the mixture until smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender and then transfer to a pot.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add the beef. Simmer until tender, at least 30 minutes, or until the texture of the soup is to your liking (the longer you cook it, the thicker it will get).  Either crumble or rough chop the bacon while the soup is cooking. Just before serving, stir the bacon and beans into the soup.

As mentioned, you can serve this with any number of toppings or rice on the side. I served it with rice, tortillas, grilled knob onions, sliced radishes, cilantro, extra salsa and diced avocado!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Classic Chinese Fried Rice


Fried rice is one of my absolute favorite Chinese dishes. Personally, shrimp fried rice is my go to, but there are so many variations. It's also super easy and affordable to make, once you know a few tricks!


4 whole large eggs, whisked until smooth
1/4 cup soy sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 large bag frozen peas with diced carrots
4 cups cooked rice
8 green onions, chopped, including white parts
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Protein (if desired)

1 lb raw, peeled, deveined shrimp  (sauteed until pink and firm, but not overcooked)

OR - you can add diced chicken, Chinese BBQ Pork (click link for recipe) mixed vegetables, steak... this is an easy recipe to modify!


Heat the sesame oil on medium high heat in a large non-stick pan and add the rice. The true secret for fried rice is that leftover, cold or room temperature rice is far easier to crisp than hot rice you've just steamed. If you know you're making this dish in advance, you can make the rice the day before OR what I usually do is if I make some sort of dinner with rice, I set some aside and make fried rice sometime later that week.

The first time I learned this trick, someone suggested saving plain takeout rice and using it to make fried rice... a funny idea, ordering Chinese delivery one day and then making Chinese food from scratch a few days later!  But... I've used this trick multiple times, ha ha... I do really like fried rice!

Cook the rice, stirring as necessary, for about 10 minutes or until it gets brown and crispy.  Add the egg to the edge of the pan and mix it around until scrambled, then integrate into the rice.  Add the veggies, soy sauce and white pepper, then cook until desired texture is achieved.  Taste and add additional soy, if needed.

If adding protein or veggies, you would cook those separately and then stir in once the rice is done.  Enjoy!

Char Siu - Chinese BBQ Pork

I wanted to make BBQ pork fried rice and had never realized that the pork in the rice is itself, from a classic Chinese recipe called "Char Siu". It's used in various recipes or just served alone.... and it's delicious.

4 lb pork shoulder roast
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
4 cubes red bean curd
4 tablespoons five spice powder
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking wine (Chinese cooking wine)
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup marinade


Slice the pork roast along the grain into long strips no thicker than 2 inches. Trim off any large pieces of fat.

Mix all the ingredients (with the exception of the glaze items) and mash in the bean curd.  Whisk until combined.

Pour marinade over pork until coated and marinate for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator, turning the pork at least once to ensure even distribution.  Reserve some of the leftover marinade for the glaze.

When ready to cook the pork, heat an oven to 400 degrees. Roast the pork uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes or until it starts to brown.  Whisk the glaze ingredients together until combined. Remove the pork from the oven and brush with the glaze, then return to oven for about 10 minutes, or until the glaze has dried.  Remove and glaze again.

You can glaze the pork as many times as you like, but somewhere between 3-5 times should do the trick.  Roast for about an hour or until the internal temp reaches 155 degrees, then remove.

If the pork does not have a crispy exterior at this point, glaze it again and turn the oven to broil, leaving the oven door open, until the meat is charred as desired.

Be sure to let the pork rest for at least 10 or 15 minutes before serving.  If making for fried rice, dice the pork into 1 inch pieces and combine with rice - here's a recipe for fried rice.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Bacon-Cheddar Hasselback Potatoes

I don't know why I never tried to make these potatoes before, since I've seen the recipe all over the internet for years. I think it looked challenging, but it is actually very easy and fast!

Yield:   4 servings


4 large russet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
8 slices cooked bacon, cut or broken into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Optional toppings: sour cream, chopped chives or green onions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make cuts in each potato, about 1/8 inch apart, stopping just before cutting through to the the bottom. Place on a greased baking sheet and drizzle with butter, then season with salt and pepper. Place baking sheet in oven and bake until the outsides are beginning to crisp, about 45 minutes.

Remove potatoes from oven and place bacon pieces evenly throughout the cuts in the potatoes. Drizzle with more butter and sprinkle each potato with the cheddar cheese. Place back in the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or so, until cheese is melted and bacon pieces are crisp.

Once the potatoes are ready, top with any desired toppings and serve! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Crispy Mongolian Beef

Serves 2 to 4

Vegetable oil (for frying)
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 lbs flank steak
1 cup cornstarch (divided,1/2 cup for sauce, 1/2 cup for beef)
6 green onions, sliced on the bias in approx. 1 inch pieces
2 cups sliced mushrooms (if desired)
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds (if desired)

3 cups white rice (if desired)

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add green onions, ginger and garlic to the pan and fry until softened. Add soy sauce and water, then add brown sugar and cornstarch and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let stand.

If you would like to add mushrooms to the dish, cook those separately and set aside.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into thin, bite sized slices. Dab with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, then dip each piece of meat into cornstarch on both sides. Let the beef stand for about 10 or 15 minutes, to allow the cornstarch to adhere.

Heat about 1 cup of oil in a skillet or wok on medium heat. Add beef to the oil in batches, frying until just crisp and removing to let drain on paper towels.

Once all the beef is fried, pour any remaining oil out of the pan. Add the beef, sauce and mushrooms (if using) and warm on low heat until meat and veggies are covered in sauce and hot.  Remove and garnish with sesame seeds if desired, then serve.  This is most frequently served over white rice. Enjoy!