Argentinean Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

It’s Grilling Season! For my first recipe utilizing the grill this Summer I wanted to do an Argentinian classic: Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce.

Prior to this weekend, I have only had Chimichurri Sauce a handful of times at restaurants (most recently at Ox in Portland), but I’ve never had the chance to make it on my own. One of the reasons why I decided to pair steak with this sauce is because I wanted to complement the warmer weather with light and fresh flavors instead of a traditional heavy or sweat barbecue sauce. Chimichurri Sauce is a great alternative due to its abundance of fresh garlic and shallots as well as the earthy taste that results from the herbs and olive oil.

Step 1: Chop Herbs (Parsley, Oregano and Basil)

Chopping parsley for Chimichurri Sauce

Step 2: Chop Garlic and Shallots; Add to
Herbs and Put into Blender

Mixing up ingredients for Chimichurri Sauce

Step 3: Pulse and Add Olive Oil and Other
Spices; Marinate Steak and Then Grill

Mixing up ingredients for Chimichurri Sauce

Step 4: Slice Steak, Add Reserved
Sauce and Enjoy!

Steak and Chimichurri Sauce

I definitely have to thank Mr. Emeril Lagasse for this recipe. He always has a trick (or two) up his sleeve for adding more flavor and improving the overall dish. One of my favorite parts of this recipe is that it calls for part of the sauce to serve as a marinade. As a result, this made the meat extra tender and seasoned with the perfect amount of salt to balance the herbs of the Chimichurri Sauce. I will definitely look to make this recipe again and again this Summer, especially because the sauce was so simple to do (and, the bonus is that this recipe creates a lot to save!).

Cheers!

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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Farfelle With Sausage, Peas, Tomatoes and Cream


As a child, I grew up spending my Saturdays and Sundays playing soccer. And, believe me, after spending so many years becoming acquainted with mud, dirt, sweat and camaraderie, I have really come to enjoy and love the sport.

Euro 2012 started this past weekend and, as a result, I found a perfect opportunity to watch a few games. Although soccer is popular in the States, it is much more popular in Europe. It is nice to see a change of pace and see how utterly ecstatic and passionate the European fans are and how much they truly love their teams. At the weekend’s end, I am lucky to say that I had watched two games, Germany vs. Portugal and Spain vs. Italy, both of which were great games!

However, after watching Italy play, I became quite hungry and thought of Italian food (naturally). Plus, I had just purchased a basil plant so I wanted to welcome the first opportunity to use some fresh basil in an Italian dish. So, after a little bout of searching, I found a perfect recipe: Farfelle With Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream.

Step 1: Chop Onion and Garlic;
Saute Italian Sausage;
Add Onions and Garlic 

Step 2: Add Pureed Tomatoes
and Touch of Cream; Add Peas 

Step 3: Boil Pasta, Drain; Add Sauce
to Pasta; Toss Extra Basil on Top; Eat! 

After a jam-packed weekend, I was not too utterly inspired to make something uber complex or intricate. As a result, I was very pleased with this recipe because it was simple, yet flavorful and did not feel “heavy” despite the use of a little cream. Plus, the addition of some peas (to add some color and sneak a vegetable serving in) and a sprinkle of Parmesan made this into a delicious meal!

Cheers!

Stuffed Tomatoes

Whether in sauce, on a burger, in salads, sundried or whatever other combination, I absolutely love tomatoes. Just think about it, tomatoes already exist in endless combinations of recipes and food concoctions. At least for me, I deem the esteemed tomato to be a staple. But, it seems like I’ve just gotten used to the same tomato-based recipes for the last few months. Plus, in many of my dishes, the tomato was just a side ingredient and not the main hero. So, I decided to find a recipe that was both different and featured the tomato as the main deal: Stuffed Tomatoes (Sunny Anderson from the Food Network).

Step 1: Chop Basil and Garlic; Cut Tops Off
Of Tomatoes and Remove Insides 


Step 2: Combine Parmesan Cheese, Basil,
Garlic, Bread Crumbs, Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper 


Step 3: Stuff Mixture Into Tomatoes


Step 4: Bake and Enjoy!

I actually really liked this recipe. It was super simple and I loved the tomato as the main feature!

Cheers!

Spaghetti & Sicilian Meatballs

For most last minute or large gatherings, spaghetti is often the menu item of choice. Naturally, it depends on which way you decide to make it — but, it is extremely easy (especially if not making the sauce from scratch!). Personally, I love spaghetti. It’s extremely simple, requires few ingredients, and serves as a perfect comfort food. But, lately, I’ve been becoming bored of my usual rotation of spaghetti for evening dinners. I’ve tried adding chicken or other types of vegetables to help alleviate my taste bud boredom. Unfortunately, those additions did not result in any success.

It wasn’t until I was surfing through Netflix that I saw the movie Lady and the Tramp pop up. Whenever I think of that movie, I always revert to the scene where the two dogs eat eat spaghetti and meatballs together. Instantly, this movie provided the perfect inspiration in order to spice up my boring pasta dinners. So, it was decided: Spaghetti and Sicilian Meatballs it is!

Step 1: Chop Garlic, Onions, Basil
Currants, and Toasted Pine Nuts

Step 2: Let Bread Crumbs and
Milk Sit for Five Minutes

[I accidentally threw the onions on top for this step… oops!]

Step 3: Mix Dry Ingredients With
Wet Ingredients; Add Meat Mixture

Step 4: Form Meat Balls
(Key: Make Sure Hands are Wet); Bake

Step 5: Add Meatballs to Sauce
and Spaghetti and Enjoy! 

Prior to this meal, I had never made meatballs from scratch. It was surprisingly simple and easy. Let’s just say I’m glad that I happened to stumble upon Lady and the Tramp or else I would have made another simple pasta dish.

Cheers!

Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs


After making this recipe, the song “My Favorite Things” from Mary Poppins started to play in my head. At first this seemed strange, but then it dawned on me why this song was stuck in my head — this recipe encompasses many of my favorite ingredients: lemon, basil, cheese, and garbanzo beans.

But, to be perfectly honest, I usually do not make “bean salads.” So, nonetheless, I was a bit hesitant to try this recipe of Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Fresh Herbs; however, since it contained my favorite ingredients, I was hoping that the marriage of these elements would produce a fantastic result.

This recipe was a definite hit. The only modification I would make is to reduce the amount of lemon juice. But, other than that, this recipe is so simple that I will continue again and again to make it on days when I’m not in the mood to cook!

Cheers!

Homemade Lasagna

I just spoke via Skype with a friend who I haven’t been able to speak to in months. Currently, she is living in Seoul, South Korea and teaching English to kindergartners. Although it’s been a vast adjustment, she has enjoyed all of the challenges, scenery, and culture. She is a very brave young woman and I’m proud of her for pursuing that opportunity!

I especially enjoyed hearing about her travels and new experiences. Since I love food and trying new things, I undoubtedly felt compelled to inquire about South Korean cuisine. Basically, mixtures of rice, noodles, vegetables, and various meats comprise most meals in combination with plenty of spicy flavors and seasonings.

However, although she is having a blast sampling Korean cuisine and other fare from her travels, my friend does miss traditional meals from home as well as classic Southern dishes. That being said, I decided to make one of her favorite dishes and dedicate this post to her (this may seem cruel – but, we talked about it on Skype and she though it would serve as a great reminder of home!). Since I don’t have a deep fryer, I thought that some type of pasta dish would be best. Instantly, the thought of lasagna came to mind. So, after replenishing ingredients at the store, I made a delicious Mushroom and Sausage Lasagna.

Step 1: Saute Onions, Chopped
Mushrooms; Add Sausage and Garlic

Step 2: Layer Noodles, Tomato Sauce,
Cheese, and Sausage Mixture (Alternating)


[Use Flat No-Bake Noodles — They are
easier to use and taste better!]

Step 3: Bake, Slice, and Enjoy!

[The flat no-bake noodles don’t look as aesthetically pleasing.
Despite the appearance, the flavors mixed together wonderfully.]

Lasagna can be a great meal when done right. Often times, an overabundance or shortage exists of one of the items and in turn creates a taste bud rollercoaster. For example, I have had lasagnas in the past where the amount of ricotta cheese was too prevalent or lasagnas which contained a sparse serving of meat/vegetables and seasonings.

The key to a great lasagna is setting up the best ratio of noodle to sauce to cheese to meat/vegetables. This can be found by happening to stumble upon a great recipe or through trial and error. In my case, I was lucky and happened to find a great recipe on the first try!

Cheers!

P.S. To my friend in South Korea — I miss you dearly and I hope this reminds you of home. In fact, I’ll make it upon your return!

When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie, That’s Amore!

“That’s Amore” by Dean Martin started playing on a television show the other night. I think that my subconscious engulfed the words “Pizza Pie” because a few days later, I felt the urge to make a pizza when I woke up on Sunday morning. I’m not sure if this song is where my innate desire originated from, however, I’m glad that it did because it gave me the chance to prepare a fantastic dinner!

The decision to make pizza was definitely prime. I didn’t have to visit the store because I could combine ingredients I already had at home. Plus, I also happened to have a packet of active dry yeast in the cupboard, so I could be entirely authentic and make the pizza dough from scratch! After much pondering, I decided to make a simple Three Cheese and Tomato Pizza.

Pizza Dough

Step 1: Mix Active Dry Yeast With Warm
Water and Olive Oil; Let Sit for 10 Minutes


Step 2: Combine Yeast Mixture
With Flour and Salt


Step 3: Gather Dough into a Ball; Put In Bowl
and Let Sit Under a Cloth for 2 Hours (To Let Rise)

Three Cheese and Tomato Pizza 

Step 1: Cut Tomatoes; Mince Garlic
and Add to Two Tablespoons of Olive Oil


Step 2: Roll Out Pizza Dough


Step 3: Place Garlic Oil on Dough, Put
Cheese and Tomatoes on Top, Bake!

[Nifty Pizza Cutting Scissors!]

I should have baked the pizza a few minutes longer (to brown the edges), but at least I learned a lesson for next time. All in all, the pizza tasted great and I think I can still hear that Dean Martin song playing in my head…

Cheers!