Tag Archives: Beef

Mexican Meatball Soup

Mexican meatball soup from LaurenFoodE
Last week I spent a full day on the couch due to a wicked case of the tummy aches. Ironically, the Food Network has never appealed to me more. I watched a full day of cooking shows and was actually quite inspired (Little known fact about me: I’m not a fan of cooking shows… I find them quite boring. Give me Kardashians any day.).

In a particularly lackluster episode of Mexican Made Easy, there was a little shining gem of inspiration: Mexican meatball soup. The perky host is one of those people with no trace of a Mexican accent until they’re pronouncing Mexican words and then they’re fresh off the boat from Tijuana. “We’re going to start this taco dish with a TORRRR-TTTEEEEYAAAA!”

Anyway. This soup looked flavorful, easy, and perfect for dinner on a day like yesterday where it finally felt like winter in New York (oh hello there snot-freezing winds, how I’ve missed you). I grilled up some fresh bread and cheddar for grilled cheese and voila: dinner.

On the menu:
Mexican meatball soup
Makes 8 servings
Adapted from Mexican Made Easy

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
2 Tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
8 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Mexican oregano (or regular oregano if it’s all you have)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1 Yukon gold potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Cook onion for around 5 minutes, or just until the onion starts to cook but before it turns translucent. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, combine (by hand) the onion, ground beef, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, rice*, salt, and cilantro until completely combined. Roll into 1-inch balls, wetting your hands with a little water if the ingredients start to stick to your fingers. The mixture should make around 25 meatballs.

In the same large stockpot you cooked the onions in, add vegetable stock, tomato paste, potato, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the meatballs, zucchini, and parsnip. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for around 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Add salt and pepper as needed.

*Note: I know what you’re thinking, raw rice in the meatballs? But it does cook through completely and it is delicious! Promise.

 

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Meat and Potatoes: 2.0

Some things are better with mustard: ham and swiss, a ballpark hot dog, your sworn enemy’s favorite white silk blouse… Kidding. Promise.

When I stumbled across this recipe, I was smitten. As I mentioned, I’m a texture girl myself and this recipe is FULL of amazing textures. I complemented the steak with a simple warm potato salad, and there were clean plates all around. Warmed my little Food E. heart.

On the menu:
Mustard Crusted Beef Shoulder over arugula, green bean, red onion salad (Adapted from Epicurious.com)
Warm potato salad
Serves 4

Mustard Crusted Beef:

Beef:

1 1/2 lb beef shoulder
1 Tbsp salt
1/3 cup coarse-grain mustard
1 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Salad:

4 cups roughly chopped arugula
1 small red onion, sliced very thinly
3/4 lb green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces

Dressing:

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Stir together mustards, brown sugar, pepper, and lemon zest.

Pat beef dry and season generously on both sides with salt. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then brown beef for around 2 minutes on each side.

Transfer to a shallow baking pan that has been coated in oil. Pour mustard mixture over the top of the meat so it is completely covered.

Roast beef in the oven for 30-35 minutes for medium-rare (NOTE: my cut of beef was about 1 1/2 inches thick; if yours is any thicker or thinner add or subtract a few minutes accordingly). Remove from oven and let sit for 45 minutes. (Why, you ask? See here).

Prepare salad while beef is roasting:

Place onion slices in a bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. Cook beans in boiling salted water until bright green and slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Drain beans in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking, then transfer to a large bowl. Add arugula to beans. Drain onion slices and pat dry.

Make dressing and toss salad:

Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until completely incorporated, about 3 minutes.

Cut beef into thin slices, cutting against the grain of the meat at a 45 degree angle. Plate salad in layers: arugula, green beans, red onion slices, a Tbsp or so of dressing, and then beef slices.

Warm potato salad:

16-20 small red potatoes
1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Boil potatoes for around 20 minutes, until you can stick a fork in and it pulls out easily. Drain water from potatoes and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut potatoes in half and toss with mayo, dill, and salt and pepper. Serve warm alongside steak.

The brilliance of this meal is in the leftovers. You can slice up whatever beef is leftover, wrap it in foil, and stick it in the fridge. Separately wrap up the salad remainders, the potato salad, and the dressing and serve it all cold the following day. The flavor of the mustard will only marinate in the beef even more and that, my friends, is a good thing.

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Cinco de Mayo for Just Un Dolar!

Is that Spanish? Who even knows. And that post is misleading because Cinco de Mayo is today, a Wednesday, and these deliciously cheap tacos are only available on Tuesdays. But don’t be sad: you can go eat $1 tacos next Tuesday and pretend like it’s Cinco de Mayo all over again. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.

Fish tacos! Apologies for the wonky color... clearly my camera has a mind of its own.

Wharf Bar and Grill 3rd Avenue, between 38th Street and 39th Street, New York, NY. Located amidst other bars boasting specials and deals for Happy Hour, Wharf is lovely because it’s spacious, there’s an area upstairs that can accommodate big parties, and it’s an easy going vibe. There are always drink specials and the staff is incredibly friendly.

On the menu:
Shock Top beer
$1 Tacos (fish, chicken, and beef)

Verdict: Did I mention each taco costs $1? How could this possibly be anything but incredible? Each taco is served on a corn tortilla that measures about 5″ in diameter, and you have to order in groups of 3, but truth be told: I ate 6. And I drank 2 delicious summery Shock Top beers (it’s like a Blue Moon). And I was comfortably full. I’d imagine if you’re a large man, you could probably eat 12 tacos and not eat for the rest of the night, but that’s still only $12! The protein of your choice (ground beef, shredded chicken, or fried fish, of which persuasion I’m not sure) is tucked into its shell with shredded lettuce, chopped red onions, a generous helping of shredded cheese, and a spicy salsa verde.

So this month, in honor of… um… the Fifth Day of May (seriously, what IS Cinco de Mayo?), have a taco! Because it’s only a dollar! And it’s delicious! And you just don’t need any more reason than that.

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Jean-Georges Nougatine

Sometimes, even as a lover of food, I forget why New York is great. It’s loud, its manic pace is constant, and as the weather gets warmer, the city gets smellier. I’m ready for a change. But then, out of the blue, I have a New York moment and I remember why there is no place like this place and how I will never be able to find another like her.

Jean-Georges with a Lady Who Lunches - a blurry camera picture because we were trying hard to be classy and discreet

When I sat down at a Jean-Georges restaurant near Central Park on Wednesday for lunch and Jean-Georges himself walked out of the kitchen, I felt like 13-year-old-Lauren would have felt if Jonathan Taylor Thomas had walked out of the kitchen. I’m not ashamed to say I got butterflies. He’s just that good.

Nougatine New York Magazine praises this little sun-filled restaurant at 1 Central Park West as “possibly the least heralded and most overlooked restaurant in town.” My good friend Becca invited me to lunch as payment for a cake I made her (seriously, does baking have its perks, or what?) and on the hottest day of an unseasonably warm April, we sat down for a posh meal where the dining room is run like a well-oiled machine and the Ladies Who Lunch throw birthday parties with Tiffany blue boxes as table favors.

On the menu:
Warm Beets and Rich Yogurt
field mache and lemon oil
Shrimp Salad
with avocado and tomato champagne vinegar dressing
Salt and Pepper Calamari
with citrus-chili dip
Roasted Red Snapper
with broccoli raab and sweet garlic-lemon broth
Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin
with miso butter and roasted brussel sprouts
Creme Caramel
with sacristan (puff pastry twisted and dipped in sugar) and citrus
Jean-Georges Warm Chocolate Cake
with vanilla bean ice cream
[the prix fixe meal allows you to choose 2 small plates plus a dessert for $26]

Salt and pepper calamari

Pan Seared Beef Tenderloin (blurry because I barely had time to snap this picture before I dove into the deliciousness)

Verdict: To. Die. For. “What’s in that, crack cocaine?” I wish I could say my dining partners and I said this only once. Everything was so delicious, warm, inviting. Each bite left all the right pleasant notes in my mouth. The portions were perfect, and I left the restaurant feeling sated and glowing. Forget the temperatures outside. I was radiating sunshine from inside. The prices at Nougatine are far more reasonable than any of Jean-Georges’ other restaurants in Manhattan, but it’s still not a cheap meal. I make it a point to seek out affordable, delicious meals in New York so believe me when I tell you this: if I had only $100 to spend on one final meal in New York City, I would take it to Nougatine.

Red Snapper

The famous Jean-Georges Chocolate Cake with vanilla bean ice cream

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