Fresh Pasta for the Soul

Weekends filled with yoga time and shopping (at the mall and the grocery store) are the best. I took advantage of the last day of tax-free shopping on Saturday and spent Sunday with family and time in the kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago, while vacationing on Vieques Island, my sisters and I had a strong craving for pasta. Don’t get me wrong – the meals we had were quite delicious (mahi mahi, conch, paella…), but we were all craving a nice, big bowl of pasta with a hearty meat sauce.  I think it was from some commercial we saw on TV.

I made some Barilla pasta when we got home, but it didn’t really hit the spot. *Enter lightbulb moment* How about some fresh pasta instead??

And so, I made some fresh pappardelle pasta with a delicious meat sauce. The pasta was quite difficult to make since I don’t have a pasta maker. Lots of rolling and use of my strong muscles!

Fresh Pasta (Courtesy of Mario Batali)

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups of flour
  • 4 eggs
  1. Place the flour in a mound on a flat surface – it can be a clean countertop, a cutting board, etc.  Make a little well in the middle for the eggs.
  2. Crack the eggs in the middle of the flour mound.  Start kneading ingredients together with your hands.
  3. Continue to knead until the flour and the eggs are fully mixed.
  4. Roll into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Roll and form as desired.IMG_5688

 

Meat Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can of peeled plum shaped tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 lb, 85/15 ground beef
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped (extra for garnish)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and saute until cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add tomatoes and carrots to the mixture.  Mix throughly.  Set on low to simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Add basil leaves and any additional seasonings.
  5. Serve over pasta.

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PSL to Officially Kick-Off the Season

We woke up at 6:45 am today.  It was 51 degrees.  Autumn has officially arrived. 🙂

Chilly early in the morning and late at night, but beautiful and comfortable throughout the day.  Our favorite time of year.

As I prepare the meals for the week, I think this short rib slow cooker dish will be perfect and comforting on a chilly night.  Plus, it’s nice and easy, cooks during the day (without supervision), which means dinner is ready right when we walk through the door.  More family and cuddle time with the puppy!

Now, off to get my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season….!

Short Ribs with Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

  • 1 lb short ribs
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Season short ribs with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, over high heat, drizzle olive oil and cook each side of the short rib for about 3-4 minutes.  You want the edges to have  a nice golden color before placing in the slow cooker.  This helps seal in the flavors.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and sliced onions to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Top with short ribs.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Serve with rice, pasta, or a vegetable.  Or enjoy alone.  The meat just falls right off of the bone.  Effortless cooking and effortless eating.

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Bibimbap – Emily Style

According to Wikipedia, Bibimbap literally translated means “mixed rice”.  I had a lot of ingredients leftover from my Chirashi meal, so thought it would translate well into today’s recipe.  I just want to note that this is nothing like the traditional Bibimbap dish, it’s my own personal twist on the classic dish.  Just thought that it was really similar as I was putting it together!

Asian Beef

Ingredients

  • 1 lb, shaved steak
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons, oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon, Mama Sita’s BBQ Marinade
  • 2 scallion stalks, chopped
  1. In a large skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add onions and saute for 5 minutes, until the edges become golden brown.
  2. Add shaved steak, drizzle oyster sauce and Mama Sita’s BBQ Marinade atop.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Saute for an additional 2 minutes.  Top with scallions.  Remove from heat.

Not So Traditional Bibimbap

  • Steamed white rice
  • Seaweed salad
  • Pickled daikon radish
  • 1 fried egg
  • Sauteed onions and steak (recipe above)
  • Sriracha sauce
  1. In a large bowl, add rice, top with seaweed salad, pickled daikon radish, fried egg, and sauteed onions and steak.  Drizzle with Sriracha sauce.
  2. Mix well. Eat.

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Semi-Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

I don’t know why I love things like meatloaf, salisbury steak, and shepherd’s pie.  I never had these growing up, nor did my mother ever cook anything like this.  But there’s just something so satisfying about the mish mosh of ground beef and other scrumptious ingredients.  Some think these dishes are gross, but man, I love them!  I also used to love ordering these entrees at the Cheesecake Factory… but don’t even get me started on how bad that place is for you, especially the portion size!! Anyway…

This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is semi-Paleo.  Everything is Paleo, with the exception of the peas.  No legumes on the Paleo diet, but to me, it’s a veggie, and veggies are good for you!

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb organic ground beef
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

For the mashed cauliflower topping:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut milk (optional)
  1. Follow this recipe for the mashed cauliflower topping.  Note that the coconut milk is optional.  I decided to add it this time because the cauliflower seemed drier than usual.
  2. Preheat ove to 400 degrees (F).
  3. In a large skillet, over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil.  Add onions and garlic, saute for a few minutes until translucent.
  4. Add ground beef, season with sea salt and black pepper, and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, until beef is no longer pink.
  5. Add diced carrots, peas, and worcestershire sauce.  Mix well.  Saute until vegetables are nice and tender.
  6. Transfer beef and veggie mixture into a baking dish.  Top with a layer of mashed cauliflower.  Use a fork to form peaks in the mashed cauliflower so it browns nicely in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.

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A Love for Winter Vegetables

I love, love, love winter vegetables… Beets, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and my new favorite — Parsnips.  I picked up a bag of them at Trader Joe’s the other week, in search for a new vegetable to try.  This was perfect in this simple crock pot recipe.  It tasted really similar to potatoes!

Pot Roast

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs chuck roast
  • 8 oz baby carrots
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can of beef broth (14.5 oz)
  • Bacon fat (or olive oil)
  • Sea salt
  • Black Pepper
  1. Season chuck roast with sea salt and black pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, over high heat, add bacon fat (or cooking oil of your choice) and sear each side of the roast for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  It will get smoky in the kitchen, but it’s worth it as this process really seals in the flavors of the meat!
  3. Place the chuck roast in the crock pot, along with the carrots and parsnips.  Pour the beef broth over the roast and veggies.
  4. Cook on low for 8 hours.

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Happy Birthday Daddy!

My father’s birthday is coming up and the family got together tonight to celebrate.  Though dining out is nice, nothing beats time spent in the kitchen with the family, with a glass of wine in hand, prepping and collaborating on a home cooked meal.  With our family getting larger, we prefer staying in… It’s more comfortable (especially with the kids), there’s no one rushing you through your dinner, and it’s so much more affordable.  My sister made a yummy minestrone soup, filled with lots of veggies and pasta.  What did I make?  Some delicious Paleo meals, of course…

Grilled Rib Eye Steak

Serves 6

Ingredients

  1. Season rib eye steaks well with sea salt and crushed peppercorn and garlic rub.
  2. In a large skillet over high heat, drizzle olive oil, add steaks, cooking 12-13 minutes on each side (medium rare).
  3. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Slice and serve.

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Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bunch of Italian Parsley
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  1. In a blender, place the first 5 ingredients in and blend for 30 seconds.
  2. Continue to blend while slowly pouring in the olive oil until you reach a desired consistency.
  3. Set aside until ready to serve.DSC02231

Oh……. and needless to say, I made mashed cauliflower to complete the meal:

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Here’s my plate of goodness (featuring from L to R; sliced avocado, rib eye steak, chimichurri sauce, mashed cauliflower):

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Happy birthday ba-ba!!! (Cake courtesy of Stew Leonard’s)

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The 3 F’s of the Holiday Season – Family, Food, and Feasting!!!

Ahhhhhhh, it’s been so long since I’ve posted!  The whirlwind of holidays, visiting family, and numerous hours in the kitchen prepping, cooking, and feasting has finally come to an end.  Back to work this week and getting re-adjusted to the normal life.

As we grow older, we begin to realize the true importance of the holidays.  It’s not about the gifts.  It’s not about the amount of money that you spend on a gift.  It’s interesting how we tend to believe that the more money you spend on someone, the more you love them?  Anyway, not to sound cliché, but the best part about this past holiday season was the time that we were able to spend with family.  Bjorn’s siblings visited from California and Texas, making an almost complete Bumactao household (missed dad!).  We only see them once every 1-2 years, so their visit was extra special.  And of course, we spent time with my family, who are all located in CT.

So, we’re making plans for holiday gatherings… the usual Christmas day brunch and white elephant gift exchange at our house with my family, but what to do with Bjorn’s family?  Being the planner that I am, I kept on bugging Bjorn for a definitive date/location for the Christmas gathering…  Finally, a few days before Christmas, we have the following conversation:

Me: So, have you spoken to your family?

Bjorn: Yep, I made an executive decision.

Me: Ok…

Bjorn: Dinner on Christmas eve.

Me: Okay, super!  At your mom’s, right?

Bjorn: No, at our house!!!

Me: **Silence** as I panic on the inside because this is merely days before Christmas and I haven’t planned ANYTHING! What to eat?  What do I need to buy at the grocery store? What’s easy to make?  How can I just use the oven to cook a majority of the items? Need to make a run to the liquor store.  Need to clean the house.  How will we divide and conquer?

Needless to say, it all worked out in the end. 🙂  I spent most of my day/early evening in the kitchen, but it was well worth it.  We had an amazing meal and enjoyed the rest of the night just hanging out, enjoying cocktails, playing board games (yes, no iPhone access for an hour!), and opening our secret santa gifts.

Here’s the star of the night…

Prime Rib Roast

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 whole rib eye roast, bone-in, 8 lbs
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt, 1/4 cup
  • Crushed peppercorns, 1/4 cup
  • Rosemary, 4 sprigs
  • Thyme, 4 sprigs
  • Minced garlic, 1/4 cup
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (F).
  2. Cut rib eye roast in half (cooks more evenly in the oven).
  3. In a large skillet, over high heat, pan sear both halves in olive oil until nice and golden.DSC01928
  4. Prepare the ingredients for the rub.  Place the peppercorns in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin (or any other tool that will do the job). Strip the leaves from the rosemary and thyme sprigs.  Measure out the salt.  Mince the garlic.  Combine all ingredients into a bowl.DSC01927DSC01930
  5. Drizzle olive oil on the rib roast and pat on the dry rub.  Spread evenly and pat slightly to ensure that it sticks to the roast.053
  6. Place in oven for 30 minutes at 500 degrees (F).  Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees (F) and roast for an additional 20-30 minutes.  Use a meat thermometer to determine if the roast is cooked to your liking.  We love it medium rare, so I took this out of the oven when the internal temperature reached 145 degrees (F).  Remember that the roast continues to cook a bit even after you remove from the oven.
  7. Remove from oven and let the beautiful roast rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.DSC01933DSC01939

 

Yam Flour Pasta? Worth a try, I guess!

No pasta on the Paleo diet so I’ve had to find substitutes.  I’ve cooked with spaghetti squash which is pretty good.  I want to make zucchini spaghetti next, but I have to purchase one of these first!  A few months ago, I came across this deal on Groupon for a product called Nooodle.  It’s a pasta made out of yam flour – gluten free, soy free, guilt free!  Thought I’d give it a try.

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It’s an interesting consistency… Kind of chewy, kind of soft, kind of strange at first, but you get used to it. 🙂  For comparison purposes, I’d say it’s pretty close to a rice vermicelli (like the noodles they use in the Vietnamese dish, Pho).  I’ve made this in a few different ways – chicken “nooodle” soup and in a meat sauce.  I think I’m going to try some sort of stir fry next!

Meat Sauce with Veggies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb organic ground beef
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced
  • 6 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 package of Nooodle pasta (or spaghetti squash)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat.
  2. Add in onions and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add ground beef and brown for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. Toss in the zucchini and mushrooms.  Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes, until veggies are tender.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Add tomato sauce.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Prepare the Nooodle pasta separetely (follow directions on package).  Once complete, mix in well with the meat sauce and enjoy!

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Zucchini Lasagna… Hold the pasta and hold the cheese!

I bought a 16 oz pack of frozen grass fed 85/15 Angus ground beef from Trader Joe’s last week ($5.99/lb).  I was kind of hesitant about getting frozen beef, but the price was great and it sounded good, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Since I’m pretty sure we’re going to lose power tonight (and for the next few days, thanks to Hurricane Sandy), I decided to whip up dinner with ingredients that I already had in the fridge/freezer.

I’ve never made a traditional lasagna before, but I love eating it.  I’m a huge fan of any layering technique.  It’s awesome because you get a taste of everything in one bite (see picture below!).  Tonight’s dinner was a zucchini lasagna dish.  Lots of layering of the ground beef sauce, slices of zucchini, slices of baby bella mushrooms – and hold the cheese!

Zucchini Lasagna

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of grass fed ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • A few pinches of dried oregano, basil, parsley (optional)
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and saute onions and garlic for a few minutes, until onions become translucent.
  3. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. Add chopped red bell pepper and tomotoes.  Mix well and cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Pour tomato sauce into the skillet and add a pinch of sea salt, black pepper, and dried herbs.  Stir for an additional 3 minutes.  Set ground beef sauce aside.
  6. In a baking pan, coat the bottom with olive oil.
  7. Scoop the ground beef sauce into the pan and spread to create one layer.
  8. Layer with the sliced zucchini, then add another layer using the sliced mushrooms.
  9. Repeat steps 7 &8 until all ingredients are used up.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 25 minutes.

As you can see from the pics, it’s pretty messy when serving because it doesn’t have any cheese to hold it together.  Doesn’t really matter; it’s all going to the same place anyway, right?  Get in my belly!

A dinner consumed in 5 minutes

I don’t even know where to begin with this post.  I just have too many yummy food thoughts running through my mind.

Okay, let’s backtrack to Sunday where I had a wonderful afternoon with one of my good buddies, Lindsey, out in the city!  She moved there about a month ago and we finally found some time to get together – we had three goals in mind – EAT, SHOP, and GOSSIP.  Perfect girl afternoon, right?  I got into Grand Central and was starving, so my words basically were… “Lindsey, I don’t care what we do today, but we need to eat first.”  Being the awesome foodie she is, she knew exactly where to go.

So, we walked a few blocks downtown to 33rd and cut across a couple of avenues to 3rd and met our destination: Bareburger.  I loved that this place served grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and organic and natural products.  I had the Bareburger Supreme with beef and I ate it slowly so I could savor every single bite.

I got it on the brioche bun, which was amazing, but what really makes a burger is 1) the meat and 2) the toppings/pairings.  Also, had it with pear cider…. Needless to say, this meal was not Paleo (but maybe semi-Paleo since it was grass-fed beef???) Oh, and we also had side of hand cut fries and onion rings 🙂

Now, fast forward to tonight.  After an awesome and sweaty Zumba class with my friend (and fab instructor), Pamela, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for dinner.  A scrumptious burger with savory toppings (hold the bun!) served with a side of baked sweet potato fries.

Paleo Burger

Makes four 4 oz. burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Organic ground beef (I used Trader Joe’s Organic 85/15 ground beef – $6.49/lb)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl, mix well.
  2. Form into 4 patties.
  3. In a skillet over medium high, drizzle olive oil and grill patties for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your preference. (I like mine medium rare, so this timing was perfect)
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Add toppings of your choice;  I added sauteed onions, sauteed mushrooms, sliced avocado, bits of uncured bacon, and a fried egg.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A few pinches of paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
  2. Slice sweet potatoes into fries.
  3. Place sweet potato fries onto baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and paprika.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.  It’s also helpful to check in after 10 minutes to give the sweet potatoes a good toss in the olive oil and other seasonings.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy!