Awesome Slow-Cooked Beef Tacos

slow-cooked beef taco - trustinkim

If you have a thing for tacos, you’re going to love this slow-cooked beef taco recipe. The blackened peppers, slightly caramelized onions, and red wine give this recipe a lot of depth in flavour. Because of the long cooking time the meat becomes super tender, so you don’t need to buy an expensive cut of meat. It makes enough for a crowd, and also freezes well.

The recipe called for using a slow-cooker, but I don’t have one, so I cooked it in my Le Creuset baker in a low oven for a few hours.

Serve with your favourite taco toppings. Cilantro is always good, extra lime wedges, and your favourite bottled salsa. I didn’t use the Mexican crema that the original recipe suggested. Nor did I get to serve it with the Guacamolata (avocado sauce)  that I love, since there were no ripe avocados available in any of the five stores I tried!. I absolutely love X’nipek on this, a red onion topping that is really easy to make; it adds a little tartness and spice, and looks really pretty on top of a taco.

Some other topping ideas you could make are roasted tomatillo salsa, tomatillo salsa, guajillo chile salsa, or salsa fresca.

I found this recipe on the Food52 site.

What you need:

  • pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • poblano/pasilla peppers
  • serrano chile
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • medium-sized sweet onion, sliced about 1/2 cm thick
  • clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 430 mL/14.5 ounces canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or regular if you can’t find these)
  • tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • tortillas (I like the ones made with a combination of corn and flour)
  • 1 tomato, chopped 
  • greens for garnish; I used some salad mix and cilantro

What you do:

  1. Take the beef out of the fridge 1/2 an hour before you begin cooking, then season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. If you have a gas range or a barbecue, turn it on high. Place the poblano and serrano peppers over the flame, turning from time to time, until they are blackened all over. You can also do this in the oven under the broiler. Once blackened, place the peppers in a bowl and cover with a lid. Let them sit for about 15 minutes before removing most of the skin, and cutting out the stem and seeds. It’s okay to have some blackened bits; this will give your tacos some smoky flavour, and makes it look authentic. Roughly chop the peppers.
  3. Preheat the oven to 250F/120C.
  4. Put a large skillet on high heat, then pour in a little glug of vegetable oil. Once the oil is smoking hot add the beef; let it brown on each side for about 2 minutes, then remove it from the pan, keeping the drippings to cook the onions in.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the onions, stirring often to avoid burning. Cook until they have softened and become browned. If they seem too dry you can add a bit more oil to the pan.
  6. Add the chopped chile peppers and garlic, and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, making sure that the garlic does not burn.
  7. Add the red wine and stir to scrape up all the nice brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has reduced by half, then add the diced tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then place the beef back in the pot.
  8. Put the pot in the oven an cook for 2-3 hours – this will give you lots of time to prepare the toppings, or make your own tortillas, and enjoy a cerveza. My beef was done somewhere after the two hour mark. It will be easy to tell if it is done – the meat will fall apart when you pull it with a fork. When it is done, shred the beef using two forks.
  9. Taste, then add more salt and pepper if you think it is needed. Sprinkle the chopped fresh oregano on top.
  10. To warm the tortillas, wrap them in a clean damp cloth and microwave on high for 1 minute.
  11. To serve, place some of the shredded beef in the middle of a tortilla. Top with a little bit of the pickled onion, chopped tomato, or whatever other topping you like. It’s nice to squeeze a little lime on top.
  12. Enjoy! Please let me know if you enjoyed the recipe, if there are any typos, or what you did differently!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

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Now that the warmer weather is here I’m starting to think about what to make for patio and picnic time. This salad is super tasty, and really healthy too. For me it’s a great quick meal salad, and since it keeps in the fridge for a few days I can just dig in whenever I need a little something to eat. You can also mix and match at you see fit, for example if you don’t like peppers you can substitute a bit of jicama or apple or whatever you’d like.

If you use canned beans and corn, all you have to do is make the dressing and add in whatever veg and herbs you like – super easy! Then let it all sit for about half an hour before you dig in.

I found the recipe here, and I just downsized the amounts. I used canned corn instead of frozen because I find frozen corn a bit rubbery, and peaches and cream corn is the best. I also added some freshly chopped tomato to the top of each salad, and a bit of extra bell pepper.

Avocado makes a great addition to the top of each salad serving. Sadly, I could not find a ripe avocado in the five stores I checked. They could charge double for the ripe ones… I’d pay double for a perfectly ripe avocado – would you?

What you need for the salad:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • I can peaches and cream corn, along with the liquid
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and diced (amount dependent on your heat preferences)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

What you need for the dressing:

  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

What you do:

  1. Mix up all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Stir the dressing into the salad.
  3. Let the salad sit in the fridge with a cover over it for half an hour, or a few hours.

 

Fudge Brownies (Rebar’s recipe)

rebar's vegan brownies - trustinkim

The recipe for these cakey brownies comes from Rebar Restaurant’s vegan fudge brownie recipe. In my version I used butter and real chocolate, instead of vegan margarine and carob chips. I’m printing the recipe up as a non-vegan one, so if you need it to be vegan you can use the ingredients in brackets. I’ve had this recipe both ways, and both are delicious.

The cake part of this is great, but it’s the glaze on top, and the chocolate chips in the cake, that make this for me.

You can also add some toasted walnuts to the batter if you wish.

What you need for the brownie:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coffee, cooled
  • 3/4 cup milk (soy, rice, or your fave alternative milk)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (carob chips)

What you need for the glaze:

  • 210 grams (7 oz) dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup butter (vegan margarine)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease a 9″ by 9″ pan with butter and then line it with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder, then add the brown sugar and salt. Add the coffee, milk and oil, then stir until it is all combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick, which should come out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool.
  6. To prepare the glaze use either a double boiler, or a bowl on top of a pot of lightly boiling water. Melt the chocolate and butter and whisk it together until it is smooth. Pour the glaze over the cake and spread it so there is an even layer.
  7. Place the pan in the fridge to set. To slice, remove the cake from the fridge to warm a little before slicing. This will prevent the chocolate from cracking, and make your brownies prettier.

Buttermilk Apple Cake

apple cake - trustinkim

Some of the things I enjoyed about this recipe:

  • the hint of lemon
  • the slight crunch of the turbinado sugar topping
  • it’s still delicious on day 4
  • you can make a design with the apples

I found this recipe here. I just used a different type of apple, and changed the kind of sugar called for.

What you need:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, which I used)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to milk as a substitute)
  • 4 small apples, peeled and cored, cut into 1 & 1/2-cm thick slices (I used Gala apples)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
What you do:
  1. Butter and then flour (or spray) a 9-inch springform cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until is is light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in another bowl, and on low speed mix half of it into the batter.
  4. Mix in all the buttermilk.
  5. Mix in the remainder of the dry ingredients.
  6.  Pour the batter into the springform pan, spreading it to the edges using a spatula.
  7. Arrange the apples on top of the batter, pushing them down slightly. Sprinkle the top with some turbinado sugar and a light dusting of nutmeg.
  8. Place the filled springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes (mine was done on the early side). When a toothpick is inserted into the cake it should come out with a few crumbs attached.
  9. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes, then remove the springform ring and allow the cake to cool.
  10. When the cake has cooled completely you can store it in an airtight container for several days.

Lamb, Root Vegetable and Mushroom Stew

lamb, root vegetable and mushroom stew - trustinkim

The other day, in the middle of a bleak, grey Vancouver winter week, I needed to make something warm and comforting. And since I love lamb, this seemed the perfect thing to make. If you don’t love lamb, you could substitute beef.

I really enjoyed the variety of vegetables in this stew. Ass well, a rich broth was created using red wine and beef broth, with the lamb, vegetables and herbs adding flavour. You can use any root vegetables you wish, or just go with the ones I’ve listed in the ingredients.

I found the recipe on this site. It was posted as a pressure cooker recipe, but since I don’t have a pressure cooker, I made it using the slower stove-top method. I know that a lot of people got Instapots for Christmas this year, so this would be a suitable recipe to use that.

In the original recipe Herbes de Provence are used, but I prefer to make my own mix. One reason is that I already have all the herbs that I need to go into it, so I don’t want to buy yet another jar for my spice drawer. As well, I think lavender makes a great sachet to put in the dryer, or to keep clothing drawers smelling fresh –  but I really don’t like to eat lavender. So I made my recipe sans lavender. It has thyme, oregano, and tarragon, and there is already a spring of rosemary in the stew, so I didn’t put in more of that.

Serves at least 4 people with some bread, or on top of mashed potatoes.

What you need:

  • 1/2 kg / 1 pound lamb, cubed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup red pearl onions or 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms quartered 
  • 4 cups root vegetables cubed- I used  a little bit each of carrot, potato, parsnip, sweet potato and turnip
  • several grinds sea salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cubed lamb and toss until all the pieces are coated. Remove the lamb from the bowl, discarding the remainder of the flour.
  2. Heat a large French oven or pot to medium high heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the lamb to the pot, along with the shallot and garlic, cooking the lamb until it has browned all over.
  3. Pour the wine and broth into the pot with the lamb, along with the rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and tarragon. Bring to a boil and cook without a lid on for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring from time to time. The lamb should be tender at the end of this cooking time.
  4. Before the lamb cooking time is done, prepare the vegetables. If you are using the pearl onions, blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds, snip off the root end, and pop the onions out of their skins.
  5. When the lamb is tender, add the vegetables to the pot and cook for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Taste before adding pepper, and possibly some salt. If you used a store-bought beef broth you may not need to add salt. If you like you can garnish with a little parsley.
  7. This makes excellent leftovers, and is possibly even better when reheated.
    Enjoy!

Cinnamon Curry Roasted Chicken with Tomato Yogurt Sauce

Cinnamon Curry Roasted Chicken with Tomato Yogurt Sauce - trustinkim
This one’s a keeper! For the perfect dinner for four I added some potatoes to the roasting dish, and then served it with the most amazing date and almond spinach salad.
I was skeptical at first when I saw cinnamon in the recipe, because that’s something I’ve never had with chicken, but I’m so glad I took the risk and made this one. Paired with the yogurt sauce it is really a delicious combo.
What you need for the chicken:
  • 1 (4-pound/ 1.8 kg) roasting chicken
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 head garlic cloves separated and unpeeled, plus 6 peeled cloves
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 shallots, unpeeled and quartered
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 cup chicken broth
What you need for the sauce:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack you can place some carrots under the chicken to raise it up.
  2. Combine the cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cardamom pods in a small frying pan. Over medium heat toast the spices, swirling the spices around for about 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then grind with a mortar and pestle or in a grinder. Mix with the curry powder, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.
  3. Chop the 6 cloves of peeled garlic finely and combine it with the ginger and olive oil, then rub this mixture all over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, then sprinkle on the spice mixture.
  4. Place the unpeeled garlic, shallot quarters, and cinnamon sticks inside the chicken cavity, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  5. Place the chicken in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.
  6. If you are making potatoes, place them around the chicken about 20 minutes into the roasting time, and drizzle them with olive oil.
  7. At the 30 minute mark, baste the chicken with half of the broth.
  8. Roast for 20 minutes more, then baste with the remaining broth.
  9. Continue to roast the chicken for about 20 more minutes, until the juices run clear when the leg joint it pierced with a knife. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read 165F/ 74C. My chicken cooked very quickly, so I recommend checking it earlier than you think you might need to. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest while you prepare the sauce. Salt and pepper the potatoes, then place them in a serving dish. Cover to keep warm.
  10. Separate the fat from the pan juices, discarding the fat. Place the pan juices in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat, then whisk in the yogurt. It may curdle, so you can press the sauce through a sieve if this happens. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the tomatoes and cilantro, setting some of these aside to garnish with if you wish.
  11. Serve with the sauce on the side. When I served this people found the sauce made a very nice topping for the potatoes too.

Enjoy!

 

 

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates, Almonds and Toasted Pita

Ottolenghi baby spinach salad with dates and almonds - trustinkim

This is SUCH a great salad! In my cookbook library is a copy of the amazing Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, which contains this recipe, but I didn’t think to make it until I saw rave reviews online. So many people were commenting that this was their favourite salad, and now I know what they are talking about. It is my new favourite salad, and I can hardly wait to make it again.

I love the buttery toasted almonds and pita tossed in sumac. The onions (I used red because they are pretty) that are nicely mellowed in a vinegar marinade, along with the dates which become meltingly delicious, and their sweetness is balanced by the onion and vinegar.

I served this with the most delicious Cinnamon Curry Roast Chicken and potatoes. It was plenty of food for four people.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g pitted Medjool dates (about 5), quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small pitas, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Place the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl, adding a pinch of salt. Mix well with your hands, then leave to marinate for 20 minutes or more. Drain the extra vinegar
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat melt the butter and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pita and almonds, stirring to cook them for 5 to 6 minutes. The pita should become crunchy and brown. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the sumac, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let this cool.
  3. To prepare the salad toss the spinach with the pita in a large bowl, then add the dates and onion, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve right away!

Enjoy!