Honey Sriracha Beef Skewers

honey + sriracha + beef + skewers

By now, you’re probably on to me and my word puzzles.  No, I did not stop myself from diving headlong into honey sriracha beef skewers long enough to take a picture.  If it’s a picture you want, hop on over to Inspired Taste, since that’s where I found this recipe.

What I can tell you is that in order to make honey sriracha beef skewers, I had to stare down one of my nemesis….the grill.  We have a gas grill.  It sits on the backporch, securely locked up against anyone foolish enough to consider trying to steal it.  Although that’s probably a bit more protection than we really need since the porch is a good twelve feet off the ground and the steps down are a little tricky.  So if someone were determined enough to haul that thing down the back steps, then maybe they’re entitled to the grill and however much gas is left in the tank.

Anyway, my point is that we have a grill.  But we never use it.  Between the yellowjackets that build their nests in the cover and the other critters that I am convinced hibernate under the hood, I have talked myself into believing that it’s a danger zone.  I have other excuses too, my favorite one is that the starter button doesn’t work (no really, it doesn’t and I have to light the thing with a flaming bamboo skewer).  When the truth is simply that I don’t feel comfortable at the grill.  Not that it’s “a man’s place” or anything, it’s just that I don’t have much experience with the grill.

But honey sriracha beef skewers enticed me to (carefully) kick away the yellowjacket nests and open the lid.  Surprisingly, I found no evidence of hibernating critters inside.  After a few unsuccessful attempts at lighting the damn thing (seriously, bamboo skewers and wind don’t mix) the flames were going, the grates were heating, and I was on my way to discovering that the grill isn’t such a scary place after all and that sweet and spicy beef skewers make for a lovely supper.

Honey Sriracha Beef Skewers

Adapted from Inspired Taste

  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds sirloin beef steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • zest of one lime
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 vietnamese red chili pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a bowl.  Taste for seasoning and more honey, sriracha, and salt to taste.  Add the beef cubes and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

While the beef marinates, soak five or six wooden bamboo skewers in water and set aside.

Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add more lime juice, honey, and salt to taste.  The dressing should be limey with a hint of heat from the chili but a little bit of creamy smoothness from the sour cream.  Set the dressing aside.

When you are ready to cook, thread the beef onto the skewers.  Heat a grill pan over medium high heat or light a gas grill to medium high.  Place the skewers on the grill or grill pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes before carefully turning them over with tongs and cooking an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the cooked skewers to a sheet pan and cover with foil to rest for approximately 5 minutes.

Serve the skewers on a bed of mixed greens drizzled with the dressing.

{printable recipe}

Daube de Boeuf

not daube de beouf...just in case you were wondering

What is daube de boeuf?  That’s just a fancy name for beefy, stewy pot roast.  A fancy French name for beefy, stewy pot roast. So what’s fancy French pot roast got to do with the picture above?  I took that photo at the chateau where The Mistah and I stayed while we were in France.  I can’t believe it’s been over two years since we were there.

Sadly, our hosts at the chateau didn’t serve us daube de boeuf.  And we didn’t try it at any of the restaurants or bistros where we dined.  To be honest, I didn’t make the acquaintance of daube de boeuf until last year.  But it makes me think of the days we spent exploring Normandy….narrow, winding roads lined with bocage, traffic circles, ancient churches, and stately chateaus.  It reminds me of cold September mornings and the heat of the afternoon sun.  It sounds like hymns sung in French for the noon mass at Mont St Michele and feels like the water of the tidal flats lapping against my calves.  And in my imaginary life, where we have a vacation home in Normandy, it’s exactly the kind of meal that I would fix for an informal weekend supper with friends.

At this imaginary dinner, we would eat and drink and be tres heureux (that’s very happy).  Our table would overflow with laughter, so much so that it would spill out into the courtyard and be picked up on the evening breeze, destined to be scattered among the stars.

I may not have a French chateau.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t make that imaginary dinner a reality.

Daube de Boeuf

Adapted from Elizabeth Bard, Lunch in Paris

  • 4 pounds rump or chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 shallots, whole
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 16 ounces whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 4 carrots, halved
  • 8 ounces mushrooms

Heat your oven to 325 degrees, pat your roast dry with paper towels, and sprinkle it with kosher salt and black pepper.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a dutch oven large enough to hold the roast over medium high heat.  Once the pot is hot, add the beef and brown it on both sides.  If you had to cut your roast into several large pieces to get it to fit in the pot, work in batches and brown the meat on all sides.

Remove the meat once it is well browned.  Add the shallots and chopped carrot and cook for approximately 10 minutes before returning the meat back to the pot.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, the wine, and broth to the pot.  Bring to a simmer, cover, and transfer to the oven for 90 minutes.  After 90 minutes, turn the meat over and cook for an additional 90 minutes.  At this point, add the mushrooms and the halves carrots and continue to cook another 30 to 40 minutes or until the meat is fork tender and the vegetables are cooked.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Peeps Show ’09

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 4/17/09 at Exit 51.

Peeps Show ’09

I like to think I am a good host.  At a minimum, that means that I try not to leave you with incomplete stories.  So by my own definition, I would not be a good host if I didn’t bring you the results of the 2009 Washington Post Peep Diorama Contest.

image from the washington post
image from the washington post

Now that the contest is over, enjoy your Peeps.

Balsamic Preserved Cherries

I have a self imposed rule about shoes and purses.  In order for me to buy a new one, an old one has to go.  For the shoes, this isn’t so problematic.  I tend to go through them on a regular basis.  Typically, the pair I’m buying is to replace the pair that I’ve just worn out.

It’s a little trickier with the purses.  I have to think long and hard about which one I am willing to part with in order to add a new one to my collection.  Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve bought a new purse…but there was a lovely Kate Spade bag on ridiculous sale a few months ago that nearly pushed my beat up Coach bag into the donation pile.

In the year or so that I’ve been canning, I’ve come to realize that I need to expand this rule just a bit to include jars.  The collection of half pint jars…both empty and full…is threatening to take over what little storage space we have here at BAH.  That means that until we eat our way through what’s already been canned, or give it away, I am on canning restriction.  No new jars will be purchased and no new batches of jams or jellies will be cooked up.

Part of the canning collection that we’ve dug into recently is the balsamic preserved cherries.  Both savory and sweet, they are one of the more versatile jars in the stash…they could go with a pork or beef tenderloin as easily as they dress up my morning yogurt.  I can’t believe it has taken us this long to open them up and let them shine in all of their syrupy balsamic glory.

Fortunately, I should have plenty of time to work through the rest of the inventory before cherry season comes back around.  Because I need to make sure these get restocked.

Balsamic Cherries

Adapted from Nomnivorous

BAH Note: You’re going to want a cherry pitter for this project.  If you don’t have one, see if you can borrow one or just resign to buying one for about twenty bucks.  Pitting this many cherries is a bit of work, even with the gadget, but the pitter should cut down on the cursing and CSI worthy spattering.  If you absolutely can’t get your hands on a pitter, you could use a paring knife to carefully cut the cherries open and squeeze out the pits.

  • 4 cups sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1 /2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Combine the cherries and water in a large dutch oven or other non-reactive pot.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently and lightly crushing the cherries to break them up and release juice.

Add the sugar, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of kosher salt. Continue to gently boil the mixture for approximately 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until it thickens a bit but is still loose.

Ladle the mixture into heated jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space, and process for 10 minutes.

Let the jars cool for 24 hours before checking the seal and storing the jars. Any jars that have not sealed should be refrigerated or immediately reprocessed using new lids.

balsamic cherries

Braised Lentils

can't find french green lentils at the grocery store...look no further than amazon.com

The Mistah and I have been swimming in an ocean of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape.  Forms.  Inspections.  Interviews.  It’s enough to leave me drained and uninspired at the end of the day.  Which means that my tolerance for fussy dinners is at an all time low.  Right now I want uncomplicated.  I want comfort.

There are a lot of dishes I could choose that meet that criteria.  But from a perspective of economy…of effort, of money, and of return on investment…braised lentils are my clear winner. Brown the bacon, chop and saute the veg, add lentils and liquid, and walk away for an hour.

Now, during that hour I may be trying to untangle some of the red tape or get to the bottom of the seemingly endless stack of forms.  But when the timer goes off, I can forget about all of that and sink into a bowl of beautifully braised lentils.  It’s like my lifejacket in the ocean of paperwork.

Braised Lentils

Adapted from Elizabeth Bard, Lunch in Paris

BAH Note: I mostly eat lentils with salad greens but I like Elizabeth’s suggestion of topping them with a dollop of sour cream and serving it with a pan fried or broiled salmon fillet.

  • 1 cup french green lentils
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2  to 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into lardons

Cook the bacon lardons in a dutch oven set over medium heat until well browned.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a small bowl and set aside.

Add the carrot and onions to the bacon drippings in the dutch oven and cook for approximately 10 minutes until the vegetables start to become tender and the onion is translucent.  Add the lentils to the dutch oven and stir them to completely coat them in bacon drippings.  Add the broth, stir to combine, then partially cover the dutch oven and let the lentils cook on low heat until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, approximately one hour.

Add the bacon to the lentils and taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper to taste and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Fridy – Holy Mole

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 4/15/09 at Exit 51.

Holy Mole

Forgive me, for I have sinned.  I have been unfaithful…to my Chicken Mole.  I’m sure that as indiscretions go, this one is pretty minor.  But I can’t help myself.  Even though I already have a perfectly fine South Beach recipe for Chicken Mole, when I spotted Oxana Chicken Mole listed in the Bon Appetit cookbook, temptation led me astray.

Holy Mole

I felt bad as I gathered the ingredients.  I knew that what I was doing was wrong.  But it was exciting.  As I cut and measured and prepped, I wondered if Oxana and I were always meant to be together.  I wondered what the future held for us.  I heated the pan over a medium flame and wondered if South Beach would try to get me back.  The chicken went into the pan and I wondered if it was too late to turn back.  The air filled with the scent of cinnamon, cumin, and chili and I knew I could not stop, even if I wanted to.  Tomatoes and chocolate joined the party and as the sauce deepened to a dark, ruddy red, my anticipation grew.

Simmer, bubble, stir.  At last, it was time.  Nervously, I filled my bowl and inhaled Oxana’s deep, spicy aroma.  That first taste lingered on my tongue, robust; then an explosion of heat, as my spoon went back for more.   By the time it was done, I knew I could not let Oxana slip away, never to be tasted again.

I’m not sure how long it will be till we’re  together, but until we are I will ask for forgiveness.  And then I’ll go and do it all again.

Oxana Chicken Mole

Bon Appetit Fast, Easy, Fresh

The recipe below is as it appears in the book.  Instead of cooking the chicken breasts whole, I cut them into cubes and cooked them until they were done before removing them from the pan.  I don’t know about you, but in my kitchen, chicken takes more than about 2 minutes per side to cook.  Adjust the spices as you like.  I found that with the exception of the chili powder, I used more than stated.  That includes the chocolate.  Please note that unsweetened chocolate is not the same as cocoa powder.  Look for a bar of unsweetened (baking) chocolate.  This recipe doubles very easily.

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 14 oz to 16 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/4 ounce unsweetened chocolate

Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Heat oil in heavy medium skillet, over medium high heat.  Add chicken and saute until brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to plate.  Add remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon to skillet; stir 15 seconds.  Mix in tomatoes with juice and chocolate; simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.  Return chicken to skillet; simmer until just cooked through and sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ruth’s Spiced Chicken

During my Advantium Adventures, I noticed that chicken skin does not brown and crisp quite the same as it does in my gas oven.  And that’s a shame because crispy chicken skin is one of my favorite things.  So I wonder what would happen if I add a simple step to the equation and do a quick browning of the chicken before popping it into the Advantium?

I think I need to test this theory out.  And I have the perfect recipe to use as my test subject…Ruth’s Spiced Chicken.  The method already has you browning the chicken on the stove and then finishing it off in a hot oven.  I’ve made it this way and can attest that the spiced chicken is delightful.  I bet that getting crispy roast chicken skin out of my Advantium would be an even bigger delight.

Ms. Reichl, I hope you don’t mind that I’m planning to use your recipe as my test case.  I’d gladly have you over for a plate of your Spiced Chicken a la Advantium to get your reaction.

Spiced Chicken

Adapted from Ruth Reichl

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken bone in chicken breasts, skin on
  • 1/2 cup water

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix the spices together in a small bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the spices and make a thin paste.  Heat the remaining oil in a large, oven proof skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat.

While the oil it heating up, rub the spice paste all over the chicken.  When the pan is hot, place the chicken in the pan and cook until browned, approximately 6 to 8 minutes, turning once.  Once the chicken is browned on both sides, turn it skin side up, and transfer the pan to the oven.  Cook for another 25 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and then add the water to the hot pan, bring to a boil over high heat, and scrape up any browned bits from the pan.  Carefully skim the fat off the sauce and spoon over the chicken.

{printable recipe}

Shameless Self Promotion

Remember that moment at the end of Steel Magnolia’s when Spud surprises Truvy with a second beauty salon and she exclaims “I’m a chain!”?  Thanks to Etsy, I’m having my very own Truvy moment.

See, after my chardonnay and stress induced meltdown about the state of our finances in relation to the adoption process, I decided that I could either w(h)ine about it or I could try and do something about it.  I guess you can figure which choice won out.

My shop is officially open for business over on Etsy where you can purchase custom note cards featuring original images used here on BAH as well as some of my favorite non-food photos.

I won’t try and sell you on the idea that buying from my Etsy shop is going to stimulate the economy.  Sure, your order means that I will continue to purchase supplies and materials from other vendors, thus feeding the economy like a hungry sourdough starter.  But that’s a cheap sales tactic.  I am hoping that the images speak for themselves.

Seriously, look at the baby goat staring at you up there?  Doesn’t that face just make your heart melt?

I never said I was above emotional sales tactics….so click on the link above, the Etsy badge on the sidebar, or bookmark http://www.etsy.com/shop/bonappetithon.

Ina’s Brownies

I had to hide this recipe after making Ina’s brownies once or twice.  They were outrageously good.  But when I made them this time, they weren’t what I remembered.  I rememeberd them being tall and cakey.  What I have on that plate up there is neither tall nor cakey.  It’s still outrageously good, but in a different way.

The beauty of the brownie is that it can be underbaked and still be a success.  Just call them ‘fudgey’ and people will think you meant for them to be that way.  I personally thought they improved after sitting uncovered for a day.

Ina’s Brownies

Adapted from Ina Garten

BAH Note: Don’t go down this road unless you can commit to making a LOT of brownies.  Or if you are willing to bust out a slide rule and figure out the math to scale the recipe down.  It would be a good idea to lay out a large sheet of aluminum foil on the rack under your pan just in case the batter ‘escapes’ from your pan.  I tell you this from my own experience…cleaning charred Ina’s Brownie batter from the bottom of the oven is no fun.

  • 1 pound butter (no, not a typo.  i told you this makes a LOT of brownies)
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Butter and flour the foil lined pan or spray lightly with cooking spray.

Melt the butter, 1 pound of semi sweet chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of the stove, stirring frequently.  Allow the melted mixture to cool slightly.

While the butter and chocolate melt, mix the eggs, instant espresso, vanilla and sugar in the workbowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, the salt, and baking powder, and set it aside.

Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture to the eggs and stir until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the batter.  Combine the remaining 1/4 cup flour with the 12 ounces of chocolate chips and stir into the batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and bake for 30 minutes or until a tester just comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking.

Allow the brownies to cool for 30 – 45 minutes in the pan before carefully removing the foil and cutting the brownies into small squares.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Book Report

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 4/13/09 at Exit 51.

Book Report

On our first date, SFC asked me what I like to do.  My answer could have doomed the relationship before it even got started.  I said, “I like to read”.  I’ve always been a reader, as long as I can remember.  Books take me to places filled with color and life, interesting people, and grand adventures.  They take me outside of myself.


My earliest literary memories are of my grandmother reading stories about Abercrombie, Benjamin, and Christopher or Babbar the Elephant at bedtime.  Once I could read the words on the pages for myself, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Nancy Drew, and Judy Blume all followed.  It is my opinion that Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret should be considered the official adolescent girls’ handbook.

Even now, I can be transported back to points in time just thinking of certain books.  There was my obsession with Stephen King from about 7th to 10th grade.  The Talisman?  Could not put it down.  Christine?  I started reading it in the afternoon and did not go to bed until I had finished it around 3:30am.  The Shining?  Scared the bejezzus out of me in a way the movie could not.  In fact, I scared myself so bad reading It that I could never bring myself to watch the movie.  Ever.  Put a Stephen King book in my hands now and I’m once again a 13 year old with feathered hair, sitting in my bedroom with purple as far as the eye can see, the obligitory unicorn artwork, and a rockin’ Steve Perry poster.  What can I say, 13 was a period of transition for me.

My taste in books expands and contracts over time.  Some, like Atlas Shrugged, will always be a favorite and have a permanent place on the bookshelf.  Others, like  The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love, or the latest Vince Flynn thriller, fill a momentary void and are soon passed on.

So books and me, we go way back. Cooking, on the other hand, is relatively new in comparison.  Before I met SFC, cooking wasn’t really on my radar.  My meals consisted mostly of Lean Cuisine this and spaghetti that.  It just wasn’t a focus.  When I did try and cook, the results were not what I would call successful.  I still have not recovered from my first attempt to cook a ham.  No matter how long it stayed in the oven, that thing just would not get done.  Hours later, when the thermometer still refused to get to 160 degrees,  it was a lost cause since it had been pretty well ingrained into me that you don’t eat undercooked pork or chicken.  So when a recipe tells me to cook for so many minutes per pound, I move on to the next option.  This is why at our house there is no turkey on Thanksgiving and no ham on Easter.  Just so you know.

I would have to say it was after SFC and I started dating that my inner foodie surfaced.  Yes, I wanted to impress him with mad cooking skills.  I also wanted to stop eating out of boxes and cans.  So I rolled up my sleeves and got cooking.  If someone were to ask me now what I like to do, I would have to say that I like to read and I like to cook.

Usually, most cookbooks don’t make for enjoyable reading.  And most novels don’t add to your recipe collection. But sometimes, those two interests intersect.  When they do, I’m all over it.  Take A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.

You’ve heard me talk about Molly.  She’s the woman behind the curtain at Orangette.  I can’t remember how I found her blog.  But it was the first food site that I ever bookmarked.  Before Food Network and before The Minimalist even.  Sorry Ina, Alton, and Mark.

Molly’s blog is full of stories from real life.  Her real life.  The exciting days and the ordinary ones.  But there is  joy and beauty in even the most ordinary day that comes across in her stories.  And passion.  Passion for the people she loves and passion for the food that they share.   For me, reading her is like talking to an old friend.  Even if I don’t come around to visit for while, we pick right up where we left off like not a day has gone by.

In her book we are an angst ridden teenager.  We spend holidays with her family. We leave college and move to Paris.    Later, we move to Seattle and start a blog.  We meet our future husband courtesy of the blog.  We also lose our father, an aunt, and an uncle.  We get married.  And we cook.

Each chapter in the book ends with a recipe.  While I’ve never had a pickled carrot before, reading about how it was only natural for Molly and Brandon to make homemade pickled carrots for their wedding, I could almost taste them in my mouth.  Here, I’ll let her tell you…”…spindly and sweet, as small and delicate as a lady’s pinky and just the right height to stand, shoulder to shoulder, in a quart sized Mason jar.”  As soon as I find two Mason jars, I will be trying the recipe on page 290.

Each recipe tells a story and each story holds a recipe.  Molly brings the two together in a way that will make you cry as much as it will make you laugh.  Don’t be surprised if you find that this book calls out for a permanent spot on your bookshelf.