Friday, February 18, 2011

Blood Red Valentine

Dear Jess,

So, truth be told, we didn't make this on Valentines Day. However, we did make it a few days before in the spirit of St. Valentine. So I think it counts.

I wanted to try something different and something un-Jamie (although I love him so much). I don't deal with red meat very often, so that made it an adventure as well. My mom ordered and received The Best of Clean Eating cookbook, and I was most anxious to try something from it. While flipping through it (the first of many times) this recipe jumped out.

I must say that it holds lots of flavor, but next time I think I would beat the meat, as it would make it much more tender. Also, I didn't realize until too late that I did not have a working thermometer, so I got frustrated with checking to see how the middle was. (I hate cutting it open before it's done. It takes away from the moment, I think.) My mom said I '...nailed it. The outside was perfectly well done, and the middle was perfectly pink.' So I must have done something right!

Jason and I were going to make another dish that involved red meat, but the car that his mom left him (while he's house sitting for her as his family is in the Dominican) quit on Lansdowne Street and we had to get it towed to her house. So we skipped grocery shopping and ate pizza instead. We do plan on making the skipped dish soon though... so stay tuned!

Flank Steak Roll with Spinach and Garlic
From The Best of Clean Eating, Page 27
olive oil
1/4 cup whole-wheat panko
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (I used sliced almonds)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 (1lb) flank steak, trimmed of visible fat
3oz spinach leaves (about 6 cups)
kitchen string

1. Preheat oven to 400. Arrange a rack in a baking pan and coat with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine panko, nuts, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper flakes. Set aside.

3. Place steak on a work surface. Holding a sharp knife (ideally a carving knife with a thinner blade than a chef's knife) parallel to the work surface and positioned along one of the longer sides, cut steak almost in half horizontally, so it opens like a book. Spread steak open with the 'spine of book' aprallel to you.

4. Sprinkle panko mixture evenly over steak, leaving a one-inch border along the farthest edge. Arrange spinach on top of panko mixture. Beginning with the closest edge, roll steak up, gently pressing down on spinach. Rotate steak roll so it's vertical to you and tie crosswise at one-inch intervals with kitchen string. Place steak on rack in prepared baking pan and bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of steak registers 150F for medium doneness, about 35 minutes, or 130F for medium rare, about 30 minutes. Transfer steak roll to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes (internal temperature will continue to rise to about 160F for medium and 140F for medium rare.)

5. Remove foil and string and carefully cut steak crosswise into half-inch slices. Serve drizzled with any juices accumulated on cutting board.

I am sorry this one took so long to put up. I have been working like crazy (which I love!) I love you, and can't wait to see you next weekend for the Bridal Show! Have an amazing long weekend and enjoy your Family Day.

I will love you forever,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dualey Burgers!

Dear Sally,

I am so glad that you were able to stay for the weekend and hang out. Next time we will hopefully have more time to enjoy the city and hopefully not have to wade through cold slushy waters. I assume you are having fun playing with your new computer :) Skype date some time in the near future (within the next 20 years) sounds good!

As promised the Dualey Burger Post has arrived! I think my favorite part was the signs that Jesse made but the burgers were good too. I just used the burger recipe from Jamie's America and then we added awesome toppings. I think the plan is to make these again in the future with different crazy toppings. Jesse's was called the Burnin Love Dualey Burger and mine was the Original Dualey Burger. I also made cornbread for the occasion with a recipe that I found on I modified it a little of course but I think it turned out alright. I would have to ask the boys how it tasted because I can't eat them but what else is new?

I'll see you next Saturday!


Dualey Burgers
From Jamie's America
olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely chopped (I used white)
4 slices bread, crusts removed (I used 1/2 cup bread crumbs)
1 1/4 lbs. g00d-quality lean ground beef
1 tsp kosher salt
ground black pepper
1 large egg
handful of fresh parsley

1. Put a splash of olive oil in the frying pan on low heat and add your chopped onions. Fry for 10 minutes or until the onions have softened, then put to one side and let cool completely. Blitz your bread in a food processor until you get a fine consistency. Oil and clean a sheet pan and set aside. Put the cooled onions into a large bowl with the rest of the burger ingredients. Use clean hands to scrunch the mixture together really well, then divide into 6 equal balls for burgers and 18 equal balls for sliders. Wet your hands and roll the balls into burger-shaped patties about 3/4 inch thick. Put your burgers or sliders on the oiled sheet pan and pat with a little olive oil. Cover them with plastic wrap and put the pan into the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until the patties firm up.

2. If using a fry pan or grill pan, put it on high heat now and let it get really hot. However you decide to cook your burgers , they'll want around 3-4 minutes per side.
I used Cajun seasoning on the burgers when I was cooking them.


Burnin Love Burger

spicy mayo (1/4 cup mayo and a few dashes of hot sauce)
deep fried hot peppers (trade secret)

Original Dualey Burger


Jalapeno Cornbread
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

1. In a bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in Jalapenos. Pour into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.

2. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares or wedges. Serve warm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spicy Anniversary

Dear Jess,

So, Jason and I celebrated 8 months last weekend. (It was actually on Tuesday, but I was SUPER sick.) He was house-sitting for my cousin and her family as they went on a week-long vacation. It is important to point out that they heat their house primarily by two fireplaces, and when Jason was gone for 12 hours or more, 4 days in a row, you can imagine it got pretty nippley. Poor guy was sleeping on a couch directly in front of the fireplace so he could load it every few hours throughout the night. After too many nights like this, he managed to get the house semi-heated for my arrival on Friday night. It was in honour/fear/anger of this bitter cold plague that we decided to make a recipe that has been on our 'to-do' list for a few weeks: Fiery Dan Dan Noodles from Jamie's America. Not only is this recipe quick and simple, it is so delicious, and extremely spicy! (I made it again on Monday night for the family, and I pleasantly discovered that you can easily change how spicy you make it, and with less spiciness, it is still yummy.)

Fiery Dan Dan Noodles - Jamie's America, Pg 42

Fiery Dan Dan Noodles
From Jamie's America, Page 42
(Serves 4)
1 beef or chicken bouillon (I just used chicken broth)
1 1/4 lb ground beef
2 tbsp honey
10 oz Chinese wheat noodles (If you can't find any: Chow Mien noodles work)
4 handfuls of mixed green veg (Napa cabbage, Broccolini, Bok Choy, Spinach) (I used Kale instead of Cabbage, and couldn't find Broccolini, so I just used Broccoli.)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tbsp dark soy sauce (I used reduced-sodium soy sauce)
2 tsp freshly ground Szechuan pepper (I couldn't find this, so I used Cayenne Pepper)
5 tbsp good-quality chile oil (see PS below) 
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 lime, quartered, to serve

PS - If you can't find chile oil in a store you can make it! Get a handful of mixed dried chiles, toasting them in the oven to bring the flavor out, whacking them in a food processor with a bottle of peanut oil, and pouring it back into the bottle. This will keep well in your cupboard for a year. (I just used the peanut oil, and added some red pepper flakes to the dish... It made it pretty spicy so if you just use the peanut oil it still turns out yummy.)

1. Crumble your boullion cube into a large saucepan of water and get it on the heat.

2. Add the beef to a dry frying pan and, on a medium to high heat, keep moving it around until it's golden and crunchy, which will take about 10 - 15 minutes. Pour away any excess fat, then add the honey and toss until all the beef is nicely coated. Cook for about 30 seconds, then take the pan off the heat.

3. Stir your noodles into the boiling broth and move them about a bit so they don't stick together. Cook following the package instructions. Shred your cabbage into 1/2 inch strips, quarter your bok choy, and snap up the broccolini spears. When the noodles have 1 minute to go, throw in the prepared greens to blanch them. Drain the whole lot in a colander, reserving a mugful of the cooking water. Tip your noodles, veggies, and the mugful of water back into the hot pan.

4. Add your garlic, soy sauce, Szechuan pepper, and chile oil. Give it all a good mix with the tongs and divide between 4 bowls. Sprinkle over the crunchy beef (you can reheat this a t the last minute if you like), finish with a scattering of scallions, and serve each dish with a lime quarter to squeeze over. A serious noodle dish!


I can't wait to see you this weekend! Have a good rest-of-the-week. Today I got a 'half-day' because of the snow. I'm thinking of making some Navajo Flatbreads tonight with spelt flour, fresh basil and fresh rosemary! I'll let you know how it goes!