Main Dish · Recipes

steak in a bag

Steak in a bag…It’s delicious.  Veronica gave me this recipe about 25 years ago.  I wrote the recipe on an index card.  I’m sure it made sense to me at the time, but not so much anymore.  Here is the adjusted version.  I hope it makes sense 25 years from now.  The original recipe calls for top sirloin.  I made this for Sunshine’s Mom when Sunshine lived at the beach.  The oven was old, and never really got up to temperature.  It cooked low and slow.  No knife needed when it finally came out.

steak in a bag

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons season salt
  • 1 tablespoon season pepper
  • 2 cups fresh egg bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese
  • 2-3 pound top sirloin steak (I used tenderloin of beef)

Combine garlic, olive oil, season salt and pepper.  Rub onto meat.

Schmear it.

Combine bread crumbs and cheese and pack it onto the meat.

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375º.  Place in a paper bag on a sheet pan and bring to room temperature.  Bake until desired doneness.  Check internal temperature by using an instant read thermometer: approximately 125º  for medium rare.

Let meat rest for 30 minutes before serving.  Check out the article on Serious Eats – The Food Lab on the importance of resting meat.

And this is from one of the top chefs in the country – Thomas Keller:

Tempering and resting:

“Two of the most important parts of cooking are “tempering” meats and fish that have come out of the refrigerator (letting them come to room temperature) and resting meats and fish after you remove them from heat.  Tempering happens on the countertop away from the stove, and resting takes place in a warm spot such as the top of your stove.  They should both be considered critical parts of the cooking process.

If you put a piece of meat, poultry, or fish straight from the refrigerator into a hot pan or oven, it can’t possibly cook evenly.  To ensure even cooking, you must allow it to come to room temperature.
The bigger the item, the more necessary this is.  A whole chicken or prime rib should sit a room temperature for at least a hour, even longer for a large roast.  But smaller cuts benefit from being allowed to come to room temperature before going into the heat.

Equally significant is the resting period after the food has been removed from the heat.  Everything continues to cook once it’s out of the heat, an effect called carry over cooking.  But, even more important, as meat rests, the juices can redistribute throughout the meat.  The meat fibers also firm up a little as the rest and are able to hold more juices.  Allow a good long rest for big roasts, 30 minutes or so and for whole birds, at least 20 minutes.  Don’t worry about food getting cold, the dense flesh stays hot for a long time.  The smaller the item, the less time it needs to rest.  The only items you should not let rest are thin fish fillets, which lose moisture easily and can dry out.”

I’m getting rid of the clutter.  It’s a beginning-of-the-year thing.  Cecilia turned me on to a great little book: Clearing your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston, so now I’m on a mission!

I just got a new rotisserie (Thom and Laura got the old one) and needed space for the new one in my kitchen.

So…the cappuccino maker needs to go.  I like it, I just don’t use it very often.  It needs a loving home.

Who wants it?

Bacon · Main Dish · Pizza · Recipes

New Year’s Eve Pizza Party!!

Happy New Year!!!!  We had a great time making pizza with our friends on New Year’s Eve.  And when I say we had a great time, I mean we had A GREAT TIME!!!!   I’m still in my pj’s.  It’s January 2nd.

Laura had the genius idea to spread a little bit of her bacon jam on her pizza.  It was delicious!  Luckily I have another jar.  I think I’ll try a little bacon jam and blue cheese the next time I make pizza.  Here is her recipe:

Laura’s Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam

  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon
  • 2 medium yellow onions, small dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee

Cook bacon until lightly browned.  Remove bacon and  drain fat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the skillet.  Add bacon and stir to combine.  Transfer mixture to a 6 quart slow cooker .  Cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Transfer to a foood processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Let cook, then refrigerate.

Nice dough ball.  Making your own dough is worth the effort.  Check out the recipe on my other pizza party post.


Laura’s pie!  Yummy….I see the bacon jam!

Fully loaded!!

Tawny and Shawn’s pizza!

Have a slice!

Veronica’s pizza…


A little bubbly.

Happy New Year!!!

Oh Sunshine, you are so funny!

Good night Thom.

Good night Laura.

A little slide show…I told you we had fun:)

Healthy · Main Dish · Recipes · Salad · Side Dish

dinner for less than a trillion calories

FINALLY!  Dinner for less than a trillion calories.  This after Chik made us ride 7.5 miles on our bikes.  That’s a lot for people who don’t ride bikes.  My legs felt like they were going to fall off.  I felt very righteous after our ride…and Sunshine kept going on about how Monday is the beginning of his week to be good and healthy…so, I guess I was inspired, or he shamed me into making this dinner.  Either way, it is delicious.

Red cabbage slaw with smokey blue cheese

  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • good splash of cider vinegar
  • drizzle of good olive oil
  • 2 ounces of smokey blue cheese

Grilled chicken thighs with ancho chili rub

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Yukon gold mashed potatoes

  • 1 pound baby yukon gold potatoes
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the slaw: shred cabbage and carrots and combine in a bowl.  Add cider vinegar, olive oil and smokey blue cheese.  Refrigerate.

For the grilled chicken: combine chili powder, cumin and salt.  Season chicken.  Grill for 4 minutes over medium heat.  Turn chicken and grill for 3 minutes longer.

For the mashed potatoes:  Cut potatoes into 1″ pieces and steam until fork tender.  Mash with olive oil, add steaming water as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Turley has moved on from eating my shoes to spying on the neighbors.

Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says:  Hi Slop!
I’ve been waiting for you to cook something that would pair well with my favorite white wine find this year – a 2008 Chilean Chardonnay from Errazuriz.
The Chardonnay , called Wild Ferment, features a complex, multi-layered nose that combines mineral notes with expressive tropical fruit aromas. This fresh and elegant white has just the right amount of toasted notes from oak ageing to cut through the ancho chili on the chicken and compliment the smokey blue cheese in the cabbage side dish at the same time. No need to open two different wines for this meal! I love the bright acidity that balances the lush and creamy texture that leads to a long, lingering, and pleasing finish.
How about an invite for this one?!?

Okay Greg…you’ve got it.  Come over anytime….but don’t forget the wine!!!  Love ya…Slop

Main Dish · Pasta · Recipes · Vegetarian

butternut squash ravioli

Sunshine decided we should make ravioli with the butternut squash I roasted last week.  A very good call.

Sunshine made the pasta dough, Sondi rolled it out, and then everyone had their hands in shaping the ravioli.  I love inviting friends over to make their own dinner.  Where’s Melissa?  Probably manning the camera.

I changed up the sauce a bit for my vegetarian friend, Chik.  I’ve made this before with chicken stock and pancetta.  This time I used vegetable broth and eliminated the pancetta and it was still delicious.  I think I’ll keep to my vegetarian version from now on.  Thanks, Chik.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Cider Cream

Ravioli filling

  • Roasted Butternut Squash
  • large scoop of mascarpone
  • large scoop of ricotta
  • snow flurry of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • salt and pepper

Cider cream sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 5 sage leaves, chiffonade, plus more whole leaves for frying
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • olive oil, for frying the sage leaves

Puree the butternut squash.  Add the mascarpone, ricotta and parmigiano-reggiano.  Season to taste.

Make the fresh pasta, let rest for 30 minutes.

Roll out sheets of dough .  If you’re using the Kitchen Aide attachment: start on setting number one.  Fold rolled out dough into thirds, and pass through the pasta machine on the same setting, but rotate the dough 90 degrees.  Repeat.  Now you’re ready to pass through to setting number two.  Dust the dough with flour before changing to setting number three, four and five.

Now you’re ready to make the ravioli.

Using a small scooper or spoon, place ravioli filling in the middle of each cut piece of pasta.

Dab the edges with egg wash and then fold into a triangle or rectangle.

Press down around the filling to the edges of the ravioli to seal.  The ravioli can be frozen on a sheet pan and then transfered to a large ziplock bag.

For the sauce:  Saute the shallots and thyme in melted butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.

Add broth and cider, and simmer for 8 minutes.

Add cream and sage, simmer for an additional 5 minutes.  Add freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, mix to incorporate.  Turn off heat.  Fry sage leaves in olive oil until they stop sizzling.  Drain on paper towels.

Cook pasta until it floats.  It’s fresh, so it won’t take long.  Drain and then toss into the cider cream.

Garnish with fried sage leaves and additional parmigiano-reggiano.



Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says:  The “safe” choice is an Alsace Pinot Gris for its touch of sweetness and acidity, but instead, I’m really into this obscure white grape from Campania Italy called Falanghina. The producer is Terredora and we have the 2009 vintage Falanghina.   I’m not the only person who liked it either; Wine Advocate scored this beauty 90 points!
Falanghina has a surprising richness in its almost tropical expression of fruit. The aromatics that emerge in the glass add further complexity to this generous and utterly engaging white. It is unbelievably delicious, and has this great finish of pumpkin and all spice on the back palate.  This will pair with your Butternut Squash Ravioli perfectly!

Here’s Chik!  Crazy vegetarian…

Bacon · Main Dish · Recipes

another French lesson

I made these veal chops with mustard for Sunshine, my sister Veronica and her husband Joey.  They were so delicious and very tender.  This was another French lesson from Anne Willan’s book,  The Country Cooking of France.  I love all of the pictures in the book, not just of food, but of the rural France as well.
I’m sad I just missed a series of classes she was teaching in Los Angeles.  Hopefully she’ll be teaching more classes soon.  Here is the recipe from her book:

Cotes de Veau Dijonnaise

  • 4 veal chops (about 2 pounds total)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces lean bacon, cut into lardons
  • 16-18 baby onions, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 cup white wine, preferably chardonay
  • 3/4 cup veal broth (I used veal demiglace)
  • 1 bouquet garni (a tied bundle of fresh thyme sprig, dried bay leaf, and several sprigs  of fresh parsley wrapped in a the leek greens)
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Season chops on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan.  Add bacon lardons and cook until lightly browned, 3-5 minutes, remove and drain, set aside.  Add onions to the pan a saute until golden brown, 7-10 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the chops to the pan and brown, 2-3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan, set aside.

Whisk flour into the pan and cook until bubbling.  Add wine, bring to a boil and stir to incorporate the browned bits stuck to the pan.  Stir in broth and whisk until smooth.

Add the bacon and chops back into the pan, tuck the bouquet garni in between the chops.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 minutes.

Uncover, add the onions and cook for an additional 15 minutes.   Transfer chops to a serving plate, remove the bouquet garnis.  Whisk the creme fraiche into the sauce and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the mustard and parsley, spoon over the veal chops and serve.

Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says:  Veal chops wine pairing: I’m going with the Brown Estate 2007 Chaos Theory Proprietary Red.  This is a dark, deep, brooding yet  seductive wine that glides over your palate toward a long, elegant finish. The perfect wine to pair with the veal and mustard based sauce.

Brown made a beauty here.  It has a dense crimson color, with a blue scarlet rim, that leads to a fragrant nose of exotic Asian apple blossom, crushed rose petals, and cloves.  Its soft, silky texture gives way to ripe, forward fruit that is  balanced with layers of complexity. Flavors of blackberries, black cherries, cappuccino, and tobacco lead to an earthy undertone of big game and fresh sage and rosemary. I’m drooling over this one!

Healthy · Main Dish · Recipes

almost instant dinner

I had a rude awakening this morning.  I stepped on the dreaded scale at the gym.  I figured it was time to face the music (or did my trainer make me?).  It’s time to get back on the healthy band wagon.  So,  here you go.

I love this almost instant dinner.   I found the recipe on Epicurious last year, and have made it several times.  I’m usually not a fan of bottled salad dressings, but Galeo’s World’s Best Miso Toasted Sesame Seed Dressing is really pretty good.  Of course you can serve this dinner with some jasmine rice, but the scale told me no.  Here is my simplified version of a simple recipe to begin with.  So easy, even a cave man can do it, right?  Sorry cave man, no offense.

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli Slaw

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver skin
  • 1-12 ounce package of broccoli slaw
  • Galeo’s World Best Miso Toasted Sesame Seed Dressing (it’s low fat!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place a rack in a baking pan.  Add water to reach depth of 1/4″.  Combine hoisin and soy sauce.

Brush pork tenderloin with the hoisin mixture.  Season generously with pepper.  Place pork on rack, and drizzle with additional sauce.  Roast pork for 25 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  While pork is resting, combine broccoli slaw and dressing.

Greg Schroeder of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says:

With Asian food, in particular the Hoison spice, the wine that pairs extremely well is a Spatlese Riesling. Spatlese Rieslings are a bit sweeter than the everyday Kabinett’s, but not too sweet. They typically have very good acidity and are low in alcohol, making them the perfect pairing with spicy foods.

I’ve selected for you our St. Urbans-Hof 2009 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spatlese. We’re not talking a dessert wine here. There is just enough sweetness to complement this dish perfectly. The minerality in this wine is almost sparkling while the acidity is ripe but still crisp and the flavors are complex, ripe and well developed.


Paigey is trying to steal my snuggy that I stole fair and square from Sunshine, who stole it fair and square from Veronica.

Main Dish · Recipes

a simple stir fry

I love my wok, but just don’t use it enough.  I wanted to make something delicious with my green beans from our CSA box.  All I needed was some fresh ginger and I was good to go for a quick stir fry.  I picked up a small pricey jar of Siam jasmine rice at the Meat House, also known as Meat Vegas, thanks to Nicci.

Oh how I wish I had Greg’s wine recommendation BEFORE I made this for dinner…check it out below.    It’s nice having a wine store owner for a brother-in-law. And that’s just his hobby!   Of course I love him, but I’m not gonna lie, having a wine expert in the family certainly sweetens the pot.  I’ll make this again, and try it with Greg’s wine pick.  I’m running low on my wine supply, anyone up for a trip to Greg’s wine store?

Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″- 3/4″ cubes, trim fat, season with salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, fine mince
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons neutral flavored oil
  • 1 pound green beans, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat oil in a wok over high heat.  Add ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add chicken, and stir fry until lightly golden.  Add green beans, sesame oil and soy sauce, and toss to combine.  Add water and cover until green beans are almost done.  Remove the lid, and cook until the chicken and green beans have been nicely coated, and water has evaporated.  Serve over the fabulous Siam jasmine rice.

Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says…

Lots of choices here for this dish, but I’m settling on a classic pairing – a Riesling from Germany.  The 2009 Leitz Dragonstone Riesling is my choice because of its invigorating acidity and high level of residual sugar that comes off as barely sweet.  The zesty lime, peach, pink grapefruit, and red currant ally themselves perfectly with the ginger, soy, and sesame oil in your dish.  NOTE: I would not serve this wine really cold.  I slightly chilled temperature will make this combination sizzle with perfection.