Thai Style Beef Jerky

My kids go nuts over beef jerky, or heck any type of jerky for that matter. It almost sits on the fence of borderline ridiculous as if they have a bag of eat, they pretty much would devour the entire bag, and let’s face it, beef jerky is not that cheap. With that being said, I wanted to introduce them to a Thai style beef jerky that you often find in Asian markets, homemade to say the least. Thai style beef jerky, in my opinion, is a bit sweeter and is lightly coated with sesame seeds. Not only that but once dried, it is lightly fried giving it a wonderful chew. My kids don’t know it yet, but this stuff is a great game day snack and pairs perfectly with a cold beer. (Note, I don’t have the final photo as my kids pretty much devoured the entire batch. Regardless, you get the idea from the photos, I hope.)

Thai Style Beef Jerky Recipe
Thai Style Beef Jerky Recipe

Let’s get started.

  • 2 lbs of beef eye of round roast, or something lean
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Maggi seasoning
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • .5 oz of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Start by trimming any fat away from the beef. Once removed, thinly slice the beef into about 1/8 inch slices, not too thin, but definitely not too thick. I find it best to lightly freeze the beef before slicing, and using a sharp knife as well.

To a mixing bowl, add the ginger, sugar, garlic, salt, Maggi seasoning, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Add in the beef, and using both hands, mix really, really well. Wash those hands, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

The following day, preheat your oven to the lowest temperature. Mine only goes down to 170, and that is fine. You can also air dry this, laying the beef on your oven racks, and using a fan to constantly blow air on them. Or, you can use your food dehydrator if you have one. I don’t, but really, really want one.

Take your oven racks out. I used all three of mine, and lay the beef along the racks. Some of my cuts were shorter, others longer, but just make sure they are not touching one another, and that they lay on the rack. This can be a bit messy, so I laid paper towel on my counter to make cleaning up a bit easier.

Carefully place the racks back into the oven, and slowly cook these for about 3-5 hours on low and until they are the texture of beef jerky.

When you are ready to make them, after the jerky phase, heat a medium skillet on medium heat, adding the oil, and place however many pieces of jerky that can fit, into the heated oil, and lightly fry for a few minutes per side. Remove, place onto some paper towel, repeat, and then dig in.

My kids were so stoked, not only that there was almost an endless amount of jerky, but a new jerky at that. The sweetness from the sugar, and that balance of ginger and garlic really make this jerky a real winner. Hope you enjoy, and if you want to donate a dehydrator for me, that would be awesome! Kidding.

Mexican Tlayuda

I know what you may  be thinking right off the start. T-what? Tlayuda. It’s essentially Mexican street food, in particular of the pizza descent. Think of great Mexican ingredients loaded onto a cooked, large flour tortilla. This is typically street food, and good Lord is it ever good, and fun to eat. This is a popular snack food, but let me tell you, it can be turned into a meal depending on the ingredients you put onto it. Typically a single tortilla, I was super hungry and decided I would go full force and make this a ‘double tlayuda’. Think of it as an open faced pizzadilla. You can make these with all sorts of your favorite proteins, but I wanted chorizo, a classic Mexcican ingredient, and in particular on the tlayuda. The classic uses some drizzle of lard, but I’m not into that as I am getting enough from smashed black beans cooked in some oil, garlic, and onions.

Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Recipe
Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large flour tortillas (You can use one if you prefer)
  • 15 oz can of black beans, drained, cooked, lightly mashed
  • Approximately 1 cup of Mexican chorizo, fat strained, and cooked until a bit dry
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of raw slaw
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • your favorite hot sauce or salsa
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz bag monterray jack cheese

Start by getting a small pot on the stove on medium heat. Add in the oil, then toss in the onions, cooking a few minutes until lightly softe

Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Ingredients
Mexican Tlayuda Pizza Ingredients

ned, then add in the garlic. After about a minute, toss in the black beans and water. Cook for about 15 minutes on medium to medium-low heat. Once the beans have softened a bit, use a fork, or potato masher, and start to mash the beans. I do not go for a few refried blend on these as I like some texture from the beans. Go about 50/50 on that mash.

OK, next step. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take a flour tortilla, smear some black beans on it, some cheese, and some jalapenos to your liking, (again I  used two on this one as a stack), and place it on a sheet pan and place in the preheated oven. Cook for about 2 minutes, just to cook it slightly to lightly brown.  Once the cheese is slightly melted, remove from the oven.

Stack another tortilla on top. Gently press. Add enough bean mash to lightly coat the the entire top tortilla, then a generous amount of cheese to cover the top, then more jalapenos (if ou desire). Spread the cooked chorizo all over the top tortilla, along with a generous amount of cheese, and place back into the oven. Cook until the cheese is nice and melted, the tortilla nicely browned, and then remove.

Once you remove, shower with some of the raw coleslaw, fresh cilantro, and drizzle your favorite salsa or hot sauce.

Now you can fold this, or you can slice into wedges. I’m a wedge man. Wedges are good.

Mexican Tlayuda Pizza
Mexican Tlayuda Pizza

Holy Moly. If you think about this all together, well you are going to drool. When you eat it, it makes you want to be alone and devour the whole thing so no one is looking. It’s so good, and something that should probably come off the street and onto Mexican restaurant menus. Spice, cheese, crisp, soft, veg. What’s not to love. Make it (stacked or not), and I’m sure you will love it. Enjoy!

 

 

Squash Lasagna

At the season’s end of our last farmer’s market, I decided to load up on a variety of squash. I’ll admit that I am not too big of a squash lover, but I did it for my wife, as she is the one that likes them. But as I stared at the delicata and butternut squash, I decided I would roast both of them. That’s when the idea came into play, probably because I was searching for ideas for dinner and something everyone would love and agree on, and that’s when I thought of lasagna. Lasagna with a twist that is. Who doesn’t love a great dish of lasagna? What no one knew is that I had a good couple of cups of that delish, roasted squash, and ever better I did not tell them until after they devoured a couple of slices. Yep, that’s where my kids are now, two slices, and eating me out of the house.

Squash Lasagna Recipe
Squash Lasagna Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 delicata squash, sliced in half, seeds removed
  • 1 small butternut squash, sliced in half, seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, rubbed onto sliced squashes
  • 9 sheets of lasagna, oven ready, or par boiled
  • 1 lb ground chuck, cooked and fat removed
  • 2 mild Italian sausage links, casing removed, cooked and fat removed
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/12 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 pinch of red chili flakes
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Add the squashes to a baking sheet, and cook flesh side up for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Once the squash is cooked, scrape out, and mix into a bowl. You will only need about two cups, but feel free to use more or less based on your preference.

Start by cooking both of your meats. Feel free to combine these in a large skillet. Break apart the meat as it is cooking to prevent large clumps. Strain the meat mixture, removing the fat, then return the meat back on the stove on medium heat. Add a pinch of salt, some cracked black pepper, the red chili flakes, and the garlic powder. Give a good stir, cooking for a minute or two, then add in your sauce. Stir, and let this reduce down a bit, cooking for about 10 minutes.

To another mixing bowl, add the egg, ricotta cheese, the squash, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and half of the parmesan cheese. Give that a good mix so that the squash is fully incorporated into the cheeses.

Now let’s get to this lasagna. Take a good ladle of your meat sauce, and add to the bottom of your lasagna dish. Add the lasagna sheets. Mine fit three to the pan.

Squash Lasagna Ingredients
Squash Lasagna Ingredients

Next, be generous and add enough of the ricotta and squash mixture to cover the pasta sheets. Lightly sprinkle on mozzarella cheese, then more meat mixture, pasta cheese, more ricotta mixture, more cheese, more sauce, then remaining pasta sheets. Cover with meat sauce, the cover with cheese. Shower with the remaining parmesan cheese.

Spray the back of some aluminum foil with some cooking spray. I’ve found this to prevent all of that wonderful cheese from sticking onto the foil when removing from the oven.

Cover the baking dish, and place into a 375 degree oven, cooking for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil, and continue to cook for about 20 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and golden.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing into squares.

The end result was everything that is wonderful about a great lasagna, but there was that bit of hidden sweetness from the blended squash that made this one even better. After the kids were finished eating (as well as my wife), I said “So how did everyone like the squash?”. They had confused looks on their face, but all replied that they had no clue it was in there, and loved every bite. What’s not to love about that? Gotta get the good stuff in there somehow, I was successful on that front. Hope you enjoy!

Vietnamese Green Nuoc Cham

I have bee tinkering with Vietnamese nuoc cham for some time now, tinkering with both a red version and a green version. The subtle difference between the two is the red uses sambal (which I totally love), and the green one does not. Both versions can be used in many different ways, but my preference for either one is to be used as a dressing, or dipping sauce for grilled meats, or spring rolls. There is something so addicting in both that when no one is looking, I will simply eat it by the spoonful.

Packed full of tart, sweet, and spicy ingredients, this sauce is one of my favorites. Hands down.

Vietnamese Green Nuoc Cham Recipe
Vietnamese Green Nuoc Cham Recipe

As with any nuoc cham, it uses fish sauce, so if you have never tried either, this is a great chance to stock up on some good fish sauce, a super ingredient for umami goodness.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of quality fish sauce (I like 3 crabs brand or Red Boat)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 green Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp shallot, minced

Mix all of these ingredients in a bowl, and mix until you get that sugar dissolved. Give a taste. See? Flavor bomb!

You can keep this out at room temperature until you are ready to serve. This was used in fresh lettuce wraps, along with vermicelli noodles, and egg rolls, all wrapped in lettuce and drizzled with that sauce. My boys, and wife do not care for the sauce as it is a bit too spicy for them, but my daughter and I simply love it. This can be stored in the refrigerator, cover, for a few weeks, but my guess is that if you fall in love with this sauce, that it will not last that long. Hope you enjoy!