Category Archives: Vegetables

Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Our vegetable garden is really starting to take off and as I have mentioned in the past, we are picking bowls of a variety of tomatoes on a daily basis, along with fresh herbs, and recently we harvested our broccoli. My wife and I did not plant broccoli last year, but a few years ago we did, and to this day we admit that was probably the best broccoli we had ever tasted. That was no joke. So when I saw the heads of broccoli, I got pretty darn excited, I’ll admit that. As I wanted to simply lightly steam the heads of broccoli, I decided to go a different route and bust out a classic Chinese beef and broccoli, only because my sister-n-law had mentioned it and it was stuck in my head.

Chinese Beef and Broccoli Recipe

This recipe is super easy to make, and granted it uses a couple of ingredients that you may, or may not have (but probably should), and it is just packed with good old comfort.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak, 1/4 inch thick slides
  • 1 head of broccoli, trimmed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups iced water
  • Cooked rice
  • 4 tbsp canola oil

For the Beef Marinade:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tbsp sherry cooking wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Start by adding your sliced beef to a bowl. Mix the marinade and pour over the beef, and give it a good toss. Marinade for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to make the Chinese beef and broccoli, remove the marinated beef from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Bring the water to a simmer, and toss in the broccoli florets. Cook for about 3 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl of iced water.  Once cooled, drain the broccoli and set to the side.

Next heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of oil, then toss in the beef, stirring along the way. Cook for about 5 minutes until the beef has some great color, then remove the beef onto a plate.

How to make Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Wipe out the skillet, and add the additional two tablespoons of oil, bringing to medium-high heat. Add the sauce, and give it a good stir. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the broccoli, and return the beef to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes until everything is warmed through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Did I mention I love corn starch, especially when making a great sauce?

When you are ready to place, add cooked rice to the bottom of bowl, and ladle on the Chinese beef and broccoli, ensuring you get plenty of that great flavored sauce.

This was a real winner and it was a perfect use of that broccoli, and again, some of the best broccoli we have had this year. Hope you enjoy!

Bruschetta

We are up to our ears with fresh tomatoes, and that is never a bad thing. What I love about planting tomatoes, is really the excitement I see when I bring a large bowl into the kitchen and watching my wife’s expression. See, she is really the one who loves tomatoes. I stepped in my grandfather’s shoes where I’m not the biggest fan, but I do eat them. It took me years to actually love eating tomatoes, and when I say that, I mean in my late twenties when my wife and I were together. She is the one who gave me the nudge, and I probably started to really enjoy them when she turned me on to serving sliced tomatoes with a bit of soy sauce, and cracked black pepper, along with rice. With that said, we are sitting on a load of tomatoes, and it has been my goal to create recipes with them. That’s where bruschetta comes into play.

Bruschetta Recipe

I know people who simply love bruschetta, pronounced as Brusketta, and it is some of the simplest and pure things to make. Perfect for this time of year when you have an abundance of tomatoes. You can go as far as you want when making bruschetta, but to me, it’s the simple route. Tomatoes, a bit of basil, garlic, salt, and pepper, all topped on a crostini.

I am not adding amounts here as you basically want to have a substantial amount of tomatoes on each crostini. You could make 3 or you can make 20 if you know what I am saying. I fed a party of 8 adults and used about 12 small tomatoes, and 5 leaves of fresh garden basil.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian loaf of bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 12 whole medium sized tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Start by heating a skillet on low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic. Melt and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. The goal is to infuse the butter and oil with great garlic flavor. Now you can skip this step if you want, and simply rub some of the toasted bread with fresh garlic, but I really enjoy the butter and oil combination, with just a hint of great garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced bread. Brush both sides with the garlic butter and oil mixture. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and toast for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

How to make bruschetta

During this time, quarter the tomatoes, and then chop into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the torn basil, not chopped basil. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.

You will notice juices extract from the tomatoes. That’s fine. Reserve that if you want and use it in some sauce, or bloody mary’s. Your call.

Take a crostini, and using a slotted spoon, add the tomato and basil mixture on the top of each crostini.

Plate and serve.

The result is nothing more that pure greatness. It’s simple. It’s fresh, and delicious, and you get everything you could ever want in fresh garden ingredients. Are you a fan of brushcetta? Do you ever change it up from the basics? Hope you enjoy!

Denver Omelette

Come every spring, I ask my kids what they want to plant in the garden. Two of my kids are pretty pumped with ideas, where one simply is not. That’s perfectly fine in my book. Regardless, my wife defaults to tomatoes and cucumbers, while the kids default to green bell peppers and green beans. I take the liberty of choosing either things, and in this case I decided upon watermelon, hot peppers, sage, rosemary, strawberries, and red onions. We have been picking a ton of tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, and fresh herbs, and as of last week we picked our first green bell pepper.

Denver Omellete Recipe

I had this darn green bell pepper on my cutting board for a few days, and every time I looked at it, I thought what was I going to use it in. It was only one green pepper, and as I thought of stuffing it, or making a chop suey, I always think of dicing it up and turning it into a Denver omellete.

I love a Denver omellete, and in fact, it could be one of my favorite omelletes. It’s simple, delicious, and very fulfilling.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped deli ham
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

Start by adding the water, or cream if you want to the beaten eggs, and mix well.

Heat a skillet on medium, to low heat. Add in the 1 tablespoon of the butter and let that melt.

Toss in the ham, bell pepper, and shallots. Stir, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the peppers are slightly softened, yet still firm.

Remove from the skillet and place the mixture in a bowl.

How to make a Denver Omellete

Return the skillet back to the stove, and on medium heat, melt the remaining butter.

Add in the beaten eggs, and give that a gentle stir.

Using a spatula, or in my case a worn down rice paddle, begin lifting up the edges while maneuvering your skillet to let any wet egg mixture to to the edges. Continue this until the eggs are almost set.

Add in the bell pepper mixture into the center of the eggs, and gently fold over the eggs. Cook for another minute or so, or until how you like your eggs, and then slide onto your plate, and serve.

The result is everything you want in a great omellete. Tender and soft eggs, with the great salty and smokiness from the ham, and then the great, and fresh green bell pepper.  Hope you enjoy! What is your favorite type of omellete?

 

Crock-Pot Caramelized Onions

Sometimes I think what the heck would we do if we did not own a Crock-Pot, or slow cooker, if you will. The Crock-Pot is a thing of beauty and has helped me so many times throughout the year, especially during the work week. I typically use the slow cooker to break down beef, or chicken, or really anything I will not have time to make when I return home from work. Recently I smoked a pork shoulder, and decided that after 5 hours on the smoker, that I would place it in the slow cooker, and continue to render that should down. Let me tell you, it was delicious! As I was cleaning out the Crock-Pot, I noticed some onions I had, and decided that I would try tossing those in the slow cooker, and see if they would caramelize over time. They did, and let me tell you, they rocked. Super simple, and one that you can set and forget.

Crock-Pot Caramelized Onions

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Spanish Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 sprigs of Thyme

Add everything to the Crock-Pot. Cover, and set on low heat. Cook for 18-24 hours, or until the onions are nice and caramelized. Stir a few hours into the cooking process to get the oil, butter, and seasoning incorporated.

crockpot-caramelized-onions-ingredients

The end result is nothing short of amazing. The onions yield nearly three cups of deliciousness. I’ve been using these in stuffed mushrooms, and pizzas. The great thing I love about caramelized onions is that you can essentially use them in everything from omelettes, sandwiches, and pizzas. Give these a shot next time you want to caramelize onions.

How to use Caramelized Onions