Steakhouse Sirloin Tips

1/3 cup soy sauce (I used reduced-sodium)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika (I reduced to about 2/3)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I reduced to 1/8)
1 (2 1/2-pound) beef flap meat*

*Flap meat is sold as whole steaks, strips, and pieces. For even pieces, buy a whole steak of uniform size and cut it up yourself.

Whisk soy sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, pepper, and cayenne together in bowl until sugar dissolves; transfer to zipper-lock bag. Pat beef dry with paper towels. Prick beef all over with fork and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces. Add meat to bag with soy mixture and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

For a charcoal grill: Open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vents completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Cook beef (covered if using gas) until charred and registers 130 to 135°F (for medium), 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to platter, tent loosely with foil, and rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.

Note: Author flipped the steaks at 4 minutes, and they were temperature ready at 8 minutes.

Sirloin Tips

2 pounds sirloin steak tips
1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice from half a lemon
3 tablespoons Catalina dressing
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

Cut the beef into large pieces if they are not already cut into tips.

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl but only use half the oil, salt and pepper. Reserve the remainder for just before grilling.
In a zip lock bag, place tips and marinade and marinate overnight or at least six hours.

Prior to grilling, drain well and discard marinade. Dry the tips with paper towels.

Pre-heat grill to medium high.

Coat tips in remaining oil (2 tablespoons), salt (1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon) and grill about two minutes on each side for medium rare. (Note: Cooking time may vary depending on the heat output of your grill and/or if you cook these in a grillpan on the stove.)

Garlic Butter Sirloin Tips

4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 pounds thick-cut New York strip steaks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

Mince 4 garlic cloves. Transfer to a bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Chop until you have 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, then transfer to a small bowl.

Cut 2 pounds New York strip steak into 1-inch cubes, then season them with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium high-heat.

Add the steak cubes and sear until browned, flipping them halfway through, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Add the garlic and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.

Remove from the heat and garnish with the parsley.

Balsamic Glazed Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms

For the steak:

1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips, flap meat, or flank steak, cut into 3-inch pieces
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the mushrooms:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Marinate the steak: Place the steak in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish or in a resealable gallon plastic bag; set aside. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the steak and turn the steak to coat. Cover the baking dish or seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

Cook the steak and mushrooms: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. While the oil is heating, remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Add the steak pieces to the pan (it’s okay to crowd the pan as long as they’re in a single layer) and sear until browned and the thickest piece registers 120°F to 125°F for medium-rare steak, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. (Or cook to 130°F to 135°F for medium steak, and 140°F to 145°F for medium-well steak — add a minute or two for every 10 degrees needed.) Transfer to a serving platter and set aside in a warm place or cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat if needed, until tender, about 5 minutes — they will release a lot of liquid. Add the vinegar and simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the butter, and stir until melted and the sauce in the pan is glossy. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Pour over the steak, top with the parsley if desired, and serve.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Marinade: The marinade can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Rewhisk before using.

Sirloin Tips with Peppers and Onions

3 lb sirloin steak cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup Teriyaki or Soy sauce
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil plus additional for cooking
2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley or cilantro
3 clove garlic minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp steak seasoning divided [i.e., Mesquite/Montreal/Chicago/ Kansas City your preference]
1 red bell pepper seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper seeded and sliced
1 large sweet onion cut into thin wedges
Black pepper to taste

Rinse, pat dry and cut the sirloin steaks into 1-inch pieces.
Whisk together the sauce, brown sugar, olive oil, chopped parsley, 3 clove minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Place into a plastic storage bag and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

To prepare, remove the sirloin tips from the marinade. Discard the marinade.

Heat a few drizzles of olive oil in a large cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sirloin tips. Cook for 5-7 minutes until browned and to your preferred doneness. Season with 1 tsp of steak seasoning. Remove from the pan to a platter to rest.

Add the sliced bell peppers and onion wedges to the pan. Season with 1 tsp steak seasoning and black pepper to your taste. Add additional olive oil if needed. Cook for 5 minutes scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook until browned and crisp tender.

Add the sirloin beef tips back to the pan. Stir until heated through then serve.

Variations:

Use a fajita seasoning place of the steak seasoning for fajitas.

Use an Asian-style marinade:

3 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp minced shallot or red onion
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Thai Chicken Meatball Soup

1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeño
2 pounds ground chicken
1 large bunch cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped, a few whole leaves reserved for serving
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil, plus more as needed
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
5 ounces baby spinach
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
Steamed white or brown rice, for serving

Using the small holes of a box grater, or a Microplane, grate the ginger, garlic and jalapeño (or finely chop them by hand). Transfer half to a large bowl and set the rest aside. To the large bowl, add the chicken, finely chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 teaspoon salt. Use your hands or a fork to fully combine but do not overmix.

Use your hands or an ice cream scoop to form 2-inch meatballs (about 2 ounces each). In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on two sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat, adding oil as needed.

Once all the meatballs are browned and out of the pot, if the oil is burned, wipe it out and add a bit more to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the reserved ginger mixture and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and any juices from the plate, and simmer until the flavors come together and the meatballs are cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in the spinach and lime juice. Divide rice among bowls, then top with meatballs, broth and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Cheesy Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

3/4 cup crumbled firm tofu (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup ricotta (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/2-inch-thick
3 cups marinara sauce (about 24 ounces)
6 ounces sliced provolone cheese,
Cooked egg noodles or other pasta, for serving
Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine tofu, ricotta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and mix until well combined. Add chicken and gently mix to incorporate. Lightly wet hands to prevent meatball mixture from sticking, then roll into 24 (1 1/2-inch) golf ball-size rounds.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add marinara sauce and meatballs, and stir gently to coat the meatballs in the sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven to bake until meatballs are cooked through, 20 minutes.

Top with provolone slices, slightly overlapping, and bake until cheese melts, about 3 minutes longer.

Serve meatballs, peppers and sauce over egg noodles. Garnish with parsley, if using.

Note: The unexpected secret to these tender meatballs is tofu, which keeps them juicy. Simply press pieces of tofu between your fingertips to create small crumbles that resemble ground meat. The addition of ricotta creates a creamy texture, as well as great flavor. The meatballs are simmered in marinara sauce with red bell peppers, which infuse the sauce with fresh flavor and natural sweetness. Sharp and tangy provolone completes the dish, although mozzarella could be used for milder flavor. Enjoy over buttered egg noodles, or with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving, if desired
1/2 cup panko or other plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped chives or basil
2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2-pounds ground turkey, very cold
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
3 cups marinara sauce, more to taste

In a large bowl, combine cheese, bread crumbs, onion, chives, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and red pepper flakes, if using, and mix well. Add turkey and egg and blend with your hands until well mixed. If you’ve got time, cover mixture and chill for an hour or up to 24 hours. These are easiest to form into balls while very cold. Form into 28 meatballs, each about 1 1/4-inches in diameter.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan. When hot, add enough of the meatballs to fit in one layer without crowding, and brown on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate, add another tablespoon of oil to pan and brown another layer of meatballs, transferring them to the plate as they brown. Repeat until all meatballs are browned, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

When meatballs are all browned, add marinara sauce to pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Return meatballs and their juices to pan, shake pan to cover the meatballs with sauce, and lower heat. Partly cover pan and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve hot, drizzled with more olive oil and sprinkled with more cheese, if you like.

Note: Tender meatballs filled with onions and Parmesan, bathed in plenty of tomato sauce, are classics in every way except for one: They call for turkey instead of the usual beef (or beef-veal-pork combination). Serve them over spaghetti or polenta, or stuff them into a hero roll for a sandwich. Try to use ground dark meat turkey here if you can, it has a deeper, richer flavor than ground white meat.

Korean Meatballs and Noodles

1 pound ground beef, preferably short rib and chuck
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/3 cup chopped peeled Bosc or Asian pear
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
6 ounces udon noodles or linguine
2 tablespoons gochujang, or ketchup seasoned with 1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 scallions, trimmed and slant-cut

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place beef in a bowl.

Combine honey, black pepper, sesame oil, vinegar, pear, onion, ginger, soy sauce and half the garlic in a food processor or blender and whirl until well blended. Mix with beef. Add egg and bread crumbs and mix again. Form into 1 1/2-inch balls and arrange on the baking sheet with a bit of space between them. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes.

While meatballs bake, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and boil 5 minutes for udon, about 8 minutes for linguine. Reserve 2/3 cup of the pasta water, then drain pasta.
When meatballs are done, transfer them to a bowl and scrape pan juices into a sauté pan. Heat on medium, add remaining garlic and cook briefly until it starts to color. Whisk in gochujang, then pasta water. Simmer about 3 minutes, until sauce reduces and starts to thicken. Reduce heat to low, add noodles and toss in sauce. Add meatballs and mix gently. Transfer to a warm serving dish or individual bowls, scatter with scallions and serve.

Goulash

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 pound beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the paprika and caraway seeds and cook 1 minute more. In a bowl, toss the beef with the flour to coat well. Add the beef to the onion mixture. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Gradually stir in the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve over wide egg noodles.

Simple Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
2 (28-ounce) cans whole or diced plum tomatoes
2 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add garlic and cook until just lightly golden. Add chile flakes if desired and cook 30 seconds.

Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until sauce is thick and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep at a steady simmer. If using whole plum tomatoes, mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down. Remove sauce from heat and discard basil or bay leaf.

Pork and Ricotta Meatballs (and a Meatball Ratio)

INGREDIENTS
½ cup/4 ounces whole-milk ricotta
½ cup/2 ounces grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
½ cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 pound ground pork

PREPARATION
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and use your hands to gently mix.
Shape the meat into 12 equally sized balls (about 2 1/4 inches in diameter). Arrange on a greased rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Tip
Leftover meatballs freeze well; simply reheat in the oven at 375 degrees until warmed through (about 20 minutes).

Notes:

Serve these plain, with a marinara sauce for dipping, or simmer the meatballs in tomato sauce for serving over spaghetti.

Ground chicken or turkey is a great alternative and will yield cheesier tasting meatballs.

Reader comments:

The ratio here is 10 parts mince to 2 parts ricotta and 1 part parmesan, plus one egg and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (fresh) per 500g (about one pound) of mixture.

Some people found these a little salty and cut the salt in half.

Added garlic, basil, oregano, majorum to give a bit more flavor.

Added grated garlic and grated onion. After forming into balls, I refrigerated for 45 minutes, baked 20 minutes at 400 degrees then simmered gently in sauce 10 minutes. Served over faro, great tender and light meatballs,

Cook meatballs on a rack over foil.

Pesce all’Acqua Pazza

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled if desired, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
4 (6-ounce) fillets firm or medium-firm white fish, such as sea bass or sea bream (skin on or off)
Grilled or crusty bread, for serving

In a large skillet with high sides, combine the olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds and red-pepper flakes. Set over medium-low and cook, swirling occasionally, until sizzling and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 cups water, the tomatoes and 2 teaspoons salt to the skillet. Bring to a boil over high, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the tomatoes are softened and the water is bright red and tastes like tomato, 15 to 20 minutes.

Pat the fish dry and season with salt. Lay the fish into the tomato water, cover and cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily, 4 to 8 minutes.

Taste the water and adjust seasonings with salt and red-pepper flakes. If the liquid has reduced so much that it resembles sauce, add a little water until it looks like tomatoes suspended in red-tinted water. Serve the fish and tomato water in shallow bowls, with a drizzle of olive oil and bread for dunking.

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into inch cubes
5 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
3 1/2 cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt

Combine the flour and pepper in a bowl, add the beef and toss to coat well. Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a large pot. Add the beef a few pieces at a time; do not overcrowd. Cook, turning the pieces until beef is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch; add more oil as needed between batches.

Remove the beef from the pot and add the vinegar and wine. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer.

Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the onions and carrots and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more. Add broth or water if the stew is dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle among 4 bowls and serve.

Pasta With White Beans, Arugula Pesto, and Halloumi

FOR THE PASTA:
1/3 cup/75 milliliters olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium green serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 (15.5-ounce/400-gram) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups (about 9 ounces/250 grams) short, twirled pasta, preferably gemelli or trofie pasta
3 cups/700 milliliters chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup/60 milliliters lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1 block halloumi (around 7 ounces/200 grams), very finely grated

FOR THE ARUGULA (ROCKET) PESTO:
Heaping 1/3 cup/50 grams pine nuts, well toasted
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 lightly packed cups (about 2 ounces/60 grams) arugula (rocket), roughly chopped
1/2 cup/20 grams roughly chopped parsley (leaves and tender stems only)
1/3 cup/90 milliliters olive oil, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and black pepper

Prepare the pasta: Add the oil to a large, lidded sauté pan, and then place it over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and chile, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic is nicely golden. Stir in the thyme, beans, pasta, stock, 2 teaspoons salt and plenty of pepper, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, with the lid off, for about 5 to 10 minutes. This will help it absorb more of the liquid.

As the pasta cooks, make the pesto: To a food processor, add the nuts, garlic, arugula (rocket), parsley, half the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Pulse a few times, scraping down the sides and pulsing again until you have a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the remaining olive oil, adding a touch extra if needed to loosen the pesto.

When ready to serve, stir the lemon juice and half the pesto into the pasta (discard the chile, if you wish) and transfer to a large serving bowl or platter with a lip. Sprinkle over about half the halloumi, and serve with the extra halloumi and pesto to eat alongside.

Notes: makes about 160 grams of pesto

Braised Fresh Black-Eyed Peas With Baby Turnips

1 bunch baby white turnips with greens, such as Hokkaido (8 ounces)
4 tablespoons French-style unsalted butter
2 small red onions, diced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh black-eyed peas in pods, shelled
Fresh mint leaves

Remove the green tops from the turnips, and cut the turnips into quarters or sixths depending on size. Separate leaves from stems and discard stems; wash leaves.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3- to 4-quart shallow stovetop braiser over medium heat. Sweat onion in butter for 1 minute, until translucent. Add turnips and sweat 2 minutes, until glossy and starting to “shine.”

Run a knife through the leaves once, maybe twice, and add to the pot. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and stir until leaves are also starting to sweat and wilt.

Add peas and 1 cup of water. Season with two large pinches of salt (restaurant-chef pinches, not home-cook pinches). Cover. Reduce heat. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Stir. Add 1 cup water. Add pinch salt. Re-cover. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Stir. Simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until beans are cooked and soft and starchy inside, turnips are cooked and water has turned grayish purple. Taste for salt and season. Let cool completely on stovetop with heat off.

Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow everything to meld and settle. Serve the next day, reheated over low until tepid, stirring in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to melt gently into the broth. Finish with a shower of fresh mint and ground black pepper.

Firehouse Chili Gumbo

FOR THE CHILI:
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
3 pounds ground beef, ideally coarse-ground
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons steak sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes

FOR THE GUMBO:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 medium shallots, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 to 2 cups tomato juice
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons hot sauce, or to taste

Make the chili. Heat the oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the beef, stirring often, until it has begun to brown at the edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned meat to a bowl.

Pour off excess fat, turn heat down to medium and return the browned beef to the skillet or pot. Add salt, peppers, chile powder, turmeric, oregano and cumin, and stir to combine. Add steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce and diced tomatoes, and stir again. Cover the skillet or pot, and cook, stirring a few times, for 15 minutes or so.

Make the gumbo. Place a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat, and put the butter and oil into it. When the butter is melted and foaming, sprinkle the flour into the pan, and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture is golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add the onion, shallots, bell peppers, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have started to soften, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the chili gumbo. Add the beef mixture to the pot with the vegetables along with the tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato juice and ketchup, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, then add apple-cider vinegar and hot sauce to taste. Take the pot off the heat, and serve, or allow to cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to cure. Heat before serving.

Golden Cauliflower Dal with Spinach and Coconut

1 cup split red lentils (masoor dal) see notes on “timing”
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons ghee (or for vegan use coconut oil) ( ***see note at bottom!)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2–3 fat shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, grated or finely minced (or use ginger paste)
2–4 fresh or dried chilies (optional, for heat)
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into large florets (about 2 lbs), stems ok.
couple handfuls baby spinach

Cover the split lentils with 2 cups boiling water, set aside.

In an extra-large saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the ghee over medium heat, add the crushed coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and stir for one minute.

Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and optional chilies, and saute until fragrant and golden, lowering the heat to med-low, if need be, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir in the lentils along with the 2 cups of hot water. Add the salt and fenugreek. Give a good stir.

Add the coconut milk and stir to incorporate, then add the cauliflower florets, coating them well. Give the pan a shake to allow any lentils to slip back into the liquid. Increase heat, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer gently over med-low heat, until lentils are softened and cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove lid and let some of the liquid cook off, about 3-4 more minutes. Carefully stir in spinach. Taste, adjust seasonings. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.

Garnish with cilantro or scallions and if you made the extra tempering oil ( see notes), spoon this over top before serving.

Serve with naan bread or basmati rice, or on its own in a bowl like a stew.

Notes

***For extra flavor (as is, this is “gently” spiced) create a tempering oil. Double the ghee and double the whole seeds. After sauteing the seeds in the oil or ghee, spoon half of this into a small bowl and set aside -to drizzle over the finished dish (this is the “tempering oil”) super tasty!

Timing: If your lentils seem extra-large, or your cauliflower florets seem extra small, cook the lentils a few minutes before adding the cauliflower, so the cauliflower doesn’t get overcooked. ****I used tiny lentils and extra-large florets.

You could also, roast off the cauliflower separately (toss with oil, salt and pepper at 400F until tender) and stir into the cooked lentils.

Jia Jiang Noodles

1 cup ground pork
2 tablespoons rice wine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cucumber, peeled and cored
4 green onions
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ounce fresh root ginger, shredded
1 tablespoon yellow bean paste
7 ounces dry wheat noodles
Salt, to taste

Mix the pork with the rice wine, soy sauce, cornstarch and sugar, then cover and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

Slice the cucumber into fine juliennes. Cut the green onions on a sharp diagonal into similarly thin strips. Set aside, covered with dampened kitchen paper so that the strips keep their crispness.

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry vigorously for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the yellow bean paste and fry for 20 seconds, then add the pork and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup water and cook for 1 minute more, or until the liquid thickens into a light sauce. Season with salt to taste.

Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the packet instructions. Drain well and divide between serving bowls.

Reheat the sauce if necessary and pour it over the noodles.

Arrange the sliced scallions and cucumber in small mounds next to the noodles and serve immediately.

Cook’s Tip: In other regions, lamb or beef would be used instead of pork, but the vegetables remain the same.

Beef Lo Mein

8 oz (225 g) flank steak , cut against the grain into 1/4” (4 cm) thick slices
8 oz (225 g) fresh lo mein noodles (or 6 oz / 170 g dried lo mein / chow mein noodles)

Marinade:
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sauce:
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Stir Fry:
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced into 1” (2 cm) pieces, greens and whites separated
1/2 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
5 pieces napa cabbage leaves, chopped
1/2 cup bean sprouts

Combine the steak with the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix until well coated and marinate for 15 minutes.
Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.

Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under running cold water to stop cooking. Drain and toss with a drizzle of sesame oil to prevent sticking.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and heat over high heat until hot. Spread the marinated steak without overlapping. Cook without disturbing until the bottom turns golden brown, 1 minute or so. Flip to cook the other side until browned but the inside is still a bit pink. Transfer the beef onto a big plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic. Stir a few times to release the fragrance, about 30 seconds.

Add the white part of the green onion, onions, carrots, and cabbage. Stir fry until the cabbage begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the noodles and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon oil on top. Toss the noodles a few times to mix with the oil.
Pour in the sauce and toss together everything.

Add back the cooked steak and toss again, until the sauce is fully absorbed.

Add the bean sprouts and green onion greens. Stir a few times until the bean sprouts just wilted but remain crispy.

Transfer everything to serving plates and serve hot.