Beef Rouladen

European heritage means we’ve eaten our fair share of Rouladen.  Growing up we always thought we were Austrian German, but it turns out there is more Romanian heritage in us than we thought.  And, of course throw in an Irish Nana and and English Granddad and you have the Heinz 57 of DNA.

Rouladen 4

I used to always put carrot in with the pickles in the rouladen, but Grant doesn’t like either pickles or cooked carrots ….. sigh.  I love the flavour though, so compromised by only putting pickle in the roll up, and nestling carrots in with the gravy.  Total win win.

Ingredients

Rouladen:

  • 4 boneless round steaks very thin, about 4 inches wider x 7 inches long (often you can actually find a rouladen cut ready made)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • 4 Tbsp whole grain mustard or Dijon, regular yellow mustard
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 4 baby dill pickles halved or larger dill pickles quartered. Sweet pickle is also an option here.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. If you weren’t able to find preprepared meat, then prep the rouladen by pounding out the beef until they are 1/4 inch thin and about 5 inches wide by 9 inches long. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of paprika. Spread 1 Tbsp of whole grain mustard over each of the 4 pieces of beef. Place two pieces of bacon over each piece of beef, side by side, trimming any part of the bacon that extend over the ends. Scatter each with diced onion, dividing evenly between the four pieces. With the widest end of the short side facing you, place two pickle halves end to end about 1 1/2 inches from the end. It’s ok if they stick out the side at this point. Take the end closest to you and fold it up and over the pickles. Continue rolling by lifting and rolling until it is completely rolled. Take a skewer and secure the end of the roll to the main part of the roll, so it doesn’t unroll. Trim any excess pickle sticking out the sides so it is even with the sides of the roll. Roll up the remaining beef pieces similarly.
Rouladen 2

They already look good ….. you could use more pickle in these, but as I mentioned, it isn’t Grant’s favourite, so this worked out fine.

Rouladen 1

Assembly line!

 

Gravy:

  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp red wine can omit or replace with a couple of teaspoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste or ketchup, in a pinch
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard or regular mustard
  • Pinch paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Stir together the gravy ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
Rouladen 3

All rolled up and ready for browning before a low slow oven roast.  Be prepared for your house to smell amazing.

Method:

  1. In a Dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed, oven-proof dish with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef rolls to the pan, skewer/seam side down. Sear for a few minutes until lightly browned, then flip over and sear the other side. Place the rolls on their sides if necessary to sear the entire outside of each of the rolls.
  2. Once rolls are browned, add the prepared gravy mixture to the pan. Stir gently to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover pot and place in the preheated oven.
  3. Cook, covered in the oven until tender, about 1 – 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your rolls), flipping rolls over a couple of times during the cooking period.

To thicken gravy:

  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  1. Remove pot from oven and use tongs to remove rolls to a plate. Carefully remove the skewers from the rolls and discard, then cover plate loosely with foil while you thicken the gravy.
  2. Place pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and add to liquid in pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, until thickened. If necessary, add a bit more cornstarch/water to gravy if not thick enough. Taste gravy and add additional salt, pepper and paprika, to taste.
  3. To serve, cut rolls in half diagonally in the middle. Place halves on side mashed potatoes and spoon gravy over-top. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Rouladen used to be a meal on a regular rotation in our house, but somehow I got away from it.  This long, unrelenting winter had me craving it all over again, but I couldn’t find our family recipe …eek.  Thank goodness I found this one from “Seasons and Suppers” which was the closest I could find to the way I remembered doing it.  So glad I did, it was delicious.  We served it with mashed potatoes, but it works equally well with broad egg noodles ….anything to soak up that luscious gravy.

Moist and tender meatballs

I’ve made meatballs for so many years I can’t even remember when I started.  Then, over the last few years we’ve tasted some pretty amazing meatballs, most notably and surprisingly – in Mexico!  I decided I better start rethinking my meatball game.  After research and the usual taste testing, these won out.  They are so moist and tender you won’t believe the difference.  I like to make a double batch and freeze a bunch for another day.

Spaghetti & meatballs

One perfectly moist meatball, set on a bed of saucy tangled pasta – heaven.

 

 

  • 2 pounds ground meat (equal parts ground beef & ground pork)
  • 1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup milk, any kind
  • 4 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, plus more to serve
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes and/or freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic cloves

Heat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup, and coat it lightly with a nonstick spray.

Meatballs 2

Add the milk, eggs and seasonings to the panko first in order to have it all evenly distributed without overmixing your meatballs.

Meatballs 1

Next -get your herbs in there.

Meatballs 3

This is where the large fork comes in handy.  If you over mix the meatballs they will get tough, so this allows you to gently combine everything.

 

Place meat, crumbs, milk, parsley, cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, onion powder, eggs, and your minced garlic in a large bowl, and mash everything together with a fork (this keeps your meatballs from getting overworked) until evenly mixed. Using wet hands if needed, form mixture into 2-inch meatballs (I used a 3 tablespoon scoop) and arrange on prepared tray. Roast for 12 minutes, until cooked through (you can cut one in half).

Meatballs 4

Ready to pop in the oven.  These were on the larger size so they took about 18 minutes to cook through.  Don’t overcook them!  Break one open at that point and check.

Meatballs 5

If serving with spaghetti – submerge meatballs into tomato sauce and allow to simmer until pasta is ready.

Always cook the pasta for the last few minutes in the tomato sauce to allow the sauce to coat all pasta.

Serve with plenty of parmesan to grate over top.

Thanks to Deb at Smitten Kitchen for these meatballs!

 

Perfect Medium Rare Steak

Oh … winter… not a season we are ever going to taste a perfect grill marked steak.  I’ve been working on achieving the perfect steak during the “off” season.  Nailed it!

Perfect steak 5

PERFECT.  Pink inside, crusty outside, and drizzled with Cafe de Paris Beurre.  I’m in heaven.

First step is to make your dry rub:

1 lemon – zested, and zest set aside to dry

Perfect steak 1

Zest your lemon, and allow it to sit a bit, just to dry it out so it helps create the perfect crust.  Do you buy lemon pepper dry rub?  Stop!  Just try this instead …

Combine:

  • freshly cracked pepper
  • sea salt
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • mustard powder
  • paprika
  • raw sugar

I use all equal amounts of all these ingredients.  You can certainly adjust to your own preference!

Stir to bring it all together, and once the lemon zest has dried out a bit, add it in there too.

Perfect steak 2

We are lucky.  I’d be the first to admit that.  We dry our garlic and onion in the fall, and create our own powder.  Yep, we even do paprika, this one is grilled poblano peppers.  No, sorry, we didn’t create either the mustard powder or the salt and pepper.  (But, does it give us extra points because we bring the sea salt home from a favourite region in Mexico??)

Pat the steaks dry – VERY important.  Drizzle over a little neutral oil, and then press in the seasoning.  Make sure to get the seasoning rubbed into the sides as well as top and bottom.

Perfect steak 3

Got everything ready??  Just look at that marbling on the steak … that is what you are hoping for.

While the steak is coming to room temperature, heat up a pan that can handle the heat of a 400 degree oven.  (this would be a great time to preheat your oven!)

Sear the steak on all sides – get it good and crusty!  Pop it into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. . . . check it carefully, you want to pull it out of the oven once the steak hits 120 degrees.  Tent it with tin foil, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

I couldn’t help myself, needed to top the steak with my Cafe de Paris Beurre ….. it makes everything better.  I’ve eaten …. but want to eat it again.  I think that says it all.

perfect steak 4

Served with baked potato and a simple iceberg wedge salad and I’m totally satisfied.  You will be too! Give it a try.  If you are able to grill all year ….. well good for you!  Maybe you want to try it anyway, and see what you think??

 

Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls

Looking for a quick dinner?  When the grandkids are here, I sure am!  This was perfect, and the girls loved it.  They built their own bowls and tucked right in.

Teriyaki 2

Here was my surprise for the night – Sloan put this together, and then handed it to me.  “Here you go Nana, take a photo now …… it looks pretty good”.  Then she handed me her cilantro before adding her vegetables and digging in.  The cilantro, apparently, was only for the photo!  Yes, it is the only photo I got tonight.  I will have to do it again soon.

Do you know how easy it is to make your own teriyaki sauce?  This recipe is so quick and simple to do you will want to keep a jar of it in the fridge all the time.

TERIYAKI SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 4  tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil gently just until sauce has thickened.  Thin with a bit of water if necessary to have it sauce like, and not jelly like!

Teriyaki 3

This jar might not look like much, but this teriyaki sauce is the bomb!  

Cook rice according to instructions.

Cut about 1 pound of chicken breast into bite size pieces, and marinate with a few tablespoons of the teriyaki sauce, while you prep the rest:

Slice a variety of vegetables, whatever you like!

Teriyaki 1

This could so easily be a vegetarian meal – just serve with the stir fried vegetables, or use tofu in place of the chicken.

Prep some toppings:

  • rough chop on cilantro
  • slivered green onions
  • toast sesame seeds

Okay, now things come together quickly!

In a hot wok or skillet, heat a neutral oil and quickly fry the chicken just until cooked through.  Set aside.

Wipe out wok/skillet and heat a bit more oil.  Stir fry vegetables until just crisp tender.

Set everything out and allow everybody to build their own bowls.  Remember to set out your teriyaki sauce to drizzle over.

Veal Scallopini

Need a quick dinner idea?  Here you go, you’re welcome!  This veal is quick cooking, and for such a short amount of effort you won’t believe how much you are going to love it!

Veal Scallopini 6

Served with tender fettuccine noodles and sautéed vegetables you’ve got a quick easy dinner that packs a flavourful punch.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. (about 12) veal cutlets, also called scaloppine, pounded until 14” thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 cup dry white wine
  • 1 14 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 14 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Instructions

Season veal with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.
Veal Scallopini 1
Heat 2 tbsp. butter and oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add veal, and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Veal Scallopini 3
Veal Ascallopini 4
Transfer to a serving platter, and set aside.
Veal Scallopini 2

Have everything ready to go when you remove the veal from the skillet, it goes quickly at this point.  And … yes, make sure the wine you use is something you would be happy to drink!

Add wine to skillet, and cook, scraping bottom of pan until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add stock and lemon slices, and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add remaining butter, juice, capers, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
Veal Scallopini 5
Pour sauce over veal and serve.

 

Caesar Salad

Caesar salad 3

Love the textures of a great Caesar salad – contrasting fresh crisp greens, crunchy bacon and croutons, soft parmesan and a creamy dressing.

Everybody needs a great Caesar dressing in their kitchen, try this one and adjust to your families taste.  My grandkids don’t love garlic, so when they are over I usually go light on the garlic cloves but that’s totally up to you!

  • 1 egg (or 1/4 cup mayonnaise)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1-3 cloves garlic
  • 2 anchovy fillets (packed in oil)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup oil (I like to use a combo of vegetable oil and really good extra virgin olive oil)
  • dash hot sauce (totally optional)

Combine all ingredients except oil in jar or blender.  Shake/blend really well until smooth, and slowly add oil until emulsified.  Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, adding more if necessary.

Caesar salad 1

Everybody helps make dinner around here, and Stella is learning the fine points of knife work!  Don’t worry, she quickly learned to rest the knife against her knuckles to avoid trimming her fingers……

Caesar salad 2

Assembling that cheese grater has all Sloan’s attention.

  • Wash your lettuce leaves and spin dry (you can do this ahead of time, wrap in clean kitchen towel and keep in fridge until ready to use, it really crisps up the lettuce)
  • Cook bacon until crisp and crumble.
  • Toss stale bread chunks in olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper and toast until dry and crunchy.  (This is also a great place to use dried herbs, and some garlic powder)
  • Grate Parmesan cheese

Toss lettuce pieces in very large bowl with the bacon, croutons and parmesan cheese.  Just before serving toss with dressing just until everything has a delicious coating.  Taste and squeeze a bit of lemon over if you like.

This easily goes from a side dish to a whole meal if you serve Caesar salad with grilled chicken or shrimp, and a side of garlic toast.

 

 

Thai curry with duck breast

Thai duck curry 2

Flavourful Thai curry with plenty of vegetables and just a few slices of duck breast – serve with a handful of noodles.

We just got home from three weeks in Mexico, and that always makes me turn to Asian dishes in the kitchen.  Well, that and the old comfort foods like roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, which are always a family favourite.

Thai curries come together very quickly, and are very easy if you take a few moments to get everything ready first.  This is one of those recipes that works more like a guideline – we made this for dinner for two, but double it up for a group.

Cook noodles according to the package directions and set aside.

Duck breast is really easy to cook, and not something to be intimidated by.  I don’t know why I didn’t take a moment for a photo doing this …. maybe next time.  Score the fat on top of the desk breast lightly, not through to the meat.  Set in a cast iron skillet (or non stick if you don’t have cast iron) and gently heat on med/low so the duck fat can release and the top gets nice and crispy.  Every stove top is different, so just watch yours.  When it has reached that golden layer of crispy goodness, flip it over and cook until preferred doneness.  170 degrees is the golden rule, but if you prefer medium rare, go a little less.  Whatever temperature you desire, make sure to remove it from the heat and allow it to sit and rest – distributing the juices evenly.

While the duck is cooking – slice and set aside the vegetables you have chosen.  The only thing that is important is that you separate the vegetables based on how long they take to cook.

Heat a saucepan, add some peanut oil (or any neutral oil with a high smoke point).

Saute one onion until soft, then add:

  • 2 tbsp Red or Penang curry sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp thinly sliced Thai red chili pepper
  • 1 tsp galangal (minced if you can get it fresh, powder if not)
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass (minced if you can get it. fresh, powder if not)

Stir until the curry is fragrant – just for a minute or two.  Add 1 can of coconut milk and 1 cup of stock (chicken or vegetable).  Add the vegetables, and as soon as they are lightly cooked, but still crisp remove the curry from the heat and stir in the holy trinity of Thai curries ….

  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
Thai duck curry 1

Without the duck breast you’ve got a perfect vegetarian dinner.