Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Red Meat and Eggs’ Category

How to Make a Beef Wellington

In How-To, Red Meat and Eggs on October 1, 2016 at am
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We like our meat really rare, so this was perfect for us. Typically, medium-rare is preferred.

When my mother-in-law brought home foie gras paté from a trip to France, I was over the moon excited to eat it! I knew I had to do it justice, so I saved it for a special occasion and used it to attempt my first beef wellington. Luckily, it was a huge success and my sister- and brother-in-law both claimed that it was way better than the beef wellington they ate at one of Chef Ramsey’s restaurants. I really encourage you to try this at home, because 1. it’ll be just as delicious with affordable pate, 2. it’s very impressive and perfect for special occasions, and 3. it is surprisingly easy to make! Cooking shows led me to believe that only the most highly trained chefs are capable of pulling off beef wellington. Not true at all. Anyone can make this!

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Marsala Sauce Recipe

In Poultry, Red Meat and Eggs, Sides and Sauces on April 8, 2016 at am

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Marsala is an Italian, fortified wine that is very similar to Spanish sherry and madeira. All of these wines are great for cooking. I love the flavour and subtle sweetness of this sauce, and I love the simplicity and versatility of the recipe. Marsala sauce pairs nicely with chicken, pork, and steak. The meat is usually cooked in the sauce, but since I love to batch cook, I usually make the sauce separately from the meat and freeze the leftovers.

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Favourite Italian Bolognese Sauce Recipe

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs, Red Meat and Eggs, Sides and Sauces on November 15, 2014 at am

I’ve made this delicious and authentic Italian bolognese sauce twice now, and I’ve learned a few things about how to make this sauce even better.  First of all, don’t use finely ground meat.  You will get the best results in texture if you grind the meat yourself using a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  The store ground meat ends up feeling and tasting gritty.  Secondly, the quality of the canned tomatoes that you use makes a huge difference.  For best results, use san marzano tomatoes if you can afford it.  Though not necessary to make a delicious sauce, it will make a huge difference in tomato flavour.  (I found very affordable cans of san marzano tomatoes at Costco.)  Lastly, this sauce is delicious when made with lamb, too.  So feel free to try making this using beef, lamb, or a combination of beef and pork.  This recipe makes a large batch of sauce and is an easy way to cook for a large group.  I made this for dinner for 9 people and there was enough for everyone to have seconds.  The sauce is freezer friendly and the recipe can be halved.

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Review of Toronto’s Top Steak Houses (UPDATED)

In Red Meat and Eggs, Reviews on November 11, 2014 at am

I used to avoid steakhouses altogether, because I had only ever received disappointing, over-cooked, and over-priced meals (often with a side of snobby customer service) from the steak houses that I had been to.  Luckily, John, who loves steak houses, introduced me to some very good ones in the city.  Now we both love going out for steak.  It is a rare treat for us, so it took over a year to eat my way through some of the best rated steakhouses in Toronto.  Here are my reviews.  Please note that I always order the rib eye steak and I order it rare.  Also, I do not like eating at chain restaurants, so you won’t see Ruth’s Chris, The Keg, or Outback Steakhouse on this list.

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Romanian Cabbage Rolls – The Only Cabbage Rolls I Eat

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, How-To, Other Dishes, Red Meat and Eggs, Sides and Sauces on September 26, 2014 at am

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I never understood why people like cabbage rolls until my friend Joana made Romanian cabbage rolls.  This is the same friend that changed my mind about polenta, by the way (see my soft polenta recipes here).  I am so so grateful that Joana introduced me to Romanian cabbage rolls, because I am in love with them!  They are truly the best cabbage rolls that I have ever tasted.  The main difference between Romanian cabbage rolls and other cabbage rolls is that the Romanian ones are made with pickled cabbage.  You can find vacuum sealed whole heads of pickled cabbage in European grocery stores.  Joana’s recipe is also great because she uses a blend of different types of meat.  Although they are easy to make, I don’t make them often, because rolling all of those cabbage rolls can be time-consuming.  I hope you won’t be discouraged, because this recipe makes a very large batch that happens to be freezer-friendly.  With the colder weather moving in, I knew that I couldn’t put off making these any longer.  These are great to make for pot lucks or when feeding a crowd, because they can be served warm or cold.

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Dry Rub Recipe for Beef Ribs

In Main Course, Red Meat and Eggs on June 12, 2014 at am

I made beef ribs using this dry rub twice in one week, because my brother and John couldn’t get enough of them.  You could also use it on beef brisket.  Feel free to substitute any of the ingredients with whatever you happen to have on hand.  For example, you could try omitting the nutmeg or adding ground mustard or ground cumin to switch up the flavours every now and then.  (See here for my favourite dry rub recipe for chicken.)

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Sausage and Green Lentils Recipe

In Other Dishes, Red Meat and Eggs on March 4, 2014 at am

This is a hearty, freezer friendly, one pot meal that I love to serve on a cold day.

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Best Beef Carpaccio Recipe

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Main Course, Red Meat and Eggs on January 28, 2014 at am

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I love beef carpaccio and I order it in restaurants quite often.  But even the restaurants get it wrong, sometimes.  When John had arugula, parmigiano reggiano, and lemons leftover from his party, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to try making beef carpaccio at home.  It turns out that it is incredibly easy to make, and that the key to success lies in the quality of the meat used.  I urge you to splurge on the beef, but I won’t blame you if you don’t, because when I spent $19 at Whole Foods for a single, small, filet mignon, I felt outraged, regretful, and then outraged, again.  Until, that is, I tasted the final product.  No regrets here.  I was blown away by the deliciousness over and over again, after each bite.  I may never order beef carpaccio from a restaurant again, because the flavour of the beef that I used was dramatically better than anything I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

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How to Cook a Prime Rib Roast

In How-To, Red Meat and Eggs on December 4, 2013 at am

Roasted prime rib (or standing rib roast) is one of my family’s favourite things to eat for special occasions and family gatherings.  It’s a beautiful, tender, flavourful and expensive cut of meat that would be completely wasted if overcooked.  Once you get the hang of achieving the right doneness, you’ll discover that it’s actually very easy to cook a prime rib roast.  Below, I have shared a few tips for how to select a prime rib roast as well as two simple methods that I use to cook prime rib.  Note that I don’t normally pre-season my roasts, so the cooking methods would differ slightly if you wanted to use a flavour crust on the outside of your meat.  Next time, I’ll share my favourite recipe for seasoned prime rib roast.

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Herb and Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb Recipe

In Red Meat and Eggs on October 4, 2013 at pm

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I love rack of lamb, but the idea of cooking it myself was intimidating, because I was worried that I would undercook or overcook it and waste an expensive cut of meat.  Although I prefer my beef steak blue rare, I find that lamb is best enjoyed medium or medium rare.  I decided to take on this challenge for Mother’s Day and, luckily, it turned out beautifully.  I used the touch method (also known as the finger test) to check the doneness of the meat every 5 to 10 minutes to ensure that I didn’t overcook it.  Since I kept letting the heat out of the oven, it took about 40 minutes for my roast to reach medium doneness (20 minutes longer than expected), but it was delicious.

Note:  I personally don’t like the flavour of mint, but since mint is a common accompaniment for lamb, you could add a couple of fresh mint leaves to the other fresh herbs in this recipe.  I’d also like to note that using nuts instead of the typical bread crumbs for the crust happens to make this entree gluten free.

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How to Determine the Doneness of Meat Using Touch Test

In How-To, Red Meat and Eggs on October 1, 2013 at am

Regardless of what type of meat you’re cooking or how you’re cooking the meat, the biggest mistake you can make is overcooking it.  Unfortunately, the required cooking time for each cut or piece of meat can vary greatly depending on the equipment used to cook it, the size of the meat, the starting temperature of the meat, and the ratio of meat to bone, etc.  Therefore, it is very important to rely more heavily on the touch test or meat thermometers than general cooking time guidelines.  Determining the doneness of meat is the most difficult part of any recipe, but luckily, it gets easier with practice.  

Over time, you will be able to tell whether or not the meat is cooked through simply by smelling and looking at the meat.  (Hint:  The meat will be opaque in colour and it will have shriveled away from the bones.)  Until then, you have the touch test and meat thermometers.

Although using a meat thermometer will give you precision (as long as it has been calibrated properly), you end up losing some of the meat juices when you poke it into the meat.  You also end up with unsightly holes or tears in your meat.  So I prefer to use the touch test.  Below, I’ve shared three different variations of the touch test for checking the doneness of meat.  Note that I have also heard this being called the “finger test”.  Let me know if you know of any other touch methods.

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Favourite Pulled Pork Recipe (Slow Cooker)

In Red Meat and Eggs on March 12, 2012 at pm

I made pulled pork sandwiches for my sister’s lunch club at work and people loved it.  One of her friends even started making this on a regular basis at home.  A year later, they invited me to a party where they served this as the main  🙂  (Ed and my brother love this recipe too.)  The homemade BBQ sauce is great and could be used as a condiment or with other recipes.  This also happens to be my favourite slow cooker recipe.  I served the pulled pork on fresh kaiser buns with a side of coleslaw (recipe here) and pickles.

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