Beef Tartar for the Slightly Squeamish

Well known fact about me, I love steak. Typically I’ll order mine medium rare when out, but when I’m at home (where I can OCD-ishly control all sanitation aspects of the kitchen) I like my steak rare. However! When I have the money to throw at a trustworthy, incredible cut of beef I’ll go all out raw and make myself beef tartar.

This recipe is for when I buy a cut of beef that I wouldn’t necessarily trust with my life. Don’t get me wrong I always buy the highest quality ingredients I can when making… well any recipe! But let’s say I’ve decided to purchase the highest quality beef I can from my grocer versus my local butcher. Yeah… the quality just won’t be the same and that’s when this recipe comes in handy. Adding a light sear to the steak kills off any unwanted bacteria so you can rest easy serving it nearly raw.


1 Pound Fresh Beef Tenderloin
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary

    1. Remove any fatty pieces and pat the beef dry with paper towels before cooking. Melt your butter with the rosemary on high heat in a cast-iron skillet. Once butter is melted add the beef. Tilt the pan slightly and using a spoon scoop the melted butter back onto the beef for basting. Sear both sides for 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
    2. Using the sharpest knife in your arsenal cut the beef into ¼ inch cubes and set aside to refrigerate while working on the sauce.

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2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Coarse Ground Dijon Mustard
2 Cloves Garlic (Pressed)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley Leaves (Finely Chopped)
1 Teaspoon Capers (Finely Diced)
1 Teaspoon Brine from Capers
1 Teaspoon Manzanilla Olives (Pimento Optional, Finely Diced)
1 Teaspoon Brine from Olives
2 Tablespoons Sweet Red Onion (Finely Diced)
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a medium, non-reactive mixing bowl (I went with glass) add the olive oil, mustard, caper, and olive brine. Using a grater or garlic press add garlic to the bowl. Now, how finely you cut your other ingredients will vary by personal preference. I like my sauce as smooth as possible so I dice until it looks like my ingredients have been put through a food processor – actually, to be honest if I had a food processor I’d just use that. At any rate, finely dice your parsley, capers, olives, and red onion then add to bowl. Mix everything together using a plastic mixing spatula and season to taste.

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Egg Yolk

Serve your beef tartare by forming a 4 ounce round in the middle of a plate with the egg yolk (optional) and eat immediately.

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Gluten Free Shepherd’s Pie

I first tried making shepherd’s pie four or five years ago… it was exhausting. There were so many steps and the end result was kind of subpar to be completely honest. Since then I’ve tweaked and tinkered with the recipe so many times that I’ve come up with something that no where near resembles the original. It’s probably not the most authentic shepherd’s pie, but it’s pretty damn delicious. Also, gluten free! So try it out on a cold day or whenever you need a bit of comfort food.

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Mashed Potatoes

10 Large White Potatoes (Peeled & Cut into ½ Inch Pieces)
1 Teaspoon Crushed Rosemary
2 Cloves Garlic (Sliced)
1 Cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Butter
¼ Cup Sour Cream
1 Egg Yolk
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Place your potatoes in a large pot (I used my 5 quart Dutch oven) and fill it with water so the potatoes are just covered. Add your rosemary and garlic before covering. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and remove the lid, allow the potatoes to boil until they fall apart when poked with a fork.
  2. Remove your potatoes from the heat and drain over a sink. Place them back in your pot before adding milk, butter, sour cream, and egg yolk. Using either a potato masher or a mixer mash the potato mixture to your desired consistency (I prefer mine a bit lumpy). Add salt and pepper then set aside.

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Beef Filling

2 Pounds Ground Beef
1 Teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Shallot (Small Diced)
1 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms (Sliced)
1 ½ Cups Fresh Carrots (Medium Diced)
1 Cup Frozen Peas
12 Ounces Cream of Mushroom Soup
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Teaspoon Paprika (Optional)

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Begin by seasoning the beef with Montreal steak seasoning. Add the vegetable oil to an oven safe sauté pan and bring to medium high heat. Add your meat and sauté until it is thoroughly browned.
  3. After browning, strain the beef over a sink and set aside. Place your pan back on the heat (still medium high) and add butter. Throw in your shallot and cook until it turns translucent, making sure to scrape up any browned bits for added flavor. Add the rest of the vegetables, sautéing until the carrots turn tender and can be easily pierced by a fork. Turn the heat down to medium low.2015-04-10 18.52.22
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  4. Combine your vegetables, ground beef, and cream of mushroom (I used Pacific Natural Foods Organic Cream Of Mushroom Condensed Soup) in the pan adding salt and pepper to taste. Take your filling off the heat and evenly distribute it evenly around the pan. Cover the filling with even layers of mashed potato and finish by lightly sprinkling the top with paprika.2015-04-10 19.02.02.jpg
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  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the mashed potatoes have turned a light brown.

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Let’s Cook: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I have my friend Amos to thank for introducing me to this magnificent recipe. I will say that I was extremely skeptical of when it was first shown to me. What Amos emailed me was a pictographic recipe he had found on Pinterest (which I almost never trust), so perhaps you can understand my concerns. Knowing I needed more information I tracked the original blog post down and found a much more detailed version of the recipe on RECIPEgirl. However, I still had my concerns. How exactly did you avoid a burnt, goopy mess after flipping the pancake onto its cinnamon filled side? Well in my case you didn’t, but no matter how awful these pancakes end up looking they more than deliver in the taste department.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes by RECIPEgirl

  1. 2015-01-24 17.50.52Before starting your pancakes make the cinnamon filling and cream cheese drizzle. Set your cinnamon filling aside in a closed Ziploc to cool (I put mine in the refrigerator) until it has a toothpaste like thickness.
  2. Using the recipe provided by RECIPEgirl or your own favorite pancake mix create the pancake batter. I used King Arthur Gluten Free Pancake Mix (15oz pack).
  3. Pour 1/3 cup batter into a well-greased non-stick skillet or griddle. Cook on medium to medium low heat.
  4. Allow the pancake to cook enough to form bubbles then add a swirl of the cinnamon filling. Stay close to the center to keep the filling from leaking out.
  5. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the pancake quickly and carefully.
  6. Set aside once finished and wipe your cooking surface clean in between pancakes.
  7. Stack up your pancakes, drizzle with your cream cheese icing, and enjoy!




Let’s first talk about one of the major differences between my version of this recipe and the original, the pancake batter. I used King Arthur Gluten Free Pancake Mix, while the recipe called for you to make your mix from scratch. I have a hunch that had I made my batter from scratch it may have turned out thicker and better able to hold the cinnamon filling. The next time I make these I’ll definitely be using the batter recipe on RECIPEgirl (while still substituting all-purpose flour for gluten free all-purpose flour).
Next thing I want to talk about are the tips I added onto my recipe cards. First off FOLLOW ALL THE TIPS GIVEN ON RECIPEgirl! I cannot stress this enough since these pancakes would have been extremely difficult to make had I ignored those tips. Now, the first tip I discovered on my own is to make sure the piping tip (or cut in your Ziploc) is as small as possible. I didn’t think about sizing beforehand and ended up with cinnamon turds instead of swirls. Not cute. Next tip, if you don’t make pancakes often (me) go in knowing that this is going to be a life lesson in the importance of flipping pancakes correctly. I still don’t know how to do it, but I am convinced that with a bit of practice I’ll go from splatting my pancakes onto my skillet to magically flipping them perfectly. I fully expect that the beautiful, fluffy, cinnamon swirly pancakes shown on the original recipe are possible; it will just take me many many attempts to achieve them.
Let me make one thing clear! I am not mourning the fact that I will have to make these little guys more than once… because they taste freaking fantastic. The flavor of the cinnamon filling permeates the entire pancake and some of the cinnamon crystalizes to give the pancakes a sweet sugary crunch. Oh man, also that cream cheese drizzle is to die for. Seriously, I’m thinking of giving up on syrup all together and making this a mainstay for whenever I make pancakes. Oh man or doughnuts. So many possibilities! *faints* So yes, I would definitely recommend making this recipe because no matter how awful the pancakes end up looking (cue glamour shots of mine) they will taste amazing.

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Summer Vegetable Hash

So I really wanted to have a fancy name for this dinner, but in all reality this should be called “garbage” hash or “gotta use up all the leftover ingredients in my fridge” hash. However, all the veggies used in this are technically “summer” vegetables so why not make my cooking seem fancier than it is? Right? Right!

5 Large Potatoes (Peeled & Cut into ½ Inch Pieces)
½ Orange Bell Pepper (Chopped)
½ Green Bell Pep2014-08-12 16.30.57per (Chopped)
Yellow Onion (Chopped)
1 ½ Cups Sweet Corn Kernels
3 Garlic Cloves (Grated or
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2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary (Crushed)
1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Cayenne
½ Teaspoon Pepper

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter on medium low heat in a large cast iron skillet. Once melted add your potatoes and cook until just tender.
  • After your potatoes have cooked turn the heat up to medium high. This is going In order to crisp up the potatoes (instead or burning them) make sure you continuously scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any golden bits. Once the potatoes are golden brown turn off the heat.

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  • Combine all the vegetables, oil, and spices well with the potatoes. Pop your hash into the oven for one hour, mixing every 15 minutes to keep everything from sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

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Arg, please excuse the terrible photo… apparently breakfast foods are not my photographic forte. I served mine with bacon and fried eggs as a breakfast for dinner sort of meal. I love having these potatoes with an egg on top because they come out incredibly fluffy and are freaking perfect for soaking up all the delicious egg yolk. Hope you enjoy!


Ladies Weekend Grilled Cheese

As you know I am all alone this weekend while Eric and the guys are trolling around Vegas! So what do I do? Let me break down my days for you so far. Day one, Wednesday, I wake up around 1100 hours and have a cupcake for breakfast. In an uncharacteristic burst of energy I start all the laundry in the house, following up by dusting all the surfaces and vacuuming all the floors. By 1400 hours I have finished all the housework and have leftover macaroni and cheese for lunch. The rest of the day is spent lounging around the apartment – some of it spent watching YouTube, some spent perusing Facebook. Scalloped potatoes provide sustenance for dinner and bedtime around 0200 hours. Day two, Thursday, my day is started earlier around 0900 hours. Coffee is the only sustenance necessary at this hour, unfortunately due to a last minute machine breakdown the straining process must be done carefully by hand. After finally procuring the sweet nectar of the gods I write up this week’s Let’s Cook blog post discussing last Sunday’s kimchi bokkeumbop. Once finished I walked to the nearby shopping center so as to make some kind of human contact. The beings around me, Californians, are a strange sort. They are always ready to rush others, but never in a rush themselves. So unlike the East Coast where everyone is in a rush no matter what, I’m still not sure what to make of their strange behavior. I arrived back at the apartment around 1600 hours and had a slice of flourless chocolate cake for lunch. The rest of the day was spent on Skype with friends from home, reading 1984, and watching episodes of The Office. Until 1800 hours rolled around and I began to recognize a particular rumbling in my stomach usually indicative of the fast approaching time to begin dinner preparations. Due to a lack of friends to cook for there was a dearth of ingredients in my fridge. I was left with the scraps from previously made meals and had no idea what to make of them. Finally it dawned on me. I had all the ingredients to prepare the mouthwatering meal that had been nourishing riley toddlers, lazy college students, and bachelors for ages, grilled cheese.

Pesto Turkey Grilled Provolone

2 Slices Sandwich Bread
¼ Cup Tomatoes (Sliced)IMG_20140808_123715833
¼ Cup Shallots (Sliced)
1 Tablespoon Butter (Quartered)
2 Slices Provolone Cheese
1 Teaspoon Pesto
3 Slices Turkey Deli Meat

  • In a small fry pan melt one quarter of the butter on medium high heat. Sauté the tomatoes and shallots until the shallots begin to turn translucent. Once done, set aside on a small plate.


  • Melt another quarter of butter and add one slice of sandwich bread (I used Schar Gluten Free Wheat Free Multigrain Bread) to the pan, allowing it to soak up some of the butter. Flip the piece over and let the other side soak. Grill until lightly browned on each side, then set aside. Add another quarter of butter to your pan and grill the second slice in the same manner.
  • While grilling your second slice of bread begin adding ingredients to the slice you set aside. Start with the first slice of provolone cheese then spread the pesto on top of the cheese. Evenly top the pesto with your tomatoes and shallot mixture. Add the layers of turkey and second slice of cheese on top of the tomato shallot mixture, finishing with the second slice of cheese.

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  • Melt your last quarter of butter on medium heat. Place your sandwich in the pan and cover it with a lid, grill like this for two minutes. Flip your sandwich and grill for another two minutes. Wrap in a paper towel and enjoy!


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As you might have guessed from the first paragraph I am slowly losing my mind to solitary confinement. Also, because my coffee maker broke last Friday and instead of buying a new one I’ve been hand straining my coffee. How? Oh simply by precariously holding the machine strainer over a mug and pouring boiled water over it. I should really buy a new coffee machine before I lose it completely or burn the crap out of my hand. Anyway I hope you enjoy the grilled cheese recipe! It’s one of my favorite comfort foods especially with a nice cup of tomato soup. So yummy!