Beef, Elaine Walker

Pastrami-Spiced Porterhouse Steak

2 porterhouse steaks (1-1/2 inches thick; about 2 pounds each)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for the grill

Spice Rub:
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Mustard Butter:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

Prepare the steaks: Pulse the coriander seeds, peppercorns and mustard seeds in a spice grinder until coarsely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and add the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder and allspice; mix until evenly combined. Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper, then rub with the vegetable oil. Rub the steaks on both sides with the spice mixture, pressing to adhere. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill to medium high. Lightly oil the grates.

Make the mustard butter: Stir the butter in a small bowl until smooth. Mix in the mustard, parsley, chives, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Grill the steaks until well marked, 4 to 5 minutes. Rotate the steaks 90 degrees, moving them around as needed to prevent flare-ups, and cook until crosshatch grill marks form, 4 to 5 more minutes.

Flip the steaks and cook 4 to 5 minutes, then rotate 90 degrees and cook 4 to 5 more minutes, or until a thermometer inserted sideways into the center of the steaks registers 125 degrees F for medium rare.

Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes. Serve with the mustard butter.

Eggs and Pasta and Legumes, Elaine Walker

Pad See Ew – Thai Stir Fried Noodles

7 ounces dried wide rice stick noodles*

Sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (from Asian grocery store)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar

Stir Fry
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 cloves garlic cloves, very finely chopped
5 ounces tofu or chicken thighs (boneless, skinless, sliced)
1 large egg
(amount not specified) vegetables such as broccolini, pak choy or bok choy, sliced thin

Instructions

  1. Noodles: Prepare according to packet directions and drain. Time it so they’re cooked just before using.
  2. Sauce: Mix ingredients until sugar dissolves.
  3. Stir Fry:

— Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a very large heavy based skillet or wok over high heat.
— Add garlic, cook 15 seconds. If using chicken, add it now and cook until chicken mostly changes from pink to white. If using tofu, add at the same time as vegetables.
— Add vegetables and cook another minute or two.
— Push everything to one side, crack egg in and scramble. Remove everything onto a plate (scrape wok clean).
— Return wok to stove, heat 2 tbsp oil over high heat.
— Add noodles and sauce. Toss as few times as possible to disperse sauce and make edges of noodles caramelize.
— Quickly add chicken/tofu and vegetables back in, and toss to disperse. Serve immediately.

*Pad See Ew is traditionally made with Sen Yai fresh rice noodles which are wide, flat rice noodles. You can substitute dried Pad Thai noodles.

Pork, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Kalua Pork

1 (6 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
1 tablespoon red clay Hawaiian sea salt (no substitutes)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring (Reese’s mesquite smoke flavoring, if you can find it)

Pierce pork all over with a carving fork. Rub salt then liquid smoke over meat. Place roast in a slow cooker.

Slice open a banana (leave in the peel) and set it on top of the roast while it cooks to give it the taste of actually being wrapped in banana leaves prior to cooking it underground (make sure you remove the banana after the pig is fully cooked). This gives the pork a very SLIGHT sweet taste which the islands are famous for.

Cover and cook on low for 16 to 20 hours*, turning once or twice during cooking time (remove and replace banana each time).

Remove banana and peel and discard. Remove meat and shred. Return shredded meat to slow cooker and cook 1 hour more on low.

*If you put it in at 11 pm it will be ready between 4 pm and 8 pm.

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot, Soup

Vegetable and Barley Soup

2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked barley
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, peeled & chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon white sugar

Combine all ingredients in Instant Pot. Close and lock the lid. Select high pressure; set timer for 20 minutes. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build.

Release pressure using the natural-release method (according to manufacturer’s instructions, may take 10 to 20 minutes). Unlock and remove the lid. Remove bay leaves. Serve.

Note: This is a nice, mild soup. Might be good with herbs (thyme, basil).

Beef, Dad, Mom, Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Braised Short Ribs

3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
salt, pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 10-ounce can beef broth
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf

2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth

4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water

Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. In batches, brown ribs on all sides; transfer to a slow cooker. Add carrots, beef broth, thyme and bay leaf to ribs.

Add onions to the same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 8-9 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in wine and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cook 8-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add to slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.

Gravy
Remove ribs and vegetables; keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan; skim fat. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Bring juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with ribs.

Beef, Elaine Walker

Best Burgers

1 pound ground chuck (20% fat) Do not substitute other types of ground beef.
1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare right before grilling – not ahead of time. Get your grill or burner hot before beginning.

Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with the salt. (Note: use only 1/4 teaspoon. This much helps prevent loss of the burger juices and keeps the burgers from following apart. However, too much salt causes the beef to congeal.)

After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into 4, and with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop! Over handling will cause the beef to become rubbery when cooked.

Make a shallow indentation in the center of each patty. This keeps the burger flat and prevents the formation of a “bubble burger” when cooking.

Gas Grill Prep: Turn the grill on. Scrape off any debris with a grill brush. Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate. The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate; it will become “nonstick.” When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Put the burgers on the grill.

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.
Medium Rare: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side
Medium: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side
Medium Well: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side
Well Done: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Elaine Walker, Soup

Cheeseburger Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 – 10 ounce cans beef broth
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup chopped or shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
4 cups peeled, cubed, red skin potatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce

2 cups cubed Velveeta cheese (or Cheddar, but soup will not be as creamy)
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup dried potato flakes (optional)

Brown the hamburger in a large skillet. Remove the hamburger from the skillet and set aside. Discard fat in skillet.

To the skillet, add the butter and flour. Add the vegetables (carrots, celery and potatoes) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Put the hamburger and vegetables in a slow cooker. Add the basil, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet and the rest of the beef broth. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

About 1/2 hour before you are ready to eat, add the cheese, milk and sour cream to the slow cooker. If a thicker soup is desired, stir in the dried potato flakes. Continue to cook on low for 20 minutes (Do not let it boil.)

Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, separated/cut into small, same-size florets

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large casserole dish or baking sheet.
Place the olive oil and garlic in a large bowl, stir. Add cauliflower and mix well.

Pour into the prepared casserole dish or baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Elaine Walker, Salads

Grape Salad

4 pounds seedless grapes (red, green or some of each)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Day before
Wash grapes. Dry well. (While you can slice them in half for easier eating, it will make the salad watery. It’s better to leave them whole.)

In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add grapes and mix until evenly incorporated.

Refrigerate overnight. This allows the flavors to blend. (It will not taste as good if you skip this step.)

If you sliced the grapes in half, then drain off any excess liquid before serving.

Elaine Walker, Poultry

Crispy Panko Chicken Thighs

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ranch salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup Panko Japanese-style unseasoned bread crumbs
4 chicken thighs (with bone or boneless)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil; coat with cooking spray.

Combine mayonnaise, ranch dressing and paprika in a bowl; mix well.

Mix panko into another bowl.

Spread mayonnaise-paprika mixture on each chicken thigh; press into panko mixture to coat.

Place in the prepared baking pan; spritz thighs with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 1 hour for thighs with bone or 30 minutes for boneless thighs.