Beef · Main Courses

Tri-Tip with Smoked Paprika-Sesame Seed Rub and Chimichurri Sauce

Tri-Tip with Smoked Paprika-Sesame Seed Rub and Chimichurri Sauce

Until a couple of years ago, I had never heard of Tri-tip.  Maybe I live under a rock, or maybe it is an American cut that we don’t often see in Canada?  It started showing up in  many of the food magazines and cooking blogs I read, so I started to look for it in stores.   Turns out, is always available at our local Costco now that I know to look for it.  It is a flavourful cut and I am glad we finally discovered it.

Tri-tip is a triangular cut of meat, with a fairly decent fat cap, from near the sirloin part of the cow.  Like flank steak, it needs to be sliced thinly, across the grain in order for it to be tender.  The grain can change throughout the cut, so watch for that, and change the direction of your slicing accordingly.

These cooking instructions will give you a nice rare – medium rare finish, and we find that is the best cook for this cut.

Do not skip the resting part!  Make your salad, warm your garlic bread, have another glass of wine…whatever you need to do to keep yourself from cutting into that meat before it has properly rested!!   Resting gives the meat time to absorb its juices back into itself.   Ignore this step, and all those flavourful juices will end up on the plate, instead of the meat, where they belong.   Unless of course, you enjoy your a tasteless steak with a dry, grainy texture.

Tri-Tip with Smoked Paprika-Sesame Seed Rub and Chimichurri

For the steak

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

2 Tablespoons canola oil

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 lb piece of tri-tip

For the Chimichurri

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 cups parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon liquid honey

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare gas grill for indirect heat (leave one  or two burners off).  Place steak on one of the un-lit burners,  cover and grill, turning only once, 20 – 30 minutes.  An instant read thermometer, inserted into thickest part should read 115 F.

Move steak to direct heat and grill until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side.  Temperature will increase to 120 F.  Transfer to cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.

While the steak is resting, toss the vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, oil and salt to taste together and mix well.

Serve sliced steak with chimichurri.

Original recipe can be found here.


Chicken · Main Courses

Green Curry-Coconut Chicken

Green Curry-Coconut Chicken

Very simple to make, and on the table in under an hour.

The original recipe can be found in “The Pretty Dish” by Jessica Merchant. I have modified the recipe for stove top instead of baking it in the oven.

2 Tablespoons canola or coconut oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1' cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, put thru garlic press
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 red or green bell pepper, stem & seeds removed, thinly sliced
2  Tablespoons green curry paste 
1 can (14 oz) full fat coconut milk, well shaken

cooked white rice, for serving
shredded unsweetened coconut, for garnish (optional)
fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring another minute. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink – 3 – 4 minutes. Chicken will not be fully cooked at this point.

Reduce heat to medium low, push chicken and onions to one side and add curry paste. Stir for just a minute, until curry paste becomes fragrant, then incorporate into the chicken/onion mixture.

Slowly stir in coconut milk, increase heat to medium and let simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. About 10 minutes.

Transfer to serving bowl, garnish with coconut and cilantro leaves and serve with cooked white rice.

Main Courses · Rice and Beans · Sides

Smokehouse Beans

This makes a lot of beans. Enough for a side for 6 people plus a second dinner for Kevin and I. These are wonderful alongside steak or ribs and for a quick dinner, they go well on toast. So, if you are expecting a crowd, or even if your not, these are a wonderful addition to your summer BBQ.

Soak the beans overnight for a more even cook. Whole Foods also suggests that soaking beans helps rid them of the sugars that cause flatulence, incase you were interested.

Smokehouse Beans
Smokehouse Beans

1 lb dried pinto beans, cleaned, rinsed and soaked overnight
12 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
3 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
cotija cheese

Drain beans and place in large pot with 10 cups of water. Add garlic and salt, and bring to a simmer, cooking until beans are just tender. 35 minutes to 1 hour, depending on age of your beans.

Stir in salt, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if desired.

Stir in onion and tomato, cook 5 minutes more. Transfer to serving bowl, top with cilantro and cotija cheese, if using ,and serve hot. Will keep, refrigerated up to 5 days.

Beef · Main Courses

Korean BBQ Beef (Bulgogi)

Beef Bulgogi

One thing we do not have here in the Bahia de Banderas is a good Korean restaurant. Many times in the 10 years we have lived here, I have longed for a seat in those plastic tables and chairs that grace the Bulgogi House in Edmonton. The memories of meals enjoyed there are still with me.

So, when Tasting Table published this recipe by Chris Oh, the chef of L.A.’s Hanjip restaurant, I thought I would give it a try. This is easy to put together, the marinade time is short and the results are tasty.

I did this in a cast iron pan on the stove, but next time, I will toss it on the grill for even more flavour.

Korean BBQ Beef (Bulgogi)

1 cup water
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes
2 lbs sirloin, thinly sliced crosswise 1/8" thick 
2 Tablespoons oil for frying
thinly sliced scallions for garnish (optional)
toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
steamed white rice for serving (optional)
kimchi for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and onion powders, and Korean red pepper flakes until the sugar has dissolved. Add the sliced rib eye and let marinate for 1 hour.

In a large cast-iron pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Drain the meat, discarding the marinade. Working in batches, cook the meat, flipping once, until caramelized and golden, 1 minute per side. Transfer to a platter.

Garnish the bulgogi with the scallions, sesame seeds and more pepper flakes, then serve with steamed rice and kimchi.

Chicken · Main Courses · Rice and Beans · Soups and Stews

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Quinoa is high in protein compared to most plants and grains. It also contains essential amino acids that our bodies need, making it an excellent protein source. That means we can have our “Mostly Meatless Mondays” and still get the protein we need. If you are interested in the benefits this grain, you can read more here.

This is a chowder, so of course there is still some meat here, in the form of BACON, and we are using chicken stock, so its not really meatless, but sorta close. If you want to go meatless, sub in vegetable stock and leave out the bacon.

1 Tablespoon oil
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 small potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
parsley, finely chopped - for garnish
1 scallion, finely chopped - for garnish
Heat the oil and butter in large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onions and potatoes, garlic, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper and cook, stirring often until onions are soft and potatoes begin to brown. About 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock and quinoa. Increase heat to high, bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked. About 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp and transfer to paper towel to drain. Set aside.
Add Corn to the simmering soup and cook another 10 minutes.
Add cream, stir well to combine and heat through.
Spoon soup into bowls, garnish with bacon, parsley and scallions. Serve hot.
Chicken · Main Courses

Hoisin Glazed Chicken Legs

Only 3 ingredients, including the chicken legs. What’s not to love.

6-8  chicken legs
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
1 Tablespoon water
sesame seeds for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray shallow oven proof with non-stick cooking spray and put chicken legs in single layer in pan. Stir together 5-spice powder, water and hoisin sauce. Brush mixture onto all sides of chicken legs.

Bake 45 – 50 minutes, until legs are completely cooked. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with white rice and stir fried vegetables.

Beef · Main Courses · Pork

Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy

Meatloaf with Tomato Gravy

The dish that was so popular in the 50’s & 60’s but something I rarely see anymore.

The list of ingredients is loooooong, but you probably have most of them sitting in your cupboard right now, just waiting to be put to work.

A food processor makes quick work of the chopping so it really isn’t as difficult or time consuming as your first glance may lead you to believe.

This will make one large meatloaf, or 8 individual ones.  I like the individual ones because you can customize them to match certain preferences and still make one meal for a group.   One of our guests didn’t like onions, so I  mixed everything else together and portioned out his serving before adding the onions.

The tomato gravy that goes with this is optional, but highly recommended.


2 lbs lean ground beef

1 lb regular ground pork

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 bay leaf

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1/4 teaspoon mace

3 cups fresh basil, leaves and tender stems loosely packed

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, loosely packed

1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

8″ piece of baguette, crust removed, torn into chunks

6 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano

1 large onion, roughly chopped

3 large eggs, beaten well

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup water

1 cup tomato sauce, divided

Preheat oven to 375 and spray 8 individual loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Place pork and beef in large bowl.   Put the next 13 ingredients in bowl of a food processor and process until everything is finely chopped, stopping several times to scrape down sides of bowl.   (You may have to do this in 2 batches, depending on size of your processor. )

Add to beef and pork mixture along with the eggs, red wine, water and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce.  Mix gently until well combined.

Divide equally and place in prepared loaf pans.  Brush remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce over meatloaves and bake until thermometer inserted in centre registers 160F – 30 – 40 minutes.

Let stand 15 minutes before removing from pans and serving.

Tomato Gravy

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon canola oil

2 Tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 tomato boullion cube

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 Tablespoons ketchup

Heat oil and butter in saucepan over medium heat,  Add flour, stirring to remove any lumps.  Continue to cook mixture over low heat until flour turns a light brown.  Dissolve the bullion cube in the hot water and slowly pour into the flour mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumps.  Increase heat to high, bring to boil.   Reduce heat add tomato sauce and ketchup and simmer until thickened.   Serve over sliced meatloaf.