Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

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Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Hello everyone!!  It’s been awhile since my last blog post and I am excited to share my Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry. At times life calls for focus elsewhere, and far away to elsewhere I went. There was a time when I would have exhausted myself to do it all, but to what end I had to ask myself. As I get older, I realize that I am a priority as much as anything and doing something for the sake of just getting it done is not the same as doing it for the joy it brings me.  Sooo, now that I have moved, dealt with the death of my mother, moved again, cleaned up a hoarder’s home, renovated my own home and assisted my father with a broken femur, I am ready to get back to me. And by me, I mean food of course LOL! 

I’ve truly missed being part of the foodie community and participating in my passion.  This creative outlet and meaningful pursuit bring me a lot of joy. I’m also very excited to share that I’ve finally stepped into the world of video. It’s been great to learn and challenge myself, and I’m sure that my “being on camera” nerves will calm as it becomes my norm. You can find me on YouTube @compelledtocook and as time goes I will include videos here on the blog for some of my existing posts. My channel is very new and I still have plenty to learn and improve upon, but I hope you’ll join me in my endeavour.  Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a great recipe video. If you’ve been hanging around wondering if I’d ever post again, I thank you for your patience, and if you’re new to my blog, I welcome you.

Beef slices

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry is quick, simple and flavourful.  Thinly sliced beef gets fried quickly over high heat to keep it tender, while crisp and healthy snow peas balance the umami “ish” sauce. Let’s talk about the beef for a moment. There are several cuts that work well, and I have a couple of tricks to create tender, silky beef. My cuts of choice are tenderloin, strip loin or flank steak. Regardless of the cut you choose it is imperative that you cut it thinly across the natural grain of the meat to ensure a chewable bite.

The second trick is to add a small amount of baking soda (mixed with soy sauce) to the slices and allow to marinate. The baking soda helps to break down the meat fibres and create a silky texture. If using tenderloin, the need to marinate is less because it’s already a very tender cut of meat, however, I still do. Just marinate it for a shorter length of time, about 30-60 minutes. If using other cuts I recommend marinating for 1-2 hours. Please know that more soda does NOT mean more tender. It only adds a sharp taste to the meat, so resist the urge to do so.  Beef and Snow Pea Stir Fry is wonderful served over rice or your favourite noodle.  Enjoy!

Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Beef & Snow Pea Stir Fry

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Beef

  • 10 ounces beef, thinly sliced across the grain, see notes
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Stir Fry

  • 10-12 ounces snow peas
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup beef broth, cold
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • as needed canola oil
  • as needed scallions, thinly sliced
  • as needed sesame seeds

Instructions

Beef

  • Toss beef with ginger and minced garlic.
  • In a small bowl stir together soy sauce and baking soda. Pour over beef and mix well to evenly coat the beef slices (I use my hands to ensure it's mixed well). Set in the fridge to marinate for 30-120 minutes depending on cut used. (see notes)
  • While the beef is marinating whisk together beef broth and cornstarch (see notes). Stir in oyster sauce, sugar and chili flakes.

Stir Fry

  • Prep snow peas by trimming the ends and removing the side string.
  • Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add a generous splash of oil. When the oil is hot add the beef, separating the slices with your hands as you add it. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until just cooked through and starting to brown. Remove to a clean bowl and cover.
  • Add the 1/4 cup of water and snow peas to the wok and cook uncovered for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the water has cooked off and the peas are starting to soften but are still slightly crisp (they will continue to cook in the sauce).
  • Add the sauce to the snow peas and cook for about a minute, stirring until the sauce fully thickens. Add the beef and stir to combine and warm.
  • Serve over rice or desired noodles and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Notes

-Several cuts of beef will work.  I enjoy tenderloin or strip loin, however, flank steak will work well too. Be sure to cut the beef into thin strips across the grain.
-If using tenderloin, marinating for 30-60 minutes is enough, it's already a tender cut.  If using strip loin or flank 1-2 hours is best.
-Cornstarch dissolves better in cool liquids, so if your broth is hot, allow it to cool first.  It will also dissolve better in the broth as opposed to the thick oyster sauce.

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Braised Kale with Bacon

Braised Kale with Bacon

Braised Kale with Bacon

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Braised Kale with Bacon served in a shallow white bowl resting on a wooden trivel and blue checkered kitchen towel.

Bacon has its own food group for a reason, it makes people actually want to eat Kale, LOL! At least in my world it does, and autumn is the perfect season to enjoy plenty of robust braised greens. While this recipe has been made with kale, other greens like Swiss chard, beet greens or collards will work very well also. Braised Kale with Bacon is a great side dish with roasted meats, and if by chance you have any leftovers, it’s perfect to add to a frittata, baked pasta or simply topped with a runny egg. The latter being my personal favourite because I’m a firm believer that a runny egg makes the world a tastier place and the bacon is already included, so it’s a win-win scenario.

Ingredients for Braised Kale with Bacon nestled in a shallow white tray.
Sauteed onions in an off white dutch oven in preparation of Braised Kale with Bacon.

Eating kale doesn’t have to mean you’re on a diet. The ratio of bacon and parmesan cheese in this recipe tips the healthy scale a little, but it’s also the reason it’s so tasty. Don’t be skimpy on the cheese my friends. Enjoy!

Can’t eat kale, even with bacon? Here’s a few more veggie sides to choose from.

Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli

Garlicky Buttered Beans

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

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Braised Kale with Bacon

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces kale about 6 ounces trimmed
  • 4 ounces bacon, 3-4 slices, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 medium juice of 1/2 a lemon

Instructions

  • Trim kale of ribs and stems and tear them into bite-size pieces.
  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until rendered and crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Add enough olive oil to the remaining bacon fat to equal 2 tbsp (you may not need it).
  • Add sliced onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add sliced garlic and chili flakes and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Toss in trimmed kale and salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until kale is starting to wilt 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour in broth and water, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until kale is soft. Remove lid and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked out.
  • Add parmesan cheese and bacon and toss to combine. Add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve immediately.

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Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops

Grilled Lamb Chops

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Grilled Lamb Chops garnished with fresh herbs and served on a wooden board.

Moving sucks!! It’s not only an awful lot of work, it has also kept me away from food blogging for a couple of months now. Today I am getting back into the swing of things and quickly realizing that my hiatus has taken its toll. Lagging page views and technical issues are at the forefront today, but I am back and excited to share these delicious Grilled Lamb Chops with you. Don’t worry there’s a little bit of summer left to fire up the grill for this quick and easy elevated dinner.

Lamb chops, lemon, Dijon, garlic and fresh herbs on a wooden board in preparation for Grilled Lamb Chops.
Lamb chops coated with a herbed mustard paste are ready for the grill in preparation for Grilled Lamb Chops.

Lamb chops are my absolute favourite way to enjoy lamb. They’re mild tasting and get a nice char on them from their extra bit of fat. The mustard rub used on today’s Grilled Lamb Chops is a variation of my go-to favourite grilling/roasting rub. A good dose of garlic, Dijon and rosemary are perfect to compliment the lamb. Sadly, lamb is quite expensive in my area, so these delicious chops are not usually on regular rotation, but they are a fantastic option for a special dinner or entertaining occasion. Enjoy.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

Grilled Lamb Chops arranged on a wooden board and garnished with fresh lemon, herbs and red pepper jelly.
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Grilled Lamb Chops

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 3 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 each rack of spring lamb
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 each juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Trim any excess fat from the rack of lamb. Cut the rack into chops by cutting evenly between each rib. A medium-size rack will yield approximately 8 chops.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the Dijon mustard, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
  • Arrange the lamb chops in a shallow dish and evenly coat with mustard paste. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high. Grill the lamb chops 6-7 minutes per side for medium-well.
  • Remove from the grill and cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 3 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with red pepper or mint jelly.

Notes

The grilling time per side may vary depending on the temperature of your grill.

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Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Potato and Mushroom Gratin

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Sliced mushrooms, gruyere cheese and potatoes in a basket are being prepped for Potato and Mushroom Gratin.

With Easter just around the corner, you’ll want to be dinner ready for family and friends. Hopefully, with some luck, the Covid-19 gathering restrictions will ease in my area and a modest gathering can take place. I do miss my family and friends, and I miss cooking for them. It’s the best part of any gathering, in my opinion. You’re gonna love this easy and delicious Potato and Mushroom Gratin. It feeds 8 people, it’s easy to assemble and bakes up golden and creamy every time. There’s no messing around with cooking a white sauce, there’s no boilovers and no pre-cooking potatoes. It’s a no-fuss casserole, loaded with earthy mushrooms and Gruyere cheese, and has become my favourite to serve with ham. It’s also fantastic served with roast chicken, pork or grilled steak.

Sauteed mushroom in a stainless steel skillet that have been cooked for Potato and Mushroom Gratin.
A prepped and layered Potato and Mushroom Gratin in a red casserole dish ready for the oven.

What makes this potato casserole a winner in my books is the simplicity of the sauce. The mixture of cream and sour cream makes it extra creamy and the sour cream gives a little tang. The sauce is whisked together cold and poured over the potato slices. I find there’s no need to be fussy with the potato arrangement either. Simply toss the slices into the casserole dish and spread them around evenly instead of trying to layer them ever so carefully. If you don’t have a mandolin for thinly slicing the potatoes, that’s no problem, simply slice as thin as you can by hand and cook for the longest time suggested in the recipe. Remember, dinner doesn’t need to be fussy. This simple casserole is not only delicious, but it also feeds a small crowd and is worthy of your family gathering. Enjoy!

Potato and Mushroom Gratin baked golden in a red casserole dish and garnished with chopped green onions.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

Potato and Mushroom Gratin baked golden in a red casserole dish and garnished with chopped green onions.
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Potato and Mushroom Gratin

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tbsp unsalted butter plus more for dish
  • 16 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced see note
  • 1 small onion, thinly slice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream, full fat
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes see note
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and butter a large 3-quart casserole dish.
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until starting to foam. Add mushroom and cook until lightly browned and the moisture has evaporated. Add minced garlic and continue to cook, stirring often for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a clean bowl.
  • Melt another 1-2 tbsp of butter over medium heat and add sliced onions. Sprinkle with salt and sauté for 4-5 minutes until starting to soften.
  • While mushrooms and onions are cooking, whisk together cream, sour cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. In a separate bowl whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Add to the sour cream mixture and whisk until incorporated. Grate the cheese and set it aside.
  • Peel and thinly slice the potatoes and dab dry with a paper towel. Spread half of the potato slices evenly in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Scatter half of the sauteed mushrooms and onions over the potatoes. Top evenly with half of the cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes, mushrooms and cheese.
  • Pour the cream mixture evenly over the potatoes. Give the pan a gentle shake to help flatten everything out. Cover and bake for 45-60 minutes (this will depend on how thin you've sliced the potatoes) Start checking at 45 minutes. The potatoes should be "just" tender in the center. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the top is golden and the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Remove from oven, cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or sliced green onions if desired.

Notes

-The cooking of the mushrooms and onions, along with the mixing of the sauce can be done several hours and up to one day in advance. So all you have left to do is slice the potatoes, assemble and bake the casserole.
-Russet potatoes work well for this recipe, however, I've also used red potatoes with equally good results.
-The covered cooking time will vary slightly depending on how thin you've sliced the potatoes.  I find cutting them by hand instead of using a mandolin requires closer to 60 minutes covered.
-I like using a mix of cremini and white mushrooms for this recipe but either/or will work well.

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

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Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza baked hot and bubbly and garnished with fennel fronds.

I say start the new year with pizza! Yes, that’s right, crispy, cheesy, flavour-packed Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza. We can not make just any pizza, it truly needs to be a cast-iron pizza to start the new year right. It creates the best golden and crisp underside that you’ll ever create at home, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making all your pizzas this way. Most new year resolutions include some form of healthy eating, but I think the new year (because it’s gonna be great) deserves full-on, carefree, in your face deliciousness. The sausage and fennel combination has not only become my new favourite, cooking it in a cast-iron pan tips it over the edge of my pizza nirvana. So move over plain ol’ pepperoni pizza… grown-up pizza just walked in.

A cast iron skillet full of of ingredients for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.
Pizza dough, marinara sauce and fennel ready for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.

With the new year upon us, we have no choice but to be hopeful for a more user-friendly year. Even though I can consider 2020 a good year, it hasn’t been without its frustrations, and for many people, it has been a year of hardship and heartache. While we can’t eat cheesy, sausage laden pizza all the time, it’s a good reminder to enjoy a few of the simpler things that we can. It’s also great fun to create homemade pizza at home with loved ones lending a helping hand.

All the best in 2021, let’s eat!

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.

Author:  Compelled to Cook

 

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.
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Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Course Main Course
Keyword baked, cast iron, cast iron pizza, fennel, garlic, Italian sausage, mozzerella, olive oil, pizza, pizza dough
Cook Time 14 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces pizza dough homemade or store-bought
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage about 2 links, casing removed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce homemade or store bought
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced plus fronds for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Set oven rack to its uppermost position. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Drizzle room temperature pizza dough with 1 tbsp olive oil and press out to a 10" round. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 10" cast-iron skillet. Add Italian sausage and cook over medium, breaking up any large pieces. Once cooked and slightly crisp remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • With the heat still on medium/low, immediately lay pizza dough in the pan, stretching out to the edges using a spatula or spoon if necessary. Top dough with marinara, then mozzarella, fennel, garlic and sausage. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and check the underside which should be starting to brown and crisp. Transfer pan to oven and bake until bubbling, about 10-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and fennel fronds or fresh basil. Lift out of the pan and cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

-The dough will press out better on a wooden surface such as a cutting board as opposed to granite or super-smooth surfaces.
-I prefer a thinner crust and opt for 8 ounces of dough vs 10.  It is 10 ounces pictured in the blog.
-Makes one 10" pizza, however, a 12" cast-iron skillet would work too, just use the 10 ounces of dough.  There's plenty of topping, so there's no need to adjust unless you'd like more cheese.
-The original recipe from Bon Appétit suggests garnishing with fresh basil, however, I enjoy using fresh fennel fronds instead, but it's a matter of preference and both are delicious. 

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I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com