Meal #37: Classic Beef Chili

Taking a break from eggplant – but not for long – by using up the rest of our ground beef.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander
    • Didn’t think we’d use this anywhere else so it got skipped
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • We used at least 4 times as much
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup kidney beans
    • We’re not big fans of beans and we were pretty sure this would turn out fine without them

Finished Product

This was the kind of dish that really retained its heat even after sitting for a while – we made it a little fancier with a dab of sour cream and had plenty left over.

Creme Brulee

To help celebrate our anniversary, we made our favorite dessert at home for the first time – Creme Brulee. It was one of the longest recipes we’ve made with lots of waiting, but we stuck it out and finalized our creation by 1am. It was totally worth it and we might wind up making these pretty often now that we have the power.

Using our new cooking torch we gave the top a crispy layer of caramelized sugar, which is the signature aspect of a creme brulee. We could have gone crispier here, but that just means we’ll need to make some more.

Meal #36: New York Strip Steak with Potatoes and Parsley Sauce

This was a special meal to celebrate our three-year anniversary! Steaks are quite the delicacy, so they were perfect for the occasion.

Ingredients

Parsley Sauce

  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red onion
    • Went with onion powder again here, since we weren’t going to cook the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • Getting closer – we’re using red cooking wine this time
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • You know we added more than this

Steak and Potatoes

  • 12 ounces red potatoes
    • Had to estimate, 4 potatoes seemed like the right amount
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 boneless strip steaks

Finished Product

We’ve gotten pretty good at cooking steaks – we deviated from the recipe quite a bit in order to sear the meat our own way, and it paid off. These were juicy and delicious.

Meal #35: Baked Snapper with Roasted Ratatouille

One last eggplant dish to round out the week. I forgot to include the fish in the ingredients picture, but if you imagine the most exquisite snapper you’ve ever seen, that’s what it looked like.

Ingredients

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • Our first can of diced tomatoes was twice as large as the standard can, so we re-used the other half from the previous recipe
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 eggplant
    • We might’ve bought a lot of eggplant this week, so increasing to 1 whole eggplant made sense
  • 2 shallots
    • Replacing these with regular onions seemed too aggressive, so we used a bunch of onion powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • We had some powdered lemon seasoning that we used instead – our bakes commonly have too much liquid to them (probably due to the frozen fish) so adding more lemon juice was something we wanted to avoid here
  • 2 snapper fillets
    • The store had no snapper, so we went with cod
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • Apple cider vinegar strikes again
  • Lemon wedges
    • We’re not that fancy

Finished Product

This turned out real good. Unfortunately we only had one frozen cod left from previous seafood dishes, so that’s all we got here – but we’re good at sharing.

Meal #34: Italian Vegetable Stew

Eggplants seem to be a common theme this week – not sure how that could have happened.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 eggplant
    • We were hungry, so we used a whole plant
  • 1 Yukon Gold potato
    • Hunger and convenience demanded 2 Idaho potatoes
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
    • This cheese was also a theme for the week, and in sticking with the theme we’ll keep it out of the recipe

Finished Product

This was reminiscent of the previous day’s eggplant dish, but destructed and served on rice. Something common we’ve noticed in this book is that there isn’t usually a carb pairing, so we kind of have to intuit whether to prepare one ahead of time. It’s not hard to do, but we could see this dish disappointing if it weren’t served with rice. Put together, it was very tasty.

Meal #33: Stuffed Eggplant

Back from our international food extravaganza, we wanted to make something that was a little healthier.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese
    • Didn’t wind up including this because it was hard to find at the grocery store
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • Apple cider vinegar is pretty close
  • 2 tablespoons parsley

Finished Product

This was a tasty return to normal eating habits for us. We did sneak in some chicken broth so it’s not technically vegetarian anymore, but if we ever were to make a veggie dish this would be near the top of the list. A nice smooth texture on the eggplant with savory filling made for a nice reminder of home cooking.

Amsterdam Day 5: Fish Salad

Technically not my meal, but I did try a bite or two, so I feel qualified to post about it. I didn’t know salad could taste this good – it was like the best part of sushi combined with the best parts of a fruit salad.

Amsterdam Day 4: Bitterballen

We’d been told good things about bitterballen and ordered a few at the Winkel 43 restaurant. From what we could tell, they were fried balls of mashed potato with various meats mixed in, like a croquette. From what else we could tell, they were also delicious and we want to make them at home.

Amsterdam Day 3: Drinks

We made our way to the lounge at the top of the DoubleTree and had a taste of these fancy drinks. A tall glass of tequila and syrup on the left, a fruitier mixture on the right. They were tasty, but not that strong – a little inspiration towards starting a drink mixing section of the blog, but for now we’ll stick with food.

Amsterdam Day 2: Hot Dogs

We went to a cozy place named Bulls and Dogs to try out their fare – the hot dogs were delicious, and had a lot of variety. It took a lot of effort to not make a mess from how stuffed full of ingredients they were. The corn on the cob was weaker but we’re spoiled being from the Midwest. Fries served with mayo is just something we had to get used to as well.