Posts Tagged ‘beef’

There’s something consistently comforting about homemade meatballs and tomato sauce for Sunday supper.  Maybe it’s the act of mixing and rolling the meat with your bare hands; an organic and ritualistic labor of love. Or, perhaps it’s just the sweet warm aroma of onion, garlic, fresh basil and tomatoes wafting off the stove.  Whatever it is, we couldn’t get enough of it this week when we tried Lidia Bastianich’s “polpette” with our spicy tomato-basil sauce. Instead of serving the dish over spaghetti, we baked a pan of polenta and then fried the squares in olive oil.  Light crunch on the outside with a soft, warm, heartiness on the inside — perfect with a dollop of tangy sauce.


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One of the early staples in my cooking repertoire was the taco dinner: browned ground beef with an Old El Paso spice pack and all the prepacked fixings, from shredded Kraft cheese and chopped iceberg lettuce to flour tortillas and canned salsa. It was always an easy, tasty meal, but certainly not authentic, healthy or inventive. Oh how far I’ve come!

For a recent small fiesta with friends, I prepared two kinds of tacos and two homemade salsas for dipping and topping on the side.

I know “veggie” tacos may not sound the most enticing, but this recipe (Parade Magazine, Jan. 2008) is creative and surprisingly delicious. A medley of diced eggplant, red bell pepper, tomatoes and parsley is sauteed with onion, garlic and seasonings. Red kidney beans and chickpeas add substance and “meatiness” to the mix. Topped with grated cheese in a crunchy shell, these were a winner.

The slow-cooked beef tacos were even more of a hit among with my friends. Cubed boneless beef chuck is stewed for a couple hours in salsa, beef broth, garlic, brown sugar and soy sauce; cilantro and lime juice are added at the end for an extra kick. The meat emerges tender and flavorful, with a finger-licking-good sauce. Highly recommend this recipe (Bon Appetit, Nov. 1997).

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