Cradling the Foods We Love for the People We Love.

Beef / August 22, 2018

Picture

I often cook with metaphors as my guide. I tell stories with my food. And the two recipes I feature in this post definitely fit that theme. They’re dishes that celebrate something on the outside enveloping something wonderful on the inside. A cradling of sorts of the most yummy variety.

Why? There are certain instincts we cannot ignore. And as women, nurturing others is just in our souls. (I know quite a few men who just totally get this concept as well!) We want to cradle those we love, soothing the wounds of life by encircling others with a protective embrace. It seems wrapping ourselves around special things just feels good. Shouldn’t this also apply to the foods we love?

Each of these may seem uncomplicated. But I like to take everything to the next level of “bling-ness” which of course has to do with never ignoring the small details.

​I chose to leave the stems on my poblano peppers so that each vessel had more personality. It gave it more animation, more reality. And all “hugs” are real, yes? By adding carrots and onions to the meat mixture you create a very moist and smooth filling. Moistening it with homemade tomato sauce seasoned with a good quality cumin, (there are a gazillion different cumin variations!) helped the insides stay a little more structured. And it all rested on the nutty and herb flavored farro.

Why poblanos? Well, they yield ever so gently to being roasted. Keeping their structure but till fork tender, the swirling shape of their skin offers a hint of feminine beauty. Yeah, this dish definitely is comfort food.

Next on the list of nuzzling nourishment is this quick and lip-smacking appetizer I created to wake up a mid-week meal. Farm to table zucchini that are just the cutest size, (and also featuring a darling stem I just couldn’t part with,) are gently cored to receive a tangy filling of cheese, mayonnaise, spinach, and some preserved lemon which I use is so many things. Click here to get that recipe.

​Wrapped in prosciutto like a bambino in a receiving blanket these last-minute beauties stole the whole show and baked to perfection in just minutes.

After making these dishes, you’ll definitely feel more like a true nurturer of others, cradling them in the best culinary hug ever!

Beef and Vegetable Stuffed Roasted Poblanos

Over Stock Simmered and Seasoned Farro

Serves 4


Ingredients:

2 large poblano peppers, halved and seeded with stems still on
½ C tomato sauce
½ lb lean ground beef
2 small cloves of garlic chopped finely
5-6 heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 medium sized carrot diced
2 T chopped white sweet onion
2 T oil
1 t good cumin powder
½ t cayenne pepper
¼ t allspice
Salt and pepper to taste


Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub 1 T olive oil all over poblanos and season generously with salt and pepper. Place in a small baking dish so that the peppers are about 2 inches apart. Roast for about 20-25 minutes or until done and there is slight blistering.
  • Heat a saucepan and add about 1 T oil. Add the carrots, onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the hamburger to the veggie mixture and cook until done. Add the tomato sauce and seasonings and mix well. Heat through. Taste again and add salt and pepper as needed. Ladle ¼ of the beef mixture into each of the poblano halves and put back in oven for about 5 minutes to heat all the way through. Serve with a generous garnish of cilantro, over farro cooked with chicken stock and seasoned with your favorite multi-spice seasoning*. Farro takes about 30 minutes to cook so adjust your preparation time accordingly)
  • (* I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute: https://www.ebay.com/p/Trader-Joes-21-Seasoning-Salute-Blend-2-2oz/691174114?iid=222830611203&chn=ps )

Prosciutto Wrapped Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

The addition of rosemary and preserved lemon make these rock star appetizers!

Serves 4


Ingredients:

4 medium sized slender zucchini of uniform width and at least 6 inches long, halved and seeds scraped out
1/3 C mayonnaise
Enough cooked spinach to make 1/3 C that is densely packed, and ALL water squeezed out (I wrap it in paper towels twice and squeeze with my hand. It MUST be dry)
1/3 C grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 heaping T white sweet onion diced small
½ t good paprika
½ t kosher salt
¼ t cracked black pepper
1 T thinly sliced preserved lemon rinds
8 large prosciutto slices
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 T olive oil


Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Rub the olive oil all over the zucchini halves using hands. Not soaking but covered. Lay them on a foil lined baking sheet. In a bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except for the prosciutto slices and rosemary. Stuffing mixture should be thick. Add more mayo or spinach as desired. Divide the stuffing evenly and press into the 8 halves. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper if desired. Wrap each half with the prosciutto and bring it around tightly to seal by pressing the meat together. It should stick. Lay rosemary sprigs over and then roast for 20 minutes. Remove and eat!
  • Note: I use a grapefruit spoon to scrape out the seeds of the zucchini and create an area about ½ inch deep. Doesn’t have to be very deep. You do want most of the zucchini flesh.
  • Make preserved lemons. It is easy! I use Ina Garten’s recipe here: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/preserved-lemons-recipe-2012376


Get the cookbook!

Let's think about food preparation as art, and flavors as adventurous stories. Say ‘goodbye’ to safe sequences, or copycat flavors, and use your senses to curate the perfect meal. My recipes help your kitchen come to life as I share anecdotes about food chemistry, and fun shortcuts that conquer menu-mediocrity. my cooking style is one that combines everyday ingredients into sensuous layers that wake up the bored palate as I reveal easy-to-understand tips, tricks, and hacks so everyone can prepare and serve Bling Cuisine with confidence and joy!

PURCHASE COOKBOOK

Follow us Ifeellikecooking