Beef, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes

Salisbury Steaks

January 14, 2018

Salisbury Steaks

Sometimes only the classics will do, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Coltrane’s My Favorite Things, or Salisbury Steaks. When you’re in the mood for a simple, unfussy but seriously satisfying supper, there’s nothing better in my mind than a classic Salisbury steak with lots of gravy.  Boil a few potatoes, mash and serve with green peas.  And, if you happen to have any leftovers, this meal heats up nicely the next day.

Sliced Mushrooms

Lots of mushrooms and onions ensure the sauce is hearty and flavorful.  Sauté the mushrooms before you make the sauce.  They will be added back once the patties have been cooked.

Salisbury Steak Patties

Though it may take a little extra time, I mix the ingredients using two forks.  This ensures the patties are moist and tender and never compacted or dense.


There is no such thing as too much gravy when it comes to Salisbury steaks.  The secret ingredient to making a good sauce is demi-glace.  It adds a luxurious richness to all types of brown sauces and gravies.  I always have veal demi-glace portioned out in tablespoon measurements in the freezer.  If there is one item you should splurge on, it should be demi-glace.  You won’t regret it.

Salisbury Steaks

Salisbury Steaks

Salisbury Steaks
Adapted from Tip Hero
Serves: 4
  • For Salisbury Steaks
  • ½ pound ground chuck (or ground beef 80/20)
  • ½ pound ground sirloin (or ground beef 90/10)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup panko
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup minced sweet onion
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Buttery Sticks (dairy free) for sautéing patties (or regular butter)
  • For Sauce
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • olive oil or Buttery Sticks (or regular butter) for sautéing mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion (8 ounces) sliced into ⅓-inch strips
  • Buttery Sticks for sautéing onions (or regular butter)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon demi-glace whisked with 3 tablespoons warm water
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper
  1. Combine the first 12 ingredients (meat through pepper) in a large bowl. Gently mix to combine all ingredients. I use two forks to mix everything together. It takes a bit longer but ensures the patties stay light (not compacted) and tender. Form mixture into 4 oval shaped patties. If you prefer smaller patties shape mixture into 6 equal portions. You may prepare the patties a few hours in advance, store covered in the refrigerator.
  2. Meanwhile sauté mushrooms in a bit of olive oil or butter until softened. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of Buttery Sticks (or butter). Place the meat patties in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until they are just cooked through and nicely browned. Transfer patties to a plate, cover with foil and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low. Wipe out the skillet and add 2 or 3 teaspoons of Buttery Sticks (or butter) and sliced onions. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add thyme to pan. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and thyme stirring to coat them evenly. Cook for another minute stirring constantly. Increase the heat to medium and gradually stir in the beef stock, demi-glace mixture and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk mixture constantly so no lumps form. Return reserved mushrooms to the pan and heat sauce slightly before placing patties back in the skillet with sauce. Gently warm through before serving.


Breakfast, Dinner, Eggs, Lactose Free, Recipes

Spinach, Mushroom & Cheese Omelet for Two

December 26, 2017

Spinach, Mushroom & Cheese Omelet

During a recent visit by our kids and grandkids, we all went out for brunch at Roy’s Humble Market Kitchin in Wailea. The menu featured a beautiful “Makahiki” omelet which included mushrooms, spinach, and white cheddar among its ingredients.  It was so tasty, we were inspired to make our own version at home.

Cremini Mushrooms

Lately the cremini mushrooms at our local Whole Foods market have been particularly gorgeous. I can’t seem to pass by the bin without buying a few to bring home.  Creminis are meatier and have a more complex flavor than white mushrooms.  They hold up nicely and there is very little moisture when sautéing them which makes them perfect for an omelet.

Fresh Spinach Leaves

The beauty of this omelet comes from the layer of spinach that covers the bottom of the pan before the eggs go in.  Once slightly wilted, pour the eggs evenly over the spinach.  All of this takes place on low heat, and a lid for your pan is essential.  Use foil if you don’t have a lid for your pan.

Spinach & Egg

Once the eggs have mostly set, pile on the sautéed mushrooms and cheese.  My first choice is yogurt cheese, which is naturally lactose free however I sometimes use sharp cheddar.  I find that yogurt cheese melts wonderfully. It is stretchy, gooey, melted perfection.

Spinach, Mushroom & Cheese Omelet

Add the mushrooms and cheese to one side of the omelet then fold over the other side on top of the filling.  Slice in to two portions and serve!

Spinach, Mushroom & Cheese Omelet


Spinach. Mushroom & Cheese Omelet for Two
Serves: 2
  • 5 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 4 teaspoons Buttery Sticks, divided (or regular butter)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for mushrooms and eggs
  • 4 extra-large eggs, whisked and seasoned lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ounce fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 ounce grated cheese (or more if you prefer)
  1. Melt 2 teaspoons Buttery Sticks over medium heat in a 10-inch pan. Sauté mushrooms until softened, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Wipe out the pan and add remaining 2 teaspoons Buttery Sticks swirling to distribute around the bottom and sides of the pan. Lay spinach leaves in the pan, overlapping as necessary. Cover pan and wilt spinach. This will take less than 30 seconds.
  3. Pour eggs over the spinach. As the egg mixture starts to cook, gently lift the edges with a spatula and tilt the pan to allow more of the uncooked egg to flow underneath. Once the eggs have slightly set in the center, distribute the mushrooms evenly over one side of the omelet. Sprinkle cheese over the mushrooms. Fold the other half of the omelet over the filling. Cover the pan and allow cheese to melt for 30 seconds or so. Slide the omelet on to a plate and slice in half. Serve with crispy bacon, sausage or ham.


Beef, Dinner, Korean, Lactose Free, Recipes

Korean-Style Pan-Fried Beef

December 1, 2017

Korean-Style Pan-Fried Beef

If you want a quick, tasty meal, this Korean-style dish fits the bill.  The thin slices of meat marinate in a flavorful sauce for just 30 minutes.  A quick sear in a hot pan makes for perfectly cooked beef with crisp edges that are delicious served with a bowl of rice.


I am a fan of Whole Spice brand Korean chili flakes (also known as gochugaru).  The chili flakes add a depth of flavor to this, and many other dishes.  Vibrant red in color, mildly spicy, slightly smoky and sweet at the same time, it’s an essential seasoning for Korean cuisine.

Asian Pear


This meal is ready in just about 45 minutes from start to finish.  The bold flavors in the sauce are what make this dish stand out.  The key is to cut your meat in to thin slices so that it marinades and cooks quickly.

Korean-Style Pan-Fried Beef

Korean-Style Pan-Fried Beef
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves: 2
  • 2 tablespoons grated pear
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2½ teaspoons gochugaru
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 8 ounces filet mignon, cut into thin strips (you may opt to use another cut of beef, chicken or pork)
  • canola oil for pan frying
  • sliced green onions for serving
  • Fresno pepper (optional)
  • roasted sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Combine the grated pear, garlic, soy sauce, gochugaru, ginger, brown sugar and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add sliced beef and toss to coat each piece well. Cover and refrigerated for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove meat from marinade and season lightly with kosher salt. Working in batches and adding more oil along the way if needed, cook meat in a single layer without moving until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Continue to cook tossing occasionally until cooked through and crisp at edges, about 1 - 2 minutes longer.
  3. Transfer to a plate and serve topped with green onions, sliced Fresno peppers and roasted sesame seeds.


Beans, Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Soups, Veggies

Vegetable & Farro Soup

November 20, 2017

Vegetable & Farro Soup

Though the seasons change ever so slightly here in Hawaii, a warm bowl of soup is still soothing once November comes around. The days are still sunny and the beaches are full of people, yet there’s a noticeable difference in the temperature.  This soup is based on one that is served at Eataly in New York City.  It’s really quite simple to make, and it doesn’t need to simmer for hours.  The soup is brimming with healthy vegetables, beans and whole grain farro. It is light yet satisfying.

Carrots, Onion, Celery, Leeks, Peas, Beans

The vegetables are sliced thin which enables them to be cooked for a shorter period.  This soup is ready to eat in 40 minutes.

Sliced Leeks

Use only the white and light tender green parts of the leek. Slice the leek into narrow strips so that they cook up nicely in a few minutes.


It seems that only a few years ago farro could not be found at any of our local markets. I would purchase farro on my annual trips to San Francisco and bring it home to Maui.  These days you can buy farro in the bulk section at most markets.

Vegetable & Farro Soup

Vegetable & Farro Soup
Adapted from Mario Batali's recipe for Eataly
Serves: 6
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced celery (about 2 celery ribs)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leek, white and pale green parts only (1 medium leek)
  • ¾ cup farro
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup canned small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small bay leaf (or half of a medium-sized bay leaf)
  • 1 heaping cup thinly sliced carrots (halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¼-inch thick)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons julienned basil for serving
  1. In a large enameled Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat the olive. Add the celery, onion and leek and cook over moderately high heat, stirring a few times, until softened. Add the farro and tomato paste and cook, stirring until the grains are coated, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the chicken broth and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the beans and bay leaf and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and cover the pot. Simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the carrots are just tender.
  4. Add the peas and fresh herbs. Simmer until the peas have warmed up, about 5 minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle basil over each serving.



Dinner, Lactose Free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers with Sesame Oil & Garlic

November 10, 2017

Chinese Smashed CucumbersI’m always on the look out for new and interesting pickle recipes. This quick cucumber pickle caught my eye because it reminds me so much of kimchi. It is savory, crunchy, salty, and the perfect side dish to serve with a bowl of rice and grilled teriyaki chicken, beef, fish, or tofu.

Keiki CukesUse thin-skinned cucumbers such as Keiki Cukes (found locally in Hawaii) or Japanese, Persian, or even English cucumbers.  Cucumbers with few seeds are what you are looking for.

Keiki Cukes

Smashed Keiki CukesIt’s amazing how the seed pockets detach from the cucumbers once they are smashed.  I use my mallet which works perfectly. You can use the blade of a large knife if you don’t have a mallet (or a small skillet).

DressingThe dressing for the cucumbers is simple to prepare.  Mix everything together in a small bowl, set aside until ready to serve.  You could also drizzle this dressing over steamed bok choy, watercress, or blanched bean sprouts.

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

Chinese Smashed Cucumbers with Sesame Oil & Garlic
Adapted from New York Times Cooking
Serves: 4
  • 1½ pounds thin-skinned cucumbers
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt for dressing plus ¼ teaspoon for cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (sometimes I use avocado oil which is milder than olive oil)
  • ½ teaspoon grated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru (medium heat Korean chili pepper flakes that have a fruity and slightly smoky flavor) or red chili pepper flakes to taste
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  1. Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4 inches long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.
  2. Place cucumbers on a cutting board cut side down. Using a mallet or the blade of a knife, smash down lightly until the flesh breaks down a bit and the seeds separate. Slice pieces diagonally into bite-sized pieces leaving seeds behind.
  3. Place cucumber pieces in a strainer over a bowl and toss with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and a few big pinches of sugar. Place a plate or bowl over the cucumbers and weigh it down with something heavy such as a large can of tomatoes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
  4. In a small bowl, combine ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and rice vinegar. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Stir in sesame oil, soy sauce, grated garlic, and Korean chili flakes.
  5. When ready to serve, lightly pat dry cucumbers with paper towels and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Stir in half of the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning adding salt if needed. Stir in more dressing so that the cucumbers are well coated. Garnish with cilantro leaves and sesame seeds before serving.


Dinner, Fruit, Lactose Free, Recipes, Salad, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Veggies

Crunchy Cabbage & Pomegranate Salad

October 24, 2017

Crunchy Cabbage & Pomegranate Salad

The beautiful pomegranate is in season now which means it’s a good idea to take advantage of their short appearance in your local markets.  If you don’t have plans to use it right away, store the fruit in your refrigerator where it should keep nicely for several weeks.  This simple and refreshing salad is highlighted by pomegranate and is quick to put together with just a few other ingredients.  If you are not a cilantro fan you can certainly omit it, but don’t leave out the mint as it is an integral ingredient that makes this salad stand out.

Cabbage, Tomatoes, Mint & Cilantro


There are many video’s on how to remove the seeds from the rather bitter membrane that securely surrounds them.  Whichever method you use, beware that pomegranate juice stains so be careful not to get it on your clothing or counter.  It’s best to work with it in the sink.  Once you remove the seeds which are known as arils, you may store them in an airtight container and use them within 5 days.


Crunchy Cabbage & Pomegranate Salad

Crunchy Cabbage & Pomegranate Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Serves: 2
  • 2½ cups packed thinly sliced green cabbage
  • pinch of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons canola or avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet onion
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Toss cabbage with a pinch of sugar and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Combine lemon juice, oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add chopped onion, tomatoes, mint, cilantro and pomegranate seeds to cabbage. Toss with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.



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