Saturday, November 4, 2017

Beef Roll ‘em Ups

When I was growing up, my grandma used to make Beef Roll ‘em Ups. I always loved unrolling these little “gifts”. She always made them in a pressure cooker.  When she passed, my dad took over making these, but mom was always scared of pressure cookers, so dad made them in a crock pot.  Still good, but we all missed Grandma’s version.  A few years back I saw an automatic pressure cooker, and told Craig, “this is what I want for Christmas”!  He did a ton of research and decided that Instant Pot was the only brand to buy.  That Christmas Day, I made my first dinner, and fell in love with that pressure cooker.  The real reason I wanted a pressure cooker, was to recreate my Grandma’s recipe.


Because Craig doesn’t eat beef, I had to make them when he was out of town.  Here is my version of my Grandma’s recipe for Beef Roll ‘em Ups, for the Instant Pot:

Beef Roll ‘em Ups

2lbs Flank Steak

1 clove garlic

1 tsp salt

1/4 t pepper

4-6 bacon strips

4-6 pearl onions

1/2 c flour

8 oz tomato sauce

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp marjoram leaves 

1 tsp snipped parsley

1/2 c onion, minced

Rub steak with garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cut steak crosswise into 4-6 strips. In a large skillet, partially cook bacon (do not cook to crispy), remove bacon, pouring grease into Instant Pot. 

Place a strip of beef on your work area, place a strip of bacon on the beef, and a pearl onion on the bacon.  Roll steak and bacon around the onion, securing with a toothpick. Coat the rolls with flour.  Set the Instant Pot to sauté, and add a little more oil, working in small batches, place Roll ‘em Ups in the Pot, and sear until brown.

Once browned, remove from the pot, and let rest.  Add tomato sauce, herbs and onions to the pot and stir. Allow to lightly boil.  Return the beef rolls to the pot, and cover with sauce.  Push the Cancel button on the Instant Pot, Put the lid in place, making sure the vent is turned to “Pressure.” Push the manual button. Make sure the cooker is on the “High” setting and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Walk away, make a cocktail, pour a beer, walk the whatever it is you do to kill time, before you eat something delicious. 

When the timer goes off.  Allow the steam to release, naturally. (I have a hard time waiting, but you need to!)

Serve and enjoy!

*note, I added potatoes and carrots and fresh rosemary in while I was pressuring.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rainbow Rose Veggie Tart

Rainbow Rose Veggie Tart

A few weeks back I came across a savory tart recipe, called Rainbow Rose Tart. I thought that's beautiful, but I'll never make it. Well the damn thing kept popping up everywhere I looked. So I looked into the recipe and then realized that it didn't involve much and with our CSA recently delivering the rainbow carrots, why not make it. And just in time for Easter. 

Rainbow Rose Tart 

Rainbow Rose Veggie Tart


  • 1 roll puff pastry
  • 15 ounces ricotta 
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 ounces grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, (double if using fresh)
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
  • 4 large multi-colored carrots
  • 2 zucchini


  • Unfold a puff pastry sheet over a tart pan. Place parchment paper or foil in the center and weight it down with beans or pie weight.
  • Bake the tart base in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper. Let it cool. Raise over temp to 375°F. 
  • In a food processor, add the eggs, ricotta, grated parmesan cheese, grated nutmeg and pinch of salt. Pulse until smooth. Add the mozzarella and oregano. Pulse mixture until smooth.
  • Slice strips of zucchini and carrots length-wise using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin. Place the slices in a bowl and cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. This step will soften the slices and make them much easier to roll.
  • Spread the cheese mixture on top of the tart base.
  • Take one slice of a vegetable and roll it up very tightly; this will form the core of the rose. Take another slice and keep rolling. With around 2-3 slices you should obtain a decent-size rose bud. Place the bud in the center of the tart, pushing it down into the cheese. Keep rolling roses of different colors and place them one next to the other in a spiral formation.
  • Brush olive oil on top of the vegetables and bake the tart at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes.

(Inspired from


  • make sure you use large carrots. And have an even selection of colors. 
  • Use the pie weights. The sides of my pastry fell while baking. I improvised and it came out undetected. 
  • Rolling the "roses" takes time. Allow yourself plenty of time!  I rolled all of the roses up, the placed according to how many colors I had. 
  • I used a vegetable peeler. Next time I might use the mandolin. The first piece needs to be paper thin to get the right tightness. 
  • Next time I might use thyme in place of the oregano. 
  • Might try a couple of tomatoes next time. 
Before the oven 

Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli

Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli


One of my favorite quick go to dinners is Teriyaki Chicken. It's quick, so easy and customizable to your taste. Living in he Seattle area, you can get Teriyaki anywhere. It's almost like the Starbucks of Asian food. Some are good, others are great, everyone has their favorite. What I find is that all are way too salty for me. 

Here are some interesting facts about soy sauce:

Soy sauce is arguably the most used condiment in the world. 

Soy sauce is the product of fermented boiled soy beans. 

Soy sauce was originally a way to stretch salt and fermented with fish. Fish was separated from the process, and created fish sauce as a separate ingredient. 

Soy sauce was first introduced to the Webster culture in the Netherlands, decades before Asian foods were introduced, and the Europeans couldn't reproduce it, as they didn't understand the fermentation process, developed by the Chinese. 

Light soy sauce traditionally has no reference to lower salt, as we know it today. It refers to it being fresh, or the first brewing. And lighter in color. (This is my favorite!!)

Dark refers to a thicker darker style. This is more common in the US. 

There is a different style for almost every Asian region. From Chinese (where soy originated) to Burmese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Singaporean, Taiwanese, Thai, & Vietnamese. And multiple styles within each region. 

And a little bit on Teriyaki:

The word teriyaki derives from the word "Teri" which refers to a shine or luster given by the sugar content in the sauce, and yaki, which refers to the cooking method of grilling or broiling.

Traditionally the meat is dipped in or brushed with sauce several times during cooking. This popular dish was originally created by Japanese cooks of the seventeenth century, when urbanization, changes in agricultural methods and exposure to new ingredients from abroad gave rise to new, innovative cooking styles.

So here is my version of:

Teriyaki Chicken, with Broccoli

Mix together:

1/2 c Soy sauce (use low sodium, you won't miss the salt!)1/2 c Rice wine vinegar 

2 T Garlic, diced (or use the prediced kind you can buy)

1/2 t Red pepper flakes, adjust according to your taste)

1/4 c Brown sugar

2-3 T Oil

2 boneless Chicken breasts, roughly chopped (boneless thighs would be great in this too)

1 Onion, chopped

12 oz fresh Mushrooms, sliced

1 head fresh Broccoli, chopped into florets 

6-8 oz fresh Snow peas

1 can Water chestnuts, sliced, and drained

Prepare pan by heating oil.  Carefully add chicken and onions.  Once the chicken is cooked and onions are translucent, add Mushrooms and Broccoli. Cook 3-4 minutes, constantly stirring. Add in sauce mixture and stir. Before serving, add water chestnuts and snow peas. Serve over rice. 



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Coconut Chicken Corn Chowder

Coco-Corn Chowder

Recently we were on vacation visiting our neighbors who moved to Maui. The first night we were there we went to PuPus (local for appetizers) at a restaurant in Waimea called Monkeypod. We had AMAZING Mai Tais, with a passion fruit foam on top and some really great food, although not necessarily "island" food it was exceptional. From Kauai Shrimp & Hamakua Mushroom Potstickers, to Pumpkin Patch Ravioli (kiawe-roasted squash, chèvre, spinach, toasted walnut sage pesto), and Kalua Pork & Pineapple pizza (caramelized onions, kula county farm rosemary, pine nuts, garlic white sauce and Roasted Butternut Squash pizza (onions, kula country farm rosemary, pine nuts, garlic with white sauce). 


But what really got me interested was the Coco Corn Chowder (local coconut milk, yukon gold potato, celery, fresh island herbs, organic kale, local tomato, local lemon grass). Our friends both order a bowl of it, saying how delicious it was and offered us tastes. While I'm not really one to try something off of another dish, I had to come up with a recipe for this soup. In fact it was all I could think about the rest of the trip, ok. Not all I could think about. But I was ready to make it when I got home. 

After rereading the ingredients from the menu, I must have blocked out the kale (hehehe), and I'm definitely adding in lemon grass next time I make it. 


Here's my version, for now!

Coconut Chicken Corn Chowder


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 14 oz), diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet potato (about 5 oz), peeled and diced
  • 2 red potatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup finely diced celery (about 4 stalks)
  • 4 large ears corn, husked, and de-eared.
  • 1 bunch green onions, light and dark green parts divided
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (or shredded coconut), toasted (optional)

  1. Place coconut oil in large pot.  Heat to medium high heat.  Place diced chicken in pot, and cook until mostly cooked.  Add garlic, and stir.
  2. Add potatoes, celery and red peppers.  Stir to cook.
  3. Cut kernels from corn, add to chicken potato mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add chicken broth and coconut milk.  Bring to a low boil.
  5. Remove 1-2 cups of the soup mixture.  Blend into a smooth purée.  This will thicken the entire soup mixture.
  6. Reduce and allow to simmer at low heat until potatoes are completely done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Garnish with green onion tops, basil and toasted coconut.

Recipe inspired by Monkeypod restaurant in Waimea, Maui Hawaii

all the ingredients I used 

chicken onions and garlic continue cooking  diced potatoes  
finished soup  

Saturday, March 11, 2017

O'o Farms-Maui, Hawaii

O'o Farm 


So today I'm taking a break from my normal cooking post to share an experience we had while on vacation on Maui, in Hawaii.


A few weeks back we were enjoying a few beers with our friends, Brittany and JD (he recently quit his job in the cheese industry for an opportunity to make beer!!). During the evening we talked about upcoming vacations. We were both planning on going to Maui, only just a couple of weeks off of each other. Then Brittany told us about a farm tour you can do on Maui. She knows how much we love farmers markets, so it was right up our alley. The farm was O'o Farms  They do a farm tour, harvest and lunch. (They also do a coffee breakfast tour, but Craig's not into coffee, so it's lost on him). So I contacted the friends we are staying with in Maui to see if they like to go with us, and they jumped at the chance. I know that island activities book up way in advance, so I contacted them right away and were able to get the date we wanted (thank god!). 


To get to the farm, you travel partially up the side on the mountain, Haleakala. It's a bit of a windy road. And once you get to the farm, there's a very unassuming sign. Arrive early, the tour starts right on time, and you don't want to miss any of it. There isn't a ton of parking, so also be respectful of other cars and park "like a normal person". Hahaha. (Little pet peeve of mine!). Across the street from the far is Maui Olive Oil company they are not open to the public) and when you look down the valley you are directly above Kihei. 


Today's tour started at 10:30. Eldon, our guide, met us in the parking lot where the tour started. He explained a brief history of the farm and the restaurants and coffee shops they have owned, throughout Maui. The day before we arrived at O'o , Maui had a horrible storm come through, dumping 2 inches of rain in a few hours time. So yesterday's tour had to be canceled. While this wasn't great for the tour, it was great for the plants and trees. 


The first stop on the tour was the coffee trees, they only produce a small amount of estate grown coffee, at this time, and purchase the rest of the 50,000 lbs of green coffee beans they roast and sell. Overhead are the Australian Black Wattle tree and eucalyptus trees. The Black Wattle Trees, also know as Acacia, are native to Australia and are quick growing and provide shade, as well as the wood for the brick oven, they use to cook and materials for building. The farm also uses wood from these trees for cove-netting over crops that need protection from birds.  A couple of years back they had a storm that knocked down a several Eucalyptus trees. They used these trees for finishing of the coffee roastery. 


So Eldon asked if we knew where coffee originated from. Most people said South America, but he explained that it was actually Ethiopia. The plant drinks a ton of water, when they water they water them about 2 inches a week. They then bloom and fruit up. Inside the coffee cherry is the green bean. He had us pick off a red/yellow ripe cherry and taste it. It was sweet, with a large pit (bean). The beans take up to 9 months from bloom to cherry, or flower to cup.  They then take the cherry and separate it from the bean, which they roast.  The remaining fruit, they dry and powder to add as an ingredient in whatever dishes they are making. It adds a fruity flavor, without imparting a sweetness. 


Next up was the Loquat trees. They are a tropical tree or Schaumburg that bears fruit resembles a large cumquat/apricot mix. In the Asian region they are known as Japanese plums, or pipa. We picked a few pieces of fruit off of the tree to try and found 3-5 seeds inside. They were very juice and mildly sweet. A little citrusy/sweet lemon, but the texture of an apricot. 



To take advantage of all the growing opportunities, they planted potatoes under the trees. He said something about it imparting more nutrients in the soil. I was a little distracted with the chicken coops and rooster (Bravern). They chicken are Free range, but are cooped up when they have a tour. They move the coops to provide more eating opportunities for the chickens and even out the grazing area. It also naturally fertilizes the area they are moved too. 


As for trees they have Avocado, pink grapefruit, pomelo, lime, lemon, orange, keffer lime just to name a few.  Avocados year round production. 


From the tree groves, we headed to the kitchen area and spoke with Chef Daniel Eskelsen about lunch. He showed us the harvest basket of what he was going to prepare for lunch, each menu is based on what's able to be harvested that day. We got to see the wood fired brick oven, which is used to cook all of the lunch courses, and some of the food he was already cooking. We headed to the garden patch to harvest the salad for lunch. We picked spinach, Sorell, fava flowers, and many other types of greens. Tasting each one as we went along.





There are Many micro climates on the property. These climates also allow the farmers to plant, and harvest everyday of the year and allows them to grown many different types of vegetables. One in particular was Cardone, it's part of the thistle family, a cousin of the artichoke, and resembles celery without the The licorice-y taste and fiber, Actually, its reputation is beginning to grow, as cooks who try Cardone once are usually hooked. 

On the property they have 3 types of compost one is vegetarian another is fish and lunch scraps (high in protein) and the last is for the orchard, mainly clippings and "waste". 


Lunch wasn't ready yet, so we headed to the coffee roastery. They harvest the coffee cherries(ripe coffee beans) each week. The first machine cleans off the cherry. Then they have to soak the green coffee beans for 2-3 day to remove the sugars, dry it, remove the parchment, then roast the bean. Each coffee has a desired finish taste so each roasting batch has a different temps and time of roasting. Each batch they roast is 80 lbs.   


After visiting at the coffee roastery, we headed to the lunch area. Lunch was served family style. We chose (shady) seats in between a group of women on a golf trip from Southern California and a active couple from Detroit. Normally I'm not a family style-communal seating arrangement, but when the time is right and this group was so friendly, and accommodating. When I said I was taking notes and photos for this blog. Every time a dish came out it was sent to me for pictures, then passed around. 


First course was the harvested salad greens with a handmade vinegarette of avocado and herbs. It was served with a brick oven baked sour dough focaccia topped with rosemary and thyme. I have to say that the bread was simply amazing. It's has motivated me to experiment with foccicia. 


Second course was the roasted vegetable course. This was a mix of rainbow carrots, broccolini, chayote vines and seared tofu. This was seared in a skillet, in the brick oven. 


Third course was freshly caught sword fish served on roasted red and yellow beets, cardone, snap peas and a sauce of avocados and the sautéed tops of many of the vegetables.  


Fourth course was a pan seared chicken breast, served on a bed of Italian kale, leeks, fennel and a creamy pan sauce. 



Lastly, but definitely not least, was dessert. They served a dairy and wheat free chocolate diamond (made with powdered coffee cherry), with fresh citrus and strawberry-bananas. This was pared with their estate roasted Mokka Coffee. 


Touring the O'o Farms was definitely the highlight of our stay on Maui. If you make it over, make sure you make reservations and time to see this great working farm in action. And make sure you finish lunch with a swing.....



Side note, since you've made it up to the farm, on your way down, stop by Hawaiian Sea Spirits.  Oh, and don't miss Surfing Goat Dairy!