Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook Giveaway!

A few posts back I promised to give away, not one, but two of The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook. Well today is the lucky day! 

Here’s how you can enter:  tell me two of your favorite summer dishes.

Simply leave a comment here at The Skillet blog, on my Facebook page and/or send a tweet via my Twitter site. You will be entered for each place you leave a comment. So, comment at all three places, you are entered three times into the contest.

That’s it! Easy as pie. Mmmmmm…did I mention that one of my favorite summer dishes is strawberry rhubarb pie? Might have to make one in my skillet.

The two winners will be announced on Monday.

Hope your summer is off to a fabulous start and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Photo courtesy of Lodge Manufacturing

Dutch Oven Lovin’ and Some Bitchin’ Chicken

Did you know you can make lumpia in a Dutch oven? You can and, man, is it good!

Filipino lumpia made in a Dutch oven.

So, I may have been away from my blog too long, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking! It’s summer time and Dutch oven season is in full swing. My Dutch oven group, the Northern Sierra Dutch Oven Group (NSDOG), was busy this month with two events – a delectable global Dutch oven cook-off (meaning, make an international dish in your little black pot) and a first-time class at the Lahontan State Recreation Area, where members of the group taught about 25 participants. Both events had great turn-outs and tasty dishes.

Lahontan class participants put a lasagna together.

Lahontan class participants put a lasagna together.

I started NSDOG in 2009 as a way to hone my cast iron cooking skills and find like-minded individuals. Now the group has over 150 members and we are often invited to cook and/or teach for the community. We are a diverse group of individuals from various backgrounds and locations, but we all share a common passion for cast iron cuisine. It amazes me still how fabulously we get along and work well together. Our Dutch Oven Lovefest knows no bounds!

My buddy Doug enjoying cast iron cuisine

My buddy Doug enjoying cast iron cuisine

My friend Doug, also a founding member of the group, makes a zesty chicken dish called Butch’s Bitchin’ Chicken, which is a hit at the classes we teach. It is simple to make (especially for beginners), packed with flavor, and not too hard on the waistline. My husband never ate this totally rad dish before (did that sound a little ’80s to you?) so I converted it to my kitchen Dutch oven and served it up for dinner last night.

IMG_8004Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 1/4 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 cup diced Sun-Dried Tomatoes (packed in oil)
8 oz. Fettuccine Noodles (try whole grain for a healthier version)
1/2 cup Pesto
Salt, Pepper and Italian Seasoning

Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Mix with your hands until the chicken is thoroughly coated.

Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Mix with your hands until the chicken is thoroughly coated.

Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven and place chicken pieces inside.

Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven and place chicken pieces inside.

Pour in the chicken broth and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Pour in the chicken broth and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Boil the noodles in a separate pot. Drain and mix in the pesto.

Boil the noodles in a separate pot. Drain and mix in the pesto.

Add the noodles to the chicken.

Add the noodles to the chicken.

Combine.

Combine.

Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes on top and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes on top and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve with a garnish of fresh basil. Ummm...dare I say it? Yep, totally bitchin'!

Serve with a garnish of fresh basil. Ummm…dare I say it? Yep, totally bitchin’!

Skillet Cashew Chicken

Well, the temps here in Reno over the weekend are supposed to edge into the low 90s. I think summer is finally upon us at last.

During the summer I prefer to eat on the lighter side – dishes that are healthy, full of fresh veggies and aren’t too heavy.

I like to make a lot of stir frys and, since I don’t own a wok, my cast iron skillet does the trick beautifully as it heats quickly and evenly.

One of my favorite Chinese dishes that I order out all of the time is cashew chicken. Ironically, I never made it home. It seemed to be that special dish only for the restaurant. But no more! I found a nice recipe online that includes a lot of my favorite ingredients – ginger, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, snow peas, and of course, cashews.

Give this light and simple dish a try. You won’t be sweating over the stove and dinner will be ready in no time – so you can get on with summer fun!

IMG_0241Ingredients
3 Tbsps.  reduced-sodium Soy Sauce
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium Chicken Broth, divided
3/4 tsp. Sesame Oil, divided
1 lb. boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
1/2 tsp. minced fresh Gingerroot
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsps. Canola Oil, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh Snow Peas
2 medium Carrots, julienned
1/2 cup unsalted Cashews
Cooked Rice, optional

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 2 Tbsps. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. chicken broth, and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil; add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 2 Tbsps. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. chicken broth, and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil; add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1/3 cup chicken broth until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1/3 cup chicken broth until smooth.

Stir in the sugar, vinegar, hoisin sauce, ginger, salt and remaining soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.

Stir in the sugar, vinegar, hoisin sauce, ginger, salt and remaining soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.

Drain chicken and discard marinade.  Heat oil in cast iron skillet. Add the chicken.

Drain chicken and discard marinade. Heat oil in cast iron skillet. Add the chicken.

Stir fry until no longer pink. Remove to a plate.

Stir fry until no longer pink. Remove to a plate.

In the same skillet, add the carrots and snow peas.

In the same skillet, add the carrots and snow peas.

Stir fry until tender crisp.

Stir fry until tender crisp.

Return chicken to the skillet.

Return chicken to the skillet.

Stir sauce mixture and stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for about a minute or until thickened.

Stir sauce mixture and stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for about a minute or until thickened.

Add the cashews.

Add the cashews.

Serve with or without cooked rice. Enjoy!

Serve with or without cooked rice. Enjoy!

Shrimp with Fresh Basil, Thai Style

Photo courtesy of Lodge Manufacturing

Photo courtesy of Lodge

A while ago, my husband gave me a copy of the latest edition of the Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook. I don’t know if other cooks and foodies are like me, but I spend more time thumbing through my cookbooks than actually trying some of the recipes. For me, the attributes of what makes a fine cookbook are a wide variety of dishes, beautiful photographs (preferably color), easy to follow recipes, and little tidbits thrown in on history, techniques, and possible ingredient substitutions. I am also partial to cookbooks with spiral bindings, as they remain flat on the counter when you are working through a recipe.

Lodge’s cookbook meets most of my criteria. It doesn’t have the spiral binding, but quite frankly, most cookbooks don’t. But it has everything else — a variety of dishes, including breakfast frittatas, soups, stews and gumbo, delectable surf and turf dishes, desserts, and an entire section just on cornbread — and an easy-to-follow design with numerous color photos, simple directions, and sections on caring for cast iron, metric conversions, and even tips on bean hole cooking.

The recipes are diverse, not only in cultures (American, Asian, Indian, Cajun, Mexican), but in the different types of cast iron skillets, griddles, bakeware and ovens that are recommended for cooking. Overall, a great cookbook!

Following is a recipe that I tried from the cookbook, something that caught my eye as I love Thai food. I modified it a little, adding some julienned carrots and removing the jalapeno pepper from the recipe. This recipe is very simple, extremely flavorful, and fast to make. And it gets the thumbs-up from my hubby, so what more does one need!

Oh, and stay tuned! I will be giving away two copies of the Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook in the near future. Details to follow in a future post.

Thai Basil ShrimpIngredients
2 Tbsps. Asian Fish Sauce
2 Tbsps. Water
1 tsp. Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp. Sugar
2 Tbsps. Oil (Canola or Vegetable)
1 Lb. medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup thinly sliced Onion
1/2 cup Carrots, julienned
1 Tbsp. chopped Garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped Green Onions
2 Tbsps. coarsely chopped fresh Cilantro
3-4 torn Basil Leaves

Stir together the fish sauce, water, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Prep the remaining ingredients, so you can add them quickly when they are needed.

Stir together the fish sauce, water, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Prep the remaining ingredients, so you can add them quickly when they are needed.

Heat oil in a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet, until it becomes very hot, about 30 seconds. Turn to coat the skillet evenly. Add the shrimp in a single layer.

Heat oil in a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet, until it becomes very hot, about 30 seconds. Turn to coat the skillet evenly. Add the shrimp in a single layer.

Cook on one side, undisturbed, until the shrimps' edges turn bright pink. Toss well and turn all the shrimp cooked side up so the other side can cook, undisturbed, for 15 seconds.

Cook on one side, undisturbed, until the shrimps’ edges turn bright pink. Toss well and turn all the shrimp cooked side up so the other side can cook, undisturbed, for 15 seconds.

Add the onion, garlic and carrots and toss well.

Add the onion, garlic and carrots and toss well.

Thai Basil Shrimp

Cook 1 minute, tossing occasionally…

...until the onion softens and becomes fragrant and shiny; continue tossing so it wilts and softens but doesn't brown.

…until the onion softens and becomes fragrant and shiny; continue tossing so it wilts and softens but doesn’t brown. Stir the fish sauce mixture to make sure the sugar is dissolved and pour it around the edge of the pan.  Toss well to season the shrimp, then let cook, undisturbed just until the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.

Add the green onions and cilantro, and toss well. Tear the basil leaves into 2 or 3 pieces each,. Add all of the basil to the pan over the shrimp and toss well. Cook 10 seconds.

Add the green onions and cilantro, and toss well. Tear the basil leaves into 2 or 3 pieces each. Add all of the basil to the pan over the shrimp and toss well. Cook 10 seconds.

Serve over cooked rice. Enjoy!

Serve over cooked rice. Enjoy!

M.I.A.

Well, in case of you have been wondering why things have been quiet on The Skillet front over the past month or so, here’s why I’ve been Missing in Action.

One of my dogs had elbow dysplasia surgery in early April and this is her feeling good on her meds.

One of my dogs had elbow dysplasia surgery in early April and this is her feeling good on her meds.

My brother-in-law and his family came for a visit, and I thanked them by backing my new car into their headlight. Yep, brilliant!

My brother-in-law and his family came for a visit, and I welcomed them by backing my new car into their headlight. Yep, brilliant!

I now get up at 5:30 in the morning to take my dog on her therapy walks and get to see beautiful sunrises like this one.

I now get up at 5:30 in the morning to take my dog on her therapy walks and get to see beautiful sunrises like this one.

My Dutch oven group, the Northern Sierra Dutch Oven Group, fed the masses at the Genoa Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.

My Dutch oven group, the Northern Sierra Dutch Oven Group, fed the masses at the Genoa Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival.

We served Dutch Oven Lasagna.

We served Dutch Oven Lasagna.

Skillet Cookies

Skillet Cookies

Drunken Buffalo Stew

Drunken Buffalo Stew

Five Alarm Texas Chili

Five Alarm Texas Chili

Sourdough Rolls by Terry Bell, The Dutch Diva. These are cheese and jalapeno.

Sourdough Rolls by Terry Bell, The Dutch Diva. These are cheese and jalapeno.

We fed hungry mountain men.

We fed hungry mountain men.

Cowboy poets like Tony Argento, pictured here.

Cowboy poets like Tony Argento, pictured here.

And even Sarah Winnemucca visited our camp.

And even Sarah Winnemucca visited our camp.

Last, but certainly not least, my husband decided we needed to foster a mama cat and her four kittens.

Last, but certainly not least, my husband decided we needed to foster a mama cat and her four kittens.

We've named them all, so I think they'll be staying. This one is Mikey.

We’ve named them all, so I think they’ll be staying. This one is Mikey.

Welcome to my zoo!

Welcome to my zoo!

So, as you can see, life in my household is never dull. But I promise to get back to cooking and will have future posts coming soon.

Happy spring, everyone!

Cooking with the Moroccan Tagine

Williams Sonoma TagineFor my birthday, my husband gave me a beautiful tagine from Williams Sonoma. Little did he know that I had been intrigued by the tagine for years and wanted to get one. He must have used his Jedi mind powers to read mine.

Tagines are made of ceramic or cast iron, and come in a variety of sizes, prices, colors and embellishments. They can be found at such stores as World Market or Williams Sonoma, and there are high-end cast iron varieties produced by Le Creuset. The Williams Sonoma tagine is in the medium price range, about $50, and serves as a quality pot for beginners, like the hubby and me.

A tagine (pronounced ta – jeene) is a North African earthenware pot traditionally formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides and a large cone- or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving. Tagines can be used either on the stove or in the oven.

My particular tagine is of the ceramic variety, so forgive me this one post for not using cast iron (although I do use a cast iron item with the tagine – you’ll see below in the recipe). Both my husband and I have used our tagine about four times, all on the stove, and every dish has turned out beautifully. It is a slow cooker with dishes taking about 1 1/2 hours to cook. We have mainly made Moroccan dishes, inspired by sauces we purchased at Williams Sonoma, but I also cooked short ribs in a lovely pulled pork sauce that basically crumbled with a fork. Every dish is succulent, flavorful and pull-apart tender. I have not experienced such tender food with any other dish – crock pot or cast iron.

I am in love with the tagine so don’t be surprised if a I throw in an occasional post inspired by it.

Tagines, like cast iron cookware, require some special care and seasoning before use. Tips on caring for a tagine can be found here.

That said, following is a lovely recipe for Apricot Chicken Tagine with Peppers and Rice.

Apricot Chicken TagineIngredients
1 – 2 Tbsps. Oil (not pictured)
5 Chicken Thighs
1 Red Bell Pepper
Apricot Tagine Sauce (Williams Sonoma)
Rice
Slivered Almonds (not pictured)

When cooking with a tagine over a gas range, it is important to have place a cast iron heat diffuser on top of the burner to avoid direct heat to the ceramic pot. This will help your pot from cracking.

When cooking with a tagine over a gas range, it is important to place a cast iron heat diffuser on top of the burner to avoid direct heat to the ceramic pot.

Heat oil in the base of the tagine over medium heat.

Heat oil in the base of the tagine over medium heat.

Sear the chicken thighs, about 4 minutes on each side. Cook in batches so as to not overcrowd.

Sear the chicken thighs, about 4 minutes on each side. Cook in batches so as to not overcrowd.

Nicely seared chicken thighs.

Remove your batches to a plate. Nicely seared chicken thighs.

Once all of the chicken thighs are seared, return them to the tagine.

Once all of the chicken thighs are seared, return them to the tagine.

Pour the Apricot Tagine Sauce over the thighs.

Pour the Apricot Tagine Sauce over the thighs.

Next, add the chopped bell peppers.

Next, add the chopped bell peppers.

Place the tagine coned-lid on top of the base and simmer on low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Place the tagine’s coned lid on top of the base and simmer on low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

It is this small hole in the top of the coned lid that allows air to circulate and the pot to steam.

It is this small hole in the top of the coned lid that allows air to circulate and the pot to steam.

Once cooked, the Apricot Tagine Chicken will be colorful, infused with flavor and oh so tender.

Once cooked, the Apricot Tagine Chicken will be colorful, infused with flavor and oh so tender.

Serve over a bed of rice and top with slivered almonds. Enjoy!

Serve over a bed of rice and top with slivered almonds. Enjoy!

P.S. You can still make a tagine-inspired dish in your skillet, which I have done. Use the same ingredients, follow the same steps and you can still go to Morocco for dinner tonight! Check out the photo below:

Apricot Chicken Tagine

Apricot Chicken Tagine in cast iron skillet.

A Flavorful Life – Tex Mex Chicken Panini

I spent St. Patrick’s Day weekend at a dog trial in northern California. The trial was a blast and I always enjoy spending time with agility dogs and the humans who love them. I found myself chatting with one of my agility buddies (the human kind), expounding about how busy my schedule was and how it would only get busier in the summer when I had to juggle Dutch oven events, dog trials, a full time job and quality time with my husband. I wasn’t complaining and I actually blurted out to my friend that “I have a full life.” Not “I have a full schedule.” “I have a full life.” It made me pause.

How often do we think about our lives in this way? I imagine we all have busy schedules juggling jobs, family obligations, hobbies, school, or other pursuits. We each are given one life to live and it is up to us to make it a flavorful one. The fun part is that we get to season it to our own tastes. The challenge is finding the right balance for all of those seasonings. Despite how hectic my schedule gets, I much prefer my crazy flavorful life to a bland one.

Funny how dog trials always give me too much time to think. Now that I got carried away waxing philosophical, following is a very flavorful recipe for a Tex Mex Chicken Panini that I hope adds a little spice to your life.

Tex Mex Chicken PaniniIngredients
2 cups cooked or rotisserie Chicken, shredded
1/2 of a 10-oz. can of Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Chiles
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1/2 Tbsp. minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper
2 French Bread Sandwich Rolls
1 Red Bell Pepper, halved
1/2 White Onion, cut into slices
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Roast the bell pepper and onion slices for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

Roast the bell pepper and onion slices for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven.

The onions should be tender and the pepper skin should begin to blister.

The onions should be tender and the pepper skin should begin to blister. A little char adds more flavor.

In a bowl, combine the chicken, Rotel tomatoes, mayo, cilantro and garlic.

In a bowl, combine the chicken, Rotel tomatoes, mayo, cilantro and garlic.

Mix lightly but thoroughly.

Mix lightly but thoroughly.

Assemble the sandwich with a layer of the chicken mixture.

Assemble the sandwich with a layer of the chicken mixture.

Then some of the roasted onions.

Then some of the roasted onions.

And slices of the roasted bell pepper.

And slices of the roasted bell pepper.

Finally, top with the shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Finally, top with the shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Grill in a panini press or grill the sandwich on a cast iron griddle on medium-high heat. Place a bacon press on top.

Grill in a panini press or on a cast iron griddle on medium-high heat. Place a bacon press or small skillet on top.

Grill on each side for 2 minutes until golden grill marks appear and the cheese melts.

Grill on each side for 2 minutes until golden brown and the cheese melts.

Cut it in half and enjoy some slightly spicy goodness.

Cut it in half and savor the spicy goodness.

Good ‘Ol Fashioned Sloppy Joes

Growing up, sloppy joes usually came out of a can. Who can forget that “a sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal.” I loved Manwich night at my house as my mom wasn’t the greatest cook. For example, her pork chops were of the consistency and flavor of cardboard. Stick a fork in it, if you can, because, yes, it is well beyond done. And that’s usually how we ate Mom’s pork chops…stuck on the end of a fork and us desperately gnawing at it since we couldn’t cut it. Thankfully, Mom couldn’t screw up a Manwich so sloppy joe night was often requested by us youngsters.

Today, I try to avoid “canned” meals as much as possible, having found that it is just as easy and a lot healthier to make my own from scratch. I have even found a number of sloppy joe variations that are truly delicious, such as Aarti Sequeira’s Bombay Sloppy Joes. A lovely Indian twist of an American classic made with ground turkey and seasoned with warm Indian spices like garam masala.

But today’s recipe is the traditional version, made with organic ground beef, bell peppers, ketchup and mustard. Quick to make, tasty to eat and so much better than a Canwich, I mean Manwich.

Sloppy JoesIngredients
1 lb. Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
1/4 cup chopped Onion
1/2 cup each chopped Green and Red Bell Peppers
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 1/2 tsps. Prepared Yellow Mustard
3/4 cup Ketchup
3 tsps. Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a cast iron skillet, brown the ground beef, peppers and onion together.

In a cast iron skillet, brown the ground beef, peppers and onion together.

Nicely browned beef and veggies.

Nicely browned beef and veggies.

Remove the beef mixture and drain the fat from the skillet.

Remove the beef mixture and drain the fat from the skillet.

Return the beef mixture to the skillet. Add the garlic powder.

Return the beef mixture to the skillet. Add the garlic powder.

Then add the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. If you want your mixture to be less sweet, don't add the brown sugar. Add more mustard and Worcestershire sauce for extra tanginess.

Then add the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. If you want your mixture to be less sweet, don’t add the brown sugar. Add more mustard and Worcestershire sauce for extra tanginess.

Stir ingredients thoroughly and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir ingredients thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Toast some buns and slop on the joe. Good stuff!

Toast some buns and slop on the joe. Good stuff!

Chipotle Lime Steak Tacos with Roasted Corn Relish

Here’s a fun twist on Taco Night – marinated steak tacos with a scrumptious roasted corn relish. The steak takes a few hours to marinate, but cooking and assembly time are pretty quick, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Good for any night of the week!

Steak Tacos with Roasted Corn RelishSteak Marinade Ingredients
Juice and zest from 3 Limes
2 Tbsps. of Honey
2 Tbsps. Oil, vegetable or canola
2 Tbsps. Adobo Sauce
1 tsp. ground Cumin
1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1.5 lbs. Skirt Steak or Round Sirloin Tip Boneless Thin Cut

In bowl, combine lime juice and zest, honey, oil, adobo sauce, cumin and pepper.

In bowl, combine lime juice and zest, honey, oil, adobo sauce, cumin and pepper.

Combine ingredients thoroughly.

Combine ingredients thoroughly.

Cut steak into thin strips.

Cut steak into thin strips.

Place steak and marinade in a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for 6 to 14 hours.

Place steak and marinade in a Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for 6 to 14 hours.

Steak Tacos with Roasted Corn RelishCorn Relish Ingredients
6 Green Onions
2 Ears of Corn, husked
1 – 2 Tbsps. Oil, divided
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
1 tsp. Lime Zest
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1/2 tsp. Chile Powder

To prepare the relish, brush the corn and onions with oil.

To prepare the relish, brush the corn and onions with oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Grill over medium-high heat until slightly charred, about 2 minutes for the onions and 7 minutes for the corn. Turn each frequently.

Grill over medium-high heat until slightly charred, about 2 minutes for the onions and 7 minutes for the corn. Turn each frequently.

Slightly charred corn.

Slightly charred corn.

Cut the corn off the cobs. Coarsely chop the onions and add them to the corn. Next add the cilantro, lime zest and juice, chile powder, 1 tbsp. of oil, and salt and pepper.

Cut the corn off the cobs. Coarsely chop the onions and add them to the corn. Next add the cilantro, lime zest and juice, chile powder, 1 tbsp. of oil, and salt and pepper.

Mix thoroughly.

Mix thoroughly.

When the steak is marinated, grill over medium-high heat on a cast iron griddle. Takes about 5 to 7 minutes.

When the steak is marinated, grill over medium-high heat on a cast iron griddle. Takes about 5 to 7 minutes.

Heat the corn tortillas over a burner or on the griddle. Fill with steak and corn relish. Que bueno!

Heat the corn tortillas over a burner or on the griddle. Fill with steak and corn relish and serve. Enjoy!

Wild Mushroom and Beef Soup

Well, a little skiff of snow fell last night, reminding me that winter really is still here, even if spring is supposed to arrive early. Yesterday, it was 55 degrees here in Reno. Current temp…about 35. Sounds like a good day for soup.

Here’s a tasty recipe for some earthy wild mushroom and beef soup. Dried wild mushrooms or soup mushroom packets can be used for this recipe. They are usually found in the produce or soup sections of your grocery store. Any ‘ol mix of mushrooms will do.

Wild Mushroom and Beef SoupIngredients
1 1-oz. package dried wild mushrooms or soup mix mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
3 Tbsps. vegetable oil, divided
2 lbs. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 shallots, chopped
2 medium carrots or about 20 baby carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb. bag baby Dutch yellow potatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsps. tomato paste
2 32-oz. containers low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
Chopped parsley
Fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Worcestershire Sauce (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and boiling water. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and boiling water. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsps. of oil over medium-high heat until very hot.

In a Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsps. of oil over medium-high heat until very hot.

Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Season the beef with salt and pepper.

Add meat and cook in batches until browned on all sides, about 2-3 minutes.

Add meat to Dutch oven and cook in batches until browned on all sides, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove to a plate.

Remove to a plate.

Lower heat to medium and add another Tbsp. of oil to the Dutch oven. Saute onion, carrots and garlic until softened, about 7 minutes.

Lower heat to medium and add another Tbsp. of oil to the Dutch oven. Saute onion, carrots and garlic until softened, about 7 minutes.

Nicely cooked veggies.

Nicely cooked veggies.

Add the tomato paste...

Add the tomato paste.

and combine thoroughly.

Combine thoroughly and cook for about 2 minutes.

Return the meat to the pot.

Return the meat to the pot.

Add the beef broth and wine.

Add the beef broth and wine.

Add the potatoes and bring to a boil.

Add the potatoes and bring to a boil.

Drain the mushrooms. Chop them and add to the soup.

Drain the mushrooms. Chop them and add to the soup. If you want an even heartier soup, add the sliced fresh mushrooms as well.

Simmer the soup for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until beef and potatoes are tender.

Simmer the soup for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until beef and potatoes are tender.

Don't be surprised if your soup smiles back at you.

Don’t be surprised if your soup smiles back at you.

Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce for a little added flavor.

Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce for a little added flavor. Enjoy!