Stout Braised Beef

stout braised beef

Melt in your mouth.

Falls apart on the fork.


Stout beer.

These are some of my favorite words/phrases to hear. They also happen to describe my newest recipe, Stout Braised Beef. This recipe takes some of my favorite ingredients and creates a luscious, richly developed stew that is perfect for chilly fall nights. (Even if that chilly fall night happens to fall at around 60 degrees in Texas…)

The key to this recipe is time. A good amount of it. This beef stew takes a relatively cheap cut of meat and slow cooks it until all of the fat melts and leaves the meat tender and soft. Simply let it go, read a good book, come back a few hours later and have a solid weekend dinner. Now, let’s get started:



  • 3-4 lbs beef rump roast, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups radishes
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 roma tomatos, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
  • 1 pint stout beer or brown ale
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tbs butter, unsalted
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1:  Heat oil in dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pan) on medium-high. When sizzling hot, add the garlic and beef. Watch garlic to make sure it does not burn and sear beef on all sides until browned and crusty. Remove meat from pan and set aside.

Step 2: Reduce heat to medium and heat butter in same pan you cooked the meat in. When fully melted, add the onion and thyme to the fried garlic. Cook until onions are browned. While cooking, make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to loosen any leftover meaty bits from searing the beef. Add the carrots.

Step 3: Pour beer over onion and carrots, use the liquid to loosen any caramelization that may have built up on the base of the pan while cooking. Move the vegetables in the pan around to make room for the meat. Add the meat back to the pan and top with the radishes.

Step 4: Pour 3/4 of the broth over the radishes and beef. Season with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook on low for 3 hours. Check periodically to see the amount of liquid in the pot. if it is starting to look low, add remaining broth or water. You always want the meat to be submerged in liquid.

Step 5: After 3 hours, check on the meat. It should be tender enough that you can start to break the meat apart with a fork. It should not be so soft that it is falling apart. If it is ready, add the tomatoes, green onion and honey. Test broth for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Add more broth/water if need be, only if the liquid isn’t covering the majority of the meat, and cover pot. Cook on low for another 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 6: Meat is ready when it falls apart with little effort from a fork or tongs.




Green tea black sesame swirl bread


When the weather gets cold, my favorite weekend activity is baking a good loaf of bread. There is something about the smell of bread baking – the air is tinged with this light, yeasty smell, and because the oven is on, the room gets toasty. Lastly, cutting into a steaming, freshly baked loaf of bread is the best reward to a day of baking.

While more time consuming compared to other baked goods like cakes or cookies, bread is not hard or intimidating to make (even though it can seem like it is). The majority of your time will be spent allowing the dough to rise, and if you are like me, you can spend that time with a good cup of coffee and an episode or two of Friends.

This specific recipe has an Asian influence, and has a slight sweetness. This is definitely not a dessert bread, as I didn’t want this to feel like cake. However when toasted, this is an awesome option for breakfast with when spread with some softened butter and honey.

green tea bread

For those of you who are wary about cooking with yeast, let me give you some of my top tips before I jump into the recipe:

Yeast works best in a warm, somewhat humid environment. So this recipe is actually way easier to make in the summer for me since my kitchen will naturally be on the warm side. However, when the weather is cool, you can easily fake this environment by preheating your oven, turning it off, and allowing it to cool to a mild warmness. If you can stick your hand in it and not feel like you will be burned, the oven is ready. Simply pop the dough in, and let the yeast do it’s work.

Aside from your kitchen environment, the key to the success of this recipe is in activating the yeast before you even touch the flour. Many recipes I come across do not treat yeast properly. First of all, yeast is what causes this bread to be fluffy. Without activating it, you might as well not use it. Which is why it is so important to mix the yeast in warm liquid like I do in the first step. You know it’s good to go if there is a bit of a frothy texture on the top of the liquid after 5 minutes. That means the yeast is active and energetic. From there, you are good to go!


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs matcha
  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 tbs softened butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar for filling
  • 1/4 cup ground black sesame
  • 1 beaten egg diluted with a splash of water

Step 1: Warm milk and water in microwave until lukewarm. It’s ready when it feels like warm bath water. Stir in yeast. Set aside 5 minutes to activate.

Step 2: Mix flour, sugar, salt and matcha in a bowl. Add yeast mixture, stir, and then the butter. Stir until combined. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. If you poke the dough with your finger, it should slowly bounce back.

Step 3: Place dough in an oiled bowl. Cover bowl with oiled plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic leaves plenty of room for the dough to rise. Cover plastic wrap with a damp towel and raise for an hour or until doubled in size.

Step 4: Mix ground sesame with remaining sugar, set aside.  When dough is fully risen, punch gas out of dough.

Step 5: On lightly floured surface, press dough into a large rectangle. You want the dough to be about a centimeter thick. Spread sesame mix over dough, leaving an inch of space on one of the longer edges of the rectangle. Roll dough into a log, moving towards the empty inch with the dough. This clean area of the dough will help seal the edges together. When fully rolled, pinch edges of dough together to create a seam.

Step 6: With a large knife, cut into the log. Leave one end intact. This will create a large, long V-shape. Take the two ends and start twisting them together. When fully twisted, pinch the edges together to keep the log intact, and then start rolling the log into it’s self to create a rosette. When the bread is fully wrapped together, pinch all end seams together to keep the ball uniform. Transfer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Step 7: Dab the egg wash onto the clean parts of the dough’s surface, making sure to leave the sesame undisturbed. Cover with plastic wrap and towel and rise another hour.

Step 8: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In the mean time, baste bread again with egg wash. When oven is ready, place bread in oven and bake 25-30 minutes.

*If bread browns too fast while baking, cover top with foil.

*Tip for proofing bread: to help yeast work efficiently, let bread rest in a warm place. Preheat oven to 200 degrees, but then turn off heat a few minutes into pre-heating. The heat is right if it feels mildly warm, but not enough to make your hand sweat or burn you.



Sweet Potato Mochi


After a long hiatus, I am back!

With it officially fall, I wanted to try making something with sweet potato. However, instead of going the more traditional route with warm spices like cinnamon, I wanted to give the sweet potato a little Asian treatment.

While I am sure that there is a more traditional approach on how to make these little rice cakes, I went with what I was familiar with. I wanted something with great texture, think gooey-chewy, with a little sweetness. Lately, I have been reducing the amount of sugar in my diet, so I wanted something that didn’t need much help in that department. Because sweet potatoes are cheap and last long in my pantry, I thought this recipe would be an awesome treat that could be made quickly and easily. (It also helps that these can be made entirely in the microwave – a girl has to have a repertoire of quick midnight snacks that aren’t just minute mug cakes.)

Now on to the recipe!


  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1 inch sized chunks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (you can add more to taste)
  • 1 cup mochiko rice flour
  • 1 cup water, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup corn starch or potato starch

Step 1: Place the sweet potato in a microwave-safe bowl, wrap with plastic wrap, and then cook on high until soft (about 4 min). Place cooked sweet potato in food processor (or mash with a fork vigorously) with the sugar. Grind into a smooth paste.

(Optional step: for a denser filling, pour the sweet potato paste into a saucepan and heat the mixture on medium to remove excess water. Boil while stirring vigorously until you achieve your desired consistency.)

Step 2: Let the potato cool down fully and then roll into 1 inch-sized balls. Cover with plastic wrap.

Step 3: In another bowl, pour and mix the water into the rice flour in increments. This will prevent you from creating lumps. When everything is fully combined, cover the bowl in plastic wrap, and microwave for one minute.

Step 4: When the rice flour mixture is fully cooked, it will be elastic and translucent. Using a mixing spoon, stir the dough to give it more elasticity. You want to have a strong arm with this and pound it for at least a minute. Then, while the mix is still warm and pliable, scrape the bowl and transfer the dough onto a corn starch dusted cutting board.

Step 5: Cut the dough into an equal amount of pieces to the sweet potato. (You will yield around 10 pieces.) Dust each piece with corn starch and then keep any unused dough covered with plastic wrap as the it dries out easily.

Step 6: Take one of the pieces and dust off any excess corn starch. Using your fingers, pinch and pull the dough until it is just shy of the size of your palm. Place a sweet potato ball in the middle. Pull at the corners of the rice dough and start to push the dough around the ball until everything is fully covered. Pinch the dough ends together to create a seam.

Step 7: When the mochi ball is fully sealed, flip it over, and shape it nicely with your hands so it is even and round. Cover with plastic wrap and then repeat step 6 until you have completed the batch. Store in an airtight container.


Turkey Dumplings with Scallion and Fresh Ginger

turkey dumpling

So it has been a long while since I have posted. Life caught up with me in the form of a move, work, and a few freelance assignments. However I am back again with some cool posts that I have built up in this break!

Let me tell you why I decided to make this recipe. For me, cooking has always been a stress reliever. This is especially the case when the recipe involves repetitive motion. Focusing all my energy on only one repeating task is a great way to get out of my head and mentally decompress.  Dumplings are a great example of this.

Aside from the initial mixing of the meat filling, most of the work only involves three steps. Fill, dampen the dough, and pinch everything together. You just repeat these steps until you run out of filling.  At the end, you have this beautiful plate full of dumplings that are ready to boil. Call me Type A, but having this nicely arranged plate (usually in a spiral shape) is a very relaxing site to see at the end of a hectic day.

Also, this is such a comforting food to eat. Think about it. Warm, soothing chicken broth. A slightly chewy filling with a hint of ginger. Tender dumpling dough. All of these are quite comforting things. This is also a very light recipe, so you won’t feel weighed down after eating it.

If what I just said still hasn’t hooked you in, let me say this is a great food for office lunches as they are the best the day after making them. Much like a good marinara sauce, these dumplings get better as they sit since all the flavors have had a chance to meld together. Now let’s get started:

turkey dumpling


  • 1 package lean, ground turkey (you can also use ground pork or chicken)
  • 1 Tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package fresh wonton wrappers (you can find these at an Asian market or in the health/ethnic food section of your local grocery store)
  • 1 Tbs water, to glue the dumplings together
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 Tbs. sesame oil
  • Chicken broth to serve with (you can also serve dry with a soy dipping sauce)

Step 1: Let’s make the meat filling. Combine the ground turkey, ginger, green onion, egg and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until homogenous.

Step 2: Open dumpling wrappers. (Tip, keep a damp towel over your extra wrappers to keep them from drying out while you work. I usually isolate groups of 20 wrappers at a time.) Take one wrapper and dampen half of the edge.

Step 3: Take a teaspoon of meat filling and drop it in the middle of the wrapper. Lift the dry half of the wrapper and press it into the damp side. Before you completely seal the edges together, lightly press any excess air out of the dumpling. (This prevents them from floating to the top of the pan prematurely.

Step 4: Fill and fold all of your dumplings together until you run out of meat. As you fill plates with your raw dumplings, cover the dumplings with plastic wrap to prevent the dumpling skin from drying out.

Step 5: Boil water in a large saucepan. When it’s a rolling boil, place 10-15 dumplings into the pot. Be sure to not overcrowd the pot. Stir the water while dropping the dumplings to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Boil for 5-7 minutes. Break one dumpling in half after cooking and check to see if the meat is white. If it is still pink, continue cooking another 1-2 minutes.

Step 6: When fully cooked, drain and transfer dumplings to an oiled dish. Swirl the dumplings in the sesame oil to keep them from sticking together. Repeat step 5 as necessary. Serve warm with chicken broth.

turkey dumpling

turkey dumpling

Dark chocolate truffles with whiskey and sunflower seed brittle


This holiday season I was determined to create foodie gifts for my loved ones. For some I made braided bread, which will come in a later post, however for one specific person I created this truffle recipe.

Crunchy, creamy, sweet, and salty (with a subtle kick from the whiskey), this truffle is a great show stopping dessert for those who are hitting holiday gifting late. The key to keeping this recipe simple would be a silicone mold so that the cleanup process is as easy as possible. Also, for those who are hesitant about making brittle, you can instead top the truffle with roasted sunflower seeds to cut out the extra steps.



  • 2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 shot of whiskey
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs. water
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • Pinch sea salt

Step 1: For the brittle: Sprinkle the sunflower seeds over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir the sugar and water together until combined. Put the pan on the heat on medium high until the sugar melts. Do not stir at all once the pan hits the heat, only swirl the pan to ensure the sugar mixture heats evenly. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sugar mixture turns a light golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the molten sugar over the nuts. The sugar should be a clear, thick liquid. Sprinkle sea salt over the molten sugar. Let the brittle sit to cool and harden. Once fully set, break into small pieces.

(You can entirely skip this step if you want and simply sprinkle nuts on top if you are wary of making the brittle.)

Step 2: Heat the cream until it is steaming. You can do this over the stove or in the microwave. Add 1 1/2 cups of chocolate and let sit to let the chocolate melt. After a few minutes, stir until the mixture is homogenous – this will be the truffle filling. Add a shot of whiskey and the honey, stir to combine.

Step 3: Heat 3/4 cups of the chocolate in a glass bowl resting over a pot of steaming hot water. Melt fully. Take the bowl off of the heat and then add the last 1/4 cup of chocolate. Let the remaining chocolate melt. Gently fold the chocolate together to combine.

Step 4: Take your silicone mold and spoon a teaspoon of chocolate into each opening. Use the back of the spoon to push the chocolate all the way up to the edge. Tap the bottom of the mold against the work surface to ensure there are no bubbles. Let sit for 20 minutes to let the chocolate set.

Step 5: Spoon the ganache into the molds until they are 3/4 of the way full. Let sit for another 20 minutes to let the top set. Top with more melted chocolate (you can return the bowl to the hot water bath to re-melt) and tap the silicone molds against the work surface again to eliminate air bubbles. Let sit to fully cool and set.



My take on the French chouquette

chouquette cream puff

After a month-long break, I am back with one of the prettiest posts I have shot in a long time. Let me introduce you to the chouquette, a light, airy pastry that can be decorated any way you wish.

These pastry bites use the same dough as the cream puff, only instead of filling the pastry with cream, you top them with pearl sugar or chocolate to add sweetness and texture. In this post, I wanted to treat them like doughnut holes so that I could offer you guys a healthier alternative to the breakfast staple.

These pastries are a one pot wonder – and they bake up in a flash for those who are impatient bakers. For those starting to look for handmade gift options this holiday season, this is a great option as chouquettes are easy to make and can be decorated quite lavishly. In this post I have created four options for you: the traditional version that is topped with a crunchy homemade pearl sugar, a chouquette topped with chocolate chunks, a cinnamon sugar dusted version, and my personal favorite: a green tea chouquette topped with black sesame.



  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs


  • Cinnamon sugar (about 1/4 cup should work)
  • Pearl sugar – you can make this by mixing a cup of sugar with a teaspoon of water and then pressing it into a heated saucepan. Leave it to cook on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring and re-pressing a couple times while waiting. It will harden into lumps as it cools.
  • Green tea icing: 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons water, 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Dark chocolate chunks

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a pot with the water until it is entirely liquified. Bring the butter/water mixture to a boil.

Step 2: Add the flour, nutmeg and salt. Stir until the mix forms into a lump. Keep the pot on the heat and stir the dough vigorously for a minute to evaporate any excess water. You want to create a very thick paste.

Step 3: Remove the pot from the heat. Stir the dough vigorously for a few minutes to help cool the dough down. You want it to be cool enough that you can touch it and not be burned. (If it is too hot or your arm gets tired, you can let it sit for a few minutes to cool off.)

Step 4: Add the eggs one at a time. The dough will become lumpy at first, so you will not want to add all the eggs at once. Beat the egg into the paste until it becomes homogenous before adding the next. When all of the eggs are mixed in, transfer the batter to a plastic bag. (You can easily do this by inserting the bag into a mug, and inverting the mouth of the bag over the rim of the cup.)

Step 5: Cut a centimeter sized opening into the corner of your plastic bag – this will be a makeshift pastry bag. Pipe 1 inch-sized mounds onto the sheet, leaving an inch of space between each. Using a dampened finger, lightly tap on the top of the batter to even out any pointed tips. For those making the sugar or chocolate versions, press the sugar or chocolate chunks into the tops of the dough. Bake for 15 minutes.

Step 6: For those making the cinnamon sugar version, while the pastry is fresh out of the oven and steaming hot, dump the pastry puffs into a bag filled with cinnamon sugar. Close it, and shake to coat evenly. For those making the green tea version, mix the powdered sugar, matcha and water until you have a thick paste. Dip the tops of the pastry into the icing and then top with black sesame seeds.


chouquette animation


Chocolate raspberry tart with almond filling


Here is the first post in my French food series! A few months ago, I returned to Paris to visit my host family and see my old haunts. While there, I had a few posts that showed you what I visited and ate. (Which you can see here, here and here.) I also hinted to launching a French food series where I show you how to make my take on French food. This will be my first post on the topic.

After landing in France, one of the first things I ate was an almond pear tart. These tarts are commonly found in neighborhood bakeries and are one of the more approachable French desserts that someone could make. (Though, if I am completely honest, any French dessert will be a bit tedious in order for it to be pretty and pristine.)

For this recipe, I wanted to use fresh raspberries and dark chocolate to give the otherwise light tart a deeper flavor. Here, I mix melted dark chocolate in the batter to give the almond filling a gooey, creamy texture.




  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (just so I can pretend this is slightly healthy – but it also gives good texture)
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into centimeter-sized cubes
  • 1/8 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 2 tbs butter
  • 3 tbs dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs orange liqueur
  • pinch salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Step1: We will start with the crust. Mix all of the crust’s dry ingredients in a bowl, and then massage the butter into the flour with your fingers. It will become mealy, almost like wet sand. Slowly incorporate the cold water into the dough until it comes together. (If by any chance you choose to use an entirely all-purpose flour crust, you will need to double the amount of water.) Knead the dough ball a few times to ensure everything is well mixed, and then shape it into a flattened rectangle. (If you make a round tart, keep the circle shape) Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Step 2: When the dough is fully cooled ( you do this to re-solidify the butter and make the dough easy to roll), roll the dough into a thin sheet big enough to fill your tart pan. In the end, my dough was about half a centimeter thick. Press the dough into a greased tart pan and then prick the bottom of the dough with a fork to prevent air pockets. Cover the dough with parchment paper or foil, and then fill the tart with dry beans. This will ensure the crust stays flat and even.

Step 3: Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until the edges have hardened and slightly shrunk away from the pan. Remove the beans and foil, and return the crust back to the oven to brown the surface of the bottom of the crust. This will be another 5 minutes.

Step 4: While the crust is baking, make the filling. Heat the butter in a saucepan on high and cook it until it browns slightly. Then add the chocolate into the hot butter to melt. Mix until homogenous. Mix in the almond flour, sugar, vanilla, liqueur and salt. When fully combined, and the mix is not overly hot, add the eggs. Stir to combine.

Step 5: Pull the tart shell from the oven, and reduce the oven’s temperature to 375. Pour the almond mixture into the shell and then press the raspberries into the filling. Return the tart to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes. When done, the top of the almond filling should look similar to the top of a brownie, and it should not jiggle when agitated. Serve warm or at room temperature.