Juicy Lucy Burgers

I’m back and I’m ready to start cooking!

Sorry for my ridiculously long absence – some exciting stuff happened over the last 6 months – for starters, I got married and went on an amazingly long and necessary honeymoon to Southeast Asia. As you can imagine, my time was 100% consumed by wedding planning, honeymoon planning and of course, work. But here I am… back and ready to get this recipe train going again.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which means, you are all planning on BBQing, right? Right. Meet the mother of all hamburgers – THE JUICY LUCY. Meat dripping with fat, stuffed with cheese, grilled, topped with goodies and shoveled directly into your month. It’s that easy (and ever so delicious).

The Juicy Lucy is a legend. The birth of this monster cheeseburger is claimed by 2 separate joints on the same street in South Minneapolis. Whoever invented you Juciy Lucy – you taste good and that’s enough for me.

So sink your teeth into this burger, light a sparkler and try not to blow off any limbs this July 4th!

1  1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 chunks melty cheese (such as pepper jack or swiss)
4 hamburger buns, split

Combine ground beef, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form 8, thin patties from the beef. Each patty should be slightly larger than the chunk of cheese.

Sandwich one chunk of cheese between 2 ground beef patties. Tightly pinch edges together tightly seal the cheese within the meat. Repeat with the remaining cheese and patties.

Preheat a cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cook burgers until well browned, about 4 minutes. It is common for burgers to puff up due to steam from the melting cheese. Turn burgers and prick the top of each to allow steam to escape; cook until browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside; about 4 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns, top with grilled onions and sauce!


Pancetta-Sage Turkey With Pancetta Gravy

It’s almost that time of year again… time to cook up a storm, gather up friends and family in big embraces, eat, eat and then eat some more! It’s Thanksgiving!!!! Which is incidentally also my favorite holiday. Not only is it nice to take a moment and be thankful for everything you have in your life – – whether that be loved ones, your dream job, a cute dog or even just the best book to climb into bed with at night – – eating food and celebrating life with people you care about is just about as good as it gets in my opinion.

Last year Judd and I cooked our first turkey together. It was a special moment for a lot of reasons; first off, our parents were meeting which meant the food needed to be extra tasty. Second, and more importantly, did I mention this was our first turkey! With proud smiles on our faces and puffed up chests (I am only imagining this part happened), we presented our families with this beautifully magnificent bird! I mean, look at it… it was perfect.

The skin was crispy and golden brown while the meat of the bird was moist and oozing flavor. If the idea of pulverizing butter, pancetta and herbs into a thick paste doesn’t get your goat, then this might not be the recipe for you. As if pancetta butter wasn’t delectable enough… we smeared it on and under the turkey’s skin!!! It was essentially like wrapping an entire 15 pound turkey in bacon…. mmmmm. Stuffed with fresh sage and rosemary, this little feathered friend was certainly sacrificed for a worthy cause… my belly. We topped the entire meal off with a thick gravy of turkey stock, pan drippings, sage and more pancetta. Perfect. Just Perfect.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there. And to my favorite person…. I can’t wait to cook more turkey’s with you!

Pancetta-Sage Butter
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 14- to 16-pound turkey, rinsed, patted dry inside and out; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for Shortcut Turkey Stock
8 fresh sage sprigs
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Shortcut Turkey Stock or water

1/2 cup diced thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon; about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups Shortcut Turkey Stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Shortcut Turkey Stock
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 scrubbed unpeeled carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks,cut into chunks
1 rinsed unpeeled large onion, quartered
stems from 1 bunch fresh italian parsley
Reserved turkey neck, heart, and gizzard

For pancetta-sage butter
With machine running, drop garlic down feed tube of processor and chop. Add pancetta. Pulse to chop finely. Add all remaining ingredients. Pulse blending to coarse paste. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

For turkey
Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 325°F. Sprinkle main turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Spread with 2 tablespoons pancetta-sage butter. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and meat of breast, thighs, and upper drumsticks to loosen skin. Spread remaining butter over thighs, drumsticks, and breast meat under skin. Fill main cavity with herb sprigs. Tie legs loosely to hold shape. Tuck wing tips under.

Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Rub turkey all over with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 2 cups stock into pan.

Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, about 3 hours. Tilt turkey so juices run into pan. Transfer turkey to platter. Tent with foil; let rest at least 30 minutes (temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Reserve pan.

For gravy
Scrape juices and browned bits from roasting pan into large glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Heat 2 tablespoons reserved fat in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add shallots; sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour; whisk until golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in 3 cups stock, wine, and degreased pan juices. Bring to boil, whisking. Cook to desired consistency, about 5 minutes. Whisk in rosemary and sage; season to taste with salt and pepper.

For shortcut turkey stock
In large saucepan, combine low-salt chicken broth, carrots, celery, onion, parsley stems, and reserved turkey neck, heart, and gizzard. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to very low; simmer gently until gizzard is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer neck, heart, and gizzard to plate. Strain stock into medium bowl and cool. If adding giblets to gravy, pull meat from turkey neck. Chop neck meat, heart, and gizzard. DO AHEAD: Cover stock and wrap giblets. Chill up to 3 days.

Happy 1st Birthday Little Blog!

Wow! A whole year has gone by since little Fork Tender was born!!!! What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a delicious and adorable cake? This slice is for you little blog… Happy 1st Birthday!

Big thanks to all you wonderful folks out there that read my blog and give me the drive to keep on cooking and sharing recipes. It has been a truly amazing year filled with lots of happy moments and tasty treats. I look forward to little blog’s 2nd birthday and many more after that!

Ok, now let’s talk about the cake. Luscious lemon layer cake with a meyer lemon curd filling, topped with meyer lemon buttercream frosting and gummy candies! Want a slice? Yea, I thought so. This cake was soooo good! Light, fluffy and full of flavor, the lemon peel really elevated the lemon flavor without overpowering the yellow cake or buttercream frosting. As you sunk your folk in for a big bite, the lemon curd offered a nice tang and creamy texture that complimented the cake’s butteriness perfectly!

While the cake was delicious, the topping was the real winner. Gum drops and skittles transformed this ordinary buttercream beauty into a whimsical dessert. The green “stems” of the flowers are actually just green gum drops that I smushed and stretched into long strips.

Happy Birthday Fork Tender!

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pans
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Lemon Curd
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Lemon Frosting
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 3/4 cups), sifted
pinch kosher salt

For the cake

Heat oven to 350°F.

Butter two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter again, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Transfer the batter to the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes for 8-inch pans and 22 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Transfer one of the cooled cakes to a plate and spread with 1 cup of the lemon curd. Top with the remaining cake and refrigerate to set, 30 minutes. Spread the top and sides with the frosting. Using the palm of your hand, gently press the pistachios into the sides of the cake and top with the candied lemon slices.

For the curd

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Add the butter. Set the bowl over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of mayonnaise, 12 to 15 minutes.

Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper directly on the surface of the lemon curd and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

For the frosting

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and lemon zest on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the sugar, then the salt, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples

It’s officially Fall, my favorite time of year, and with Fall, comes slow roasted meats slathered in herbaceous marinades and rubs. When my Bon Appétit arrived last month, this dish beckoned to me… “make me, please… make me.” So I did and I found that the pork on pork on pork action is not as wrong as it sounds. In fact, it was a lovely precursor to the fast approaching Thanksgiving holiday.

Every year, we make turkey… delicious delicious turkey. If you are looking for a bird alternative this upcoming Turkey Day, I would say, this Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin is jam packed with holiday flavors. The smoky prosciutto casing is only the beginning on this dish. Jump in a little further and you’ll find a moist pork loin stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, dried applies, kale, fresh herbs and of course… butter. The filling alone can be eaten with a spoon (I won’t lie… I ate a little before building this log of goodness).

Make this. Eat this. Impress some folks. Enjoy!

1 ounce (1 cup) dried whole porcini mushrooms
2 ounces (3/4 cup) dried apples
1 pound kale, bottom stems trimmed
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons brandy or Calvados
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground pork

1 (trimmed) 2 1/2–3 pound pork loin
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
5 sprigs rosemary
4 medium apples (such as Granny Smith or Fuji), quartered, or 8 small apples, halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry hard cider
1/2 cup low-salt chicken stock

For filling
Place dried mushrooms and dried apples in separate small bowls. Add 1 cup boiling water to each bowl. Let mushrooms and apples soak until very soft, about 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms. Cover and chill soaking liquid (about 3/4 cup). Drain apples, discarding soaking liquid. Finely chop mushrooms and apples, combine in a small bowl, and set mushroom and apple mixture aside.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in boiling salted water just until wilted, about 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer kale to a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate until cool. Remove any large, tough ribs.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook for 1 minute. Add brandy and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool completely. Add ground pork and stir to combine well.

For pork
To butterfly, put pork loin on a work surface with short end facing you. Holding a long, thin sharp knife parallel to work surface and beginning along one long side, cut 1/2″ above underside of roast. Continue slicing inward, pulling back the meat with your free hand and unrolling the roast like a carpet, until the entire loin is flat. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound to an even thickness.

Uncover pork. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place kale leaves on top of loin in an even layer, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1″ border. Spread filling on top of kale. Roll pork into a tight cylinder. Wrap one layer of prosciutto around roast. Tie roast securely with kitchen twine in 1″ intervals. Tuck rosemary sprigs under twine, spacing apart. DO AHEAD: Pork roast can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before continuing.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place apples in a roasting pan. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a large skillet. Brown pork on all sides, about 5 minutes total, then set on top of apples in pan. Add cider and 1/2 cup water to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Pour mixture into roasting pan. Roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loin registers 140°F (it will be cooked medium but still slightly pink), about 1 hour 40 minutes. Let roast rest for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Put roast on a platter. Reserve apples from roasting pan; spoon off fat from juices in pan. Place pan on top of stove over medium-high heat. Add chicken stock. Pour in reserved mushroom liquid, leaving any sediment behind, and cook, scraping bottom of pan to release any browned bits, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain sauce; slice pork. Serve sauce and apples alongside sliced pork.

Browned Onion Poppyseed Kugel Cakes

L’Shana Tova! …. well, almost.

For those of you that have no clue what I am talking about, L’Shana Tova means “For a Good Year” in Hebrew. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year kicks off this month at sundown on September 28th. Celebrating with family and friends (and food) is a lovely way to acknowledge the start of a new year while reflecting on the moments from the past year. Like any New Year’s celebration, food is at the heart of the party, which is why, you should whip up a batch of Brown Onion Poppyseed Kugel Cakes! Not your traditional kugel… which is typically sweet, these little nuggets are filled with delicious savory flavors. I must also admit, there is something wonderful about getting your own little kugel cake that is perfectly intact and oh so pretty!

I can absolutely not take credit for these wonderful little cakes… it was ALL Judd. The caramelized onion gives the cakes a deep rich flavor with a hint of sweetness. Sour cream and the obligatory cottage cheese moisten the batter with a creamy zing! Not only were these incredibly easy to make, but they are delightful to eat! Celebrate this Rosh Hashanah the right way… with homemade Kugel Cakes!

Makes 6 to 8 main-course or 12 side-dish servings

6 ounces medium egg noodles (1 3/4 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3 cups chopped onions (2 large)
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 1/4 cups small-curd cottage cheese (10 ounces)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Special equipment: a muffin tin with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Cook noodles in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water, then drain well.

Melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat and brush muffin cups with some of butter. Add onions to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a large bowl and stir in noodles, sour cream, cottage cheese, and poppy seeds. Lightly beat eggs with salt and pepper, then stir into noodle mixture until combined well.

Divide mixture among muffin cups and bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Loosen edges of kugels with a thin knife and cool kugels in pan 5 minutes before serving.

Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad

Yet again, I have let far too many days slip past me without checking in and sharing a new recipe. Sigh. For those of you that do not know me, I work at an art college managing a graduate design program. With the first day of classes fast approaching, it is an understatement to say I am totally zonked at the end of the day and am very much in need of no time spent in front of a computer.

Excuses, I agree, but valid if you ask me.

Like I said, each day that passes gets me closer to the hum of eager grad students marching through the halls… with lots of questions for their program manager, so, it only seemed appropriate that I whip up a dish that screams, “IT’S STILL SUMMER!!!!” And until the last coals on the barbeque go cold this Labor Day, it is in fact, STILL summer. So, make this for the final BBQ of the season and take joy in the simple and robust flavors of these seasonal ingredients.

Sweet roasted corn, fresh vibrant tomatoes that are as close to perfection as it gets, tangy lime juice, and a snap of cilantro give this dish a refreshing lightness that will stand out on a plate next to any large chuck of grilled protein. Whatever it might be… fish, chicken, beef… this corn and tomato salad will be the perfect compliment.

Close your eyes, take a bite and breath in those last wisps on summer air, because any minute now, you’ll notice that the wind feels cooler and realize it’s time to dig those wool sweaters out of the depths of your dresser.

Fall is almost here, but for now, I going to just enjoy those long sunlight evenings.

Makes 4 servings

4 ears corn on the cob, in the husks
1/2 pint cherry or mini heirloom tomatoes, halved or quartered
The juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the corn in its husks directly on the oven rack and roast until the corn is soft when you press on it, 30 to 40 minutes.

Peel down the husks and cut corn kernels from the cob with a sharp knife. Combine corn, tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl. Dress with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Pan Seared Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce

I know… I’ve been away. I wish I had a better explanation for you than not being particularly inspired by any recipes as of late, but alas, sometimes it’s just easier to eat out or turn to trusted house favorites during busy weeks. Last night we broke our runt with a damn tasty meal that caused a fiesta in my mouth. Yes, I am serious… a fiesta.

If you have not noticed, we like salmon. So much so, that we often cook the same recipe over and over again. I decided it was time for a new twist on this staple fish and low and behold, folks, we have found another winner! Perfect for a light summer meal, this smoked paprika coated salmon was earthly, moist and jam packed with flavor. Topped with a lovely lime “butter” emulsified sauce (I substituted olive oil in place of an entire stick of butter), the smokiness of the fish balanced perfectly against the tart zing of the drizzled sauce. Paired with a refreshing roasted corn and tomato salad (recipe coming soon) and grilled asparagus, this effortless meal whipped up in no time, but your guests don’t have to know that!

With Fall rapidly approaching, it’s time to squeeze in as many last minute summer meals as possible. Before you know it… I will be talking about pumpkin bread!

Makes 6 servings

Lime Butter Sauce

1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted or 1/2 cup olive oil (I went with the lighter option and it was delicious)


6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest

To make the lime butter, purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.

*Note: Lime butter sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Stir before using.

To make the Salmon, warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Season the salmon pieces with paprika, salt and pepper. Sear the skin side down, about 3 to 4 minutes on the first side. Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 to 3 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish. Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.

Pickled Red Onions

As it turns out, pickling food can be rather simple! If you are anything like me, you too must love the vinegary snap of a freshly pickled red onion on tacos, salads, sandwiches, mole…. the list goes on and on. So with my first gander into the art of pickling, this was the end product… crisp red onions mingling with the flavors of allspice, cloves, bay leaves and dried chilies.

Eggs and pickled red onions should be the name of a Dr. Suess book since they really are a match made in heaven. Go on… put them on anything. Everything. Or just dig into the jar with your grubby little fingers and enjoy the sweet tartness of this vibrant and tasty magic meal sprucer upper.

3/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
5 whole cloves
a small, dried chile pepper
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into half moons

In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling. Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Transfer the onions and the liquid into a jar then refrigerate until ready to use.

*Storage: The onions will keep for several months.

Bulgogi Kimchee Pizza

Are you ready to have your world rocked? The very foundation of all beliefs shaken? This pizza might do just that.

If you like Korean food (Yum!) and Pizza (who doesn’t), then this bizarre creation might just become your new favorite indulgence. Bulgogi Kimchee Pizza does sound crazy, but I promise your mouth will thank you for nibbling on such a weirdly delicious treat. Weeks ago I stumbled upon a vague recipe for this pizza and the idea sort of lodged itself in the back of my brain waiting for the right moment to act. Judd loves bulgogi, so I knew swaying him into this adventurous undertaking would not be difficult. So, this past Sunday we decided to have a low key day… watched a little Women’s World Cup Soccer (Oh USA, sigh), lazed about the house, and made pizza. We started by marinating thinly sliced sirloin in a delightfully easy bulgogi sauce. The meat alone was a winner and promised only good things for the pizza’s final outcome. Once you cook the meat and sauté the spinach, all that is left to do is assemble the pie. We picked up the Trader Joe’s pizza dough (in a bag) and began forming our crust. Top the dough with tomato sauce (and a few pinches of kosher salt), grated fresh mozzeralla, sautéed spinach and onions, kimchee and bulgogi beef. Pop the beautiful disk of goodness into the oven and 15 minutes later you have heaven on a plate. Seriously… heaven.

The USA might have lost to Japan on Sunday, but in our house, Korea was the real winner. Well done Bulgogi Kimchee Pizza. Well Done.

Bulgogi Marinade:

This makes enough for the pizza and leftovers!

1 lb. of thinly sliced rib-eye steak purchased from a Korean market. Or you can slice your own rib-eye or sirloin steak across the grain in paper thin slices.
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, halved and sliced into slivers
2 green onions including the white parts, finely sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pinches black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ginger, finely minced

Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl except beef and onions. When most of the sugar has dissolved, add beef and onion slices to the bowl and massage the marinade with your hands into each slice of beef. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. To pan fry, place a few slices of beef in single layers and completely flat on a hot oiled frying pan and fry each side until cooked, medium, about 3 minutes per side.

Bulgogi Kimchee Pizza:

Makes 8 slices

Store pre-made fresh pizza dough (we used Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces tomato sauce
2 pinches kosher salt
5 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
2 cups uncooked spinach, stems removed
Store bough Kimchee
1/2 lb. beef bulgogi (see recipe above)
Semolina or white flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Follow the instructions of the store bought dough. Form dough into 12″ disk. Top with tomato sauce and kosher salt. Spread until evenly coating top of dough. Add mozzarella, sautéed spinach and onions (from bulgogi recipe), kimchee and beef bulgogi. Toss semolina flour directly onto the pizza stone, bake 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling.

Slice, dig in and ENJOY!

Olive Oil Cake with Candied Oranges & Cardamom

Who wants cake?

Well, um, I do! I’ve made a lot of cakes in my lifetime… I mean, A LOT! So naturally I jumped at the chance to candy some fruit and toss cardamom (an amazingly versatile spice) into this luscious batter. Loving the light and airy texture of any olive oil cake, this dessert seemed like a winner before I even started nibbling on the syrupy candied oranges (they are really hard to resist eating).

I am not going to over sell this cake because I feel it can really do the convincing for itself. All you need to know is that it is light, moist and totally decadent. The whipped egg whites give volume to the airy batter while the olive oil moistens the cake just so. Even the non sweet tooth folks had a hard time resisting this summery citrus treasure.

Enjoy the sunshine (with a slice of this cake in front of you)!

Candied orange and syrup
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup orange blossom honey
3 tablespoons green cardamom pods, crushed
1 small orange, thinly sliced

1/2 cup olive oil plus more for brushing
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina flour (pasta flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chopped unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted (optional)

Special equipment: 9″-diameter springform pan
*Ingredient InfoSemolina flour (pasta flour) is available at better supermarkets and at Italian markets.

For candied orange and syrup: 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring sugar, honey, cardamom, and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add orange slices. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, turning orange slices occasionally, until tender and syrup is reduced to 3 1/4 cups, about 40 minutes. Arrange orange slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; remove cardamom pods and seeds. Strain syrup. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover syrup and orange slices separately; chill. Return orange slices to room temperature and rewarm syrup slightly before using.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush pan with oil. Whisk both flours and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl for 1 minute. Beat in yolks, then flour mixture. Beat in yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until firm peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter just to blend in 2 additions. Transfer to prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Pierce hot cake all over with a metal skewer. Slowly drizzle 3/4 cup warm syrup all over. When syrup is absorbed, slowly pour 3/4 cup more syrup over. Reserve remaining syrup for serving. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around edge of pan to release cake. Remove pan sides. Arrange candied orange slices over. Sprinkle pistachios over (optional). Cut into wedges and serve drizzled with more syrup (it doesn’t need the extra syrup, but indulge away as you see fit).