During the week, when I indulge in a bowl of garden salad and call it dinner, I often think about the difference between guy food and girl food. If you believe that some dishes are not entirely gender-neutral, then you'll understand when I say this roast beef panini with caramelized onions and horseradish cheese sauce has guy food written all over it. I loved every single bite, yes I did, because the combination of beef, onions and horseradish reminds me in the best way of a wood-paneled steak house dining room, where thick cuts of meat arrive on oversized plates, with a baked potato and sour cream. The cheese sauce comes together in seconds from pantry ingredients, and really takes this sandwich over the top.
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The oh-so-good broccoli slaw I made a few days ago cried out for a spicy partner, and this Asian grilled sesame-soy flank steak made a perfect pairing. At least, I assume it was perfect, because my husband Ted and I both tried to claim the leftovers for lunch the next day after eating rather large portions at dinner. Flank steak, cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow, has a reputation for being tough and stringy, but, cooked and sliced properly, it's the most tender piece of beef you can imagine. The trick is to cook it either very fast, as in this recipe, or long and slow, and to slice it across the grain. In this recipe, the marinade contains just enough agave to give the meat a pleasing, sweet glaze on the outside. Cook the steak on the grill, on your panini press, or under the broiler.
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What goes around, really does come around. Pot roast went around almost every weekend when I was growing up in the 1950s. It was inexpensive and easy to cook, and working moms like mine had time on the weekends to do the long cooking a good pot roast requires. Today the chuck roast I used for this Tex-Mex pot roast remains an economical cut of beef. Instead of spending hours tending a pot in the oven, I spend ten minutes prepping ingredients that go into my slow cooker, which makes it easy to have pot roast on a workday or weekend. Traditional flavorings for pot roast often include tomato and onions, with Italian herbs and spices; this version starts with tomato and onions, too, and then goes Southwest with cumin, chili powder, and canned green chile peppers. (Don't be afraid of the chile peppers. They mellow with the long cooking time.) Serve this with rice or noodles, or shred the meat and fill a taco or burrito. I promise this will become a family favorite that goes around for years to come.
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They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but here I am, an old dog when it comes to certain recipes, telling you that I have learned a new trick, and it is good. The beef brisket recipe I make came from my mother, who got it from her mother, and except for updating the braising wine from sweet to dry, I've stuck by that recipe for more than 30 years. But. A few weeks ago, while driving home from the local apple orchard, I had a brisket epiphany. Why not, I thought, combine wine and cider in the braise? When I got home, the (wine) cupboard was bare, so I moved on to Plan B, a cider-and-herb combination with onion and garlic. Wow. I won't say I'll never go back to my grandmother's recipe, but I'm definitely putting this apple cider brisket into frequent rotation.
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