Tag Archives: Beef

Happy Halloween! Italian Hamburgers

31 Oct

Remember the days when costumes were homemade and you put your candy in a pillowcase?  And, your parents made you give them HALF your candy, to eat later (which mysteriously disappeared)?  Those were the days.  I rotated two different costumes for years.  A witch (a black mumu my mother hand-sewed) and a gypsy (a hot mess of hippie clothes from my mom’s 1960’s stash).  One year we got CRAZY and I got to be a nurse (another white mumu sewed by Mom), complete with nurse’s cap borrowed from my aunt.  Amazing.  My brother was usually a hobo or an Army man.

Man, I thought my makeup was the coolest

We loved trick or treating– in St. Louis, it’s a tradition that you don’t get any candy until you tell a joke.  I didn’t realize NO ONE else does this until I moved away.  And I got a lot of blank stares when I demanded this of children on my doorstep.

I also loved carving pumpkins, but am still scared to do it myself without my father’s knife skills handy.  True story.  I can cut a fish filet but I just can’t tackle the orange beast.

Now that I think about it, Halloween is a busy time, especially if you have little ones.  So it’s best to keep the meal short and sweet.  To service that, I present hamburgers for Halloween.  Italian hamburgers.

ITALIAN HAMBURGERS (serves 4-6)
1 1/2lb. ground chuck
1C Italian breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

1 thinly sliced white onion
Italian round buns, sliced in half
Oil for frying

Mix ground chuck, bread crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper together until well-blended.  Divide meat into six patties.  Press one onion slice on top of each hamburger.  Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and fry on both sides until done.  Place on heated buns and serve.

It’s not pretty in the pan, but it tastes good, trust me.

Trick or treat!  And if you decide to binge on candy, I’M certainly not going to judge.  Mangia!

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Fall Flavors: T’s Favorite Chili

5 Oct

As the weather cools off in parts of the country that are NOT Los Angeles, a trickle of pumpkin patch pictures are starting to show up on my social media sites.  It’s the season to bust out your turtlenecks, roll in a pile of leaves and head for a hayride.

In celebration of that, here’s a super-simple, old-school, basic chili recipe that T titled in her book “My Favorite Chili.”  So hang out this weekend, throw this together in a pot and prepare to appreciate autumn.

Circa 1982. I’ve never really been “one with nature.”

MY FAVORITE CHILI (serves 4)
3T vegetable oil
1lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 strips green pepper, chopped
1 16oz. can chili beans in chili gravy
1 16oz. can whole tomatoes, finely chopped
2t chili powder
A few drops Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1t sugar

In a heavy saucepan, heat oil on high heat.  Add meat, onion, garlic and green pepper and saute together until meat is no longer pink.  Add beans, tomatoes and seasonings; stir to blend.  Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Like I said, this recipe is old-school.  It’s nothing fancy and it doesn’t have exotic ingredients, but sometimes, simplicity is best.  Like playing in a freaking pile of dead leaves when you’re seven.  AmIright?  Mangia!

Christmas Eve Dinner: Beef Tenderloin

27 Dec

Though I’m sure I’ll get some grief somewhere for this, we here at For Antonina are not traditionalists.  We don’t insist on Seven Fishes every Christmas Eve.  Though we love seafood, sometimes, we’re in the mood for meat.  Sure, it doesn’t follow religious tradition,  but I know T doesn’t mind.  She’s never been a stickler for anything.  Good food is good enough.

So here’s a recipe we cooked on Christmas Eve and I think it makes a great winter meal.  Meat me!

BEEF TENDERLOIN STUFFED WITH SPINACH (Serves 4)
1 2lb beef tenderloin, skinned
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach
Salt and pepper
3oz. provolone cheese, shredded
1/4C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2t garlic, minced

FOR SAUCE
1/2C porcini mushrooms
1C chicken broth
1T all-purpose flour
2oz.  red wine
1t garlic, minced

Stick skewer through the center of the tenderloin and make a hole large enough to stuff.  Cook spinach and squeeze dry.  Mix with the cheese and garlic.  Stuff tenderloin.  Rub the outside of the meat with butter.  Bake, uncovered in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or to desired doneness.  Remove from oven and keep warm.

Rinse porcini and soak in the chicken broth for about 10 minutes, or until they start to soften.  Place mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for a few minutes.  Blend flour with butter to make a roux and add to broth to thicken.  Add wine and garlic and continue to simmer for about five more minutes.  Slice beef, place on serving dishes and cover with a little sauce.

Dinner is served

We served our meat with a simple arugula salad and a side of polenta (follow package directions).  Mangia!

Dad’s Dinner: Spiedini with Lemon

18 Nov

This post is dedicated to one of the non-Italians I’m related to (you didn’t think the name “Roberts” came from Naples, did you?).  My father  has always been the king of excess.  He loves to drink, he loves to smoke and he loves to eat.  His mother was universally known as a terrible cook, so when he met my mother, he had his very first taste of lasagna.  He was hooked– on her and it.

Manning the grill

Through their courtship and marriage, he embraced my mother’s boot-shaped world with gusto, devouring plates of pasta and relishing our Friday nights at home, Frank Sinatra on the record player at full-blast (I told you, excessive).  We often teased that he wished he had been born Italian.  While I don’t know if that’s totally true, I do know one of our favorite things to do when we’re in St. Louis together is hit our favorite Italian restaurant on The Hill and gobble up the Wednesday special– spiedini.

Spiedini are super-delicious and super-easy to make at home, too.  Serve with a simple side of pasta (his very favorite is angel hair tossed with olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and TONS of garlic) and you have a quick, manly meal perfect for your decadent dad (or anyone else who likes good food).

SPIEDINI WITH LEMON (Serves 4)
16 breakfast steaks cut from eye of the round beef
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4C vegetable oil
Juice of one lemon
1 bay leaf
Italian bread crumbs (recipe follows, or use store-bought)

Put steaks in shallow bowl.  Combine salt, pepper, oil, lemon juice and bay leaf.  Pour over meat and marinate for about 30 minutes.  Bread each steak on both sides with bread crumbs and roll up, securing each with a toothpick.  Put under broiler to brown on all sides.  Drizzle with any remaining marinade while cooking.

HOMEMADE ITALIAN BREAD CRUMBS (makes 2 3/4 cups)
2C dry white bread crumbs
1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4C freshly chopped parsley
1t salt
1/2t pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in covered container in refrigerator until ready to use.

Mangia!