Swiss Steak


Swiss Steak?

Yep. And, you know what?

This is pretty darned tasty!

Of course, my Swiss Steak has a bit more seasoning than your mama’s Swiss Steak probably did; beginning with a nicely spiced seasoned flour and ending up with a finishing touch of sherry vinegar, but, there is another secret…

This kinda cool tenderizer tool! 4 dozen blades punch through the meat and break down the tough bits (technical talk), giving you a better piece o’ meat.

So, cast your childhood unpleasant dinner memories aside, and try this Swiss Steak.

Seasoned flour:
•1 cup flour
•2 tsp paprika
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp 21 Seasoning Salute (available at Trader Joe’s)
•1 tsp celery salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp dry mustard
•1/4 tsp salt
•1/2 tsp curry powder

•Unsalted butter
•Cooking oil
•14 oz can diced tomatoes
•1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 red bell pepper, diced
•1 sweet onion, diced
•4 cloves garlic, minced
•8 oz sliced ‘shrooms
•1 tsp dried thyme
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1-1/2 lb round steaks
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tbsp butter
•1 tbsp oil
•1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
•2 tbsp heavy cream

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Tenderize your round steaks, then whisk the seasoned flour ingredients together in a shallow bowl and dredge the steaks in the flour.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium heat, then add the steaks and cook for a couple of minutes per side, just until both sides are nicely browned. Remove the steaks and set aside.

Melt another tablespoon of butter with one tablespoon of oil in the pan.

Add the onion & pepper and cook for five minutes.

Stir in ‘shrooms and one tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce, cook for ten minutes, until the veggies are tender and any liquid has been mostly cooked off.

Add the veggies to a slow cooker with the tomatoes and seasonings.

Add the browned steaks, pushing down into the sauce, then cover and cook on high for five hours, or on low for eight hours.

About on hour before serving, stir in the heavy cream and one tablespoon each sherry vinegar and Sherry Peppers Sauce.

Serve as you will. This recipe is made for rice or noodles, but we split a baked potato that evening, and thought it a fine dinner with French peas on the side.

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Parfait! Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This might just be our new fave sauce for all things grilled (or sautéed – I added a dab to ham steaks last night, and, topped with chive cream? Tasty!) Based on my own Terryaki Sauce, but with extra pineapple and a few – mebbe surprising – other additions, we’ve enjoyed this sauce on chicken, salmon, pork chops, the aforementioned ham steaks (details to come), and all was pretty darned terrific, if I do say so myself.

Note: my Terryaki Sauce is a might bit, ermmm…

Zippy! Yeh, that’s what I’d call it – no doubt it’s the Szechuan peppercorns – so if you use a bottled jar from the market, you may not need to bother with the later addition of ketchup and water.

Oh, and do not forget the bourbon! I used Red Stag Honey Tea because that’s what we had rattling around the liquor cabinet, but a quick search on da Google shows a lot of different options, so go with your own fave or, better yet, set up a tasting to choose your fave.

•2 cups Terryaki sauce
•1/2 cup brown sugar
•1/2 cup white sugar
•1 tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup – or corn syrup
•1-1/2 cup Steak and Chop Sauce – or ketchup
•1 cup French dressing – you can use Catalina
•3/4 cup honey bourbon
•1/2 cup crushed pineapple
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 tsp Cayenne
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No problem! Simply substitute two tablespoons of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff), and your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Stir all of the ingredients together in a large pot until blended, then bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes – stirring often.

Note: just as with my original Barbecue Sauce, you can do this in a slow cooker, but will obviously have to adjust the cooking times – I use four hours on high, followed by two hours on low to get the sauce consistency I like.

Take a taste.

NICE, but still a bit edgy, those Szechuan peppercorns pack some heat, so…

I then added 1-1/2 cup ketchup and 1/2 cup of water, and simmered for another 30 minutes.

Take another taste.

This is it!

A bit of a kick, but nicely, I think balanced between bourbon and sweet and spice.

Transfer the sauce into prepared caning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

I got nine half pints.

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Sweet Chili Grilled Bok Choy

Rich was with me at the market, and for some reason, they had a huge display of bok choy in the produce department.

Which then reminded him that we both really like grilled bok choy, so, why not pick some up? I must confess, I prefer the smaller ones we can usually get at Trader Joe’s, but all in all, they were very good.

I adapted a recipe from; swapping out the called for soy sauce for my own Sherry Peppers Sauce.

•Bok choy – about one pound
•1 cup sliced sweet onion

•1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
•1 tbsp rice vinegar
•1 tbsp brown sugar
•1 tbsp sesame oil
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp my zippy mustard – or Dijon mustard
Salad Elegant Seasoning – or your fave veggie seasoning

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Slice the bok choy in half lengthwise, then cover and ‘wave for three to five minutes – I went with three.

Whisk the sauce together (except for the Salad Elegant) in a bowl or beaker until nicely blended, then pour over the bok choy and sliced onion in a large bowl.

Transfer the bok choy and onion to a grill basket – we used a ceramic grilled nacho pan we picked up on clearance – and cook for two minutes or so, until the bottom is nicely charred, then, turn over and cook for another two minutes or so.





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Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

One of my favorite combinations, pears and blue cheese, makes for a pretty terrific salad, too, with pistachios and dried cherries and red onion. The sherry vinegar and zippy mustard vinaigrette isn’t too, too bad, either.

Paired with a baked potato and a beer and buttermilk marinated, then grilled, pork chop, glazed with honey bourbon barbecue sauce; this is just about the perfect dinner for a crisp (or, really, even a kinda warm) autumnal evening.

Oh, and did I mention it is a snap to toss (literally) together?

•1 tbsp sherry vinegar – or cider vinegar
•1 tbsp mustard*
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Kosher salt
•1/4 cup olive oil

•1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
•Lettuce, your choice, chopped – 3 or 4 cups
•1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
•1/4 cup pistachios
•1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese – I used a cow and sheep’s milk Gorgonzola
•2 tbsp dried cherries

*I used this spicy and sweet mustard, my new fave; and wicked simple to make: just combine equal amounts of Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, and honey until nicely blended. I also add a teaspoon or two of Aleppo pepper.

Whisk the sherry vinegar together with the mustard, Kosher salt, and black pepper; then add the olive oil and whisk until nicely blended.

Or, just do as I did and toss it all in a beaker and give it a good whizzz with your trusty immersion blender.

Worked a treat.

Note: I made this salad on the small side, since it was just the two of us, and the salad was dressed before serving, so I was concerned about leftovers being wilted. Enjoying it for lunch as I write this post, the lettuce (Iceberg – don’t judge) is not terribly crisp, but the pistachios and onion give the salad a nice crunch, and the flavor is still spot on.

Add the salad ingredients to a large bowl, then drizzle the dressing over and give it all a good toss.

Nice salad.

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A (Tasty!) Multicultural Quesadilla

“What?” you may well ask, “Is a multicultural quesadilla?”

Well, it’s like this… we’d had friends over for dinner just after coming home from a week up north, and I needed something simple and tasty, so I picked up some pork tenderloin tips and made ’em into my version of souvlaki, witch Rich then grilled to perfection.

But… we had leftovers – two packages of tenderloin tips is a whole lot of souvlaki!

So. Leftovers happened.

And what to do with said leftovers?

Quesadillas, of course!

So, OK, we have the Greek influence (the souvlaki marinated pork) and the Mexican influence (the quesadilla, natch).

I then decided to go a little bit Cuban on the whole thing, adding nicely spiced Medianoche mayonaise, sliced pickles, and then, a bit of my new fave mustard.

See? Multicultural; all smashed together to make for one (well, four) FINE quesadillas.

•8 large flour tortillas
•Leftover marinated, then grilled pork souvlaki, thinly sliced
Medianoche mayonnaise
Mustard – mine is a zippy and sweet combination of equal parts Dijon mustard, yellow mustard, and honey
•Chopped garlicky pickles
•Shredded cheese (I used Swiss – see? still another culture added!)

Note: I actually have a quesadilla maker, given to me by the two best parents-in-law a guy could ask for. If you do not have one of these, a large, nonstick, skillet will work a treat, your cooking time will just increase.

To begin, heat your oven to 200º

Spread the Medianoche mayonnaise on a tortilla – to within about an inch of the edge.

Scatter the sliced pork evenly on top, then the chopped pickles and the shredded Swiss cheese. Drizzle the mustard over the top – this is basically a Cubano sammich.

Top with another tortilla.

Heat your skillet over medium high heat, or turn on your quesadilla maker and wait for the “ready” light.

Place the quesadilla in the skillet, cook for three minutes, then flip and cook for another three minutes, until the tortillas are browned a bit, everything is warm, and the cheese nicely melted.

If using a quesadilla maker, your cooking time should be three to four minutes total.

Transfer to a rack set into a baking pan in the warm oven to keep warm while you assemble and cook the remaining quesadillas.

When ready to serve, remove from the oven and slice as you like – my quesadilla maker sections mine into six wedges, so that’s what I do with mine.

Pass ’em around and let folk choose their toppings. We like lettuce and tomato and onion tossed with this Salad Elegant Seasoning I get from my fave local spice merchant. Rich then likes to add sour cream and mebbe a bit more cheese to his. I kinda go with Cowboy Candy and another drizzle of my zippy and sweet mustard, but you do what you like.

Nice quesadilla, and nicely done; but, feel free to use this whole post as a guide – Go for a Banh Mi quesadilla with sliced cooked pork belly, a schmear of nice pâté (here’s a good recipe), then some pickled veggies and, because it’s a quesadilla, cheese, of course. I’d more than likely go with Swiss again, and I would not say “no” to adding a bit of that mustard.

Hmmm. I do have apork belly in the freezer, and some tortillas to use up…






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Greek-Style Marinade for Pork, Chicken, or ???

Our favorite local pizza place also makes a mean souvlaki, and one day, after (as always) thoroughly enjoying our lunch there, Rich suggested I try a marinade that was kinda like Mama K’s.

I also happened to have – thanks to a tip off from a friend – a package of pork tenderloin tips in the freezer. Tips are slightly higher in fat than tenderloins, but they take to marinades and the grill so very well. They are also pretty inexpensive, so seek them out at your local market. You will not be sorry.

•1 kg pork tenderloin tips, or 2 pork tenderloins (1-1/2 tp 2 lb total)
•4 or 5 cloves garlic, smashed
•Sliced sweet onion
•Fresh rosemary

•12 oz beer
•3/4 cup water
•1/4 cup olive oil
•1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•2 sprigs fresh rosemary
•4 cloves garlic, smashed
•1 tsp dried oregano
•1 tsp dried thyme
•1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No problem! Simply substitute one tablespoon of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff”), and your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Stir the marinade ingredients together and pour over the tenderloin tips in a gallon sized zipper bag.

Add the smashed garlic, sliced onion, and fresh rosemary, then close the bag, pushing out excess air, and flip a couple of times to get the marnade all around the pork pieces.

Place the bag on a rimmed plate (to catch any drippage) and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours or, always more better, overnight; giving the bag a flip and a squeeze whenever you think to.

About an hour before you plan to grill, remove the tenderloin tips from the marinade, saving the rosemary, and let rest and come up to room temperature.

Brush the grill with some oil – I prefer peanut – then arrange the tenderloin tips on the grates, cover, and cook for five minutes or so.

Note: tenderloin tips are kinda like thick, juicy, boneless pork chops, so they will cook a bit faster than your regular tenderloin.

Flip the tips over, close the grill cover, and cook for another five minutes or so, until the tips register 140º to 145º on your instant read thermometer.

Remove from the grill, loosely cover, and set aside to rest for ten minutes or so. (If your tips were not quite up to temperature when to took them off the grill, this rest should finish the jobs, as well as allowing all those tasty juices to settle.

Slice the tips and serve. We like ours with grilled asparagus.


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Midnight (Medianoche) Mayonnaise

Approaching the penultimate grilling weekend for the American summer; I have recently provided updated recipes for Terryaki Sauce, Zippy & Sweet Mustard, and a pretty darned terrific new Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce.

Now; let us continue on the road to long weekend goodness with a revisit to one of my TOTAL faves in sauce land: Medianoche Mayonnaise! Medianoche (midnight, in Spanish) mayonnaise is usually added to Cuban sammiches late at night.


Y’know, I never really cared for Cuban sammiches. I did not mind the ham. Or the cheese. Or the pickle, or mustard; but, the lack of mayonnaise really ticked me off!

This simple little addition, though, puls it all together for me!

•1 cup mayonnaise
•1/4 cup Italian dressing
•1 tbsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste

Note 1: to turn this into a very nice salad dressing, add two tablespoons of sour cream and/or a bit of cream.

Note 2: I use this really nice, ALL NATURAL, NO FAKE INGREDIENTS Italian dressing mix, which you can order here. No gluten. No MSG. No GMO. But TOTALLY FLAVORFUL!

Directions are wicked simple.

Add the ingredients to a bowl, or the beaker of an immersion blender; then whisk or whizzz until well combined.

Transfer the contents to a jar, cover tightly, and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours until needed.

Note: this will be needed a lot!




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Zippy & Sweet Mustard – a Repeat

I’m away for most of this week, “roughing it” in a nicely equipped cabin Door County, Wisconsin; but, mindful of the fact that, at least in some parts, the long holiday weekend is coming up, I thought we could revisit some of my faves for gatherings.

Like… this mustard recipe, spicy and sweet, and recalling HoJo’s spicy mustard from back in the days of “28 Flavors” (HoJo’s variety of ice creams). Cool (and helpful) site Uncle Phaedrus, has a lot of lost, but still worthwhile, recipes posted.

So, on to the mustard.

Another bonus to this recipe (aside from the wonderful flavor), is that it is dead simple to make. Three ingredients, each in the same proportion, so, scale up or down at your whim – though I would highly recommend scaling up. You’re gonna want extras of this mustard.

•1/2 cup yellow mustard
•1/2 cup Dijon mustard
•1/2 cup honey
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper (optional, but nice)

Note: all Dijon mustards are not the same. We prefer Trader Joe’s nicely spicy smooth Dijon because of the hint of horseradish flavor. The price (under $2 a jar in the metro Chicago store I visited a week or so ago) is pretty nice, too.

Add the ingredients together in a mixing bowl or immersion blender beaker and whisk or whizzz until nicely blended.

Transfer to a jar, cover, and stash in the fridge until needed.

A note on the Aleppo pepper: I usually stir that into the mustard after blending, because it keeps the coarse pepper flakes more noticeable, and, I think, makes the mustard more attractive, and no less flavorful.

You do what you like.

So, that’s it! Nicely zippy (depending on the Dijon you choose) mustard with a bit of sweet from the honey and an added bit of subtle smoke from the Aleppo pepper.

Pretty much good on anything you’d care to slather mustard on; so do make extra.

You really are gonna need it.

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Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

I was organizing a box (literally, an old wooden crate) of liquor and came across a bottle of Red Stag Honey Tea Bourbon by the nice folk at Jim  Beam.

What the heck?

I have no idea where this came from, but immediately set about coming up with a use that didn’t actually involve drinking it – I am more of a vodka or brandy guy, and Rich is Scotch and Rye. So, what to do? Why, Barbecue Sauce, of course!

Which is why, I found myself making a large batch of my Terryaki Sauce. My mom in law was visiting, and she had asked that I make Banzai Burgers while she was here.  The Terryaki got me to thinking about a bourbon barbecue sauce recipe I’d seen on the interwebs, so I grabbed a pot and a few ingredients, and got to cooking.

Note: this recipe was built up over a couple of hours, because we all thought my original was a bit too spicy for mom. The amounts listed are what I used, but, if you’re using a store bought teriyaki, or, if you’ve made mine and like things a bit zippy, feel free to leave out the ketchup and/or the French dressing.

•2-1/2 cups Terryaki Sauce
•1 cup brown sugar
•1 cup ketchup
•1 cup French dressing (Catalina is fine)
•1/4 cup honey tea bourbon
•2 tbsp crushed pineapple
•2 tbsp Steak and Chop Sauce – or more ketchup or your fave steak sauce
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 tsp Cayenne

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No problem! Simply substitute decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff), and your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Stir all the ingredients together in a pot over medium heat.

Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced and thickened to your liking.

Note: I had started out with just the steak and chop sauce and simmered for 30 minutes.

I gave the sauce a taste, and it was good; but, a might bit too spicy for mom, so I added the ketchup and simmered, stirring, for another 30 minutes.

Another taste, and, it was better, but still a bit zippy, so I added the French dressing and simmered for another 30 minutes.

Another taste, and…

Yeppers! This is it!

One, fine honey bourbon barbecue sauce!

I ended up with about a quart and a half, and will most certainly be adding this to my canning plans.

Happy barbecue!



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Another Take on My Terryaki

This is actually pretty close to my original Terryaki Sauce, but I’ve skipped the Tien Tsin Peppers and left the Szechuan Peppercorns whole; which, I believe, gave me a more flavorful, zippier Terryaki Sauce.

All in all, very nice.

I also doubled the recipe, because I needed some Terryaki for Banzai Burgers, and some to make a Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, which will be tomorrow’s post, just in time to set you up for the long holiday weekend!

I do love it when a plan works out!

•3 cups pineapple juice
•1 cup cider vinegar
•1-1/3 cup sugar, white or Demerara
•1/2 cup chinese cooking wine
•2-2/3 cups lower sodium Tamari*
•7 cloves garlic, minced**
•2 tbsp ground ginger
•1-1/2 tbsp ground ginger
•1 tsp Cayenne
•1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns – lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle – or not, it’s all good

*If you prefer, go ahead and use lower sodium Soy Sauce; but the Tamari is more or less interchangeable, and gluten-free!

**I buy mine marinated from the olive bar at my market.

Stir the ingredients together in a pot until nicely blended, then bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every now and again.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge until needed.

ONE bite of this Banzai Burger, and you will find yourself needing this Terryaki Sauce quite often.

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