A Comforting Bison Bolognese

I’ve been on my cooking grind lately, consisting of me pretty much cooking the majority of the things I’ll be putting in my mouth for that day. I really hate processed foods and find that it not only is actually more expensive but also is terrible for your health. I already knew this, but I just recently started really pushing myself to be aware of what I’m consuming.

I love cooking anyways, so this really wasn’t that hard of a task on my part. I’m obsessed with food, literally. I think about it everyday, but not just food- recipes. Recipes for dishes that hopefully I’ll get to share with others at some point, whether that be a cookbook or just this blog.

I thought for the longest time that, especially since I’m Italian, I couldn’t and shouldn’t share family recipes, or any other recipe I made for that matter. I’ve recently come to realize that life is about connection and sharing with others to create bonds and memories.

Anyways, I love pasta and wanted to make this Lamb Bolognese. The store unfortunately did not have it, so I opted for bison. I’ve never had bison before but thought, “what the hell” and went for it. The outcome is delicious. I’m eating my second helping as I type this.

It’s definitely comfort food, which, lets face it, all Italian food should be. And I always love going back to my roots; it’s what I’m good at.

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Olive oil
2 small carrots, trimmed, peeled and diced
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ teaspoon dried majoram
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoon tomato paste
½ pound ground bison
Salt
1 15-ounce can diced San Marzano tomatoes
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

¼ cup chicken stock, maybe less, not too soupy, just enough to absorb into pasta
Italian parsley, for garnish

  1. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot and put two diced carrots and shallot in. Let the shallots get translucent and the carrots a little caramelized. Then add the garlic, spices and red pepper flakes. Then put in the tomato paste and ground bison, add a pinch of salt. Take a wooden spoon and break up to bite-sized pieces, consistently stirring until brown, about 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
  2. Pour the can of tomatoes in and about ½ cup of water, from the can to get the remnants from the sides. Bring to a simmer and then turn to low, cook for 20 minutes and cover pot. At the end of 20 minutes incorporate Parmesan cheese.
  3. Boil water and cook the pasta while there are about 8 minutes left for the sauce to finish cooking. Drain pasta when aldente and add butter and a little chicken stock to it.
  4. Pour sauce over pasta and garnish with Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley.

Enjoy!

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Fried Avocado Taco with Poached Pears and Radish

If you’ve ever been to Torchy’s Tacos then you should know about their Fried Avocado Taco.

My freshman year of college, the first date I went on with this guy was to Torchy’s after hiking the Greenbelt. That was a fun day. Anyways, I was vegetarian at the time and decided to order their avocado taco. It was delicious. I know there are much better places to get a taco from in Austin, but seeing that I’m from Chicago and that was the first time I really ate Mexican (if you can call it that) food, I thought it was pretty darn delicious.

I wanted to make my own version of these tacos – a more refined version, you could say. Asian meets Tex-Mex.

 

2 avocados, sliced lengthwise

Peanut oil

½ cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp paprika

Cracked pepper

 

2 multi-grain flour tortillas

2 Radishes, sliced

 

1 pear

¼ cup water

1 tbsp light-brown sugar

1 tsp honey

 

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So I made the three-part batter for the avocados. Seasoning the flour, with cinnamon, paprika and pepper, and Panko breadcrumbs, with salt, is crucial as it gives it a salty flavor that will go great with the sweetness of the pears.

Heat the oil in a small to medium sized skillet, just enough to cover the avocados when frying. The oil should be just around 375 degrees F. Line a plate with a paper towel and set aside for after frying to let the excess oil drip off.

Place the sliced avocados in the flour, first, then coat them in the egg and top it with the breadcrumbs. Repeat entire process for the 2 avocados.

Once the oil is ready, drop the avocados in the skillet, 2-3 at a time making sure not to crowd them.

While the avocados are cooling off on the plate you covered with the paper towel, put ¼ cup of water in a small skillet with the brown sugar. Cut the pear into ½ inch slices and put these in the water to poach. Once it starts boiling put the honey in and put the heat all the way up until the pear absorbs all the water.

Slice the radishes thin and set aside. Grill the tortillas, put them in the oven or skillet. Whatever works as long as they are warm. Place the avocados in the tortilla and top with pears and radish slices.

The salty/crunchiness of the avocados go great with the sweetness of the pears. The radish actually pulls it all together, as it adds a slightly spicy/earthy flavor.

These are so delicious and easy to make, especially if you have avocados in your fridge you need to get rid of!

If you want, you can substitute grilled bananas, or plantains for a less sweet version, instead of the pears. Improvise and enjoy!

Midnight Snacks

If you’re like me you’re up late all the time. Yes, I have homework and other work to do but I just enjoy being up late. Maybe it’s just me. Anyways, I’m always craving something come 10:30-11, and I really hate running to the 7-11 just down the road, and tonight my taste buds were yelling, “sweets, chocolate, peanut butter, SUGAR!!!!”, oh the endless possibilities.  Normally I’m a salty person, but lately I’ve been on a sugar high- not bad when I want to experiment with ingredients and recipes.

I got out a mug and my laptop and searched for a recipe. I stumbled upon 30 Mug Recipes – Amazing Desserts In The Microwave . Um, hello, HEAVEN? I think I hear the bells ringing! No, but seriously best thing I ever stumbled upon. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake clearly grabbed my attention.

I grabbed my little white mug and added:

3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon peanut butter

 

Chocolate Mug Cake

I think that looks pretty darn good, and my stomach agrees with me! I love to indulge!