Morrocan Spiced Beef

Look.. I know it’s been ages since I posted something.

and this draft has been hanging out forever … so I’m just going to post it.

Because you all should make this.  I cobbled together a few Moroccan Beef recipes from the interwebs and came up with this.

So, please forgive my incredibly lame post and just make the recipe… okay?

Let me know how you like it.

Morrocan Spiced Beef

Morrocan Spiced Beef
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
I have always had a soft spot for cinnamon and beef together, ever since I had my first taste of kibbeh. The seasoning on this meat reminds me of that delicious Moroccan treat.
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • ¼ cup golden raisins (see note)
  1. Heat the oilive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  2. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent
  3. Stir in the carrot and cook for about 3 minutes
  4. Sprinkle the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne over the top and stir to combine. Cook until fragrant, about one minute
  5. Now is a good time for a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  6. Shove all of the stuff in the skillet to the edges and crumble the ground beef into the middle.
  7. Break up the ground beef and cook, mixing in the rest of the ingredients, until the beef is cooked through and everything is well combined
  8. Shove everything to the edges again, and dump the pine nuts in middle and toast, stirring constantly until slightly toasted. Mix the pine nuts in with everything else and turn off the heat.
  9. Stir in the raisins.
  10. Taste and adjust the seasoning
  11. Serve over brown rice with a dollop of yogurt
If you are one of those people who feel that raisins ruin everything, go ahead and substitute ¼ cup of chopped dried apricots.



Puddles: The Reckoning

reck·on·ing  ˈrek(ə)niNG/  : archaic -a bill or account, or its settlement.

Way, way back in 2014, Marisa from Food in Jars included my picture of the Puddles that my mom made for me in her link round up.

Here, let me show them to you again:

Puddle Cookies

Puddle Cookies

No one knew what these cookies were and no one I asked had ever heard of them.. and after Marisa linked to my picture, lots of people were asking about the recipe.  So I asked my mom where SHE got the recipe and she said from someone she knew who was an excellent baker (I forgot her name and now I feel bad because I feel like she should get credit.. after all she MADE IT UP)

I have a special place in my heart for these cookies. They are from my childhood… and I love them. But I rarely make them.

Anyway, I promised to share the recipe as soon as I found it.  But.. I didn’t.

I held onto it for a while.

And then I baked them.. and they came out.. wrong.

Really wrong.. and then I realized it was because my cookie sheet was too big.  I forgot that I have switched to using a half sheet pan which is larger than your standard issue cookie sheets or “jelly roll pans” (which, incidentally, is why the last time I made pumpkin roll, it came out all wonky)

When we moved, I found my jelly roll pans in the attic. I think they were there for all 12 years we lived in that house.  Take a gander at the difference in size and I think you’ll see why I had a problem.


See how much smaller the cookie sheet is than the half sheet pan!

See how much smaller the cookie sheet is than the half sheet pan!

So,we moved.. and I forgot about the puddles again.. but then.. THIS WEEK Melanie asked me for the recipe.   And I was totally surprised than anyone was still waiting for it.

So, two years and a few days later,  I’m making good on my promise…

At LONG LAST! The recipe:

But, don’t make them with Oleo.  Does anyone even know what Oleo is anymore?

Make them with butter and thank me later.

Also, a few tips.

  1. Bring your butter and eggs to room temperature. They cream better that way.
  2. Cream the butter, eggs and sugar until fluffy…REALLY.  There is no leavening in the recipe.
  3. The batter will be thick.  I mean…  THICK.  Kind of like frosting.

    See how thick the batter is? This is correct

    See how thick the batter is? This is correct

  4. I turned the pan halfway through baking and they were done in 25 minutes in my oven.  The middle will spring back like a cake when touched.
  5. They have sort of a crispy crust on top when they come out.  After the powdered sugar sets in and they sit for a day, they are like a dense cake and the top softens.

    I sort of.. forgot and made 12 instead of 20. Make 20. These are huge

    I sort of.. forgot and made 12 instead of 20. Make 20. These are huge

  6. You can, for fun.. or VALENTINES if you’re into that kind of thing, use cookie cutters to cut out heart shapes (or other shapes).  Plop your jam in strategic places in order to do that.  Bonus: you get to eat the scraps.

Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
  • 1½ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting
  • Jam (about 20 teaspoons)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease a jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet with butter
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy
  4. Add the eggs and beat well
  5. Add the vanilla and flour and mix until combined. Batter will be thick.
  6. Spread batter evenly in the cookie sheet.
  7. Mark out 20 sections and put a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each section
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the center springs back when touched. Edges will be crispy.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar while still warm.
  10. Cool and cut into 20 squares.
  11. Store between sheets of waxed or parchment paper in an airtight container.



World’s Easiest Cookies

I was prepared to hate these cookies.

And yes, I’m aware that is not really a great thing to say about a recipe from someone I respect and admire.

I have made Elizabeth Barbone’s Five Ingredient Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies more than once and they were delicious.  They are basically peanut butter and sugar and they are amazing… and I eat them because I like them.. not because they are gluten free.

But… But.. these cookies are.. PALEO.

I was on the Paleo bandwagon for a while and I totally did it wrong.  I did in the same way I did the Atkins Diet which was EAT ALL THE BACON.  Instead of the “Paleo is really just a plant based diet with some meat thrown in” way… which is really the right way to do Paleo.

I really struggled with Paleo.  And I made more than my fair share of “Paleo treats” which tasted like cardboard but obviously tasted good to someone…but mostly I found the recipes I tried disappointing.

Oh, and I gained like.. 30 lbs (which might actually have more to do with the depression I was dealing with at the time and maybe all of the pig fat I was shoving in my facehole.. but it was PASTURED pig fat so it was ok.)


Hey! That cake looks GOOD

Hey! That cake looks GOOD

Now I try to eat the veggies and the beans (which are verboten on Paleo) and less meat and fewer treats, but dammit when I want something it’s going to be WORTH the calories.  (Which I’m also counting because dammit that seems to be actually working)

When Elizabeth said she was working on a Paleo Baking book I was optimistic because, she knows her stuff you guys.. for realz.

I can totally get behind the no-refined sugars thing. I’ve taken the white sugar out of recipes and stuck in honey or molasses or maple syrup but it’s not like you can just switch them out.

Baking is SCIENCE and some are sweeter than others and they all have different consistencies.

Also, I enjoy the flavor of honey or maple syrup where white sugar just tastes… white?



But…  PALEO.

I gave it a shot anyway.. I had everything in the pantry and the recipe is stupid easy AND it has my second favorite sweetener, maple syrup.  (Honey is my favorite; we go way back.)

Worlds Easiest Paleo cookies

This is really all that goes into these cookies

I’m also not at all embarrassed to say I buy maple syrup by the half gallon.

And although this recipe is the “World’s Easiest Cookies”, I never miss a chance to bust out my digital scale when weights are provided.  Because SCIENCE.

Almond Flour After you measure out (or… WEIGH out) your ingredients, they get mixed together, portioned out and then plopped on sheet pans and baked… DONE.

baked cookie Doesn’t that look pretty?

I let the cookies sit on the pan for the three minutes per the recipe. Then slid them onto a cooling rack to .. cool.

Meanwhile, I got the second batch ready on a cold sheet pan and made this round a little flatter.  The recipe says that if you want them a bit crisper, you flatten them

So I squished them, baked them off and waited.

And waited.

I really, really wanted to try one but the recipe says to wait until they are totally cool before eating.

I’m not good with waiting.

But I did it because I know cookies without wheat flour don’t behave like cookies with wheat flour.

An hour later, when they had to be cool enough, I dove into one of those bad boys like a Fred Flinstone with a Bronto Burger.

Oh, man… I ….  I hated it.

Well, the flavor was good, but the texture.. I… no. I just didn’t like it.  It was …  too different for my mouth.  There was a big fat NOPE response.

And now you are wondering why I dedicated this much blog time and space to tear down a recipe from someone I respect and admire?

Because, the next day?  OMG the next day?


Something about sitting overnight redistributed the moisture and these are like almondy, mapley chewy macaroon like cookies and I cannot stop eating them.

Look at them!  Look at these adorable little yummy cookies next to my adorable little demitasse cup of Turkish Coffee!  Perfect size when I want a tiny treat that is yummy and worth the calories!

World's Easiest Paleo Cookies


You want some? YOU WANT SOME. YOU DO.

You should probably, you know.. get the book. I’ve got one coming and I can’t wait to see what else is in there even though I don’t eat Paleo.

Or! you could enter this to win one!   Rafflecopter giveaway

In the meantime, though, I got your back because I know you want these cookies now. Or maybe, you want to make them now for tomorrow.  While you are waiting for them to cool, head over here to read what other people thought of this recipe over at GlutenFreeBaking.

Here you go… a recipe for World’s Easiest Cookies courtesy of Elizabeth Barbone, Author of World’s Easiest Paleo Baking.. so easy a Caveman could do it! (if he had an oven .. and a sheet pan… and um… well.. you know what I mean)

World's Easiest Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 cookies
  • 170 grams (1½ cups) finely ground almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free store-bought
  • 100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.
  3. Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. or crisp cookies, press down theF dough lightly with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer cookies, don’t press down the dough.
  4. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.
  5. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.
Grain-Free Baking Powder
Most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch.Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

Active Time: 2 minutes
Yield: about 6 tablespoons

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in
a small bowl.

Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

Chicago, the Great Depression and Italian Beef

So, hey…

It’s been a few weeks… it’s been a few rough weeks, but I’m pretty sure I’m on the upswing… so here I am, carefully making my way back into the world.  I’ve been pretty depressed since our ParmaQay passed away.

Depression for me looks like this:

  1. Hide
  2. Think I’m ok and handling things
  3. Discover I’m not handling things and have irrational breakdowns over little things that mean nothing. This is a great time to buy stock in Kleenex
  4. Hide
  5. Apathy
  6. Irrational Rage
  7. Hide
  8. Peek back into the world a bit at at time, usually with things that require a “fuck it why the hell not” attitude
  9. Slowly rediscover balance

I’m currently on number eight which is pretty good and I might pop back to apathy for a while and irrational rage may show up again.. but hey… one day at a time.

Step number eight can be interesting… sometimes I do things like bleach out major chunks of my hair..  and contemplate going back to boxing..

You know what else happens? I want to start cooking again.

LB has been asking me to make Italian Beef for… years. YEARS.. now, I’m not Italian..not one bit and I know that Italian Beef is one of those feel good things for her because her mom used to make it when she was a kid. LB was born into an Italian family… in Chicago, the HOME of Italian Beef. LB’s grandmother used to assist a certain gentleman in his import and export business. You may have heard of him? Al Capone? Yeah. This little Irish gal had never even heard of Italian Beef. I was like.. it’s um.. beef? I don’t get it.

A little research and although the origins are disputed, it appears that Italian Beef originates from the Union Stock Yards in the 1930’s which would totally make sense since it’s made from the tougher “cheap” cuts of meat and that would have been right around the time of the Great Depression.

I did a little research on the interwebs after picking LB’s brain about what her Mom did when she made it and I came up with something that was sort of a riff on a Lidia Bastianich recipe. Since I had a 3lb bottom round roast from Tilldale Farm, I figured I’d give it a shot.

I knew I needed wine for this recipe so I ran over to my local liquor store. I usually go with The Goat for cooking but I felt like something a little different so I gave Fireworks Red from Adirondack Winery a shot.

It was pretty fucking delicious.

Anyway, pics in a pretty gallery below followed by my take on Italian beef.

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Italian Beef
  • 3 -4 lbs of bottom round roast
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1½ cups dry red wine
  • ½ cup water
  • Onion and pepper slices sauteed for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Combine the thyme, oregano and salt and rub into the meat.
  3. Put the meat in a roasting pan on a rack.
  4. Slice the onion and smash and peel the garlic and toss into the roasting pan
  5. Pour the wine and water into the bottom of the pan
  6. Cover and roast in the over for 4-5 hours. About ½ way through, I flipped the beef and took the rack out of the pan so the beef sat in the pan juices.
  7. Remove from the oven and slice the beef against the grain.
  8. Dunk the meat slices back the pan juice for serving
You can keep the beef slices warm in the pan juices in the oven until you are ready to eat. Make sure you soak your bread with the pan juices. Dunk that sucker.

Crockpot Pernil

Years ago, I used to work in an office that was much more culturally diverse.  This one is rather “pale”.  ~sigh~

At any rate, back before The Food Network was showing people how to cook things that were not your basic American Staples, before there were cooking competitions on TV every 20 minutes and before the Chef became the New Rock Star, ethnic food in my neck of the woods was Chinese Take Out.

Unless, we had an office party.

Office parties were where I first tried “Sweet potato pie” and Arroz con gandules and the fantabulous garlicky tender pork dish that had a Puerto Rican name.

I had no idea what it was.  I even dated a guy who was of Puerto Rican descent.. and his mom made us gandules and pasteles (which I did *not* like.. and I felt so bad because she worked so hard at them).

But I hadn’t had that pork dish again .. until Knitting Knoobie said that she was making Pernil for dinner.  I was all “whut?” and she told me and I was like YAY!!! that’s it!!!

I did a little digging around the web and found a recipe by The Rican Chef.   Nothing against her method, but I was not about to tie up my oven all night when I had a crock pot that would do the job.  I made this a few times an tweaked it a bit here and there.
It’s really pretty easy.. you chop up some garlic with oregano, salt and pepper

Chopped garlic and spices

Prep your pork by stabbing it full of holes

Pork shoulder

Fill those holes with the garlic, sprinkle with adobo and shove in crock pot.

In the crock pot


Pernil and Greens

ok.. it’s not the best picture…

Pernil with greens and black beans

Pernil with greens and black beans

Eh.. whatever.. it’s good.. trust me.

4 from 1 reviews
Crockpot Pernil
A Slow Cooker way to make this classic Puerto Rican Dish.
  • 5 lbs boneless pork shoulder (butt roast, picnic roast)
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp mexican oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp adobo (I used Penzey’s salt free)
  1. Peel the garlic.
  2. Put the garlic, black pepper, oregano and olive oil in a small food processor and chop it all up to bits. (If you don’t have a food processor that will deal with the small amount, just mince the garlic and combine everything together.)
  3. Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Remove the large layer of fat that sits on the top of the shoulder. There is plenty of fat marbled within the meat so you really don’t need this ½ inch thick layer.
  4. Take a paring knife and stab some holes throughout the pork. I usually make an X and then shove my finger in there to widen the hole.
  5. Shove the garlic mixture into these holes. Don’t worry if some ends upon the outside of the pork. It is not a big deal
  6. Sprinkle the adobo seasoning over the pork and put it into your crockpot.
  7. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-5 or until pork is tender.
  8. Remove the pork from the crockpot and either cut up and serve or cut up and put it back in the crockpot to sit in the juices for a bit. (this is my preferred option
I've had some people tell me that they take the pork out and shove it in the oven to get the crispy bits that really make pernil. I haven't tried this myself but I think it's worth a shot.