Category Archives: Main dish

Beef Curry

So remember those exciting announcements I promised a few posts back? Here we go!

In addition to having the wonderful, beyond amazing, crazy-busy, never bored job of being Joan‘s assistant, I recently got a job working at Bazaar Spices, a lovely little spice shop in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. If you’re in D.C., be sure to stop by Union Market, and, more importantly, Bazaar Spices. The second you walk by your senses are almost assaulted (in the best possible way) by the smell of super fresh spices and herbs. It’s been great to expand my spice, herb, and botanical knowledge, and to talk to the different people who stop by. Next time, maybe it’ll be you!

Part of the Bazaar Spices job includes contributing to their Spicy DC Blog, and I wrote a recipe for Brown Butter Cinnamon Cookies with Crystallized Ginger Studs, based on my mom’s recipe for Polvorones. They’re pretty delicious, if I may say, and would love a spot on your holiday cookie rotation. (AND, and, and, the recipe was featured in Union Market’s Thanksgiving shopping list. Boom.)

Also, the blog now has a Twitter account! Follow us @thetroikatable to get random musings and pictures of food from yours truly.

And, coming soon, there will be a WHOLE ‘NOTHER PAGE on the blog! I’ve been compiling a running list of recipes I want to make from the pages carefully doggy-eared in cookbooks before bookmarks and the internet was a thing (aka, when I was 12), websites I’ve bookmarked only to never look back, and pages that I’ve saved to Pocket (and no, I still don’t have a Pinterest, but I’m sure that will come any day now). I decided that it’s about time to actually DO something with them, and putting the list on the blog and actually, you know, making them and telling you all about it would be just the ticket.

Anyway, time for the 9th day before Christmas special: Beef Curry!

Beef Curry

This Beef Curry is adapted from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook edited by Heather Thomas, a spicy little book full of recipes from throughout the Caribbean. The original recipe, Colombo de Porc, is a Pork curry from Martinique. After doing a little research, I discovered that Colombo Curry is a spice blend commonly found in the French West Indies (Martinique, Guadalupe, St. Martin, to name a few), and that Colombo Curry blends typically have toasted, uncooked rice ground into the mix, lending a nutty flavor and acting as a natural thickener.  Maybe my recipe isn’t a Colombo at all, but it’s still pretty tasty.

I changed the recipe quite a bit to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand, and came up with something very delicious. The curry is fairly spicy and quite saucy, with a nice creaminess from coconut milk, and the curry would love it if you made tostones to dip up its juices. Don’t take my word for it, though, just make it; you’ll see.

almost ready

Faux Colombo de Bœuf (Beef Curry)
Adapted from The Essential Caribbean Cookbook

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 6 to 8 allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 to 2 hot peppers (such as jalapeños), sliced (remove seeds if you want less heat)
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 chayote squash, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 to 2 poblano peppers, seeded and cut in 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 to 3 medium tomatoes, chopped, or 1 small can of tomatoes, or about a cup of leftover slow-roasted tomatoes (can you guess which one I used?)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, to garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides.

2. While the onions and beef are cooking, make your curry paste: Mash the coriander seeds, allspice berries, turmeric, mustard seeds or powder, and peppers in a mortar and pestle to make a paste.

3. Add the curry paste to the beef and onions, stir, and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring once or twice.

4. Add the pineapple juice and water, cover the pan, and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, until the beef is starting to be tender. (Or, if you have a pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for 10 to 12 minutes with a natural release, then proceed as directed.)

5. Add the chayote, poblanos, tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, and pepper, and cook uncovered for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the chayote is easily pierced with a fork and the beef is tender. Serve with rice, or tostones, and garnish with cilantro.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

all dished up



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Spring hash + spring links

roof, again

Guys, hanging out on a roof on a Friday spring evening is fun. I highly encourage it.

If hanging on roofs isn’t your thing this spring, can I suggest something else?

Spring hash

I’m going to be that food blogger and tell you: “Oh, this old thing? Why, I only make this when I don’t know what to make.”

But seriously. When you take fresh produce and cook them together for a bit and add something zesty, it’s hard to go wrong. Even if you think you can’t just whip up something, you can. K?



kale kale everywhere

Spring Hash
Inspired by a sauteed spinach dish from Boqueira

Notes: This is sort of a warm salad, sort of a side dish, and all kinds of delicious. Be sure to have all the ingredients prepped beforehand, as they get thrown in the pan pretty quickly. To make a light meal out of the Spring Hash, serve with some bread (a sourdough variation of this bread is pictured) and olive oil for dipping. Of course, a fried or poached egg would feel right at home on a bed of these greens, too. And if you don’t have these exact ingredients, don’t fret – this recipe is made for compromisin’. (Doon doon doon doon doon doon doon doon.)

  • 1 bunch of spinach (or about two cups of packed spinach leaves), roughly chopped
  • 4 – 5 leaves of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks (leaving the heads intact, just because it’s prettier that way)
  • onion, chopped, to taste
  • something crunchy – sliced almonds, chopped cashews, or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup raisins (golden, preferably)
  • pickled vegetables, if you have any and want to add them
  • 1/4 cup (or so) apple cider vinegar (or another vinegar of your choosing, but I’d stay away from a heavy balsamic for this one)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons mustard – I used a ramp mustard, but I think a grainy dijon or something like that would be good too.
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • herbs to sprinkle on top, if you have them – chives, lemon thyme, or parsley, for example
  • olive oil

1. Toast your crunch (nuts, pepitas, etc.) – I like to toast them in a dry skillet for 5 – 10 minutes, shaking the pan every so often to ensure they don’t burn. You could also toast them in the oven on a baking sheet – detailed instructions here. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and mustard; taste and adjust ratio to your liking. Set your crunch and the vinegar-mustard aside.

2. Heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add your onion and sauté until softened and beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Stir in the raisins. Add the asparagus, stir to coat in olive oil and add more oil if needed. Cook a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until asparagus turns bright green and begins to soften, but still has some crunch. Add the kale, stir to coat, cook 1 minute more. Add spinach and vinegar-mustard, stir to coat everything. Add more vinegar-mustard if you’d like it to be more saucy. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in the crunch, add any additional add-ins such as pickled veggies, chopped tomatoes, or whatever you fancy.  Taste and add salt and pepper as you like.

4. Dish up! Garnish with herbs, scallions, or a grate of cheese.



Need more spring-time food inspiration? I thought you’d never ask:


  • Pasta with kale, pinto beans, and pepitas in a chipotle-yogurt sauce – inspired by this post but with a few tweaks.

chipotle pasta

  • Last but not least, something to sip on: make your own ginger liqueur. I followed the recipe almost exactly, but used lemon zest instead of orange and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean. Next time I make it (and from the looks of it, that will be soon) I might reduce the sugar a teensy bit. I know a liqueur is supposed to be sweet, but the beauty of making your own is that it doesn’t have to be. My favorite way (so far) to use the liqueur: In a tall glass add 1 shot liqueur, 1 shot rum (Mt. Gay Eclipse, to be exact), a few dashes of bitters (preferably Angostura), and a squeeze of lime. Stir, fill half of glass with ice. Top with ginger beer, stir. It’s like a dark and stormy, but, well, stormier.*

ginger liqueur, pre-strain

I’ll leave you with that – the stormier drink is calling my name, and the last three episodes of Arrested Development are itching to be watched. Speaking of Arrested Development, check back on Monday for a special, Bluth-filled post. It’s sure to be a mouthful.


*That was totally a reference to a June 2011 post on Gilt Taste entitled “The Classic Dark ‘n Stormy, Made Stormier” and I went to go find the link so that I could share it with you but IT’S GONE! I’ve been wondering if something had gone awry with Gilt’s recipes, as they hadn’t updated since last fall, but now I can’t find any of the recipes. Anyone out there know what happened? Did I just miss the giant, flashing link that says “GILT TASTE RECIPES ARE STILL HERE” in my panic-ridden state? In any case, I have a cached version of that post, which, more to the point, contains a recipe for homemade ginger beer. Stay tuned.

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Who Doesn’t Love a Little Irish?

I’m not sure which I like more, breakfast foods or St. Patrick’s Day food.  Good thing it’s March, and I have an excuse to have a little extra corned beef!  Almost every time we go out for breakfast, I get corned beef and hash.  Jason doesn’t like any of it, except for the kind I make at home.  Who wouldn’t take that pat on the back?  I know I will!

Normally, this dish consists of ground corned beef, ground onions, very finely diced potatoes, and topped with fried eggs.  I will still eat it, and love it, but Jason won’t.  A few years ago, I decided to find a way to make him love the dish as much as I do.

First off, peel and dice potatoes.  I used Russet potatoes because that’s what we had.  I think I prefer Yukon Gold, though.  They provide a bit of extra creaminess.


diced potatoes

Next, dice one small onion.  Chop leftover cooked corned beef, as well as roasted green chiles just to make the dish a little more Colorado.  It is fantastic!

chilies, corned beef, onion

In a skillet, cook the potatoes in some butter, probably 3 tablespoons or so.  If in question, add more butter.  Lets face it (to quote my least favorite celebrity chef): butter does in fact make it better.  Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

In a separate skillet, cook the onions, corned beef, and green chiles until the unions are slightly softened in just a bit more butter.

Combine the corned beef mixture with the potatoes, and keep them warm while you make the eggs to go on top.

Corned Beef ‘N Hash

Make as many eggs as you want, and cook them however you like.  My personal favorite is two eggs, fried, over-easy/ almost over-medium-ish.  Place the eggs over the mixture, top with sliced green onions (would you expect anything else?) as well as your favorite hot sauce.

Corned Beef ‘N Hash with Egg and Sauce

Enjoy, especially since it is almost St. Patty’s Day!


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Winter’s final hurrah

blini, grammed

It’s that time of year again. Maslenitsa began the 11th and goes until the 18th, which means you have FOUR WHOLE DAYS left to make more blini than is possible to eat in one sitting. This year, I am attempting to up the ante and make these:

buckwheat blini

Have you heard of Anya von Bremzen? Have you heard of a little (500+ page book) called Please to the Table by one Anya von Bremzen? If you haven’t, consider yourself informed. I dare you to try any recipe from the book and not fall immediately and completely in love. I have five recipes from this book that I still need to share with you, and here I am giving you a picture (taken from my phone, no less!) of a recipe that I haven’t even made yet. Anyways, this book. Is amazing. It’s so amazing (and possibly out of print…) that it usually runs at least $100. Completely worth it, yes, but I just couldn’t get myself to pay that much for a book that didn’t involve the word “text” in front.  Instead, I checked it out from the library for months on end (although I’m pretty sure other DC Library users didn’t care or notice). Until. One day. I found. The book. Used. For much less than $100. Much, much less. It’s out there, people. It’s waiting for you to find it. YOU HAVE TO GO FIND IT. IT’S AMAZING. I’m almost 1000% positive that even if you don’t really like Russian food, you’ll really like this cookbook, because it’s not a 500+ page cookbook about how to make cabbage, it’s a 500+ page cookbook about food from Armenia! and Azerbaijan! and Lithuania! and Georgia! and Uzbekistan! And everywhere else in the former Soviet republics. Dear Tom, thank you for giving away your cookbook. I am forever grateful.

dear tom, womp.

Aaaand that was a huge digression. I didn’t even plan to tell you about my love affair with this cookbook in this blog post. That was supposed to be saved for the post I still need to write about Old Russian New Year’s 2.0. So, back to our originally scheduled blog post:

It’s that time of year again! I do hope you will make blini, but I also realize that it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, which is apparently a really big deal. So tonight I’m here with a recipe that came about from needing to use all the produce before it spoiled – and if you really want it to, it could also be served at a St. Patrick’s Day gathering of some sort. The recipe uses lots of root veggies and sturdy greens – perfect for this time of year when it’s fiiiiiinallllyyyyy getting warmer out but the superfreshlocal produce isn’t yet available.

Roasted Veggies on Taytos with Pesto

Notes: Do you guys mind that I don’t give specific measurements for recipes? I’m being serious here: I’d love your input. I know I write things like “add as much salt as you want!” or “just add enough until you think it’s good!” and I really do realize that could be frustrating if you’re a person who needs specifics. So please, please, will you comment and let me know if I’m being too vague? That being said, this recipe literally came about by pulling everything that was about to go bad out of the fridge and then cooking it and putting it together. So, well, I don’t have very specific measurements. But here we go. ALSO: if you want this to be vegan, make the Taytos using just olive oil and cooking water from the potatoes (or veggie broth), and omit the cheese from the pesto. One more thing: this is a long recipe which might make it seem complicated, but it isn’t. I would suggest reading it all the way through before you start, though, as it requires a little multi-tasking.

For the Taytos:

  • 4 medium-sized Russet potatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

For the Pesto:

  • 1 cup of packed herbs/sturdy leafy greens (I combined parsley and kale, you could use basil, cilantro, why not dill? and kale, chard, maybe collard greens?)
  • 2/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • up to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • a good-sized knub of hard cheese, such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, etc., shredded. I won’t give you specifics here because I only added cheese because it was about to spoil – you can use as much or as little as you like.

For the Veggies:
Note: feel free to omit, add to, or otherwise edit the veggies you use.

  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower, separated into bite-size florets
  • 10 or so radishes, cut in half
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes (no need to peel if it’s a small eggplant, as the skin will not be so thick)
  • salt, pepper, red pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
  • vegetable oil (or any other oil with a high smoke point)

Make the pesto. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Or, chop everything really finely by hand and stir together in a bowl. Set aside. Note – you can make the pesto up to a week in advance, just store it in the fridge until ready to use.

Start the Taytos: Bring a large pot of water (large enough to fully immerse the potatoes in) to a boil, add the potatoes, and cook until easily pierced with a knife, about 20-30 minutes. I’m not actually sure if proper potato-boiling protocol would allow you to cover the pot while the potatoes cooked, but I did and found that they cooked more quickly, with no noticeable compromise to flavor.

Meanwhile, make the veggies:

  1. Preheat your oven to 380 Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread the chopped eggplant onto a paper towel-lined plate and lightly salt. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes. (This apparently makes the eggplant less bitter, but I’m skeptical if you need to do this with small eggplant since small eggplant usually = young eggplant = not as bitter. But, I did it, and it was delicious, so I’m recommending you do as well.)
  3. Arrange the cauliflower and radishes on an oiled, foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the veggies. Lightly salt, pepper, and add other spices as desired. I added Aleppo pepper, since I’m obsessed with it.
  4. Once oven is preheated, put the cauliflower and radishes in the oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, oil a large saute pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Saute the onions over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  6. Dab the eggplant with a paper towel to absorb the liquid expelled from the salt.
  7. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the eggplant, adding more oil if necessary to prevent sticking. Cook eggplant, turning occasionally, for 10 – 15 minutes. Taste the eggplant as it cooks – if it feels rubbery or doesn’t have an appealing texture, cook it a little longer. Eggplant can be tricky, but if you cook it over high heat it can also be delicious.
  8. Don’t forget about those veggies in the oven! After 15 minutes, stir everything around and put back in the oven for another 5 – 10 minutes. I like my veggies to be a little crispy on the edges, with dark, brown bits starting to show. If you like them less done, by all means take them out earlier.
  9. Once the eggplant is finished, remove from pan and place on another paper-towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.

Back to the Taytos!

  1. Once the potatoes are done cooking (i.e. easily pierced with a knife), remove from water and place in a bowl or a stand mixer. Be sure to save some of the cooking water. 
  2. Make the Taytos (Which at this point I’ll tell you are actually just mashed potatoes. But calling them Taytos makes them more Irish. See?) I recently learned from Braeden’s cousin and her husband that a stand mixer, i.e. KitchenAid, does wonderful work of making mashed potatoes. But, use whatever method you like best. Comine the potatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, salt to taste, and mash until you get the consistency you’d like. Add some of the potato cooking water if you need to thin it out, or drizzle some olive oil in for a little more flavor.


  1. Spoon some Taytos into a bowl. 
  2. Drizzle some pesto on top of the Taytos.
  3. Top the pile with a combination of the roasted veggies and eggplant/onion mixture.
  4. Dollop a bit more pesto on top of all o’ that.

winter's last hurrah

Pour yourself more wine, make a toast to spring’s arrival, and enjoy.


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Comfort Food

If your home is anything like mine, you are probably on football overload about about now.  Needless to say, we are in complete mourning due to the loss of our beloved Broncos. L  Then yesterday, the Seahawks lost too??? I was in need of some good food, so my hubby made our ultimate comfort meal for dinner.  We have affectionately named this dish Chicken Bake somewhere along the line.  I must give you a brief bit of history on this meal…this was the first thing that Jason made for me when we were dating.  It was good enough for me to marry him.  Well, that and the fact that he’s really cute!

This is basically a casserole using cream of mushroom soup.  Jason makes his own, but you could absolutely use a canned one.  In my opinion though, nothing beats the homemade one.

To start off, make the sauce.

Cream of Mushroom Soup/ Sauce:

  • 8-10 sliced mini portabella mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • ½ small white onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2-½ cups milk, we used 2%
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Sauté the mushrooms and onions in the butter, season with salt and pepper.  Let them soften just a little bit.  Stir in the flour, and let that cook for a little longer.  Add the milk and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, lower the heat; add the paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir.  Continue to let simmer until everything else is prepped and ready to go.  There are times when the Mr. has added a bit of sour cream (approx. ¼ cup) to the sauce.  It adds a really nummy tanginess.


Next, prepare the rest of the veggies.  We use carrots, more onions, garlic, and Yukon gold potatoes.

photo (1)


See?  My youngest has really gotten into her new kiddie camera; it’s really cute how many pictures this kid takes! Except when we have to replace the batteries…. HA! Oh, and make sure to keep all of the veggie trimmings to make a delicious stock. We use it instead of water for rice, couscous, quinoa, etc.

We always pre-boil the potatoes a wee bit before they go into the dish.  Crunchy potatoes are not very good in this!  Sauté the remaining veggies in oil or butter.  When they are slightly softened, add the veggies to the mushroom sauce.

To prepare the chicken, take 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts and slice them into tenders.  You can use pre-prepared chicken tenders if you prefer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Finally, combine all of the ingredients into a greased 8”x11” glass baking.  Cover with foil and bake in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil, and sprinkle the top with French fried onions.  I’ve always wanted to find a way to make my own, but haven’t…. If you know of a good recipe, please let me know!  Bake for another 5 minutes, and serve.

chicken bake

This is truly my ultimate comfort meal!  And remember, my dear Broncos… There WILL be next season.



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