• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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Black Pepper Grits with Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Steak, and Over Easy Eggs

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a major egg fan. Poached, over-easy…ok, I admit it, anything with a rich, runny yolk has my heart all a-flutter. But since Matt is not much of a breakfast fan, I don’t often indulge my cravings to have breakfast for dinner. Which is a shame, because it’s easy and super fast, and it’s the perfect way to use whatever sounds good.

This dish certainly had several items that were cooked different ways, but I optimized space and still managed very little cleanup (and some leftovers). You could always use sauteed tomatoes (I just love the flavor and juiciness of the roasted), bacon, sausage, or any leftovers you had in the fridge (grits are a pretty delicious delivery system for almost anything). In the end, it may not be the prettiest thing to look at, but that doesn’t matter, because first chance I got, I smashed it all up into one, big, delicious bowl of breakfasty goodness.

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Horseradish Crusted Steak Sandwich with Arugula and Crispy Shallots

My roommate loves horseradish. I know this, but still haven’t given in to any of her requests to do something about it. But when she suggested a horseradish steak sandwich – my mouth was watering. I love me some steak, and combined with a slightly spicy horseradish crust, some fresh, peppery arugula, and some deliciously fried shallots – I knew I had a recipe the whole house was going to love.

Mongolian Beef

If you are a steak lover, if you are a Chinese (yes, take out!) lover, if you are lover of all things too easy and good to be true – you MUST make this dish.

Perhaps I’m coming off a little strong, but I had no idea this dish would turn out so incredibly good with such a minimal ingredient list and almost no time. This is how fast you can make this dish: I didn’t have air conditioning in my house over the weekend, so Matt and I took refuge in the basement, where it was at least 10 degrees cooler. Every time we emerged onto the main floor, we nearly passed out. He sliced the meat, I prepared the sauce, and we were back downstairs in less than 10 minutes, enjoying this awesomely simple meal.

Ok, I’ve gushed enough…just try it!

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Steak with Mustard and Red Wine Sauce, Roasted Parmesan Potatoes, and Zucchini and Portobello Saute

As I’ve said many times before, I love a good steak. One of the reasons I love it is because of the simplicity of it. With a good steak, all you have to do is cook it and you’re done. You don’t need anything extra or fancy. It’s just that good.

Nevertheless, when my friend Terri said she’d been craving a steak, we both thought it might be fun to step it up a notch. We thought of the warm flavors we appreciate so much in the winter, and since it’s nearly gone (YES!) we thought we’d pay it one last tribute before switching over to crisper, sunnier sauces and sidedishes.

A warm, smooth mustard sauce was just the ticket. We deepened its flavor with herbs and red wine, and it was perfect – just enough to compliment the steak without drowning out the meat’s own natural flavor. With some piping hot potatoes and a zucchini-mushroom sauté, we were in food heaven.

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Steak Banh Mi

A good sandwich is everything. It has it all – bread, meat, delicious fatty components like cheese, avocado, or mayonnaise, and all sorts of toppings. The best thing about a sandwich is the variety – flavors and textures coming together in one neat handheld package.

Alright, so perhaps I needn’t wax quite so poetically about this amazing food, but I am not the first to proclaim this particular sandwich as the next big thing. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is all about the banh mi – the most perfect sandwich I have discovered thus far. The components can vary to your tastes – roast pork, meatballs, or, as in this case, steak. But the basic toppings are the same – crisp quick pickles, fresh cilantro, basil, and mint, spicy jalapenos, and creamy aioli – all offset by deliciously crusty French bread. This is street food at it’s best, but in your own kitchen, it’s easy to say it is sandwich making at it’s best.

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Grilled Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms and Chili Glazed Green Beans

There is not much that a Kansas girl can ask for other than a good steak once in awhile.  It’s so simple – a mouth watering, tender, juicy piece o’ meat and I’m in heaven any day of the week. It’s also an easy meal to prepare in a pinch or when you’re tired after a long day’s work.  Another great thing is you can make just enough for yourself if you’re eating alone.  Not to mention it’s so deliciously satisfying even though it’s fast.  

There are, of course, many classic combinations for steak sides.  I love mushrooms on top of my steak, and I spiced up some green beans for a side dish.  Between the richness of the steak, the soft, earthiness of the mushrooms, and the crisp, spicy green beans – I was one happy Kansan…even though I’m far from home!

Grilled Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms and Chili Glazed Green Beans

Served 2.
Leftover Potential: If you want to make more steaks than you need, or you get a great bargain on multiple or over-sized steaks, cook it all and save the rest.  You can cut it and eat it later in the week in sandwiches or salads!

Sauteed Mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small container mushrooms, sliced ***
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

1.  In a medium saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  
2.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3.  Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-low heat until browned and softened.  Season with salt and pepper. Set aside or keep warm for topping the steak.

*** I used crimini mushrooms, but any kind would be delicious.  Sometimes, I use dried mushrooms.  Simply re-hydrate the mushrooms in warm water.  Then you can reduce the re-hydrating liquid for a delicious sauce.

Chili Glazed Green Beans
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups green beans, chopped in half
salt, to taste
1 tsp chili oil ***
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1.  In a medium pan or wok, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2.  Add the green beans and stir fry until soft, but still crisp.  Season with salt.
3.  Drizzle the beans with the chili oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.  Use more or less to taste, but even people who don’t like spice will enjoy a little of one of these components.  Set aside or keep warm to serve with the steak.

Grilled Steak
2 tbsp olive oil
2 rib eye steaks, or other cuts as desired

sauteed mushrooms
chili glazed green beans

1.  In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  When the pan and oil are hot, add steaks and cook to desired doneness (4-5 minutes for medium rare).
2.  Serve covered with the mushrooms and with a side of green beans.  

Lime Marinated Steak Tacos with Homemade Tortillas

I love a good taco.  I am, however, a firm believer that the tortilla makes the taco.  Meaning that it should be fresh, light, and most importantly: warm.  And for my favorite tacos, packaged just won’t cut it.  Luckily, tortillas are as quick and simple to make as any basic flatbread.  When you taste it, you’ll know – it’s always worth it.

Combined with tender, juicy pieces of steak that have spent the day marinading in a mixture of garlic and lime, it’s the perfect dinner.  All that’s needed now is a cold beer or a margarita.  
Lime Marinated Steak Tacos with Homemade Tortillas

Served 2
Leftover Potential: Tortillas are best the first day, but will last another couple days.  If eating leftovers, reheat in an oven.  All other ingredients reheat well.   Provided one meal after the initial dinner.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup water, or as needed

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt.  Add the melted butter and mix to combine.  
2. Begin adding water and mix until the dough begins to come together, adding more water as needed.  
3.  Let rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
4.  Divide the dough into small pieces, and roll into balls.
5. Roll the dough out to 1/4″ thickness.
6.  Heat a small non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add a tortilla and allow to cook until browned, then flip and allow to cook on the other side.  Keep covered, warm until ready to serve.

Lime Marinade
juice of three limes
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp garlic, finely minced
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 # flank steak

1 Tbsp oil

1 can refried beans
cheese, grated, as needed
avocado, sliced, as needed

1. Combine lime juice and spices.  Pour into a large plastic (ziploc) bag.  Add whole steaks and toss to coat.  Let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.
2.  When ready to cook the steak, heat oil in a large pan.  Cook the steak until desired doneness over medium high heat. 
3.  Remove steak from pan, and place on a clean cutting board.  Let rest.
4.  Meanwhile, prepare garnishes, such as beans, cheese, avocado, cilantro, etc.
5.  When well rested, slice the steak into 1/2″-3/4″ slices.
6.  Layer steak and garnishes on warm tortillas.