Gochujiang Tahini Bowl


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This recipe is very loosely based on something I ran across in a PureWow email newsletter: creamy gochujiang sauce. I didn’t have time to click on the link when I saw it, so of course my brain turned it over all afternoon – wondering what that could possibly taste like, and what one would use for cream in a non-dairy way.

The original recipe looks fantastic – and if I’d gotten around to making this recipe in a week DH was home and I hauled myself to the grocery (instead of playing my favorite game: home Chopped), I would have loved to have added zoodles and maybe even coconut milk in place of the dairy.

As it stands, I used what I had on hand – and it was still fabulous. I can think of a ton of ways to use this sauce – in a poke bowl, with spare ribs and broccoli, slicked over mango and scallion, or fried up like bibimbap.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo if you choose a non-soy variety

Gochujiang Tahini Bowl


2 Tbsp. ajvar (or other red pepper) paste
1/4 c. tahini
2 Tbsp. gochujiang (check your labels for gluten free or paleo)
2 tsp. ginger/garlic paste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2 c. water


Sugar snap peas
4 ounces protein (tofu or tempeh if vegan; rotisserie chicken if not)


2 tsp. sesame seeds
1-2 scallions, sliced

Blend the sauce ingredients together, starting with 1/4 cup water. If needed, add an additional 1/2 cup – I wanted my sauce velvety but able to ribbon from my spoon, so I went for the full 1/2 cup. Taste – my ajvar was a bit spicy and my particular gochujiang was whatever the manufacturer deems as level 3. On first taste (after 1/4 cup water), the sauce was a touch spicy – diluting with more water took some of that spice out – so keep that in mind when choosing your thickness level.

Drizzle over your chosen bowl ingredients – I used a combination of quick stir-fried sugar snap peas and broccoli – and top with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions.

Makes enough sauce for 4 bowls 

Not Quite Barbacoa


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This is another of those ‘I went to the store wanting to make 1 thing, but they didn’t have half the ingredients so I adapted’ recipes. What I *wanted* was a nice barbacoa. Preferably nicely spiced and not bland (which is what usually happens when I try to make it).

Buuuuutt … the canned chipotles I saw a few weeks ago in one of the markets seem to have evaporated. Dried chilis are not happening. Should have learned my lesson from the enchiladas Turkiladas I made a few months ago and grabbed chipotles when I saw them.

Such is life. Teachable expat moments – even if I learn my lessons slowly.

This beef turned out pretty darn good, though – despite having to go back to olden times and use the oven (gasp!) instead of my electric pressure cooker that decided to up and die on me in the middle of cooking DH’s rice. The day before I was set to make this dish. I’m still not thrilled, and finding a replacement has proven itself a challenge – good thing people have been cooking meat in a liquid low and slow for thousands of years. (still whining though).

Gluten-free, paleo, keto

Processed with MOLDIV

Not Quite Barbacoa

4 or so lb. beef roast
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. Thai roast chili paste (see pic)
3 Tbsp. harissa paste (see pic)
1 – 2 onions
4 – 6 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. neutral oil
1 c. beef broth
Extra water on hand

First, preheat your oven to 300F.

Then, make a spice rub out of the oregano, salt and pepper. Rub the beef on all sides with the mixture. Heat the oil in a large pan over high and sear the beef on all sides.

While the beef is working, thinly slice the onions and place in a single layer over the bottom of a casserole dish or dutch oven. Add bay leaves down the center of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the chili and harissa pastes.

When the beef is done, frost like a cake with the seasoning paste, taking care to flip and get the bottom of the beef as well. Sprinkle any remaining spice rub over top.

Add 1 cup beef broth to the pan around the sides of the beef.

Cover and braise 4 hours. Check to see if the meat will shred and add half a cup or so of water if the mixture is looking a little dry. Chuck back into the oven until the meat will shred, checking every hour – mine took 6 hours to just shred, but honestly I could have left it in a little longer.

Shred the beef, adding more water to the onion mixture if it looks too thick – you don’t want the beef swimming in liquid, but you want enough that it stays juicy.

Makes a big meat you can nibble at all week – I served mine in lettuce wraps, over zoodles, over cauliflower mash, over roasted butternut squash, and DH had his with rice.