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Entries in Recipes & how-to's (57)

Wednesday
Jan302019

Recipe: Beef Bourguignon a-la-Instant Pot

The Instant Pot: Formerly known as the my "most intimidating kitchen appliance."  Truth be told, it took me almost a year to pull this pressure cooker-extraordinaire out of its box!  I guess I was afraid that I'd lose an eye from the steam function/somehow ignite my apartment on fire/receive third-degree burns.  Or something else disastrous and life-threatening along those lines... 

However, with the New Years resolution-fire lit under my ass to cook more homemade meals in 2019, I can proudly say that the IP (Instant Pot) and I have become quite friendly over the past month.  The blustery January temperatures here in New York were the inspiration behind my inaugural IP meal: Beef Bourguignon, a hearty French stew comprised of beef braised in red wine and stock and flavored with carrots, onions, garlic, pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon.  For this recipe, I substituted sweet white onions for the traditional pearl variety that it calls for (because they are a bitch to peel), and completely did away with the bacon (not because I don't love the stuff, but because omitting pork belly shaves off some serious calories).  The final result?  Dynamite!  And trust me when I say that you won't miss the bacon...or those annoying pearl onions!

This recipe is easy to prep and cook - takes approximately two hours from start to finish (including gathering ingredients, food prep, and cook time) - and is a huge crowd pleaser.  

*Tip: Make one day ahead of time for flavors to fully marry!  This stew is like a fine wine - I swear that it gets more delicious by the day!

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Ingredients:

Serves four large bowls of stew; loosely based on the recipe from My Food Story

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. stew meat (1.5" - 2" sized chunks)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet white onions, chopped in 1" pieces (most recipes recommend using pearl onions, but they're a nightmare to peel, so I will spare you)
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, halved
  • 3 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 1 1/3 cups red wine, separated by 1 cup and 1/3 cup (make sure to use a wine that you actually enjoy drinking; NOT cooking wine.  For this recipe, I use a juicy California Merlot or Red Zinfandel)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Turn on your Instant Pot (IP).  Set to Sauté function and select high (heat).  
  2. In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium/high heat.  Allow the pan to get hot.  Meanwhile, liberally season the beef with salt and pepper.  Working in batches, sear the meat on each side for 30 seconds and set aside.
  3. Pour the pan grease (from step 2) in to the IP.  Add the garlic, onions, mushrooms, and carrots and sauté, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, using the pan from Step 2, return to the stove.  Add 1/3 cup of wine and simmer for five minutes, making sure to scrape the delicious bits stuck to the bottom and sides of the pan (from searing the beef).
  5. Add the deglazed wine from the pan, seared beef, remaining wine (1 cup), broth, thyme, bay leaf, and tomato paste to the IP.  Lock the lid in place and change the setting from "Sauté" to "Pressure Cook" and manually set the timer dial for 40-minutes.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/4 cup water.
  7. Once the 40-minutes has elapsed, release the pressure manually from the IP and carefully remove the lid.  Turn on the "Sauté" function and select low (heat).
  8. With a ladle, add a small amount (1/3 cup, approximately) of the hot stew to the flour mixture to temper, stirring constantly.  Once fully combined, slowly pour in to the stew and stir to incorporate.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until the stew thickens.
  9. Taste the stew and adjust the flavor by adding salt and pepper, according to your liking/preference (if need be).
  10. Serve immediately or store overnight and enjoy the next day for an even more flavorful and robust stew!  

Bon appetit!

...

Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle 

Wednesday
Jan162019

Recipe: Naturally Sweet Overnight Oats

Growing tired of hard boiled eggs for breakfast, I decided to start looking around to observe what some of my healthier colleagues were noshing in the mornings.  Save for the rail-thin dude who breaks his daily fast with a Maison Kayser chocolate croissant, oatmeal - or some sort of porridge - seemed to be the overwhelming item of choice.  OK, so oatmeal is healthy enough, right?  Sure, when it's in its simplest form - plain and made with water.  Yawn.  But when you add Craisins, chocolate chips, sliced almonds, milk, butter, honey, banana slices, granola (I always found this to be a strange addition), and brown sugar, this hearty cereal becomes as calorically dense as an ice cream sundae! 

For the new year, I made two goals: 1) Attempt Dry January again (this would be my second year), and 2) cook more of my meals at home.  Hell, I have a freaking CULINARY SCHOOL DEGREE - it's about damn time that I put it to use!  Plus, making my own food gives me the peace of mind in knowing every single ingredient that goes in to what I'm eating.  And that helps to put my rampant mind a bit more at ease.

Speaking of, I've been trying to pick apart my favorite recipes and make them a bit more healthy (cutting the oil in half, using less sugar, playing around with different spices, etc.).  With that, I have created the easiest, tastiest, waistline-friendly overnight oats recipe using coconut water (because plain water is so boring and I think that almond milk sucks) and dates (which add natural sweetness and texture), a fruit that I fell in love with during my trip to the Middle East last year. 

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Ingredients

1 packet of Quaker Instant Oatmeal Original    

1/3 cup coconut water

3 pitted dates, chopped

Optional: a pinch of salt, dash of cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla extract

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Method

Combine all three ingredients.  Stir to combine.  Refrigerate overnight.  Enjoy!

...

Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle

Tuesday
Oct092018

Recipe: Maple-Roasted Whole Carrots

Gorgeous photo credit: Photo Case
When my friend and kitchen mentor, Maria, served an elaborate home-cooked meal for one of our recent volunteer meetings, her heavenly roasted carrots lingered on my mind for days.  Fork-tender, savory and sweet, this was a side dish that I wanted to mimic just as soon as I could.  So, I decided that as a post-surgery treat, I would recreate Maria's roasted carrots for myself.
 
Prior to my scheduled procedure, I made sure to take care of as many errands as I possibly could, knowing full well that I'd be out of commission for quite some time.  I purchased all of the ingredients a few days prior to surgery with the lofty goal that I'd be able to cook after about a week's time.  Being in the kitchen was something that I could certainly look forward to!
A little over a week post-surgery, I was able to whip up this quick and easy recipe.  While I opted for whole-grain mustard, I think that Dijon would be equally as lovely and add a spicy, savory kick.  And for those a bit more daring, consider subbing Mike's Hot Honey for maple syrup.
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Ingredients
  • 1 bunch organic carrots (if you can, choose rainbow over orange - they're so pretty!)
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Scrub carrots thoroughly to remove dirt - pat dry.  Remove the top stem and the bottom nib (do not worry about peeling).

In a small cup, mix coconut oil, mustard, and maple syrup together.  Pour in to a pan that's large enough to fit the carrots, length-wise.

Add carrots to the pan and toss to evenly distribute mixture. 

On a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (I prefer the latter), lay carrots and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Set pan with remaining mixture aside. 

Roast for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and flip the carrots over.  Re-season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Roast for 25 more minutes or until tender with the pierce of a fork or sharp knife.

Remove from oven.  Add carrots back to the pan with the remaining coconut oil/mustard/syrup mixture and gently toss to evenly distribute.

Serve immediately, or allow to cool and enjoy later as a side dish or chopped for a great salad topper!

...

Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle

Monday
Jul022018

Recipe: The Best Banana Bread You've Never Had

Having never made banana bread prior, I researched tons of recipes before settling on a rendition that one of my dear colleagues had sent me with the affirmation that "this is the best banana bread recipe ever!" While many of the ingredients/methods remain the same, I amended the recipe with some of my own creative additions...

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