Monday, November 14, 2011

Dine Originals Week November 2011 - Chile Verde

Last night was the end of Dine Originals Week. Bob and I poured over the list, reading the menus and trying to decide where we would have dinner.

Eventually we decided on Chile Verde. We really, really like their food (and their margaritas ain't bad either). The menu sounded wonderful. First course was Butternut Squash Soup, second course was a stuffed avocado and the entree was steak fajitas. While I can't remember the descriptions off the top of my head, let me just say I had to wipe my chin after reading them. Bob and I looked at each other and exclaimed, "What's not to like?" And off we went, with tummies growling and hearts full of anticipation.

As we pulled into the parking lot I said, "Uh, Bob. There isn't much of a crowd here." He nodded and commented, "Yeah, I see. Not a single car is here."  We pulled up to the door.

"Closed Sundays"

Guess next time we'll check hours before we drive cross town. *Sigh*

... Hunan Lion was good ...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dine Originals Week - Surly Girl Saloon

Meet Brooke & Andy. Yesterday was Andy's birthday, so we went out tonight to celebrate. Andy picked Surly Girl Saloon. Good choice, my friend!!! We had a great time with great friends and great food :-)
Okay, so maybe a few great drinks were consumed, too. It was all just so ... well, great!

Brooke ordered off the menu (she always has to be different, our Brooke) and Andy, Bob and I went for the Dine Originals menu. What a deal! For Andy who was "flying solo" (as the menu put it) his dinner was 3 courses for $20! Even better, For Bob & me it was 3 courses for 2 for $30!!! We were totally psyched. And then we looked at the menu. Oh lordy this was gonna be fun.

Andy began his meal with the "Wasabi Cream Cheese Ball". This was served with sesame crackers and slices of fresh cucumber. It was really good! I say this with surprise because we all know I am a total wimp when it comes to hot food. And wasabi is hot, is it not? So you can understand my hesitation. But in the interest of reporting fairly and not trusting someone else's opinion, I dove right in. I took a cracker and slathered a spoonful of the cheeseball on it. Then I topped it with a cucumber slice. Wow! This was good stuff! The cheese ball had just the right amount of wasabi; not too hot but it had a nice horseradishy quality. The cucumber was the perfect foil; cool & crisp. I have to say I wholeheartedly approved!

Bob and I chose the "Skillet Nachos". These were reliably delicious. The chips were topped with warm black bean & corn salsa and melted cheese. Okay, so what's not to like? They were just flat out yummy.

I chose the "Butternut Squash Ravioli" in a chile-pumpkin cream sauce with house-made focaccia. The picture does not do it justice. This dish was absolutely divine. I kid you not, this is the stuff that food porn is made of. Uh, I mean, dreams are made of. The pasta of the ravioli was perfect. The butternut squash filling was subtle yet substantial enough to stand up to the sauce. And the sauce? Well, excuse me while I swoon. It was one of the most incredible things I have tasted in a very long time. I have to admit that I didn't taste the chile part in it. What I did taste was pumpkin, so creamy and lucious that it should have been served with some kind of fanfare. I simply cannot get it out of my mind! Alongside was the promised focaccia. This was also delicious. And, it was essential to sop up every teensy bit of sauce that might otherwise have been left behind. I will unabashedly tell you that I scraped my plate clean ... something just short of licking it. I didn't want to embarrass my dining companions. Although I'm pretty sure Brooke would have just laughed!

Bob had "Cowgirl Carmen's Cherry Cola Ribs". These were served with creamy coleslaw and poblano mashed potatoes. Excellent. Just excellent. The ribs were falling off the bone tender, with a sweet cherry cola bbq sauce that left you wanting to lick your fingers. The slaw was just right and the potatoes .... well, we know how I adore potatoes. And these were no exception. Three words to say about this dish - yum, yum, yum!

Now for Andy's dinner. He ordered the "Spicy Thai Pizza". This was a pizza made with peanut sauce, broccoli, carrots, cheddar, peanuts and sweet chili sauce. I just need to say that his choice of this pizza following the "Wasabi Cream Cheese Ball" was dead on. The two made for an awesome combination! This pizza however, is not for the faint of heart. Andy advised me to wait until my drink refill came before I chowed down on it. Andy was oh-so-right. This baby packed some heat! But it was so incredible! The crust was thin and crisp and the toppings all worked in such harmony that there was truly a symphony of tastes playing out on my tongue. This was deemed an uber success by all of us!!!

Now on to dessert! Yippee!!! Cupcakes!!! Oh happy day! Andy and I both got the "Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting". Awesome, awesome, and just totally delicious! The crumb was so soft, yet there was just the tiniest bit of crunch at the edge. The cream cheese frosting was not too sweet and the cherry on top was a like little red kiss.

Bob went with the "East" selection, which was a "Cherry Blossom Cupcake". I'm sorry the picture doesn't show it to full advantage. It was a delicate pink color with bits of cherry in the mix. It also had a soft crumb and Bob fully enjoyed it.

So happy birthday to Andy! What a fun and delicious way to celebrate our dear friend turning thirtysomething!

Surly Girl Saloon
1126 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201-2440
 (614) 294-4900

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dine Originals Restaurant Week - November 7-13, 2011

It is that wonderful time of the year when the restaurants in Dine Originals participate in their restaurant week! Oh boy, we sure are the lucky ones on this deal :-)  It is the perfect time to try out a restaurant that has been on your list to visit, or to go back to a favorite one. Check out the info from Dine Originals! You can browse the menus from each restaurant. I am here to tell you that the deals are awesome and you'll find amazing menus. Bob and I already have our plans made!

Happy Eating!!!

   Dine Originals Week STARTS NOVEMBER 7

 twice-annual EVENT OFFERS chance to sample bold flavors of independence

47 restaurants, 7 days of original menus

Monday, november 7–sunday, november 13, 2011

The next Dine Originals Week will be held November 7–13, 2011, featuring creative, three-course fixed-price lunch and/or dinner menus for $10, $20, or $30 (not including tax, gratuity, or alcohol) from all 47 Dine Originals Columbus restaurants. Besides offering diners extraordinary menus at reasonable rates, this popular event, held twice a year, also serves as a celebration of the high-quality local dining scene. Restaurateurs see an uptick in sales at the restaurants, new faces, and visitors coming from out of town to take advantage of the special menus.

In keeping with Dine Originals’ mission to give back to the community, a portion of the proceeds from Dine Originals Week will be contributed to Local Matters, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting access to local food, advocating for fair food policies, and other related causes (

Notes Tim Lessner, president of Dine Originals Columbus and owner of Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails, “We’re excited for the next installment of this very popular week, which has turned into something of a citywide festival celebrating Dine Originals Columbus restaurants. With some new members added since last March, we encourage people to try a new restaurant—or, as always, to revisit a favorite during this special week.”

Dine Originals Columbus has 47 member restaurants, all locally owned and operated. The list follows on the next page.

·         Alana's Food and Wine

·         Barcelona Restaurant and Bar

·         Barrio Tapas

·         Basi Italia

·         Basil Thai Restaurant

·         Bel-Lago Waterfront Bistro

·         Black Creek Bistro

·         The Black Olive

·         Bodega Cafe

·         Chile Verde Cafe

·         The Clarmont Restaurant

·         Columbus Brewing Company

·         DeepWood Restaurant

·         Due Amici

·         Figlio Wood-Fired Pizza Grandview

·         G. Michael's Bistro

·         The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

·         Katalina's Cafe Corner

·         Katzinger's Delicatessen

·         LaScala Italian Bistro

·         Local Roots American Cuisine & Spirits

·         Luce Enoteca

·         Mezzo Italian Kitchen and Wine

·         Milo's Deli and Cafe

·         Milo’s The Capitol Café

·         Mozart’s Bakery

·         Old Mohawk Restaurant

·         Pistacia Vera

·         The Refectory Restaurant  & Bistro

·         Rigsby's Kitchen

·         Shaw's Restaurant and Inn

·         Shoku

·         Skillet

·         Spinelli’s Deli

·         Surly Girl Saloon

·         Tasi Cafe

·         Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails

·         Tony’s Italian Ristorante

·         The Top Steakhouse

·         Trattoria Roma

·         Vienna Ice Café & Tea House

·         Wildflower Cafe

·         The Worthington Inn

·         Z Cucina Ristorante & Bar

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I love Asian food. And I'm talking more than just your run-of-the-mill Chinese fried rice (although I have to say that I still get giddy over a superbly made dish of pork fried rice - like Tony's at Eastern Palace). Having been introduced to some Korean dishes, I must say I am smitten! Bibimbap is one of them. But could I possibly make it at home and do it justice? I decided to find out.

Usually bibimbap is served in a screaming hot stone pot. Okay, that was the first concession my homemade version made. I didn't happen to have the stone pots on hand, and knowing me if I had I would probably be sitting in the emergency room waiting to be treated for burns rather than writing this post right now!

I had saved a recipe for Bibimbap from and I began with that. For the most part I followed it pretty closely. There were just a few modifications I made. The most significant one was that I used boneless skinless chicken breast as the meat instead of beef. The reason for that was pretty straightforward ... that is what I had thawed.

The most important issue with this recipe is to have all of the components prepared so that when it comes to assembly, you are good to go!

The result, you ask? Oh, you didn't ask that? Well, I'm gonna tell you anyway. It was totally awesome! I mean, it rocked!!! Bob and I both were "yummying" all through dinner. While I know it was not totally authentic, it sure was close enough for us!

Will I make it again? You bet! And I'll try it with beef and pork, too. (No, not at the same time ... now you're just being silly.)  It is rather labor intensive timewise but it is so worth it! In fact, I can't wait to make it again. Oh! Don't skip the seasoned spinach. It is scrumptious!

When eating bibimbap there are two schools of thought:
While Bob subscribes to the "eat-each-part-at-a-time" theory and likes his spicy ...
I am more a "mix-it-all-up" kinda gal. I am not kidding, just looking at these pictures makes me wish I could sit down and start the meal all over again!

I only wish Michelle was here so she could tell me if I really did do it justice :-)

Serves 4


  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 ounces eye of round or top round steak, thinly sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup (2-inch) julienne-cut carrot
  • 1 cup (2-inch) julienne-cut English cucumber
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 1 cup Seasoned Spinach* 
  • 4 teaspoons sambal oelek or Thai chile paste, to taste 


  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. Heat a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes or until done. Remove from pan. Cover and keep warm.
  • Cook carrot in boiling water 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain and set aside.
  • Combine cucumber and next 5 ingredients (cucumber through 1 garlic clove); set aside.
  • Heat skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Break 1 egg into hot skillet. Cook egg 1 minute; carefully turn over. Sprinkle with dash of salt. Cook an additional minute or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan. Cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining eggs and salt.
  • Spoon 3/4 cup rice into each of 4 bowls. Arrange 1/4 cup each of beef, carrot, cucumber mixture, mushrooms, and Seasoned Spinach over each serving. Top each serving with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon sambal oelek.
 *Seasoned Spinach 


  • 2 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


  • Steam half of spinach, covered, for 5 minutes or until the spinach wilts; place steamed spinach in a colander. Repeat procedure with remaining spinach. Cool slightly, and squeeze dry.
  • Place spinach in a bowl. Add onions and remaining ingredients; toss mixture well to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Note: You will need to steam the raw spinach in two batches, since there is so much of it. Combining the cool ingredients with your hands is easiest.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Trying to get organized at home ... Found a bag of 'paper'. Most could be shredded, but there were some pictures of the kids, some things from my folks ... and this recipe from Ellen's mom! It's a good one ... a great way to start the day.

Fruity Couscous Salad - adapted from a USA Today recipe

1 1/3 cup dry couscous (I prefer the larger size 'Israeli'?)
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup packed dried apricots, chopped
2/3 cup Craisins microwaved in 1 cup water (I think Harriet used orange juice) for 1 minute
1 tsp cumin
3 scallions, thinly sliced with greens
1 pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Combine all ingredients; toss. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Yields 8 servings

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

10 common mistakes and stereotypes !

We put together the 10 most common mistakes and stereotypes about Italian Cooking you can avoid them!  Share this note with your friends  :)

1- You shall not sip cappuccino during a meal!
Coffee and cappuccino are the pride of Italy in the world; but if the first is usually consumed at the end of the meal, the second, more substantial, is sipped at breakfast, usually accompanied by some pastry. You can ask for a cappuccino at the end of a meal, just know that most Italians don’t.

2- Risotto and pasta are NOT a side dish
The organization of courses in the Italian dining is unique and requires pasta and – most of the time –risotto to be served by themselves (apart from specific recipes such as Ossobuco milanese-style). The presentation of pasta as a side dish to others is widespread in several countries, but in Italy is seen almost as a sacrilege.

3- You shall not add oil to pasta water!
Oil should not be added to pasta cooking water! Pasta dressing (and oil too) must be added only after you have drained it from its cooking water. Find out how to cook pasta like an Italian here.

4- Ketchup on pasta: please, don’t
This is one of the combinations that most shocks Italians; although ketchup may have some similarities to tomato sauce, pouring ketchup over pasta in the “Bel Paese” is considered a real gourmet crime. Keep ketchup for your french fries or hot dogs, please!

5- Spaghetti Bolognese? No way, it’s Tagliatelle!
While probably being the world’s most popular Italian recipe, you will not find any restaurant in Bologna to eat it. That’s because the original Italian recipe is “Tagliatelle Bolognese” (not spaghetti).
Although this may seem a minor detail, in real Italian cuisine the pairing of the right kind of pasta with the right sauce is considered almost sacred.

6- Chicken Pasta: not in Italy
Speaking with American friends, one of the most frequent requests is the advice for a typical Italian recipe for pasta with chicken. It’s always rather embarrassing to point out that in Italy there are no hot dishes featuring pasta and chicken.

7- “Caesar salad”
This salad, which bears the name of its supposed creator, Caesar Cardini, is a part of the long list of recipes devised by chefs of Italian origin, but in fact is almost unknown in Italy.

8- The red and white checkered tablecloth is only a stereotype !
For some strange reason, these tablecloths are universally associated with our food and with the stereotype of the "spaghetti-eater", and abroad almost all the restaurants that want to play typical Italian use them. Probably, tourists who come to visit Italy remain somewhat disappointed when they discover that the checkered tablecloths are almost never used (only restaurants for tourists do!)

9- “Fettuccine Alfredo” are popular only overseas
This is perhaps the most curious in this top ten. The fettuccine Alfredo is both the most famous “Italian” food in the United States and the least known dish in Italy.
These noodles, seasoned with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano, are in fact actually been invented in the “Bel Paese”, specifically by Alfredo Di Lelio, the owner of a restaurant in Rome, but in Italy have never been imposed as a traditional dish. Overseas, however, have become increasingly popular and in time became a symbol of the good life in Rome.
For this reason legions of American tourists coming to Italy hoping to enjoy the fettuccine Alfredo at every restaurant on the peninsula remain very disappointed.

10 - You shall respect tradition and what Italian mamma says.
She knows from her mamma, who knew from her mamma who knew from her mamma and so on. It's been tried and tested. And what a mother teaches at her daughter while they are cooking? that love is the center of all. We must share Italian food with your loved ones. It is what life, love and family are all about.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sweet and Sour Slaw

Tried this over the weekend. Thinking of Jean, figured she'd say ... 'blog it'! :)
Adapted from Allrecipes. We had it with grilled chicken, and also betting it would be great on top of fish tacos!

1 bag cole slaw mix (cabbage and carrots), finely shredded, not chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, slivered
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 cup frozen corn (straight from the bag!)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 packets Splenda (i will try without the next time)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
drizzle of sesame oil. (because I had to, recipe does not call for oil)

Mix together. Refrigerate at least two hours. Serve!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cubano Hot Dogs

When I first saw the post on for the Cubano Hot Dog, it was all over. How could I not love this? How could anyone not love this? The recipe originally came from Rachel Ray. It is so perfect in its simplicity, and makes for a quick weeknight dinner, or would knock the socks of your guests at a cookout! Hmm...maybe when the new deck is unveiled these might be on the menu. 
The cast of characters: pork or beef hot dogs, hot dog rolls, yellow mustard (Bob had to have spicy mustard because he is a mustard snob-whatever), diced green chilies (we used yellow banana pepper rings) deli ham, Swiss cheese, and pickle spears. Heads up! Your taste buds are going to thank you for this :-)

Preheat your broiler. Heat a griddle pan or skillet. Split your dogs and open them up like a book. You're going to grill them on both sides until they get nice and crispy! Oh...I can barely wait!

Load the mustard on the buns! I'm talkin' lots of mustard!!!
Top with deli ham,

Swiss cheese,

peppers (okay, peppers should really go on before the ham and cheese-but when have I ever done things in the right order?). I got a little ahead of myself and had to go back and add the peppers. And even though I rarely eat these hot yellow pepper rings, they are a must on these sandwiches. I am absolutely telling you the truth on me!
Put those bad boys on a baking sheet and slide them under the broiler. You want the cheese to get gooey and melty (is that even a word? Apparently not. My spell check just highlighted it bright yellow. Well, I like it and it's staying!)

Looks like the dogs are ready! Pull the buns out of the oven and assemble the sanwiches. Put the dogs on the bed of melty cheese and place a pickle spear down the middle.

Behold the Cubano Hot Dogs! I sincerely hope you enjoy them as much as Bob and I did - and will again soon! Thanks Deb for posting this great recipe!

Cubano Hot Dogs
Serves 8  Total Time: 15 minutes


8 pork or beef hot dogs
8 good quality hot dog rolls, split
yellow mustard
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies, drained
8 slices mild deli ham
8 thin slices good quality Swiss cheese
8 pickle spears


Preheat the broiler. Heat a griddle pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the hot dogs open lengthwise and open them up like a book. Grill them until crispy on both sides.

Arrange the hot dog buns on a baking sheet. Top the rolls with lots of mustard, the green chilies, ham and cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted.

Put the hot dogs on top of the melted cheese and fill the crevice with a pickle spear.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hot Stuff!!!!

OK, it's not spicy, but cooking on one of the hottest days of the year probably not all that smart. Went to a delightful graduation party yesterday, and everything was 'ethnic'. Here's my version of something I found to be absolutely delightful. I hope you enjoy. My version of Spanakopita Meatballs.

Spanakopita Meatballs - No measuring - eyeball: 18 oz ground turkey (bet it's wonderful w/ground lamb too), frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry, 1 chopped smallish onion, chopped garlic (can never have too much), 5 oz pkg feta crumbles, Cavendars Greek seasoning. Add as much spinach as the mixture will hold. Spray a large frying pan with Pam. Squish the meat mixture together and shape into walnut sized meatballs. It's not pretty. Pan fry until golden. Sigh with rapture. I made 36 meatballs.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Piada - Welcome to Gahanna!

Today was a big day for Piada fans. The Gahanna Piada opened at Stoneridge Center at the corner of Morse and Hamilton Roads. Hooray! Many of us have been anticipating this day ever since we had our first taste of Piada's deliciousness at the Lane Avenue location.

For those individuals that are not familiar with Piada, you are in for a treat! The ordering setup is quite easy. (And no, I refuse to go the "just like Chipotle" route again.) Let's say it is quick, easy and fun! The staff is happy to help walk you through the process.

Choose a piada (wrap), pasta or salad. Add your protein,


and toppings.
Behind the front line - meats, pasta and grilled veggies are constantly being cooked up fresh for a line of hungry customers that moves amazingly fast!
Additional choices include soups, side salads, spinach artichoke dip, a variety of piada sticks, and cannoli chips & cream for dessert.
Add a drink (the Italian peach tea is my personal favorite) ranging from teas and sodas to beer, wine and peach bellinis!

All of that makes for happy customers ... like Jane!

Welcome Piada! We sure are glad you're here!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thai Beef with Chilies and Basil over Coconut Rice

Each afternoon I get a text from Everyday Food with a suggestion for dinner. Yesterday's suggestion grabbed ahold of me and just didn't let go. I checked the pantry & fridge to make sure I had all of the needed ingredients. As always, I was one ingredient short. When I told Bob, he volunteered to run to the store. 'Cause who has red jalepenos just laying around? I sure don't. And I really wanted to make this dish.

Bob got home with the needed chilies and we were set to go! First thing we did was to get the rice going. This was the first time I made coconut rice and I was really excited. I did use lite coconut milk to save a few bazillion fat grams.
Now that we had the rice going, Bob set to work chopping.
Red chilies were seeded and sliced into 2 inch matchsticks (note the gloves). As you can see, we used the red jalepenos. I can pretty much handle their heat. Sometimes. If they are seeded and deveined. And cooked so they lose some of their power. Yeah, I can pretty much handle red jalepenos.

Next the garlic was chopped. Please, please do not look at my sorry cutting board. I keep swearing that I'm going to get new ones but I never seem to get around to it. I like to just pretend that there's so much character from all the meals cooked with love and tenderness reflected on that board that ... oh what the hell am I saying??? I just haven't gotten around to buying some new ones.
When the rice was almost ready, I mixed the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar.

I got the wok screaming hot, put in the oil and quickly added the garlic and half the chiles. Gave that about 15 seconds and added the beef. While it cooked, I broke up the beef and mixed the garlic and chiles well into it.

When the beef was browned, I added the soy sauce mixture. I cooked this for about 30 seconds. Smelling good!

Add the rest of the chiles and the torn basil. Isn't it gorgeous?

Now, I only used 2 chiles. Next time I will definitely use all three. And we were a bit short on basil, so we added some while cooking the beef and had a bowl of torn fresh basil to add to the dish on the table.

I served the Thai Beef over the coconut rice (which by the way is like, totally awesome!) I'm not sure how I'm ever going to make regular rice again! I also served optional toppings: chopped green onion, sliced radishes, the torn basil leaves, and grape tomatoes just because I like them. Oh! And soy sauce and Thai sweet chili sauce.

Okay, now here is where I confess to being a tad scatterbrained. I forgot the lime wedges. We kept thinking that this was really good but it was just kind of missing a little something. Yeah Jean ... maybe a little something green? That would have been perfect. (Guess that's why it's in the recipe, huh?)

Bob and I agreed this is a definite do-over. Overall, this was absolutely delicious. And it took almost no time to put together. Next time I will use all three chilies and probably more garlic. And I will NOT forget the limes!

Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil Over Coconut Rice - Everyday Food


• 1 1/4 cups jasmine rice
• 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk {used light coconut milk}
• Coarse salt
• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce
• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped {used 4}
• 3 long hot peppers or red jalapeno chiles, seeded and sliced into 2-inch matchsticks {used red jalapeños}
• 1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
• 1 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves
• Lime wedges, for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, 3/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

2. When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat a cast-iron skillet or wok over high. Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until completely browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice with lime wedges.