Retro Recipes and Traditional Fare

santamariabbqBarbecue. You know what it means, right? Are you sure? Having grown up in Rhode Island I always thought a "barbecue" referred to an outdoor cookout featuring grilled hot dogs and hamburgers. It wasn't until we moved to North Carolina that we discovered "barbecue" had nothing to do with hot dogs and hamburgers and everything to do with slowly cooking a whole hog over some flames.

Now that we live in Southern California, I've fallen for Santa Maria-style barbecue made from tri-tip, a flavorful, triangular cut of beef from the bottom sirloin.

Santa Maria-style barbecue originated in the Santa Maria Valley in Central California in the 19th century. After cattle round-ups, American cowboys, known as vaqueros, would host huge gatherings that featured beef skewered and cooked over a red oak fire. The beef was simply seasoned with salt and pepper and served with Pinquito beans, salsa, bread, and simple desserts. It hasn't changed much in almost two centuries.

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goulashNow that cooler temperatures are upon us, even here in California, it’s time for some hearty soup and stews. Hungarian Beef Goulash is a common Eastern European stew created using three basic ingredients: equal parts beef and onions, and a healthy dose of paprika.

It’s often served with spaetzle, noodles, rice or potatoes and is guaranteed to keep you warm on the chilliest of days. Since paprika is a key ingredient, it’s important to use the best you can find.

The Spice House is a great family owned business that offes the highest quality, hand-selected and hand-prepared spices and herbs. The stores are located in the Midwest (I've been to the store in Chicago, it's great!), but online ordering from their website is a breeze – and it’s worth the trouble for their signature Hungarian Sweet Paprika. Check out all of their spices here.

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