Category: "Recipes"

Braised Short Ribs

October 26th, 2011

* 6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 pounds)
* Kosher salt
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 cloves garlic, smashed
* 1 1/2 cups tomato paste
* 2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
* 2 cups water
* 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
* 2 bay leaves

Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.
-Anne Burrell

I am not a fan of Anne Burrell's personality, but I will be forever thankful for this recipe. It is nothing earth-shattering, if you look at it, but it de-mystified short ribs for me. I had always figured that they required some technique I do not possess. In truth, they just take time. Some people may argue with this, but patience in the kitchen is something I do possess.

I've now made braised short ribs twice; the second time was slightly different from the first and even the first was slightly different from the recipe above. As it stands right now, I can tell you that the only things you need are a good pan (at a great price I might add), as many short ribs as you plan to make, something in which to braise your ribs and about 3 hours.

I used the wine the first time and I don't think it adds enough to require it going forward (though I do think a pint of Guinness may get used at some point). I consider bay leaves to be innocuous, but use them if you like. If you have thyme in your herb garden, grab some, otherwise you get plenty of flavor without wasting the money on fresh herbs that will just end up withered and ultimately trashed. I use more vegetables than called for in the recipe. And I always use more garlic. Always.

Served with (roasted garlic!) mashed potatoes, short ribs are delicious. The finished product tastes a lot like pot roast...which is really all you've made anyway. This is just another option when you don't feel like the same old Sunday roast.

Shrimp Boil

April 6th, 2011
Shrimp Boil

* 2 lemons, halved, plus wedges for serving
* 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning
* 8 cloves garlic, smashed
* 1 large red onion, quartered
* 6 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 pound baby red potatoes
* 4 ears corn, husked and snapped in half
* 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, unpeeled
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions

Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water and add the squeezed lemon halves. Add the Old Bay, garlic and onion. Tie the thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine and add to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes to the pot and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the corn and cook 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, slice along the back of each shrimp through the shells; remove the veins and rinse the shrimp. Add to the pot, cover and cook until the shrimp curl and are just opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the shrimp and vegetables with a slotted spoon or skimmer to a large bowl. Add the butter and about 1 cup broth to the bowl and toss until the butter is melted. Transfer the shrimp and vegetables to a platter. Serve with the remaining broth, lemon wedges and hot sauce, if desired.
- Foodnetwork

I understand if you are not a fan of peel-and-eat shrimp. But if you are willing to do the extra work...or have someone who will do the work for you...this is a great, summery meal. A lot of the ingredients are expendable and you can play with the seasonings all you want. The only thing that really makes this dish and should not be avoided is the Old Bay seasoning. I added a 12oz beer (Amstel Light, for the curious ones amongst you) and 2 andouille sausages cut into roughly 1-inch pieces. The beer was added to the water at the very beginning and the sausages went in with the corn. I used an 8-quart stock pot for this and it was full to the brim and fed two people (though I eat significantly more than the average person). Now I need a bigger stock pot so that I can make this for friends. The Old Bay added great flavor and a little heat to the dish; my lips tingled a little at the beginning of the meal, but had calmed by the end. With something like a corn bread, this could easily be served for four people.

Old-Time Beef Stew

March 30th, 2011

* 2 pounds stew beef
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 cups water
* 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 clove garlic, peeled
* 1 or 2 bay leaves
* 1 medium onion, sliced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
* 3 large carrots, sliced
* 3 ribs celery, chopped
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.
- Paula Deen

Delicious.

A few modifications to the recipe above:
1) I added 10oz of sliced baby bella mushrooms and they went into the pot at the same time as the carrots and celery.
2) When I added the carrots, celery and mushrooms I added more water to bring the liquid level up to cover everything to try and cook it more evenly.
3) Instead of 1 clove of garlic that is ultimately removed, I used a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic that I left in.
4) I found no need for the cornstarch, I just turned up the heat and reduced what liquid I had.

We will save this recipe and eat this over and over.

Again, delicious.

Steamed Mussels with Leeks, Garlic, Thyme, White Wine, and Butter

June 30th, 2009

* 3 pounds mussels
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
* 1 cup white wine
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Rinse the mussels under cold running water while scrubbing with a vegetable brush. Remove the stringy mussel beards with your thumb and index finger as you wash them. Discard any mussels with broken shells.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables cook down to a pulp, about 5 minutes. Add the mussels and give everything a good toss. Add the white wine. Cover and steam over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the mussels open. Stir occasionally so that all the mussels are in contact with the heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and a drizzle of olive oil to the sauce remaining in the pot and swirl to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.
- Tyler Florence

I had no idea it was this easy to make mussels. You literally put them in a pan with some aromatics and a steaming liquid and a few minutes later they're ready to eat. If it is of any value to you, I substituted shallot for the leeks and probably doubled the amount of garlic in this recipe (mmmmmmm).

I have a friend who makes mussels all the time and his recommendation after we discussed this recipe was to cut the wine with some water. He said that it will tame the wine flavor a little and almost smooth out the taste of the mussels. This is a trick I'll definitely try the next time I make mussels.

I recommend a toasted crusty bread with this recipe.

Shrimp with Garlic Cream Sauce Over Linguine

February 13th, 2009

* 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
* 12 large shrimp, peeled
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
* 8 ounces fresh linguine, cooked and drained
* Salt and pepper

Directions

In a saucepan bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Using a small paring knife, remove the vein along the back of each shrimp and rinse under running water. Add garlic to water and boil for two minutes. Add the shrimp to the water and cook with the garlic for 2-3 minutes. Drain the shrimp and garlic. Peel the garlic and finely chop. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until cream begins to thicken. Stir in parsley, Parmesan and shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over linguine in a large bowl and toss to coat. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan. - Foodnetwork.com

This seemed like an unconventional recipe to me because I do not have much experience in the kitchen. I know only some very basic techniques. But I found this to be a very easy recipe. I know it is cliché, but make sure you have everything prepped and ready to go before you start. With some very short cook times (especially with the shrimp - DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR SHRIMP!) organization is your friend.

This recipe is a shell, as far as I am concerned. It needs something. It is like a cheese pizza - plain is good for some people, others need toppings. Right off the bat I added mushrooms to my linguine. I cooked them separately and added them at the end when I tossed everything together. Roasted tomatoes might be good for this dish. Try some zucchini if you want another veggie.

Instead of 12 large shrimp I got 18 medium shrimp. I like medium shrimp in pasta. That is simply a personal preference. But be sure to shorten your cook time if you use smaller shrimp!

I loved this dish with shrimp, but I look forward to trying this recipe with chicken next time. Aside from how I cook the chicken, it will be a seemless transition into this recipe and good if you have guests who don't like seafood.

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Banana Bread

October 11th, 2008
Banana bread

* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 2 large eggs
* 3 ripe bananas
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

Spread slices with honey or serve with ice cream.
- Food Network

The only way in which I deviated was to exclude one of the three bananas; it got a little gross since I had planned to make this a few days ago. But I will say, however, that this was hands down the best banana bread I've ever eaten. I HIGHLY recommend this recipe. The 15 minutes you let it cool before turning it out will be a very long 15 minutes...

French Toast Casserole

November 24th, 2007

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
Butter, for pan
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 45 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.

Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread over bread as directed above.

(This is a Paula Dean recipe.)

This was a crowd-pleasing breakfast. It was delicious and I am so glad we made it earlier this week. The only things that we did differently from the recipe were to leave off the pecans and use a bigger dish. I was the only one who wanted pecans on it, so I lost this time. But I am definitely curious to try it with the pecans. And I accidentally used my 10x14 dish instead of 9x13 which I am sure changed the dish, but only slightly. There was more than enough to go around, and we would have had leftovers if we hadn't picked at it up until lunch time. It is even good cold.

This is something I will definitely make again.

Chicken Marsala

July 9th, 2007

2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 halves)
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup all purpose flour for dredging
1/4 cup clarified butter
2 small garlic cloves, mashed
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup Florio Sweet Marsala wine
1/8 cup dry white wine
1 Tbls. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbls. whole butter

Step One: Prepare chicken breasts

Remove the tenders from the breasts if they are present, the long finger-like strips. Trim all fat and sinews and remove the thin membrane covering the breasts. Butterfly the breasts starting from the plump lobe side. Press firmly with the palm of your hand to achieve uniform thickness. Do not pound with mallet.

Step Two: Sauté chicken breasts

Place a 10", heavy bottomed sauté pan on high heat and add enough of the clarified butter to coat the bottom. When fat is hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle, immediately dredge the chicken breasts in the flour plate, shake off excess and place in the pan. Add the mushrooms at this point. Shake pan frequently to avoid sticking and continue until bottoms are golden brown. Turn breasts in the pan and reduce heat to medium. Add mashed garlic and immediately deglaze the pan with chicken broth. Chicken broth should be at least 1/2 inch deep in the pan. Add the Marsala wine, dry white wine, and whole butter.

Step Three: The finish

Continue cooking until chicken is done. If all is perfect the pan sauce will form at the same time the chicken and mushrooms are done. If the pan sauce has not yet come together, remove chicken and mushrooms from sauté pan and place on warm plates, turn heat to high and quickly reduce pan sauce to the proper consistency.

- http://www.parshift.com/ovens/Secrets/secrets021.htm

This is the recipe that I modeled my chicken marsala after. It was a great guide which turned out some very tasty results. I varied only slightly.

My local grocer offers chicken breasts that have been pre-sliced to uniform size (offered by a big-name chicken producer), which I like because they save me a little extra work. They worked perfectly for my marsala dish.

I did as directed and dredged the chicken before tossing it into a pan with a light butter coating and lightly cooked it on both sides before adding mushrooms and my sauce (chicken broth, marsala, white cooking wine and garlic). The site from which I grabbed the recipe suggests porcini mushrooms, but I had a limited selection. I opted for shiitake mushrooms which I thought were really great with the dish.

I erred on the side of caution and had my burner over a lower temperature so I wouldn't burn my chicken or the butter which just meant that I had to remove the chicken and reduce my sauce, which was no problem at all. I got a little antsy and didn't reduce as much as I should have, but I know that for next time.

I prefer chicken marsala served over mashed potatoes to pasta, so that was how I served it. If this had been less of a last-minute dinner idea I would have liked to do a red-skin mashed instead of the instant mashed (scoff all you like, I LOVE instant mashed potatoes.) I also roasted some asparagus with olive oil, salt, pepper and a sesame seed finish which I think was more for garnish.

The meal went very well and there were no leftovers, which I took to mean my guests enjoyed the meal. Tips for next time: Reduce the sauce longer and make much more chicken; I was looking forward to those leftovers!

Roasted Garlic Bread

January 7th, 2007

This recipe was available at foodnetwork.com and was taken from an episode of Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello. I wanted to make my own garlic bread, even though the Texas toast available in the freezer aisle of my local grocer is so good. I looked online for a recipe I liked and found that for something as simple as garlic bread, there are an incredible amount of different recipes. Many suggested I use 4 cloves or 6 cloves of garlic. I chose this recipe because it says use 4 HEADS of garlic. I was sold.

4 heads garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped
Grey salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 loaf of good, crusty bread, cut into slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut top from each head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Place heads of garlic (cut side up), on a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Pour olive oil over them, and top with thyme springs. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil tightly. Place in a small ovenproof pan, and bake until the cloves begin to pop out, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool.

To remove the cloves, open the foil and squeeze the lower part of the head of garlic. In a small bowl, mash the cloves to form a paste. (At this point the paste can be used or stored in the refrigerator or freezer.)

Add butter and chopped thyme to the bowl, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Toast both sides of the bread, using a hot grill, grill pan, or broiler. Spread the roasted garlic butter paste onto the toasted bread. Serve immediately.

The only small variation I opted for with this recipe (not including my inability to find grey salt) was to actually sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over each piece of bread once the garlic butter paste had been applied. This recipe was great using the loaf of Italian bread I picked up at my grocer's bakery section. I had slices of mozzarella that were about the size of a silver dollar and maybe 1/4-1/2" thick. Those went great on the pasta, but even better on the bread especially when it was topped with my friend's homemade sauce.

You can bet I will use this recipe again.

Parker's Beef Stew

November 8th, 2006

A Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) recipe.

2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine
2 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.

Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.

This is a good stick-to-your-ribs recipe. It would really be good any time, but it has special magic on a cold night. We served the stew with dinner rolls, but to add to the experience I felt like we should have loaves of bread from which I may tear off a chunk and dunk in my stew. Who even needs silverware?!

I didn't make the stew, otherwise there would have been a few things omitted from the recipe. I am all for peas when first trying a recipe; in a dutch oven full of browned meats and vegetables, I am not necessarily opposed to a little color. Having tried the stew with the peas once, I no longer need them added to any subsequent stews. I also don't require the sun-dried tomatoes or the rosemary. They are unnecessary flavor as far as I am concerned.

My mom made the stew and she commented on how much she preferred browning the beef, vegetables and mushrooms before adding them to the dutch oven. It adds a little extra work in preparation of the meal, but it adds flavor.

I would not be concerned if you decide to make this last minute. I don't think the overnight marinating was essential to the meal. The red wine adds beautiful flavor, but the recipe could be made just as easily without it.

If you open your dutch oven and think the stew looks a little thin, stir it up. Moving the potatoes around should loosen up the starch and thicken the stew without you having to add anything.