Monday, November 30, 2009

No more turkey...SHORT RIBS!!!


I had some short ribs in the freezer and I was sick of turkey. What can I make? Well Dr Food came up with a recipe from "Simple to Spectacular" It was the Stewed Short Rib with Marrow Butter. Of course I couldn't do the simple. I HAD to do the spectacular.


It entailed soaking and then simmering the bone marrow to make a compound butter.

It came out great!


The other dish I made was out of the new Paula Wolfert book "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking" It was Potato Gratin with Julienne of Mushrooms and Comte Cheese. I have to say that potatoes are my favorite food other than artichokes. This dish was awesome.


So it ended up being a really fantastic dinner.


Stewed Short Ribs with marrow butter
Simple to Spectacular
Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman

2 Tbl neutral oil, such as canolaor grapeseed
3 Tbl butter
4lbs short ribs
1 lrg onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 lrg carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
4 lrg cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bottle fruity but sturdy red wine, such as Cotes du Rhone or Zinfandel
3 branches thyme
4 stems parsley
1 bay leaf
4 oz marrow, cut into slices
2 Tbl minced shallots
3 Tbl roughly chopped basil
3 Tbl roughly chopped chives
3 Tbl roughly chopped chervil
3 Tbl roughly chopped parsley
2 Tbl butter, softened
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1. Put a tablespoon each of the oil and butter in a deep heavyskillet or casserole and turn the heat to high. Brown the ribs well on all sides, seasonig well with salt and pepper as they cook; this will take about 20 minutes. Remove the ribs, pour out and discard the fat, and wipe out the pan.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and anther tablespoon of butter in the pan, turn the heat to medium-high, and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, a large pinch of salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the red wine, thyme, parsley stems and bay leaf to the pan and bring to a boil; add the ribs, cover, and put in the oven. Cook until the meat is very tender and falling from the bone, about 3 hours; turn the meat once or twice an hour.

4. Meanwhile, soak the marrow in cold salted water to cover for 2 hours. Bring a pot of water to a bol and add the marrow; cook very gently for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain.

5. Put 1 tablespoon butter in a small skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the shallots, along with a pinch of salt, and cook stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Putthis in a small food processor with 2 tablespoons of each of the herbs, the marrow, and the softened butter and puree. Add salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste.

6. Transfer the ribs to a platter. Strain the vegetables and liquid, pressing hard on the vegetables to extract all of their juices, into another large pan and refrigerate (and then remove fat that comes to surface) or reheat (I used a separator cup to remove the fat). Bring to a boil and stir in the marrow butter; whisk until slightly thickened, then add the ribs. Heat the ribs through, adjust the seasoning as necessary, and serve, garnished with the remaining herbs.

You can be spectacular too!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Vegetable tarte tatin was winner of my Thanksgiving


There was turkey and it was great.


There was stuffing and it was great (actually Dr. Food's favorite part of Thaksgiving)


There were green beans that I sauteed with ginger and garlic.

As far as *I* am concerned the best dish was the Vegetable tarte tatin that I made for our friend the vegan.


I absolutely loved this dish. I think our friend did too. It came out of a book I bought on a clearance rack and I wasn't sure if it would have the taste I wanted but it surpassed my expectations.

Vegetable tarte tatin
The Ultimate Book of Vegan Cooking
Tony and Yvonne Bishop-Weston

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant sliced lengthways
1 lrg red bell pepper seeded and cut into long strips
10 tomatoes
2 red shallots, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves crushed
2/3 C white wine
2 tsp fresh basil (I used Herbes de Provence) because I didn't have basil
2 C cooked brown long grain rice
1/3 C pitted black olives (I didn't use these because they didn't seem to go)
12 oz Vegan puff pastry (I bought already made and it was fine)
ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Heat the sunflower oil with 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant slices, in batches if necessary, for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. As each slice softens and browns, lift it out and drain on several sheets of paper towel to remove as much oil as possible.

2. Add the pepper strips to the oil remaining in the pan, turning them to coat. Cover the pan wit a lid or foil and sweat the peppers over a medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes., stirring occasionally, until the pepper strips are soft and flecked with brown.

3. Slice two of the tomatoes using a sharp knife and set aside.

4. Plunge the remaining tomatoes into boling water for 30 seconds, then drain. Peel off the skins, cut them into quarters and remove the core and seeds. Chop them roughly.

5. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the shallots and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until softened.

6. Stir in the white wine and the fresh basil (or whatever herbs you like), with black pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the cooked rice and olives, making sure they are well distributed.

7. Arrange the tomato slices, cooked eggplant slices and peppers in a single layer over the base of a heavy, 12" shallow ovenproof dish. Spread the rice mixture on top.

8. Roll out the puff pastry to a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the dish and place it on top of the rice. Tuck the edges of the pastry circle down inside the dish.

9. Bake the tatin for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden an risen. Leave to cool slightly, then invert the tart on to a large, warmed serving plate.

You have to try this. It is really really good.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tday and counting


Started cooking last night for Tday and had to have dinner. Just couldn't stand having any more poultry than what was already coming at me. So, we had sea bass and man was it good. Pan seared it and had some wild rice. Yum.


Wasn't going to drag out the china for 4 of us but then decided "Hey, it is Thanksgiving and you need to get into the spirit and be Thankful and quit moping because your family isn't around". So I took out the China and set the table.


Now what made me buy a 24.5 lb turkey for 4 people (one of which is a vegan and won't be eating it)? I guess it is because I always buy a big bird because I always have tons of people on Thanksgiving. Leftovers are good and it is a local bird and fresh fresh fresh.


So what I do to make this bird (learned it from my ex mother in law) is that I soak cheesecloth in butter (shut up, Thanksgiving is all about butter) and drape it on the bird and baste baste baste.

Stay tuned and you will see perfection...


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A little umami simmered chicken


I haven't made this dish in a long time but it is a recipe my sis gave me years ago (like in the 80's). I have no idea where she got the recipe. Through the years I made this a lot. Especially when my kids were small. I kicked it up a notch with homemade umami catsup. It was originally made with regular catsup.


Simmered Chicken
1 whole chicken
1 tbl oil

1/3 C soy sauce
1/ C brown sugar
1/2 C water
2 tbl catsup ***
1/4 C dry sherry or apple juice
1/2 to 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove minced
1 green onion thinly sliced

***Umami Catsup
1/4 C cider vinegar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 can tomato paste
1 tsp salt
2 tsp tamari
2 tsp worcestershire
2 tsp oyster sauce
2 anchovies mashed into paste
Simmer over low heat.

2 tbs corn starch
1 tbs water
2 tsp sesame seeds

Heat oil and brown chicken on all sides. Mix next 8 ingredients and pour on chicken. Cover and simmer 45 minutes ( turn chicken halfway through) or until juices run clear and chicken in cooked through. Remove chicken and skim fat from sauce. Mix corn starch in water and add to sauce. Cook stirring until thickened. Spoon onto chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds

You can use regular catsup if you feel like it. I don't think making my own made that much difference.


I served with brown rice and some sauteed chard. Good dinner.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

There are a few things I love about New England


It isn't often that I fess up about something that I like about New England. But here it is. We were wandering around showing Evan some stuff and decided to stop at the farm that I found a few months ago. I love this place. They sell their own beef and pork and their own bake goods. They also have beautiful produce and local cheeses. Oh the milk!!! Fresh milk. I couldn't resist and I bought some bacon from there and also some eggnog. We all agreed that it was the best egg nog that we ever tasted.


I loved the bottle. Nevermind it was 7.00 egg nog it was worth it!

If you are ever in Littleton (ok, for most of you that won't happen) you HAVE to go here!


oh yeah.... the bacon was killer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evan is visiting


When Evan was a kid I would make him the same orange rolls (Pillsbury of course) every Saturday morning. He wanted the same damn orange rolls. So, yesterday I knew that he would be here this morning and I made some orange rolls. He probably is over it but *I* have this need to keep treating my kids like they are kids. It is for me not them.


Orange Rolls
Recipe adapted from Chickens in the Road

One-loaf Grandmother Bread recipe
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar*
(Optional add-ins: 1/3 cup oil, 1 egg)
4-5 cups flour
*If you have a sweet tooth, add up to 1/3 cup sugar to the dough instead of 2 tablespoons.

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt, along with oil and egg, if using. Let sit five minutes. Stir in first cup and a half cup of flour with a heavy spoon. Add more flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again. Roll out onto a floured surface into an approximately 15 x 8 rectangle.

For the filling, spread a combination of 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter (softened), 4 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons orange juice, and 1 teaspoon orange extract or orange peel. For an orange glaze on top, stir together 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice (I used more), and 1/4 teaspoon orange extract or orange peel (I used more).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another day another lamb!


Cooked dinner for the neighbors last night. We decided to go with a leg of lamb. Made slits and filled them with butter that had been smashed with anchovies. Recipe has been posted here before and believe me it was even better this time than the last.

Dessert? I never make dessert but I couldn't seem to pass this one up. It was a trifle. Yum! It was excellent.


Apple and ginger trifle
from Pure Simple Cooking
Diana Henry

1 1/2 lbs baking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
5 tbsp water
1/2 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 know preserved ginger in syrup, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp ginger syrup from the jar (I couldn't find so I used candied ginger (I chopped up a good clump of it) and 1 tbl of ginger perserves)
22 ginger snaps, plus 2 extra cookies, crushed for decoration
3 tbsp whiskey
1/2 C shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped, plus a few extra for decoration
6 tbsp greek-style yogurt
6 tbsp confectioners sugar

1. Put the apples and water in a pan with the brown sugar and chopped ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring a little to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the apples have completely collapsed and the mixture is quite thick. If your mixture is too runny, keep simmering and it will thicken as it reduces. Add the ginger syrup and leave to cool completely.

2. Coarsely break up the ginger snaps. Sprinkle the whiskey on them and mix with the walnuts. Whip the cream, beating in the yogurt, and add the confectioners sugar.

3. Layer the components in a large glass bowl or in small glasses, finishing with some cream. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or until the following day. Just before serving, sprinkle on the reserved ginger snaps and walnuts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The dog kept me honest


My last dinner before Dr. Food came home was healthy and simple. The dog kept me on the straight and narrow by shooting me dirty looks.


So, I chopped up some scallion, lemongrass, bell pepper, and mushrooms. I browned up some ground pork and added the vegetables. When done, I ate them in lettuce. Yum, how ordinary.


Next morning I was up to old tricks. I had to have one more egg.


Put it on an english muffin that I had melted cheese on and I was good to go.


What did I make for Dr. Food's coming home dinner? Some chicken and potatoes. I figured simple was best. Then again, I couldn't stand the dog judging me anymore.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The end of guilty cooking OR My dog is a snitch.


So, I was trying to come up with what savory thing I would be making for my last night alone. I found a perfect Bacon, lettuce, EGG and cheddar sandwhich from Thomas Keller. I thought of a dozen other things that would be just as tasty. One more egg on the list! I am drinking coffee and minding my own business when my dog comes sauntering in with this sign around her neck... there goes the plan. I guess it will be a healthier option for tonight (good thing too because even the treadmill won't help me out if I keep going at this rate).

In the meantime I did have some good stuff. Tuesday night my neighbor invited me over for homemade chicken noodle soup. It was requested that I make a bread. I did. I made Monkey bread and this recipe from was a winner!


A really simple recipe that yielded great results


So what to do for dinner on Wen. night? I have been drooling over a recipe that I got from my new friend (shut up it IS a friend if you know of each other on the internet!). It is Kimchee Fried Rice and I got it from Short and Bald Eat New York and it is one of my new favorite Guilty Cooking recipes. I think that Dr Food might like this one (if I leave off the egg).


Ingredients (2 Servings): Kimchi 1 cup. Pork 1/2 cup or more according to your taste (you can also use beef or ham instead of pork), 2 Tbl cooking oil, 1 TBL sesame oil, 1/2 TBL sugar, 1/2 TBL sesame seeds.

1. Chop up your kimchi and pork. Save the spicy liquid from the kimchi for later.
2. Add cooking oil (2 spoons) and sesame oil (1 spoon). Once it’s hot, add kimchi, pork, sugar (1/2 spoon) and sesame seeds. Stir fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Add the spicy kimchi liquid you saved, and the rice, and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
4. It’s all done! Add a fried egg, tomato, cucumber or anything you’d like to put top, or on the side for extra flavor, color and texture.

I LOVE it I LOVE it!!!!

Ok, I have to go deal with the back stabbing pooch. I guess I will be having lettuce wraps for dinner. Argh.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guilty eating: Day 2


So day 2 turned out to be not as fun as day 1. First day that Dr. Food goes away isn't so bad and it is fun to be cooking anything I want and not worrying about what he will find tasty. Day 2 gets to be self indulgent and not quite as fun. So, I was not quite as inspired to be cooking. I did find the time to try out the tasty Millionaire Shortbread that I found on FoodBuzz. London Foodie in New York had posted these. At first they looked good but I wasn't quite sure they would be for me. When they were done I was really surprised at how much I loved them. I know that my neighbors loved them too because I saw them eat them and smile right in front of me.


This brings me to dinner. Um, ok, let me just say that my mom used to make this for us when I was a kid. You might find it a bit disgusting but I love it. It is a stuffed potato mixed with tuna.

(if I haven't already lost you on this one)

Bake a potato. Scoop out the inside. Mix butter into the potato that you just scooped out. Mix with tuna and whatever else you want. Dump a bunch of cheese on top and return to oven for about 10 minutes. Yum or Argh depending on how you look at it.

So that bring us to the end of day 2. Oh yeah there was the phone call from India where I talk so fast to get everything out to tell him because I have been talking to myself all day. There are no periods to my sentences in these calls.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guilty cooking day 1

So Dr Yarn is out of town again. He is in India. While he is chowing down on exotic Indian food I am eating "stuff". This is stuff that he wouldn't eat if here were at home but that I find pure comfort food. It almost always consists of something with a fried egg on top.

I started off with roasting stuff.


Moved on to the fried egg (ok, so I don't have the PERFECT fried egg for the PERFECT photo op but it was just my dinner that I was really going to eat...don't get me started).


Voila! Comfort on a plate.


Spanish Sweet Potato with Chorizo, Peppers, and Fried Egg
From the book Pure Simple Cooking by Diana Henry
Serves 2


2 sweet potatoes
1 red onion, halved and cut into half-moon-shaped slices
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into wide strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into wide strips
~ Olive oil
1½ tsp. pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
¼ tsp. ground cumin
~ Salt and pepper
8 oz. chorizo, cut into thick rounds
4 oz. bacon or pancetta, cut into meaty chunks
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks — you don’t have to peel them — and put in a small roasting pan with the onion and bell peppers. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and the pimentón, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir the vegetables until they’re coated in oil and spices. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender and slightly charred.
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and cook the chorizo and bacon until colored. Turn the heat down, add the garlic, and cook for another minute. Add all this to the cooked vegetables. Stir in the chopped herbs.
Heat a little more oil in the same frying pan and fry the eggs. Serve the sweet-potato mixture topped with the fried eggs.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sort of a weird day but there were carrots


I sat outside this morning drinking my coffee and looking around me. I saw with joy that it was sunny and beautiful and with dread that the leaves were all off the trees (for the most part) and on my lawn. I looked over to my vegetable garden and realized that it was over. As I walked over to check it out I saw that I forgot to pull up the carrots. I did so and to my surprise they looked great. This got me thinking of what to do with them. Soup. I made a ginger carrot soup.


I would love to tell you that it was wonderful but truth of the matter was it tasted like baby food. Argh. I hated it.


So, I won't be giving you a recipe but I will leave you with this. It is how I felt realizing that the vegetables were going going gone.

Oh, I did get some brussel sprouts out of the garden too. Pretty pathetic but I am thankful for the handful. Ok, I am going to go have a drink...


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wanted to be nice


Dr Food was leaving for India today so last night I decided to make him his comfort food. Don't get me wrong, his favorite food is Indian food but I knew that he was going to eat a weeks worth so I thought that making his comfort food was a good idea. He is from Texas and I knew that his Granny used to make him chicken and dumplings. So, that is what I set out to do. Coming from a totally different background, this isn't something that is familiar to me.

I started off by boiling a chicken to make a rich broth. In with the chicken and 3 quarts water I put in carrots, onions, leeks, parsnips, celery garlic, and bay leaves. I also had salt in there. I let it simmer for 2 hours.


This made around 6 cups of stock. I let cool and then skimmed. I then boned the chicken when it cooled off.


Next use 1 TBL oil and 1 TBL butter and add a couple chopped carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves and sauted until soft. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in 6 C of the chicken stock, 1 C at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add some frozen peas.

Let sauce thicken for about 15 minutes.

While sauce is thickening I made the dumplings. I used a Tyler Florence recipe for the dumplings and also to see how he thickens the sauce.


2C all purpose flour
1 TBL baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C buttermilk

Sift the dry ingredients together (oops, *I* didn't sift) in a large bowl. In a small bowl, using a whisk, lightly beat the eggs and buttermilk together; pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix until the dough comes together. It is a soft dough.

Meanwhile fold the shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Remove the bay leaves and season to taste.

Damn, I just realized that the directions I am giving you sound like my grandmothers recipe directions. Lucky you I didn't say "use a handful".


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Anniversary Dinner!


It was our anniversary yesterday and I wanted to make a dinner for Dr Food. We were suppose to go to Clink for dinner but I just didn't have it in me to drive into the city. The restaurant looks cool. It is in the old prison in Boston and they have done amazing things to it to make it into a swank hotel. The restaurant is suppose to be cool.

So instead, I made Dr Foods favorites. I started off with "Inside Out Carrot Cake"


Inside Out Carrot Cake

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
1 scant cup walnuts (3 ounces), chopped
1/2 cup raisins (2 1/2 ounces)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup honey

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 2 baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, nuts, and raisins at low speed, then add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons batter per cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch, 12 to 16 minutes total. Cool cookies on sheets on racks 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

While cookies are baking, blend cream cheese and honey in a food processor until smooth.

Sandwich flat sides of cookies together with a generous tablespoon of cream cheese filling in between.

I then tried to think of what he loves that we never eat on a regular basis. Oxtails! I made oxtails. I found the recipe in the "Blue Ginger" cookbook. I have to say that this dish was awesome.


This dish was not hard to make at all. Takes some time but it was well worth it.


I wanted something simple to go with it so I found a recipe for lemon scented rice to go with it. It also came out of the same cookbook. The Oxtails were suppose to be served with Preserved Lemon Polenta but I don't like polenta so I made the rice instead.



The dinner was a huge success.


Savory Braised Oxtail

12 oxtails
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
1/4 cup salt
1/8 cup black pepper
2 chopped onions
2 chopped fennel
1/2 stalk chopped celery
1 large chopped carrot
10 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4 stalks lemon grass, white part only, pounded and minced
2 cups red wine
8-ounce can of Roma tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Water to cover oxtails
Mix flour, chile, salt and pepper and coat oxtails well. In a hot stock pot, coat bottom with oil and sear oxtails until all sides are browned. Pull out oxtails and wipe out stock pot. Saute onions, fennel, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger and lemon grass. Deglaze with wine and reduce. Add tomatoes, soy, thyme and bay. Add water to completely cover meat. Check for seasoning: the broth should taste well seasoned. Bring to boil then simmer on low heat for 3 hours. The meat should fall off of the bone. Remove oxtails and reduce sauce by 20 percent. Using a hand blender, puree sauce. Check for seasoning.

Lemon Basmati Rice

4 Scallion stalks; white part
Save green parts for another
1 tb Canola oil
2 c Basmati rice; washed until
Water is clear
2 lg Ginger slices
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ts Salt
1 pn White peppercorn
2 1/2 c Chicken stock

In a saucepan, saute scallions and zest in oil. Add rice and ginger and saute for 3 minutes. Add zest, juice, salt, pepper and chicken stock, cover and bring to boil. Turn down and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Pull off of heat and let stand for another 25 minutes with cover still on.