Monday, February 28, 2011

2/27/11 Menus

Lentils, spinach, broccoli, bazlama *

short ribs in red wine and port *
mashed white potatoes
mashed sweet potatoes with chopped clementines

Garlic Chicken - Submerge chicken in a strong garlic-olive oil infusion, then coat with Parmesan and bread crumbs for a quick and sublime baked chicken.
Pancetta Green Beans
bread *

Ma Po Tofu
white rice *

leftovers *

leftovers *

Short Ribs in Red Wine and Port - French Fridays with Dorie

I almost didn't make this dish because time was running short and I didn't have a chance to go to the market and, and, and... Well, I had the family with me and we were having a fruit emergency so I ran into the market for apples & a mango while everyone waited in the car. I was so close to what I needed, yet I didn't have my list, so, running around the market like a crazy woman, I grabbed the apples, mango, then a few bananas. I ran over to the meat section to see if they had short ribs. They didn't, but they did have beef spare ribs and I couldn't resist. I got enough for 1/2 a recipe - there are only 2.5 of us, so the full recipe would have been much too much. I got some ginger, tomato paste, and looked at the fresh herb selection and decided to use dried. What I forgot was the gremolata, and the onions, and the celery!

The reheating - still lots of fat
Ok, excuses all aside, I decided to go ahead with what I had and get it to be hot on the table for dinner tonight. I browned the ribs in the pot instead of broiling and used the drippings to saute the vegetables I had - no celery, but found cippolini onions and quartered them. From there I basically stuck to the recipe - wine, port, herbs, star anise, etc. I braised the ribs in the oven for about 2 hours, then cooled the ribs on the stove for a bit before putting them in the fridge.

Gremolata components
My plan was to slow cook them until they were tender because I had to work and wouldn't be home to supervise. What I didn't want to do was dry it out. So, when the Academy Awards ended, I remembered the ribs and scrambled to get them in the slow cooker. This worked out perfectly because I was able to take off all the solidified fat, which was my original goal. I put the ribs on warm and they cooked until I got up at 5:30 am. The house smelled wonderful! I turned off the cooker, let them cool, moved them back to the original pot, and put it back in the fridge. When I got home after work, I added some baby carrots and heated it up on the stove while making the mashed white & sweet potatoes, and gremolata (with cilantro purchased today).

the evening's waitress
the finished product

So this is a recipe I'll certainly make again. Next time I'd like to get grass-fed short ribs and make this for company, maybe with risotto and roasted vegetables on the side.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pastry Time

Shaping and filling the danish. I made 2 rounds of the danish. The first I worked the dough a little before rolling it. The second time I put more flour on the counter and didn't work any further into the dough, trying to keep the butter pieces bigger. I don't think there was that much of a difference. Next time I'm going to try laminating - layering the butter and then folding the dough over, rolling it out, and refrigerating between folding/rolling sessions. It seems as though that's the only way to really get the flakiness. Or maybe I'll just use bigger pieces of butter and see if that works. The recipe I used, I like, because it doesn't use so much butter, but then not enough butter and it's not flaky. I suppose if it was butterier, I may be satisfied with eating much less. These tasted so good though, I could hardly stop and have to give them away to get them out of the house!

Making the almond filling:
My sister's homemade almond paste and confectioner's sugar

Now it's time to add the egg, vanilla and (I'd recommend) almond extract.

The final filling

Rolled out dough, after doing a few kneads.

For the first round, I made a few different types;
* frozen raspberries (picked last summer) and bittersweet chocolate
* raspberries, chocolate & almond filling
* almond filling & raspberries
* almond filling

Filled & waiting to rise. Using the raspberries from the freezer slowed down the rise. Took me a while to realize why it was taking so long! I wasn't sure if I would ever make these again, so I wanted to try out several different shapes.
shapes: envelopes and spandauer (I think)
More shapes - triangle twists
The finished pastry - texture may not have been crispy/flaky, but they tasted incredible.

This is the second batch. For these I made:
* bearclaws/cockscombs with almond filling
* cheese danish filled with honey sweetened cream cheese and dried bing cherries (reconstituted)

I believe either the filling should have been just the almond paste? or at least I should have used less. Some did squish out, but the filling tasted great.
After filling, you put egg wash on the exposed dough and fold the dough over the filling. I gently pushed down on all sides to seal.
The next step is to fold the other side over, toward the filling side. At least this is how I think this is supposed to be done. The instructions I found were not completely clear, but I wanted to actually make these and not spend any more time researching!
After flipping so the seam is on the bottom, you cut the "toes". I liked more cuts, so mine turned into the cockscomb shape instead.
Finished and awaiting the rise.
Ta da!

Recent Meals

Shrimp, broccoli rabbe & pea shoots w/ garlic

snap peas, garlic, baby artichokes & meyer lemons, await being roasted

Valentine's Dinner - homemade fettuccini w/ light alfredo, roast vegetables, and shrimp scampi
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cappuccino Cheesecake

Last holiday season our church had a group effort to make and sell cheesecakes. This one was mine. It didn't get sold, but was finally eaten, and apparently enjoyed, during a Valentine's dance at the church. It was a great recipe and so easy. Topped with a bit of ganache & chocolate covered espresso beans.
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Danish Pastry

Found a simple recipe on today for Marzipan Christmas Kringle. I made the dough today. Didn't have heavy cream, so used half and half and skim milk for the "milk". We'll see how it turns out. It's really a corner-cutting recipe because the butter is added to the dough and not folded into it, as traditional dough recipes call for. Had to find something worthy of my sister's homemade almond paste she gave me the other day. I have tons of it and can't wait to see how this turns out. I'm going to make the almond filling from Beatrice Ojakangas' site. And as I'm reading Beatrice's danish page, I see the exact recipe I found from allrecipes! So, tomorrow morning I'll make the filling & pastries.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Panetta Green Beans - French Fridays with Dorie

Just started participating in "French Fridays with Dorie" and this week the assignment was to make her panetta green beans. Last week I had bought a bag of frozen haricot vert at Trader Joes, so this first recipe was a quick, simple way to ease into the schedule. One problem was that I couldn't find very good quality panetta at my local market so I had to settle for a thinly sliced version containing nitrates, which i'd rather do without. However, the finished product was excellent. Everyone loved it, including my vegetable-challenged daughter. Taking Dorie's suggestion, I drizzled with a little walnut oil. I can't wait to see how this tastes when I can get better panetta.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2/19/11 Menus

Fresh Semolina and Egg Pasta
Hot Italian Sausage Sauce
Green beans and pancetta (Dorie Greenspan)

Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops
Stir-Fried Kale and Broccoli Florets
Jasmine rice

Kabocha Squash stuffed with rice, pancetta, cheese (Dorie Greenspan)
Vegetarian Moroccan Stew

Spinach Simmered in Yogurt -
Bazlama - Turkish Flat Bread

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2/12/11 Menus

Lunch - tomato soup * Main Dish
Lunch - Gorgonzola crackers * Side Dish

Maria's Broccoli Rabe
Side Dish
Prep 20 min | Cook 20 min | Ready in 40 Minutes

Pan-fry slices of Meyer lemon with baby artichokes * Appetizers

Fresh Semolina and Egg Pasta
Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce * Main Dish
shrimp scampi * Main Dish
steamed sugar snap peas * Appetizers

Moroccan Chicken with Green Olives and Lemon Recipe at *
couscous * Side Dish

Hot dogs in crescent rolls * Appetizers
baked beans * Appetizers
broccoli * Appetizers

Pea Shoots and Chicken in Garlic Sauce
Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops
Baked Sweet Potatoes * Appetizers
Couscous * Appetizers

Brussels Sprouts in Mustard Sauce
Harvest Burgers * Appetizers