Sunday, December 30, 2012
Preparation Time: 1 hour
4 large red onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 quart beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup)
Toast the bread slices on one side until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spread a teaspoon of sun dried tomatoes onto the center of each slice. Ladle the soup into oven proof crocks. Place the crocks into a baking dish or jelly roll pan.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Merry Berry Margaritas
Chipotle Spiced Candied Bacon
Chorizo Hogs in a Blanket
Grilled Shrimp Mini-Tacos
Five Layer Mexican Dip n Chips
Ham and Potato Chip Tortilla
Latin Spiced Tenderloin Sliders
Chipotle Chicken Thighs
Pescado a la Veracruzana
Veggie Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Chopped Salad with Peppery Thousand Island Dressing
Spanish Rice and Sherried Black Beans
Creamy Corn Bread
Chocolate Chipotle Brownies
Salted Caramel Brownies
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried ground chipotle pepper or chili powder
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Le Creuset is, well...a little expensive, but pays for itself in less than a dozen dinners, so good you’ll remember them forever. The background information about this company almost seems like a deleted scene from a movie about Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Creuset translates into simply “cauldron”, and the first one off the French assembly line in 1925 was in the color of flame—because its creators wanted to mimic the vibrant color inside a caldron when it reaches boiling point. Le Creuset has the special glory of being the first kitchenware company to make cast iron pots and pans in a rainbow of enamel glazed colors. You could say they prettied up gray metallic kitchens around the world. I know my Dutch oven has been responsible for its share of smiles on Sunday—and this short ribs dinner couldn’t be a better way to show what it can do.
What happens when you go Dutch?
Some may ask, “why not make short ribs in a slow cooker?” Well, my answer to that is, you definitely could; a slow cooker produces the same result, really, as a Dutch oven and many will turn to the slow cooker because they feel more comfortable leaving the house with it switched on than they would an oven. I do believe, however that a Dutch oven is better at locking in hearty beefy flavors that stand up to robust sauces, like the sweet fire of commingling cinnamon and hot peppers. I think the Dutch oven reduces sauces better, leaving them thicker and juicier—and I also love how you can braise and bake in the same dish when you use one. When you go Dutch, you won’t miss a pan sear as much; you can skip the browning of the meat in a skillet as a first step.
And since we’re using short ribs in this recipe—not side ribs or spare ones—the meat is going to be a little tougher (think top sirloin tough) until it’s slow roasted into the rich, soft texture my own family has seen falling right off their forks when I serve this favorite as a Sunday dinner. And, oh goody, so many more of these days to come! Look how many Sundays between now and forever, that I can bring you my weekly Sunday Best edition! Au Revoir, until we meet again!
Melt in your mouth comfort with a hint of heat. Prepare these ribs in the morning and slow roast in the oven while you enjoy your Sunday afternoon.
8 beef short ribs, about 3 pounds (choose ribs that are thick and meaty)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 cup (or more) unbleached all-purpose flour for dredging
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced, about 1 cup
2 large carrots, diced, about 1 cup
2 medium celery ribs, diced, about 1 cup
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced, about ¼ cup
2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and deveined, diced, about 2 tablespoons
1 750ml bottle red wine
1 quart home made beef broth, or low sodium beef broth
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup chili sauce
1 large chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and diced, about 2 tablespoons
2 cinnamon sticks
Chopped, fresh cilantro
Preheat the oven to 250°. Season the ribs with chili powder, salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large roasting pan) over medium high heat. Dredge each rib in flour, shaking off the excess. Place each rib into the oil and brown on all sides. Remove the ribs to a platter. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and jalapeno to the pan. Cook until the veggies are soft.
Pour in the wine and beef stock. Stir in the tomato paste and chili. Bring the liquid to a boil. Return the ribs and any juices on the platter to the pan. Bury the cinnamon sticks in the sauce.
Cover the Dutch oven with the lid (or place aluminum foil over the pan). Place the pan into the oven and cook until the meat is tender and pulling away from the bone, about 6 to 7 hours.
Remove the pan from the oven. Remove the cover. Place the ribs onto a platter and spoon the sauce over top.
**The good news for this ribs recipe is that it’s easily done in a slow cooker as well. Just reduce the liquid ingredients by half and put the setting on high for about 8 hours.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
That being said, there’s nothing better than home baked cookies. Picture it: a little coffee klatch after church, where there’s a cookie exchange, or better yet, blue winter skies, great smelling cookies straight out of the oven and hence the perfect excuse to take a batch of treats over to a friend. Chocolate, peanut butter, lemon and sugar, ginger bread, oatmeal, cranberry and pecan….the litany of possibilities when it comes to Christmas cookies is longer than that holiday parade you can hear coming down your street.
These cookies are just what you need on a Sunday afternoon. Chewy on the inside and packed with surprises, they are a mouthful of cookie bliss.
2 ¼ cups whole-grain pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup shortening, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon into a bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine the shortening, peanut butter and sugars until smooth. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until all of the ingredients are combined. Stir in the oats, chocolates and nuts.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or you can use Silpat liners). Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons into about a 2-inch ball. Bake until the cookies are golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for several minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
So, word is out on my new project, Sunday Best Dishes, and my heart is full. I couldn’t be more thankful for the loyal friends who are testing the recipes inspired by those Sunday inspirations we all, whether we realize it or not, bring home to our kitchens. The muse I’m talking about struck me in an Italian restaurant, on a recent cold night. I came up with an idea for what to serve the night your Christmas tree goes up. It’s tradition in our home to invite friends and family over for some gnoshing and decorating on the heels of Thanksgiving, and I wanted to change things up a bit from standing rib roast and creamed spinach.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 fennel bulb, tops trimmed, cored and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 1 tablespoon
3 cups ciabatta, crusts removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano plum tomatoes
4 cups good quality chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red wine
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Prep Time: Slow cook the meat up to 5 hours; actual hands on time, about 15 minutes
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 large shallots thinly sliced
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Sunday, October 7, 2012
P.S. Nothing wrong with paying a local treat shop to do all this—I love the Confectionary at Disney that lets you custom create your candied apple! But if you decide to save a ton of $$ and make your own, feel free to write me with your experience. And don’t forget to count the apples in the Charlie Brown special! I think the party dunks for a few…
Prep time: about 30 minutes
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
• Nuts of all varieties
• Chia seeds (for fiber)
• Beans of all varieties
• Non diary milks (i.e. almond or soy)
• Nutritional yeast
Juice from 1 large lemon, about 2 tablespoons
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
½ teaspoon yellow mustard
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon coarse pepper
1 large English cucumber, diced into ¼-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced, about ½ cup
½ cup chopped, fresh Italian parsley
½ cup chopped fresh mint
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I don’t review cookbooks, so much as act them out—so when I fell in love with Adam Perry Lang’s best seller Charred & Scruffed, I asked my cousins, who were visiting me for one last vacation this summer, to come on out to the Blue Ridge Mountains to taste some truly inspired PREMIUM barbecue. You could say we were the GRILLS next door; these ladies and cherished friends traveled far to be with me, so of course we had to make the most of it. When we get together it’s not about site seeing or shopping, it's about gabbing, gossiping and goofing around. What made our conversation flow better than anything? I’d say a few good sips of wine and a couple of over-the top meals helped.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and I needed—as a meat lover—to read something by a fellow carnivorous foodie. While I used many of Adam Perry Lang’s techniques to create this most memorable dish, it did of course feature my own twists and tweaks. Sunday Best Grilled Tenderloins were born. It’s an entrée that’s going to star in an upcoming cookbook I’m writing about meals that are best reserved for those lazy Sundays after church. You know…those uber-laid back weekends where friends who identify with your love of fire, salt and meat gather round the grill. I love those Sundays. Before long you’ve got the whole neighborhood jealous of those heavenly wood smoke smells coming from your backyard.
My grilled tenderloins, pictured above, are EXTREME in flavor, tenderly brined and skillfully basted; these are simply the best pork tenderloins you will ever slice; served with creamed spinach and au gratin potatoes; in these you have a pig that tastes like a Kobe steer!
For side-dishes (what my muse Adam Perry Lang calles “co-stars”), I served creamy cheesy au gratin potatoes and velvety creamed spinach. My niece, present for this Extreme BBQ gave me this compliment: “No one does au gratin like J-Mo.” Aw, thanks Megan. Of the pork tenderloin, my sweet girl also enthused:
“It was juicy and tender with loads of flavor. She tried this new brine and board-dressing technique where you baste the brined meat on the grill with butter and garlic using a brush made of tied together sage, rosemary, thyme (and other herbs) then finely chop herb, garlic and the juice of a lemon on the board you leave the meat to rest on. Once you take the meat off the grill you roll the tenderloin(s) in the herbs and then let it rest and soak up the flavoring.”
Megan isn’t the only one I wanna thank. The whole crew deserves a round of applause for their tirelessness at clean-up. The dishes were sky-high after our over-the-top feast, but all of us cousins rose to the occasion like an enactment from The Big Chill, blasting “I’ve Had the Time of my Life” from my husband’s iPod . I didn’t know it was possible to dance and dry dishes at the same time—at least without breaking any. Thanks again for making everything sparkle after such a stupendously messy and delicious meal; it certainly wasn’t the only chargrilled indulgence that weekend: we also had (pictured above left) Grilled Rib Eye & asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, and spicy onion rings. For dessert there was ice box cake, and you’ll have to private message me to get my sister’s family recipe.
That’s all for now. Enjoy the food porn, and have a great rest of the week!
¼ cup coarse salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
8 cups water
1 large lemon, sliced
4 fresh bay leaves
1 large head of garlic, cloves peeled
4 (8 to 10-ounce) pork tenderloins
Place the salt, sugar and peppercorns into a large pot. Pour in the water. Add the lemon, bay leaves and garlic cloves. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cool to room temperature. Place the tenderloins into the brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. (You can alternatively place the tenderloins into a large plastic bag and pour the brine over top.)
½ cup butter, 1 stick
8 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 3 tablespoons
1 bunch of mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage leaves, oregano, parsley, mint)
2 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 teaspoons coarse salt
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the garlic. Remove from the heat.
Tie the herbs together at one end to make an herb brush. You will be dipping this herb brush into the butter.
Remove the tenderloins from the brine and pat dry. Rub the seasonings into the meat, using the herb brush.
Heat an outdoor grill. Place the tenderloins onto the grill. Carefully brush the tops with the herb brush, dipped in butter. The fire will flare, so be careful. Turn the tenderloins every 3 to 5 minutes, a quarter of a turn, and baste with butter. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 135°.
Pour the remaining butter baste onto a wood cutting board. Chop the (now cooked) herbs on the board. Remove stems. Transfer the tenderloins to the board. Turn to coat with herbs and butter baste. Cover with foil and rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut the tenderloins into thin, diagonal slices.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Add the kidney beans to the salad bowl.