Friday, February 28, 2014

The Week in Review

Okay it has been one of those weeks. Blogging was not going to take place at night this week so we have the week in review.

Monday was a dinner that I have not made in a while. Roasted Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Potatoes. No leftovers!

Tuesday was a recipe that I had posted on Pinterest a while back and finally got around to making. Pancetta, White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pie. "Not bad," I believe that is what Chris said. And it was good. The sauce and the chard went together perfectly. And the crust, well of course that was good! The recipe was from Smitten Kitchen. Click here to view the recipe.

Wednesday was the return of an all time favorite - Pasta with Meat Sauce. I think this may have been the first time we have had it this year. Honestly, between being sick right after Christmas and then screwing up my hand, I feel like I hardly cooked this year!

Friday night. Worked from home today, so I had time to make a nice dinner. Chicken with Bacon and Leeks, and Roasted Brussel Sprouts. I do not usually add cream but I happened to have it in the fridge. So good and it tasted just like Nancy Lee's. Chris loved tonight's dinner!

And let's end the week, this crazy week, with a photo of Lucy...
Happy Friday!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Short Rib Pot Pie

Tonight's dinner was on the cover of this month's Bon Appetit magazine. I cannot fully describe the way the house smelled while the short ribs were on the stove. Intoxicating might work. I fixed the filling and the crust last night. Today I put it all together. I was able to remove the fat from the top of the pan and also when I shredded the meat with a fork I was able to take off all the excess fat. This is a smile inducing recipe. And I made enough for 2 meals, gotta love that freezer! The crust was basically the pate brise recipe I always use, but flaky enough. The whole dish tasted very clean and not fatty. I even ended up with 2 cups of broth that I popped in the freezer for another day.

From Bon Appetit, Short Rib Pot Pie

Ingredients -

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup vegetable shortening

Filling and Assembly

3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2” pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 10-Oz. Package frozen pearl onions, thawed 
4 garlic cloves, chopped (no I did not add it)

2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme, plus 2 Tbsp. Chopped thyme
Sea salt
Heavy cream (for brushing)

Method -

Pulse flour and salt in a food processor; add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Transfer flour mixture to a large bowl and drizzle with ½ cup ice water. Mix with a fork until dough just comes together.
Knead dough lightly, adding more water by the tablespoonful if needed, until no dry spots remain (dough will be slightly shaggy but moist). Form into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
DO AHEAD: Crust can be made 2 days ahead; keep chilled.

Filling and assembly
Preheat oven to 375°. Season short ribs with kosher salt and pepper; toss with ½ cup flour on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, shake excess flour from ribs and cook, turning occasionally, until deeply browned, 8–10 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl.

Add onions to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown; season with kosher salt and pepper and, using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small bowl. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic to pot, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened in color, 5–8 minutes. Add wine, rosemary, and thyme sprigs, bring to a boil, and cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is reduced by half, 8–10 minutes. Add 6 cups water to pot and bring to a boil.

Return short ribs to pot; season with kosher salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until short ribs are almost falling apart and the liquid is thick enough to lightly coat a spoon, 2½–3 hours.

Add onions and chopped thyme to pot and stir to break up short ribs; season filling with kosher salt and pepper. Remove herb sprigs.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ⅛” thick. Transfer filling to a shallow 2-qt. baking dish. Place over filling and trim, leaving overhang. Tuck edges under and crimp. Cut a few slits in crust. Brush with cream and sprinkle with sea salt. Alternatively, you can use 8 individual dishes. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake pot pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, 50–60 minutes (35–40 minutes for smaller dishes). Let sit 5–10 minutes before serving.
DO AHEAD: Filling can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat gently before assembling pie.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Skillet Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Caesar

Hey it was 40 degrees out today! I went grocery shopping without a coat on! Yeah I was nervous the whole time thinking, "This is how you get sick!"

For dinner tonight we had Skillet Pork Chops with Warm Escarole Caesar. The recipe is from Food and Wine. Did I see someone eating escarole! The pork chops were cooked perfectly. The escarole and radishes were a perfect side. I did use less anchovies then the recipe called for but that was just a personal preference.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Orzo with Ham, Peas & Goat Cheese

We close out the week with another recipe from the Family Celebrations With the Cake Boss. This dinner came together in no time. And the flavors were wonderful. The lemon flavor and the creaminess of the sauce. And it had ham in it too!

From Family Celebrations With the Cake Boss, Orzo with Ham, Peas & Goat Cheese

Ingredients -
1 1/4 cup dried orzo
1 cup defrosted frozen peas
4 oz soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lemon (3 to 4 tbsp)
1/3 lb country ham, diced
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped

Method -
Cook orzo in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, then drain orzo in a colander. In a mixing bowl, toss together the hot orzo, peas and goat cheese, stirring gently. Add olive oil, lemon juice and some of the pasta water, stirring to help the cheese emulsify to a sauce like consistency. Stir in the ham and the mint.

I think the leftovers would make a nice pasta pie... assuming I don' have them for lunch!

Hope everyone has a splendid weekend! 
And don't forget Sunday night is the Downton Abbey finale!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Easy Tomato Soup and Pizza

Happy President's Day! Today my sister and I went shopping. My mom always said as long as you had dinner ready there was no reason why you should not go shopping. I made this soup yesterday. I was ready to shop. The recipe is from the Family Celebrations With the Cake Boss. The name of the soup is Easy Tomato Soup. It is the perfect name for the recipe. Of course I did make a couple of adjustments.

My version of Easy Tomato Soup 
Ingredients -
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Method -
Heat a stock pot over medium heat. Add the butter and cook until it is melted and foamy. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the stock. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid is simmering. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes. Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper, and adjust the consistency with more cream or chicken stock.

I had taken pizza crust out of the freezer this weekend and decided to use up a couple of thinks the fridge. I had some of the sauteed rabe and onion and some fresh mozzarella and a fresh tomato. So we had a small pizza to go with our soup.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Beer Braised Beef Shanks and Creamy Black Pepper Polenta

Tonight we had what is our favorite Beef Shank recipe. Beer Braised Beef Shanks. The recipe was from La Cucina Italiana site. The meat melts in your mouth and the broth is so smooth. 

Ingredients -
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 pounds meaty cross-cut beef shanks (about 4 osso buco)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 (14.9-ounce) cans dark beer such as Guinness
2 cups beef broth

Method -
In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven or wide heavy pot with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

In a large heavy skillet, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. In batches, brown shanks, 3 to 4 minutes per side, wiping pan and adding up to 1/2 tablespoon more butter, if necessary.

Transfer shanks to a cutting board. Cut meat off bones (reserve bones); cut meat into 1-inch pieces. Transfer meat and bones to pot with onions; stir in paprika and season generously with salt and pepper. Add beer and 1 cup broth; bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, adding remaining cup broth to pot as necessary to keep meat covered by at least 1 inch, until meat is very tender, about 2 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat, bones and onions to a large bowl. Into a second large bowl, strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve; put any remaining onions into bowl with meat. Remove marrow from bones and stir into meat mixture; discard bones. Adjust seasoning.

As a side dish we had Creamy Black Pepper Polenta. The recipe is from the Family Celebration with the Cake Boss.Yes it is our featured cookbook this week! This was the best polenta I have made.

Creamy Black Pepper Polenta
Ingredients -
2 cups milk, or more as needed
2 cups of chicken stock, or more as needed
3 tsp kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 cup instant polenta
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method -
Fill a medium saucepan with milk, 2 cups chicken stock or water, the kosher salt, and the bay leaf; bring to a boil. Add the cornmeal in a very thin stream, whisking constantly and vigorously, so that no clumps form. Simmer until the polenta is thickened (it should still be slightly runny; add more chicken stock, milk or water as needed to adjust the consistency) about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn down the heat to very low and stir in the butter and black pepper. Remove the bay leaf. Serve immediately.

For breakfast, I made Orange Ginger Glazed Scones. I found a recipe for Glazed Lemon Ginger Sconed on the Food and Wine site. But I wanted Orange scones so I made some changes. I used Orange and Lemon zest and switched the Heavy Cream for plain Greek yogurt.

Ingredients -
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
3 tablespoons cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Method -
Preheat the oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk the flour with the granulated sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, orange zest  and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cream and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice; fold in the candied ginger.

On a lightly floured work surface, gently knead the dough just until it comes together. Pat into a 9-inch round, a scant 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and arrange them 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, until slightly firm and lightly browned on the bottom, pale on top. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with the remaining 3 tablespoons of orange juice until the glaze is smooth (you may need to add more juice). Drizzle the orange glaze over the scones and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Steak and Onion and Cheese Paninis

Tonight's dinner was easy to prepare, but certainly not lacking in flavor. Onions sauteed in butter and a little olive oil. Then the steaks were cooked in a knob of butter. I spread a little horseradish dressing on the Italian bread and piled on the steak, onions and some cheddar and American cheese. On to the Panini press. The side dish was Roasted Butternut Squash. A perfect dinner for a snowy Saturday night. Yep, another snowy night.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Roasted Rib Eyes with Horseradish Butter, Sesame Green Beans and Twice Baked Potatoes

And how do you say Happy Valentine's Day? Chris called on his way home from work and asked what we were having for dinner. When I rattled off the menu he said he would be right home! For Christmas one of the cookbooks Chris gave me was Family Celebration with the Cake Boss. There are a lot of recipes that I have put sticky notes on. I started with these three. They were all easy, not too much stress on the hand except for the Twice Baked Potatoes. I did have a little trouble mashing the potatoes, ouch!

And it would not be Valentine's Day without pictures of my two little Valentines..

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I'm Back, Kind Of...

I am still in a hand brace, but at least it is removable and a little cooler looking, my sister said it looked rather Goth!

I have been itching to cook, but I have been following the doctor's orders of not doing anything. Until tonight. I stopped by Bishop's last night on the way home to get a few provisions for the latest snow storm -  Broccoli Rabe, Fresh Mozzarella cheese, Italian bread and of course, milk.

Last Saturday Chris, Lenore and Ralph and I went into New York to see The Bronx Bombers. If you like the Yankees you will enjoy this play. After we ate at Becco. One of the appetizers we had was Broccoli Rabe with Burrata Cheese. Fantastic! When I saw the Broccoli Rabe at Bishops I wanted to try to make that dish at home. Of course they did not have the Burrata Cheese, so I got fresh Mozzarella.

I steamed the Rabe and then sauteed it in olive oil. Seasoned it with lots of crushed red pepper, some salt, pepper, oregano, basil and parsley. I added some white wine and let that cook off. I toasted the Italian bread under the broiler. I put the Rabe on top of the bread and then topped that with some sliced mozzarella. Back under the broiler for a minute and then drizzled a little olive oil on top.

Chris loved it! I did not tell him he was eating Broccoli Rabe until we were doing the dishes!

And because I would not think of only giving Chris the Broccoli Rabe for dinner, I had Chili Stuffed Peppers in the freezer. Back in January I made the chili. I used the leftovers to make stuffed peppers and put them in the freezer. Yes, I love that freezer!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Not Much...

That is my hand. 
My right hand to be exact. 
I am right handed. 
Out for 4 to 6 weeks. 
 Or as my sister said at least I will be healed in time for Easter Pies.