Monday, November 16, 2009

Friday Night, Red Wine Braised Beef Shanks

I hadn't planned on beef shanks but they looked nice and fresh and I thought I had to try them because I had never had them. I have had veal shanks but not beef shanks. I got home and looked up beef shanks on Food There were a few recipes but I chose Emeril's, Red Wine-Braised Beef Shanks with Mushrooms, because he had some good reviews.

Crostini Italian Style, salted cured meats...It's a Seinfeld thing
I had some hot salami and capicola, goat cheese and some fresh whole wheat bakery bread so I toasted up some slices of bread under the broiler, rubbed a little garlic over then added goat cheese mixed with lemon juice and zest, topped it with the "salted cured meats", seasoned with salt and pepper and because I happened to have it I topped it with some raw dandelion greens, a drizzle of olive oil and done. Really good with a drink to get the party started.

Red Wine Braised Beef Shanks with Mushrooms
As I said above this is an Emeril recipe, I didn't use his Essence seasoning, just salt and pepper. I cut the recipe in half and it made plenty of sauce, almost too much, but it's better too much than too little. I also didn't make the basil mashed potato, I had another side in mind. It cooks for five hours so you can imagine that it just falls off the bone. It was good.

Sweet Potato Mash
I felt like a sweet potato so I cut two big ones into quarters the long way and drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Into a hot 400 degree oven tossing a couple times while they roasted for about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and remove the skin. Place the sweet potato into a bowl and mash with a little butter, salt and pepper. I put it into a small baking dish and topped it with a little brown sugar and pecans and I just placed it into the oven for 5-10 minutes to melt the topping a bit.

Sauteed Fennel and Leeks
This was part of Emeril's recipe and Tony liked it a lot. It's just thinly sliced fennel and leeks cut into 1/2 inch pieces and cooked in a bit of olive oil until tender. Then finish it with butter, lemon zest, salt and pepper. This only takes about 7-8 minutes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Fresh Raspberries
I had made a cake for someone during the day and I just happened to have some cake batter left over so I made cupcakes with it. I had planned on something different for dessert tonight but I was falling behind so I just went ahead and made chocolate cupcakes topped and filled with cream cheese frosting, garnished with fresh raspberries the dessert. It was a good idea because they tasted perfect at the end of the meal.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday Night, Bison Meatloaf

Trying to come up with different main dishes can be tough sometimes. Tony recently had a bison burger on a business trip and raved about it. He said I would have liked it too, not gamey at all. While shopping at the meat case in Whole Foods, they had some really good looking Buffalo meat cuts. My first thought was to do a bison burger but that was too casual sounding for a Friday Night Meal. I thought about it and decided on doing a bison meatloaf. It's comfort food but a little fancier. So once I have one part of the meal figured out I build on it and look for the appetizer, sides and dessert that will pair nicely with that one component that is decided on.

Pizza Patate (Potato)
I love making pizza but I don't think I have ever made pizza for the Friday Night Meal. This pizza was different. I found it in Gourmet magazine, November 2009 and it was from a new book called "My Bread", they were writing about this book and they had this recipe featured. Its made with Yukon Gold potatoes thinly sliced, diced yellow onions, black pepper and olive oil. No cheese, nothing else. It's dough was different that my normal recipe and I liked it alot, super crispy and crunchy and easy to make. The potato topping with the olive oil baked up and became slightly creamy in the center and almost potato chip like on the top and of course the crunchy crust. I Highly recommend this one.

Bison Meatloaf
I didn't follow a recipe for this, I just made it like I was making a regular meatloaf, with all the regular stuff... onions, garlic, fresh, slightly dried, bread crumbs soaked in milk, eggs, parsley, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I topped it with ketchup to give it some sweetness and keep it moist. It came out really nice, not gamey and slightly different then what you may be used to.

Creamy Polenta
I followed the recipe on the "Stone Ground Yellow Corn Meal" bag but I think I added just a bit more milk and butter at the end just so it would stay soft and creamy because it has a tendency to set up quickly and I wanted a pillowy creamy texture. It was perfect with the meatloaf

Dandelion Greens
I can't believe I hadn't tried these greens before. I sauteed them in a pan with olive oil and garlic like you would do with fresh spinach. We liked it, but I can see how some people would think it's too bitter. The key I think it to very quickly saute them like no more than a minute and the residual heat will cook them perfectly or even raw, which is what I did a couple days ago. Think of it like fresh arugula X 10. I think mixed with a green leaf lettuce or something neutral in a salad it would give a nice kick, but not over power it.

Cranberry Apple Crumble Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
This was good. I found it in a magazine, I think the new Bon Appetite or Martha Stewart for the holidays. It has a crust with apples and regular fresh cranberries (I thought the cranberries would be too tart but that's not the case), there is a little sugar and spices mixed in and than it's topped with the crumble. Really good with the vanilla ice cream.