Sunday, December 2, 2012

Braised Short Ribs step-by-step (for John) and lots more...

Who doesn't love a good short rib once in a while?  You should plan on making this a day ahead so the flavors have time to meld in the refrigerator overnight.  Here, I go step by step to show you how I did it.  Start with bone-in short ribs. You want them to be meaty and have good marbling, because as you will see they shrink down quite a bit once the bone is removed and the marbling melts away.  

Season with salt and pepper then dredge in flour (knocking off the excess)

Brown on all sides in canola or grape seed oil.  Do it in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan if you have to.  

Here I have bundled together some aromatics in cheesecloth.  An onion chopped, a couple each of carrots and celery, 6-7 garlic cloves just crushed and 2 bay leafs. 

Tie a pretty bow with kitchen twine.  This will make it easy to remove later so the vegetables don't cling to the meat (have this ready before browning the meat).

In a dutch oven add the browned meat and nestle the aromatics in the center.  Pour a couple cups of red wine and stock to come up almost to the top of the meat.  I used homemade turkey stock because that's what I had but use whatever you want, low sodium beef stock is probably the best.  Add a diced tomato or two and heat on the stove top.  Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to a simmer.  Place into a 300 degree oven for 3 hours.  Check it after it's been in for 15 minutes to make sure it's not boiling to hard, you want a gentle simmer, you may need to turn the oven down a little (or up if it's not simmering).

This is what it looks like after 3 hours (not too appetizing right now).

Take the meat out onto a plate and remove the bone (which sometimes completely falls out on it's own) and the fat layer that was over the bone (see below)

Strain the liquid then pour it into a fat separator. Pour the degreased liquid into a medium saucepan and reduce it by boiling it for 5-10 minutes.  I started with about 3 1/2 cups of liquid and I boiled it to about 2 cups.  Put the meat into the liquid, place the lid on top, let it cool a bit and put it in the refrigerator overnight.  This is the kind of thing that tastes much better the next day.  

So above is the braised short ribs with the reduced sauce.  I nestled the beef into the liquid as much as I could, covered the pot and put it in the refrigerator until the next night.

I reheated the short ribs gently on medium or medium-low until the meat is heated through.  Saute mushrooms in a skillet, seasoning them with salt and pepper until they taste perfect then add them to the short rib pot.  Thicken the sauce with a "beurre manie" (burr mahn-YAY) which is  kneaded butter and flour.  I used 2 tablespoons of softened butter and 2 tablespoons of flour, just blended together with your fingertips or the tines of a fork.  Whisk in a little at a time and as it comes back to a simmer it will thicken nicely. Add chopped parsley if you like for color.

Check to see if you need some salt and pepper by tasting a bit of the sauce, and if it does add it now then stir through before plating.

Plate the short ribs over mashed potatoes being sure to spoon plenty of the sauce around...
Serve with a glass of red wine..

Chicken Piccata with lentils and Brussels sprouts

This chicken breast is lightly pounded so it's an even thickness.  Season with salt and pepper, dust with flour and in a nonstick skillet cook it on both sides in a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil.  When the chicken is almost cooked through deglaze with 1/3 cup or so of white wine or vermouth, squeeze in the juice of a lemon and add a couple tablespoons of capers.  Cook for a couple more minutes to reduce the liquid.  Add a tablespoon of butter and swirl it in off the heat.  

Pork Meatballs and homemade fettuccine 

When you make a meatball using only ground pork something wonderful happens.  I'm never happy with the texture when I use beef.  I make a pretty basic meatball using eggs, parsley, Parmesan, bread crumbs... A couple different things is I use Panko bread crumbs to thicken it towards the end of mixing but I also use day old bread that's soaked in milk.  I always saute some diced onions with garlic and chili pepper flakes to soften and add the cooled onion mixture to the meat mixture, this time I added finely chopped fennel to the onions that went into the meatball and into the tomato sauce.  I was very happy with this one...

Roasted cauliflower with lemon aioli

I roasted some cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper, until it gets lightly browned on the edges and towards the end I drizzled a little more olive oil,  sprinkled on Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and let that form a crust over top.  I made the aioli in my mortar and pestle with a garlic clove, egg yolk, salt, pepper, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar and drizzle olive oil until an emulsion is formed (up to a cup).  Squeeze in the lemon juice from about a half a lemon until it has a perfect lemon aioli taste (you may need more salt and pepper).  Yummy just dipping the cauliflower in as an appetizer.

Egg, ricotta and baby spinach bake served on a bed of ratatouille 

I made the ratatouille by chopping onion, yellow bell pepper, eggplant and zucchini into a small dice.  Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and get the onion and eggplant in first and saute for about 10 minutes then add the bell pepper, zucchini and a couple garlic cloves crushed but left whole so you can take them out later. While all that is cooking slowly in the olive oil, add more olive oil if needed (the eggplant absorbs a lot) dice up some tomatoes (1 or 2 depending on size) that you have removed the seeds and skin from.  Let it cook slow for a good 30-40 minutes in total.  Check for seasoning.  Mmmm!  

For the egg dish I sauteed baby spinach until perfectly cooked and put that at the bottom of a small baking dish.  Drop in 1 inch squares of Brie evenly (as much as you want), sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs (a good handful).  Whisk together in a mixing bowl 4 eggs, 1 cup of ricotta, salt, pepper and fresh ground nutmeg. Pour this mixture over the Panko layer and place in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until just cooked through.  This was surprisingly good and we loved the texture.

Mixed berry yogurt freeze
My new toy is a Vitamix (heavy duty blender) that Tony got me as an early Christmas present.  The recipe book that came with it gave this recipe using frozen strawberries.  We made it with mixed frozen berries (1 lb), 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt and 1/3 cup sugar.  

Vanilla "ice cream" done in the Vitamix.

I put ice cream in quotes because it's really "ice 2% milk".  It's right in the recipe book of the Vitamix.  All it is is 1 cup milk of your choice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup nonfat milk powder, a splash of vanilla and 4 cups of ice!  Look what you get, it's so good!  By the way that recipe makes 5 cups of "ice cream", so much less calories than a real ice cream.  I made a caramel sauce and since I had it I thought I'd top the ice cream with it.

Breakfast smoothie (in Vitamix)

I was looking on line at smoothie recipes and I came across this one that's packed with nutrition and it was good and filling.  It's 2-3 cups of fresh kale, 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, 1 1/2 cup frozen blackberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 2 Tbsp flax seeds and 1 cup unsweetened vanilla flavored almond milk.

Rubik's Cube

I brought this to our friends house as an appetizer.  I saw it on line and had to copy it.  You can use any combination of fruit you like, I used seedless watermelon, pineapple, kiwi and feta.  Try to cut them all the same size, good quality ingredients and stack them up.

Bread pudding with golden raisins and vanilla bourbon sauce

This was supposed to have dried sour cherries in it too but I forgot to buy them :(  It was still good but it would have been better with the cherries.  This was in the Imbibe magazine that we just got in the mail.  Let me know if you want the recipe, I couldn't find the link on line but I will type it up if someone is interested.

Jeanne's cake

I figured I'd invent a cake so I went and separated 4 eggs, beat the yolks with 1/2 cup sugar, mixed in 1/4 cup olive oil, splash of vanilla.  I whisked together 1/2 cup flour, 1/2  cup almond flour, a pinch of salt and folded that into the yolk mixture.  Whisk the whites with cream of tarter and fold that in.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Dust with confectioners sugar and garnished with strawberries.  Very good but I will make it again with 1/4 cup more sugar and scant 1/2 cup of both flours.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jeannie; it all looks incredible! I appreciate the step by step directions!!! I WILL be trying the short ribs for sure!!!