Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sweet and Sour Short Rib Stew

4 1/2 lbs boneless short ribs 3/4 c soy sauce 1/3 c brown sugar 1/4 c rice wine vinegar 1/2 c Oj 4 cloves garlic 1 T ground ginger 1 t dried chili flakes Handful baby carrots Slow cooker on high 6 hours, add 2-3 T potato starch to a little broth and then add to stew.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Preheat oven to 425, parchment paper on a cookie sheet 2 cups flour 1 T baking powder 1 t salt 1 t sugar 1/4 t baking soda 4 oz cold butter 1 cup buttermilk or one cup cream + 1 T lemon juice Add flour and dry ingredients to cuisinart. Add butter pieces and pulse until ground. Transfer to bowl and add buttermilk, stir gently. Gently knead 4-5 times on lightly floured surface. Roll to 1 1/4 inch thickness, cut and brush with melted butter. Cook 11 min.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This Is What REAL Food Looks Like!

In the Washington Post this weekend there was an article about dyes in food, and how the average American doesn't know what real foods look like without dyes being added.  Real tomato juice is brown,  and nothing on earth is the color of your lime green or purple yogurt.  That is a great reason to make a home made dinner tonight! 

Since Lent started we have gone meatless on Friday, and also on Tuesday because that is the day that we designated to be "cereal night" and donate what we normally would have spent to our favorite Thai NGO.  The more meals that you go meatless the less you miss meat at the table at all (although my husband is telling me that when I am at a conference next weekend he and the kids will be eating all of their meals at The Burger Joint...I think he's kidding).

Our most delicious veg meal was Friday, I made the easiest homemade bread and we had some stuffed baked tomatoes (Pomodori al Riso) from the Apron and Sneakers blog that were gone in record time.  I got the recipe for the bread from Culinary Chronicles on Tastespotting and it's so easy and requires only 15 minutes of rising for a dense, easy to slice and very very good bread.  The only "hard" part is the eight minutes of kneading, but I'm a wimp about kneading.

Simple Bread
Slightly adapted from Marcia Passos Duffy
5-6 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme (optional)
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
Sea Salt (optional)
2 Cups Hot Water (120-130 degrees F.)
A cake pan of hot water
Mix 3 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, thyme and salt.  Pour in the hot water and beat 100 strokes (or 3 minutes with a mixer).
Stir in the remaining flour until the dough loses its stickiness.  Turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 8 minutes.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth.  Let rise for 15 minutes in a warm spot (away from drafts).
Punch down and divide the dough into two pieces.  Shape into round loaves and place on a greased baking sheet.  Cut an “X” one-half inch deep in each of the loaves with a wet sharp knife. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt.
Place baking sheet with loaves in the middle of a COLD oven.   Place a pan of hot water on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

I am an Irish lass married to a very Irish man, with two little Irish looking kids, and no one in the house cares for corned beef and cabbage.  What are you going to do?

Tonight we are having grilled petite filet mignon and pesto pasta.  Even when you love to cook you have days where you had to bake 20 baked potatoes for the preschool baked potato bar St. Patrick's Day party, and then lost electricity to the house and were unable to open the garage door with the electric opener, reminding you that you left the house key in the house after giving it to the babysitter a few days ago... So when your electricity comes back on and you finally get back into your house you grill up a couple of FABULOUS steaks, and use Trader Joe's organic pasta and Whole Foods pesto, and throw some raw spinach salad and cold glasses of milk (or pints of Guinness!) and call it a meal.  Whew.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

What's the best way to make up for a potato kale gratin disaster?  The next night make homemade ciabatta bread.  It smells so good, tastes like a million bucks, and is sure to impress even the pickiest little eater.  Tonight we are having one of my family's favorite dishes, A Sweet Pea Chef's Chicken Parmesan, and a big loaf of my ciabatta bread. 

I don't remember now where I got the recipe, it's been recopied about 5 times in my book I've made it so often.  Here's the crowd pleaser:

Ciabatta Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
Mix the water, sugar and yeast and proof until creamy, about 5 minutes.  Mix flour and salt, add yeast mix and oil to flour.  Mix with dough hook for 5 minutes.  Dough will be wet, DO NOT ADD FLOUR! 

Scrape into a well greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap.  Rise 1 1/2-2 hours.  Flour surface, cut in half.  BE GENTLE!  DO NOT PUSH OUT AIR!  Put dough on parchment paper, stretch into a rectangle, and create dimples with your fingers.  Cover with a damp kitchen towel and rise another 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 425 F., and cook 25-30 minutes.  YUM!

Is Kale REALLY The New Spinach?

We love spinach in our house, we have a raw spinach salad on the table almost every night, and we toss it in with all kinds of cooked dishes.  Its full of fiber, iron, and vitamins, and my kids already eat it, so maybe I shouldn't rock the boat.

Your kids aren't the only ones eating at family meals...every time I bring up a new kale recipe my husband grimaces and moans like he's just been stabbed.  And then, while watching a "Modern Family" episode that we had DVR'd last week, Mitchell comes home from the farmer's market and says, "Did you know that spinach is out?  Spinach is out and kale is in."  We thought that was hilarious and my husband was laughing, so I took that as implicit agreement that I could start throwing kale in everything.  I'm married to a lawyer, though, so I should have gotten it in writing.

Yesterday I saw a recipe on Tastespotting for a potato kale gratin with gruyere cheese, so I decided to try it.  I should have been more worried that it advertised that the kale would be an easy eat for a new eater because it was "smothered in cheese."  We aren't really smothered in cheese kind of people but I still felt that it would be a great recipe, and chose to make some wild Alaskan salmon as our main entree.  Needless to say, at this point in the story, it wasn't pretty.  The gratin kind of curdled and the kale turned a sickly color and the smell, my god, the smell.  I hurriedly threw together some egg noodles at the last minute.  Everyone (including my husband) took a polite adventurous bite of the gratin and then devoured the rest of the meal.

If you are going to teach your kids to be adventurous eaters, it usually means that you are going to be adventurous with your cooking and baking as well.  The best quality in an adventurous chef is to know when to throw a pan of water on for a backup side dish of egg noodles.  But I'm not finished with kale!  Stay tuned for some great recipes because I still have a refrigerator full of more kale.

Here are the spinach vs. kale stats.  I can't imagine kale will ever replace spinach in our diet, but it is awfully good for you:


Serving Size 1 cup, chopped (67g)
Calories 34Calories from Fat 4

Hide Daily Values% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 29mg1%
Total Carbohydrates 7g2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A206%    Vitamin C134%
Calcium9%    Iron6%
Thiamin5%    Riboflavin5%
Niacin3%    Pantothenic Acid1%
Vitamin B69%    Potassium9%
Phosphorus4%    Magnesium6%
Zinc2%    Copper10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


serving size 1 cup
Calories 7Calories from Fat 1

Hide Daily Values% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 24mg1%
Total Carbohydrates 1g0%
Dietary Fiber 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A56%    Vitamin C14%
Calcium3%    Iron5%
Thiamin2%    Riboflavin3%
Niacin1%    Vitamin B63%
Potassium5%    Phosphorus1%
Magnesium6%    Zinc1%
Copper2%    %
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tikka Masala--in the Slow Cooker

I'm not an expert on Indian food, but I know what my family loves to eat and this dish is great!  It isn't too spicy, but can be spiced up on demand, and can cook away making your house smell like a great family dinner while you are off at work and school.  I'm really not trying to be the poster girl for the slow cooker, but it works so well for our family and family meals.

I've seen a lot of different recipes for this dish that were not for the slow cooker, and just took them and made them my own.  It is mostly adapted from America's Test Kitchen and Merryweather Mama.

Chicken Tikka Masala
serves 4-6

  • 1.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated or minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp minced or chopped garlic
  • 1-2 red chilies, finely chopped (optional if you like a little heat)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander 
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp evoo
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste28-32 ounces San Marzano diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
Mix the garlic, ginger, (chilies), mustard seeds, paprika, cumin, coriander, and garam masala in a bowl. Put half of this mixture in a large mixing bowl and set the rest aside.

Add the yogurt to the mixing bowl and mix it in with the spices and add in the chicken.  Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Add the chicken and all the ingredients EXCEPT the cream to the slow cooker.  Cook on low 7-9 hours.  20 minutes before eating, use stick blender to blend in the cream, and cover and cook until dinner time.  Serve with Naan and basmati rice.  YUM!