Braised Country Style Pork Ribs

image

This is a Dutch oven dinner.  I have several Dutch ovens in varying sizes and shapes and I love cooking in them.  The cast iron provides perfect even heat, they go from stove top to oven to table, and clean up is pretty easy.  Very often, when we think ribs, we think barbecue.  I do love country style ribs barbecued but this is a good change of pace.  A very homey, cold weather, comfort meal like your mother or grandmother would have put on the table.  And it makes the kitchen smell wonderful when it’s cooking.  One of my Dad’s favorite meals is a boiled dinner and this dish has a lot of the same components.

Ingredients:

2# of country style ribs

2 T canola oil

1 onion rough chopped

2 carrots sliced

2 stalks of celery rough chopped

1/2 head of green cabbage rough chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic sliced

2 T tomato paste

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)

salt and pepper

image

Preheat the oven to 325.

Heat oil in the Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the ribs and brown them on all sides.  Remove them to a platter and set aside.

imageimage

Add the onion, carrots, cabbage and celery to the pan drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, under tender.  About 5 minutes.

image image

Add the garlic and tomato paste.  Stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute.  Deglaze with 1/4 cup cider vinegar.

imageimage

Stir in the broth, pepper flakes and bay leaves.  Return the ribs to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

image

Remove the lid and cook for 30 more minutes allowing some of the liquid to evaporate and the meat to brown.  The meat is very tender and the broth flavorful.  When you plate this ladle some broth over the meat and vegetables.

I served this with a creamy polenta made with milk, half and half, butter, and asiago cheese.  How can that possibly be bad??

image

image image

My family of origin would not have served this with polenta.  I’m confident most of my family would not even eat polenta.  If you prefer you could serve this with rice, noodles, or potatoes.  Or just serve it with a salad and some good, crusty bread.  I know my dad would choose potatoes.  I’m grateful that my husband eats almost anything I prepare without complaint.  It’s much more enjoyable trying new things when you have a receptive audience.

 

 

Advertisements

Beef Tips and Vegetables in Brown Gravy

image

This is a very simple recipe prepared in a pressure cooker.  A couple years ago an electric pressure cooker was at the top of my Christmas wish list.  For anyone who is a little afraid of using a pressure cooker and has visions of a pressure cooker lid imbedded in the kitchen ceiling, fear not.  They really are very simple and safe to operate.  It’s an appliance I wish I had had when I was still working full time and preparing meals when I got home from work.  Even as a retired person I am not a good advance meal planner.  Five o’clock rolls around and I start thinking about what I’m going to make.  The two primary functions of my microwave are reheating leftovers and defrosting frozen solid meat so I can make dinner.  While it’s not recommended, because of the amount of time necessary to build to full pressure, with a pressure cooker you could actually start with a piece of frozen meat and have a great dinner on the table in less than an hour.  You can brown meat, sauté, simmer and keep your food warm all in one pot.  The pressure cooker makes even inexpensive cuts of meat tender and seems to intensify favors in a very positive way.  Be careful with salt.

I’m hoping that this recipe motivates my good friend who has a spanking new electric pressure cooker (probably still in its original box) to get it out and give it a try.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of sirloin steak

2 T olive oil

1 large onion rough chopped

2 carrots sliced

2 stalks of celery rough chopped

1 cup baby bellas

3-4 cloves of garlic sliced

2 cups of beef broth (I use better than bouillon)

1/4 cup brandy

1 T Dijon mustard

1 T tomato paste

salt and pepper to taste

2 T room temperature butter

2 T AP flour

1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

2 green onions sliced

image

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium high heat.  Cube the beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the meat to the pressure cooker in batches and brown.  Don’t crowd the meat or it won’t brown properly.  Remove to a plate and continue until all the meat has been browned.

image image

Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots and celery to the pot.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.

image image

Add the sliced garlic and brandy.  Cook until the brandy comes to a boil.  Add the mustard and tomato paste to the broth.  Return the meat to the pot and pour in the broth.  Lock the lid in place and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.

Release the pressure naturally.  Remove the lid, always tilting the lid away from you to allow for any steam to escape.  Bring the sauce to a boil.  In a small bowl whisk together the butter and flour to form a paste and stir it into the sauce.

image image

Bring back to a boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Serve over rice or noodles.  Garnish with the parsley and green onions.

imageimage

Enjoy!

NOTE:  I keep a few staples in my freezer that make spur of the moment food prep easier.  Recipes always call for one or two tablespoons of tomato paste.  You can buy tomato paste in tubes but it is more economical to buy the small cans.  Open one end of the can and put it in the freezer for awhile.  Once it’s frozen open the other end of the can and use the lid to push the tomato paste out.  Slice and put each slice into a snack bag.  Store in your freezer.

image image

 

 

Vegetable and Bleu Cheese Tart

image

A few Christmases ago my daughter gave me a Nordic Bakery Cookbook by Miisa Mink.  It has some excellent recipes for  pastries and for savory dishes.  We all get tired of making the same meals over and over so tonight I got the book out and decided to make the Vegetable tart.  Just yesterday I bought some excellent buttermilk Bleu cheese at a local market that sells cheeses, meats, great olives, wine and craft beers.  The cheese was perfect for this dish.  Simple ingredients.  Nothing exotic.

Ingredients for the crust:

13 T butter at room temperature

3 1/2 T sour cream or crime fraiche

1 cup AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

image

Cream the butter and the sour cream or creme fraiche together in a mixing bowl.

image image

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Stir into the creamed mixture until a dough forms.  Form dough into a ball, flatten into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

image image

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface.

image image

Transfer the pastry to a tart pan pressing it into the fluted edges of the pan and neatly cut off the excess pastry.  (I love my tart pan and I rarely use it.  You don’t see how pretty it is until it’s empty.)

image image

Tart Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets

1 T vegetable oil

1 onion rough diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

2 1/2 oz. Danish Bleu cheese (I used buttermilk Bleu)

3/4 cup grated Cheddar

fresh ground black pepper

image

The Bleu cheese is the star!

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut the florets into chunks.  Boil until they are tender crisp.  Drain well and allow to cool.

image image

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Fry the onion until it is soft and golden.  Set aside to cool slightly.

image image

Once the onion has cooled tip the pan over the pastry and spread the onion evenly.  Top with the broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes.

image image

Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the top and sprinkle with cracked black pepper.

image

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

image

It’s beautiful!  And it tastes great!  Serve with a green salad and you have a perfect dinner.

NOTE:  You can substitute other vegetables taking care that they don’t become too watery when cooked.  Served as an appetizer the recipe serves 6; as an entree it serves 4.

 

 

Animal Hats

On a recent Knit Wit road trip we went to one of our favorite yarn shops, the Grand Emporium in Saginaw Michigan.  I found these little yarn ball kits with animal heads and thought they were adorable!  I have knit several.  Love. Them.  The kits are by DMC and are called Top This.

image image

image

They are even cuter on children!

image image

image image

image

image

image

And the fish hats!

image image

Everyone loves those.

image image

When I have more pictures of hat models I will post them!

 

Poached Cod with Tomato and White Beans

image

I haven’t been blogging for a few days but I have been cooking.  A couple of nights ago I made poached cod.  We love fish and tomato dishes and this fits the bill for both.  Cod is a mild fish available in most grocery stores.  In the fish counter or the freezer.  Either will work fine for this dish.  Unless I have fish that was just caught, cleaned and ready for cooking I soak my fish in milk for at least 30 minutes.

image

I am convinced that this takes away the fishy smell that turns some people off to eating fish.  Making sure you don’t over cook your fish also keeps the fish odors to a minimum.  I know people who absolutely refuse to cook fish at home because of the smell.  When I make this dish people walking into my house are more likely to say they smell onion and garlic.  Everyone loves the smell of onion and garlic!

Ingredients:

1 cod filet (approximately one pound)

2 T olive oil

1 medium yellow onion diced

3 or 4 cloves of garlic sliced

1 pint diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

1 can tomato sauce

1/4 cup capers drained

1/4 cup kalamata olives sliced

1 can cannelloni beans

salt and pepper to taste

image

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Cook the onions until they are tender but not browned.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant.

image image

Reduce the heat and stir in the tomatoes and the chicken broth.  Add the tomato sauce and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

image image

Stir in the capers and olives.  Drain and rinse the beans and add those.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.

image image image

Pat the fish that you’ve soaked in milk dry. Cut it into serving size pieces and immerse the fish in the tomato broth.  Cover the pan and allow it to simmer for 5-10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and flakes.  Remove from the heat.  Serve the fish, along with the broth and beans, over rice.

image

One of my favorite fish dishes.

NOTE:  You could also add the cooked rice to the tomato broth, break up the fish pieces and serve this as a soup.  However you choose to serve it I think you will find it homey and very satisfying.

If you like kicked up favors you could add some red pepper flakes and/or cayenne pepper when you add the olives and capers.

Sweet and Sour Sesame Chicken

image

I called this sweet and sour chicken.  My husband called it sesame chicken.  So there you go.  The chicken is coated in corn starch, dipped in egg and quick fried.  By quick fried I mean crisped up but not cooked through.  Top the chicken with the sauce and finish the dish in the oven.  Very simple.  I usually like stir fries and typically I make them without meat.  But this is my attempt to replicate a dish my husband frequently chooses when we go out for Chinese.  Which is not very often.  Largely because where we live we cannot readily access any ethnic restaurants.  Actually we cannot readily access ANY restaurants.  And also because when I make it at home I know that we are getting healthy, quality ingredients.  I’m not sure what this would be called on the Chinese restaurant menu.  But on our menu it is now sweet and sour sesame chicken.  When I make this next I will double the sauce recipe.  I would put half on the chicken and reduce the second half and serve it on the side.

Ingredients:

Boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed

(I used approximately 1 1/2#s)

1/2 cup corn starch

2 eggs whisked

1 cup peanut or canola oil

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup pineapple juice

4 T ketchup (I use only Brooks Tangy)

2 T soy sauce

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cloves garlic grated

1 inch fresh ginger grated

sesame seeds, green onions, and toasted sesame oil for garnish

image

Combine the vinegar, ketchup, juice, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger and whisk together.

image image

Set the sauce aside while you prepare your chicken.  Preheat the oven to 325.  Heat the oil in a heavy fry pan or Dutch oven.

Cube the chicken.  Put the cornstarch into a zip lock bag, add the chicken and toss to coat.

image image

Whisk the eggs and dip the cornstarch coated chicken into the egg and then drop in the oil for quick fry.

image image

Turn the chicken pieces once and then remove to a platter covered with paper towel to absorb any oil.  Transfer the chicken to an oven safe casserole dish and pour the sauce over the chicken.

image image

Bake for one hour turning the chicken pieces after 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and garnish with sesame seeds, sesame oil and green onions.

image image

Serve over rice with broccoli or vegetable of your choice.

NOTE:  The chicken was tender and tasty but, as I noted above, it needed more sauce.  A reduction served on the side would have been a good addition.  We also had soy sauce at the table.  I think the sauce recipe would also work well for a stir fry with or without meat.