Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Short Ribs with Tagliatelle

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes. I don't make it often. I think I have only made this three times but it is oh so good. Your house will be filled with amazing smells and this sauce gives you a really good excuse to make your own fresh pasta because after taking the time to develop this rich sauce it really deserves no less than to be soaked up with fresh pasta (and homemade bread!!).

Because I buy grass fed beef from my parents, the short ribs I get don't always have as much meat as the typical short ribs you find in the store. If I think I need a little more meat I add a package of stew meat and it works perfectly. So this recipe is a great way to use up stew meat as well. I also think this would be good with a rib roast or other types or roasts.


Serves 6.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces chopped pancetta (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 1/2 pounds short ribs
  • salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes (whole or diced)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 pound fresh or dried tagliatelle ( I highly recommend you make fresh tagliatelle for this recipe)
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons shaved bittersweet chocolate


Place the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total.

Meanwhile, combine the onion, carrot, parsley and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely minced. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste and pulse.

Once the short ribs are browned, carefully add the mixture from the food processor to the pot. Return the pancetta to the pot and stir. Add the rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, beef broth, and wine. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another hour and a half, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat and bones from the pot. Discard the bones. Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes for dried pasta and 2 to 3 minutes for fresh. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta liquid 1/4 cup at a time, if

needed, to moisten the pasta. Transfer to serving bowls, top each bowl with 1 teaspoon of chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fresh Pear and Cranberry Pie

  • I did not manage to take any pictures of the food I made this week so I'm gonna have to add another dessert. Bummer right? I made this for a Christmas party and it was very tasty. I think it looked slightly better than it tasted but I still feel I will make it again. I was not crazy about the caramel topping so I will probably make up my own topping in the future. In truth, I think you could skip the caramel topping especially if you are serving it with ice cream or whipped cream.
  • Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Single-Crust Pie**
  • 8 cups sliced red and/or green ripe pears (7 to 8 pears; 3 to 3-1/2 lb. total)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider or water
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. caramel-flavored ice cream topping, plus additional for drizzling
  • Directions

1. Prepare and roll out Pastry for Single-Crust Pie (below). Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Arrange half of pears in prepared pastry; sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cranberries. Arrange remaining pears atop cranberries. In bowl stir together 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cider, and nutmeg; drizzle evenly over pears. Cover pie with foil.

3. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes more or until pears are tender and juices are bubbly. Remove from oven and place on wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, in small saucepan combine remaining cranberries and 2 tablespoons caramel topping. Bring to boiling. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Spoon over hot pie.

5. Serve warm. Drizzle with additional caramel topping. Make 8 servings.

** Pastry for a Single-Crust Pie: In bowl stir together 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender cut in 1/2 cup shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time (4 to 5 tablespoons total), until flour mixture is moistened. Form dough into ball. On floured surface flatten with hands. Roll dough from center to edges into a 13-inch circle. To transfer pastry, wrap around rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Ease pastry into plate without stretching it. Trim pastry to 1 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Polenta Wedges with Shrimp and Spinach

So I decided I would save the last couple of dessert recipes for another time and post a healthy meal. This dish tastes healthy but in a good way. It is light but satisfying. Flavorful but not over powering. I also love polenta so this is a winner in my book. It is convenient to make a batch of soft polenta for dinner earlier in the week then refrigerate the extra to slice up and use with meals like this one.


Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for drizzling (or other flavorful oil of your choice)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 2 14-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound peeled cooked shrimp, (31-35 per pound; thawed if frozen), tails removed if desired
  • 6 cups chopped baby spinach or escarole
  • 8 slices of prepared, chilled and firm polenta, sliced into 8 triangles (you can find prepared polenta in tubes at the store as well.)
  • 8 olives, pitted and chopped (optional)


  1. Heat broiler, with rack 5 inches from heat. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven to heat, 5 minutes. Pat polenta wedges dry with a paper towel and lightly brush both sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Carefully place of polenta on the hot sheet and broil until golden brown.
  2. While of polenta is browning, place 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until juicy, about 3 minutes. Stir in shrimp and spinach; cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.
  3. Divide the sauce among 4 shallow bowls or plates. Top with the polenta slices, sprinkle with olives (if using) and drizzle each serving with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Eating

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Theophany Fritters

I promise I'm going to start sharing my healthy recipes again. There is just one more dessert that I will want to share after this one. I have done a pretty good job of eating healthy over the Holidays but the "bad" food is so much more fun to share than my butternut squash soup that I made last night (even though it is very good, just not as fun as fritters).

These sweet fritters are a traditional dessert among Orthodox in Lebanon and Syria. The website from where I found this recipe explains that is the book The Art of Syrian Cookery by Helen Corey the dough was traditionally wrapped in a cloth, “baptized” in a fountain and hung in a tree for three days. It would develop a strain of wild yeast and then would be used to make baked goods rise throughout the new year.

Obviously, I will not be "baptizing" and hanging the dough from a tree, but I think making these Fritters on Theophany could become a fun and special family tradition for me.

Sugar Syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon rose water

1 tablespoon orange blossom water

[If you can't find orange blossom water then just double the rose water. If you can't find either, use vanilla or almond exact to taste. You will want to use much less of the extracts because they are much stronger flavors. I did find both the rose and orange water in my local grocery store in the aisle with all the sparkling and flavored waters.]

* I ended up with lots of extra syrup so I think one could 1/2 this recipe.

Put sugar, water and lemon juice in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Leave to boil for 3 minutes then stir in flower waters and boil for a few more seconds. Take off heat and leave to cool. It must be completely cool before use in the next recipe. However, if you are not planning to use it the same day, it can be stored in the refrigerator in a glass container for up to two weeks. Let it warm back up to room temperature before using it.


Full recipe sugar syrup

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/4 cups yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

vegetable oil for frying

Prepare the syrup, keep in the pan and have it on hand to drop the fritters into when they are ready.

Sift flour into a mixing bowl, then add yogurt and baking soda. Whisk until well blended and smooth, then cover and leave to rest for 45 minutes.

Fill a medium-sized frying pan with enough vegetable oil to deep fry the fritters and place over a medium heat. When the oil is hot (drop in a little batter, if the oil bubbles around it, it is ready), dip a dessert spoon in a little cool oil, fill it with batter and then drop the batter into the oil. Drop in as many fritters as can fit comfortably, stir to brown them evenly, until they become golden all over. Don't let the oil get too hot or the fritters will not cook all the way through. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a double layer of paper towels before dropping in the syrup. Turn a few times in the syrup and remove onto a serving dish.

These fritters should be eaten right away, once they reach room temperature. They do not store well.

Recipe from: Lebanese Cuisine by Annisa Helou and found on Festal Celebrations.

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