Monday, December 31, 2012

Osso Buco

Prepared December 29, 2012 by Laura using lamb shanks. Modified from Lidia Bastianich's recipe broadcast on PBS-TV. Although classically prepared with veal shank, lamb or fresh pork shank can be used instead, with essentially the same cooking method. Each is a 'bone with a hole', or osso buco in Italian, with meat having a similar flavor and texture.
4 fresh (or 6 dried) bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
6 whole cloves
6 strips of orange rind, cut with a vegetable peeler
6 pieces 2-to-3-inch thick veal shank (or use lamb or pork shanks)
about 3 c chicken, veal, or beef  stock
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 t kosher salt
2 large onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium parnsips, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 leeks, white part only, cut into 1-inch lengths
3 T tomato paste
1 T garlic, minced
1 c dry white wine
2 T grated orange zest as garnish
If using veal or pork, tie butcher's twine snugly around the circumference to hold the meat together while cooking. Tie the herbs, cloves, and orange peel strips up in cheesecloth. Salt the meat well on all sides and let it come to room temperature. Heat the stock (hint: use a one-quart measuring cup in the microwave). In a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, brown the shanks in olive oil on all sides. Set meat aside, add more oil as needed, and add the vegetables. Cook over medium high until lightly colored, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two, and then the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the meat back to the pot, add the herb bundle, and add hot stock until the meat is two-thirds covered. Adjust the heat to a fast simmer, cover and cook, turning every 30 minutes until tender, about 90 minutes. To serve, remove the vegetables to a platter, and arrange the meat on top. For veal or pork remove the strings before serving. Remove the herb bundle, and raise the heat to a boil, and reduce the pan liquid to form a smooth sauce, and spoon over the meat. Garnish with orange zest. Pairs nicely with a mushroom and leek risotto 

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Roasted Baby Bok Choy

Prepared November 7, 2012. Hurray for our beleaguered President.
12 oz baby bok choy
2 T vegetable oil
2 t dark sesame oil
1 t rice vinegar
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t granulated garlic
1/2 t kosher salt
2 T soy sauce
1/2 t ground mustard
Preheat a toaster oven or conventional oven to 450 degrees F (230 C). Separate the bok choy into stems, trim, wash thoroughly to remove sandy grit, and dry well. Place in a large bowl. drizzle on the vegetable oil, and toss to distribute evenly. Drizzle on the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and the seasonings, tossing after each addition. Transfer to a heavy 8x8 inch baking pan. Roast undisturbed for 15 minutes, and then gently turn the bok choy, and roast an additional 5 minutes until nicely colored. Pairs nicely with pork, chicken, or grilled fish, or as part of a vegetarian or vegan meal. Serves 3 to 4.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Quick and Easy Chicken, Peas, and Rice

Prepared December 24, 2012.
1-1/2 c basmati or other long-grain rice
2-1/4 c water
2 t chicken stock concentrate (Better than Bouillion™)
1 c frozen baby green peas
1 medium (about 150 g) yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 T olive oil + 1/2 T butter
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 8 oz container prepared chicken gravy (Campbell's™, or make your own)
1 2-1/2 lb rotisserie chicken, trimmed of fat, excess skin, and disjointed
Thaw the peas in cold water. Bring the water and stock concentrate to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse the rice in a strainer until the water runs almost clear. Stir the rice into the boiling stock, cover, and reduce heat to a fast simmer. Mix the onion, olive oil, butter, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Microwave loosely covered on high for 3 minutes until softened. After 15 minutes, transfer the rice to a two-quart glass casserole dish and fluff with a large fork, drain the peas well, and stir into rice. Stir in the cooked onion mixture. Pour half the can of gravy over the rice and peas. Arrange the chicken pieces on top, and pour on the remainder of the gravy. Cover tightly, and microwave on 30% power (1250 watt oven) for about 25 minutes until heated through. Serves 6.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Olive Tapenade

Prepared December 22, 2012. Tasty spread for bread rounds or flat bread.
2 t garlic, minced
1 c pitted kalamata olives
2 T capers
1/4 c chopped cilantro
2 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
Place the ingredients into the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. Adjust seasoning to taste. Keeps well, covered in the refrigerator.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hint: Preparing Cauliflower

Devised December 21, 2012. How to remove the tough core of a whole head of cauliflower quickly, efficiently and safely.
1 large head of cauliflower
Holding the head firmly between both hands, strike the stem forcefully against a sturdy surface several times until it loosens. Twist it free and discard. Peel apart the florets, and trim away the tough bottom where they contacted the core. Suggestion: roasted with Asian seasonings and sweet red pepper.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Quick and Easy Chocolate Pudding

Recorded May 23, 2003.
3 T cocoa powder
3 T corn starch
1/3 c sugar
pinch salt
2 c cold milk
1/2 t vanilla extract
In a 1 qt saucepan, blend dry ingredients. Add a small amount of the milk, and mix until smooth. A flat-bottom whisk is ideal for the task. Stir in remainder of milk, and bring to a boil with constant stirring over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Pour into small bowls, layer with plastic foil, and chill. Serves 4. Store cold. Variation: Garnish with crushed peanuts, malted milk powder, or whipped cream before serving.