Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Short Rib Lasagna

I watched Giada cook these the other day and dreamed of meaty short ribs but my experience has always been fatty unappealing meat. I found some ribs at the grocer at a reasonable price yesterday so I have to try again. This time Lasagna Rolls will fit the bill and stretch the meager meat farther.  We'll see as I hold the recipe in reserve for colder weather since it calls for braising and that is Fall cooking for me. I lifted this recipe from the Food Network site and give them full credit for all this.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cups red wine, such as pinot noir
2 cups beef broth


3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano (6 ounces)
1 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
1 (10-ounce) packet frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed of excess liquid
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
12 lasagna noodles (about 10 ounces)
Butter, for greasing baking dish
1 (25-ounce) jar marinara sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Olive oil, for drizzling


For the ribs: In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the ribs to the pan and cook until brown, about 4 minutes each side. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the onions, garlic, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the beef broth and ribs to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook until the meat is very tender , 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the ribs and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Discard the bones and cooking liquid. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into 2-inch long pieces (to yield approximately 2 1/4 cups shredded meat).

For the filling: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low. Add the cheeses and whisk until melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the spinach, basil, and garlic. Place the shredded meat in a medium bowl and pour the spinach mixture on top. Add the salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix until combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish.

Spread 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay 4 noodles flat on a dry work surface. Spread 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the filling mixture evenly along each noodle. Roll up and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and filling to make 12 lasagna rolls. Spoon the remaining marinara sauce on top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil, and bake until the lasagna rolls are heated through and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Another icon finished

Finally an icon for my good friend Paul who patiently waited while I finshed all the "emergency" icons and got caught up with the demands of Baptisms and short notice comissions. He is in Greece these next few weeks so hopefully he will be pleased when he returns.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Feeling kinda Pretzely...

Home alone with not much to do but chores I needed a treat. I have been craving pretzels lately so what a great time to ply my craft?  Starting with my basic dough and the food processor I mad a half batch of a nice smooth dough suitable for whatever. Basically its just:

3 cups of flour (I used bread)

2 t yeast

1 Tbl oil

1 t salt

about 1 cup of warm water.  

I processed this till it pulled form the sides then kneaded it to a smooth ball. Placed in a oiled bowl it rose in about 1 hour.

Before prepping the pretzel nuggets, I placed a pot of water to boil with 3 Tbls of Baking Soda and heated the oven to 450.

I halved the dough carefully not to deflate too much, a rolled each half into a 1 1/2 inch rod and cut the rod into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal.

Each piece got a brief bath in the boiling water then onto a parchment lined pan and sprinkled with pretzel salt. Bake at 450 for 10 mins till dark and lovely. I like 'em with mustard or Cheese Whiz. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lazy Summer Days...and hotdogs

Everyone is busy this summer with weddings and activities while we have been preoccupied with roofing and yard-scaping that was destroyed by the roofing company. The gutter guys finished the job on the landscape so we really don't feel like having anyone over to our yard mess.

Out eats lately have been simple. Grill it if you can and keep the heat out of the house. So far we have had ribs and chicken as well as the occasional flat iron steak and I bought a beef tenderloin for a treat this past Sunday. Whole New York strip was on sale and I bought one to cut into thick steaks. We are really liking the infrared grill on our new cooker. It makes a great crust on the steaks.

Saturday was a full day of Baptism of our newest Godson, Justin. He took it like a trooper and made not a sound even during the dunk. We dined and lunched with his parents and grand parents, attended church and lunched again. Saturday night we had an Engagement Party for Mackenzie's best friend Emily. Her and the girls did a fantastic job of professional entertaining and Mackenzie et al truly out did themselves on behalf of Emily. It was a beautiful event and the boys graciously loaned their apartment digs.

We had hot dogs and Italian sausages on Monday since I am heavily influenced by television and Bobby Flay made some sort of onion sauce for his grilled franks, I had to try it. I have several 1/2 pound dogs in the freezer that I found at Wohlner's Market. A half of one makes an excellent meal especially in a fresh brat bun.

The sauce went like this:

1 onion sliced in thin half moons
1 Tb olive oil
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 c ketchup
hot sauce (I used Siracha)
2 T water
S and P to taste

Saute the onions till translucent then add the spices, ketchup and water. Adjust the seasoning and cook till thickened.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Salad

Kohlrabi, Fennel and Blueberry Salad
Food & Wine (July 2011)Subscribe to Food & Wine  

(This photo: Food & Wine)
Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds kohlrabi, peeled and very thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 2 ounces semifirm goat cheese, such as Evalon, Garrotxa or Manchester, shaved (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup blueberries or pitted, halved sweet cherries
  • 2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds on a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until golden. Let cool.
In a mini food processor or blender, combine the ginger, shallot, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce and maple syrup and puree. With the blender on, add the grapeseed oil in a thin stream and blend until creamy. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the kohlrabi with the fennel, cheese, toasted almonds and dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add the blueberries and mint and toss gently. Serve right away.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dirty Shrimp

I made this last night and served with my special high fiber pasta. It was quite spicy and very good. This is going into the line up.

Dirty Shrimp

  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 pound butter or margarine (one stick)
  • 2 pounds raw medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup beer, optional
Combine seasonings in a small bowl. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add seasonings. Cook for 1 minute. Add minced garlic and shrimp and cook 2 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until shrimp turn pink.
If serving as an appetizer, serve immediately in a chafing dish with toothpicks. If serving as an entree, add beer and simmer 1 minute. Serve over rice with French Bread on the side to dip into the sauce.
Dirty Shrimp

Monday, July 1, 2013

Asian Flair

No meat nights can be challenging. Tonight I had stopped by the store after remembering the sides that came with my duck dinner at J. Coco. Kind of a sweet brown sauce with the noodles and veggies. I had some shrimps and some time so I went with a package of Udon Noodles, a jarred sauce that looked sweet already and a mix of snow peas, broccoli and green onions.

I peeled and cleaned the shrimps and started the water boiling for the noodles that really don't take long at all.

To my chefs pan I added a bit of oil and stirred in a few chopped cloves of garlic then added the veggies and sauteed to crisp tender.

I used about 3/4 c of the bottled sauce but added a 1/4 c of chili garlic sauce and a healthy dose of Siracha. I poured this over the veggies with the shrimps and let the sauce cook the shrimps to just pink before adding the cooked noodles. A quick stir and on the plate. Very nice.

Eating Omaha...Salt 88 and Lori's Birthday!

We were invited to join the Fangman's in honor Lori's birthday and to try a new Omaha eatery, Salt 88. I asked if I could bring dessert and made a rustic Plum Tart with Pate Sucre.

The Pate Sucre is basically a sweet pie crust that is free form and filled with whatever is in season. I had anticipated guests this weekend for dinner but they bailed on us so I have a new opportunity to use all those plums I purchased.

The Crust:

2 1/4 c flour
2 sticks of butter
1 teas salt
1 Tablespoon sugar

I cut the frozen butter with  a cheese grater and mixed it with the dry ingredients. Using ice cold water I quickly formed a sticky dough that I divided in half and wrapped in plastic for the fridge. I attempted to work the dough as little as possible to avoid making it tough and keep the butter visible throughout the dough.

When it came time to roll it out, I used parchment paper and flour to quickly roll out a large circle. To this I added the prepared plums and folded over he edges to enclose the fruit. I brushed the dough with cream and sprinkled with sugar crystals. Baked at 400 for about 15-20 minutes.
Ready to pop in the oven.

Bone in NY Strip
Miso Salmon

The whole darn gang! Happy Birthday Miss Fangman! Thanks for dinner Mat.

At 630 we had a reservation for dinner. Mat was kind enough to invite us along with Lori's sister, Diane and her husband Chris.  We always feel like a part of the family with the Fangman's.  The table ordered a mix of Salmon either Miso or Plank Fired. Brenda had the Veal Chop which was the hit of the evening and Chris and I had the Bone In Strip. The meals were delicious although I was not all that impressed with the steak. For appetizers, we had the Avocado Egg Rolls which were great and the Charcuterie Platter which featured cheeses and cured meats with accoutrements. Notable also was the side salad with a Spicy Orange Vinaigrette Dressing. A nice tingly dressing that was just right on the sweetness scale. I need that recipe.

Later, back at the Fangman's, we shared the Plum Tart which I had hoped would have been sweeter especially since the Plums were so darn sweet raw but I found it a bit tart personally. All in all it was good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and everyone seemed satisfied. Everyone liked their dinners and I think a return trip might be necessary to try the Veal Chop.


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