Tuesday, March 31, 2009

short rib ragu w/ papparadelle

if by ANY chance you have left over short ribs after making braised short ribs, this is a great way to fix 'em up! left overs high unlikely? just thrown in a couple extra when making them just so you can make this recipe the day after! that's what i did.

mise en place
san marzano tomatoes & trader joe's egg pappardelle pasta

short rib ragu w/ papparadelle

serves 4
2 braised short ribs, shredded
1 1/2 - 2 cups sauce from braised short ribs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon oregano (i used dried)
1 bay leaf
1 - 28oz. can crushed san marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup cream (or milk)
salt & pepper
8 oz. pappardelle pasta
shaved parmesan & chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish

in a dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil. add the onion, carrot and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables become tender, approx 6-8 mins. add the garlic, thyme, oregano and bay leaf and sautée for another minute. add the shredded short ribs, short rib sauce and tomatoes. bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 mins, covered. add the cream and simmer for another couple minutes. remove the thyme stems and bay leaf. season to taste.

cook the pappardelle pasta according to the package. serve w/ shaved parmesan and freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.

bon appétit~!

Monday, March 30, 2009

ginger miso salmon

today was pantry day. i wasnt sure what i was in the mood for so i let the pantry gods decide my fate. i had some fresh ginger and the miso in the back of the fridge gave me the sad eyes. he thought i was neglecting him (not sure why my imagination thinks miso is a man. but i'll roll with it). sooooo here is a recipe for ginger miso salmon. i usually like my fish with just lemon, salt and pepper but this time, i gave it a marinade. switch it up a bit, gave it an ethnic identity ;)

ginger miso salmon
adapted from bobby flay's recipe
2-4 servings

1/4 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar (i used sushi rice vinegar since it has a little sweetness already added to it)
2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2-4 filets of salmon with skin on one side
salt and pepper

mise en place

whisk the first 6 ingredients in a large glass container. place the salmon filets in the container, making sure the salmon is well coated with the marinade. cover and place it in the fridge for at least 30 mins, overnight would be best.

when youre ready to cook, place a grill pan on the stove on high. if you dont have a grill pan, a regular pan will work, but you dont get the pretty grill marks. coat the pan with a little olive oil. remove the salmon from the marinade (discard the remaining marinade). place the salmon, skin side up, 2-3 mins, just enough to so there is a light golden crust. turn the salmon over and sear the skin side, 2-3 mins. reduce the heat to medium-low and place a cover over the pan to lock in the moisture, about 3 to 4 minutes (timing will vary depending on the thickness of your filets). i like my salmon cooked medium and slightly rare on the inside. season with salt and pepper serve with a slice of lemon.

bon appétit~!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

braised beef short ribs

when i think of braised short ribs, i think of Lucques. it's perhaps my most favorite restaurant in LA. the staff is attentive and friendly. the ambiance is cozy and unpretentious. and the food...the food is spectacular, especially the short ribs. suzanne goin is a culinary genius and it's evident in her seasonal menus. when i learned that her braised short ribs recipe was in her book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques, i knew i had to have and make it myself to enjoy at home.

this dish is so rich and comforting, it's the perfect meal for a cold winter night. however, it's so delicious, you'll be making it all year round.

beef short ribs are wonderfully fat and flavorful which makes them perfect for braising. a long, slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue, leaving the meat so fork-tender, it literally, melts off the bone.

mise en place
**i'm posting the recipe exactly the way i made it which is slightly different from suzanne goin's. if you want her full recipe, buy her book! :) also, i highly suggest making this dish the day before you serve it because as with most braises and stews, it tastes even better the next day.

braised beef short ribs
adapted from sunday suppers at lucques
serves 4 (generously) - 6
6 beef short ribs (3-bone center cut)
fleur de sel & freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
6 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef broth
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley

sauteed swiss chard (recipe below)
your favorite mashed potato/potato puree recipe

preheat oven to 400 degrees.

generously season short ribs with fleur de sel and pepper. place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15-20 mins, until the ribs have taken on a dark brown crust. (**i prefer to roast them in the oven instead of searing them in a skillet because well, it's easier and leaves me with much less of a mess.) remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325.

in a large dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil. add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. cook 6-8 minutes, unitl the vegetables just begin to caramelize. add the balsamic vinegar and wine. turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half.

add the beef stock and bring to a boil. add the short ribs. the stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. braise in the oven for about 3 hours.

to check the meat for doneness, pierce a short rib with a paring knife. when the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. taste a piece if you are not sure.

**if you do this a day before, this is where you can stop. let the pot cool and refrigerate overnight. the fat will solidify on top, making it easy to remove. remove the fat and bring it to a gentle simmer and continue w/ the recipe.

let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then remove them from the pot.

strain the broth, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. discard the solids. (if you didn't make it the day before and haven't removed the fat, skim the fat after straining.)

reduce the sauce over medium-high heat until slightly thickened. taste for seasoning. note: i did not need to add any extra salt. add the short ribs back to the sauce and keep warm until ready to serve. serve with swiss chard (recipe below) and mashed potatoes.

swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable, similar to spinach except that it has thick stems. the stems range from white, yellow to red, as mine were. make sure to clean the chard well and remove the leaves from the stems. discard the stems.

sautéed swiss chard
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 bunches swiss chard
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of freshly cracked pepper
splash of water

tear the swiss chard into large pieces. in a large skillet or sautée pan, heat the olive oil. add half the swiss chard, and cook a minute or two, stirring the greens in the oil to help them wilt. add a splash of water and the second half of greens. season w/ salt and pepper. cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequetly, until the greens are tender.

plate the short ribs with the swiss chard and potatoes and a lot of the sauce!

bon appétit~!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

moscato grape muffins

a couple months ago, jDub sent me a link to gourmet magazine's recipe for grape & vin santo muffins along with a request to make them for her. i willingly obliged because well, um...they're made with WINE!!! even better, dessert wine! the recipe calls for either vin santo or any other sweet wine so i used moscato.

these muffins are so unique and just divine. the grapes are a delightful surprise. tart & juicy. bake them up for your friends and family and they'll think you're an absolute gourmet.

i made them again this past weekend. i adjusted the recipe slightly this time, adding vanilla for flavor and some sour cream for moistness and i like them even better this way.

moscato grape muffins
adapted from gourmet magazine
makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream (optional, makes the muffins more moist)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (original recipe calls for orange zest)
1 teaspoon vanilla (not in original recipe)
2/3 cup moscato (or vin santo or other sweet wine)
1 1/4 cups seedless red grapes
raw sugar for garnish (or regular sugar)
*plus more flour and butter for muffin cups

preheat oven to 375 degrees.

brush a 12 cup muffin pan with softened butter, dust with flour and tap out all excess.

in a bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

prepare the grapes. mine were on the bigger side so i halved them. toss them w/ 1 tablespoon of flour until they are all well, but lightly coated.

in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted w/ the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar and until light and fluffy. add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. add sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest and beat until well combined.

add the flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with the wine, begining and ending with the flour, until everything is just well combined. do not over mix.

remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the grapes with a spatula.

divide the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle generously with raw sugar.

bake for 18-20 mins or until the muffin tops are a deep golden brown and a toothpick entered into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove the muffins and cool on a wire rack.

bon appétit~!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

risotto balls (arancini)

i don't know what rock i was living under, but i recently had the pleasure of eating a deep fried risotto ball (arancini). the first time i put that sucker in my mouth, i was floooooored. to deep fry balls of creamy risotto and stick a piece of cheese in the middle...is simply genius. i want to shake the hand of the person who invented this bad boy.

since i've popped my arancini cherry, i tried it two more times and all three times were made slightly different. little dom's serves them large and in charge with no sauce. tasca winebar serves them medium sized with a truffled cream sauce. and fraiche serves them mini bite sized with marinara sauce. i came to the conclusion that i like the medium size and served with some sort of sauce.

they are usually made with plain risotto and with seasoned breadcrumbs...but i tried them with a mushroom risotto and panko bread crumbs for that extra CRUNCH. you can make your own rules here. let me know what other mouthwatering flavor combos you come up with.

risotto balls (arancini)
4 servings
3 cups cooked mushroom risotto, cooled
12 mozzarella cubes, 1/2 inch
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying

to serve
1/2 cup of marinara sauce
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoon of parmesan (optional)

wet your hands with water. scoop a heaping tablespoon of the risotto and roll into a ball. gently toss back and forth between your hands. poke a small hole in center of each ball with your finger. insert a cube of the mozzarella, add 1/2 tablespoon more risotto to close up the hole and form back into a ball.

place the flour, eggs and panko crumbs in 3 separate bowls. first, dredge a risotto ball in flour, shaking off excess. second, dip in egg, letting excess drip off. lastly, dredge in bread crumbs.

when you are ready to fry, fill large pot with about 1.5 inches of vegetable oil on medium high heat. in small batches, carefully place the risotto balls into the oil. when one side is golden brown, turn the ball so all sides are evenly browned, about 4 mins total. using a slotted spoon, let the excess oil drain and place on a wire rack, with paper towel underneath it.

top with parsley and serve with a side of marinara sauce. i sprinkled some parmesan cheese on mine cus i love CHEEEESE!

bon appétit~!

Friday, March 20, 2009

maple-roasted butternut squash

maple-roasted butternut squash. sounds so fancy but it's so easy to make. and made this way, it's so delicious. it makes for a fabulous side dish. personally, i could eat a whole plate of it on it's own. it's that good. it would also be a great alternative to the conventional candied yams you always make for the holidays! :)

mise en place

maple-roasted butternut squash
serves 6
1 medium butternut squash (about 2lbs)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
olive oil to grease baking sheet

preheat oven to 400 degrees.

lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.

peel and seed the squash (use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin) and cut it up into 3/4 - 1" cubes.
place the cubed squash on the baking sheet and drizzle on the maple syrup. sprinkle on the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. toss it all together and lay out the cubes so they're in one layer and dot with butter.

bake for about 30 mins. or until the squash becomes tender and golden brown, tossing once during baking.

bon appétit~!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

molten chocolate lava cake

i have to admit, i'm not a big chocolate fan. what can i say? i prefer vanilla. BUT this molten chocolate lava cake is SO good, even i'm a huge fan. this recipe is great for entertaining because you can make everything ahead of time and bake just before you serve so your guest can have a warm cake oozing with chocolatey goodness.

mise en place

chocolate lava cake
makes 6 individual cakes
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter + extra for ramekins
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour + extra for ramekins
1/4 teaspoon salt

you'll need 6 ramekins (mine are 10cm in diameter and hold 1 cup of water). using a pastry brush, coat the inside of the ramekins with softened butter. on the sides, paint in vertical stripes. this will help get the cakes out easier. dust with flour and tap out any excess.

*the ramekins on the right: buttered, floured & excess tapped out

preheat oven to 425 degrees.

in a heat proof bowl, add the chocolate, butter, coffee powder and salt. set the bowl over a pot of boiling water and mix until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth. remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla until fluffy and pale. with the mixer speed on low, slowly drizzle in the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until everything is well combined.

sift in the flour and gently fold in until everything is just well combined. do not overmix.

divide the batter into the 6 ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

bake until the cakes puff up slightly and are set on top.
about 13-15 mins.

using oven mitts, carefully invert the ramekin onto a plate. let sit for about 10 secs and carefully the lift the ramekin. the cake should easily slip right out.

have your garnishes and accompaniments ready! powdered sugar, berries, mint, ice cream, anything you want!

fortunately, i have this handy dandy condensed milk in a tube from france! oh, the great things about europe!
the top bottom and sides will be set and the inside will be runny.

or you can just serve them in the ramekins. i find that this cake is just as good, if not even better, the next day at room temperature. the inside won't be runny but the center will be rich and fudgey. just remember to wrap the top with plastic or keep them in an airtight container.

bon appétit~!