Monday, April 27, 2015

Olive Caprese Salad

I was making French Dip Sandwiches and wondered what to serve with them.  So I googled (get used to it spell check- it's a word now!) just that.  "What side dish is good with French dip Sandwiches?"  This salad was one of the suggestions that came up.  Since my husband loves olives, I gave it a try.  It is very yummy and flavorful and it was perfect with a French Dip!

Olive Caprese Salad
1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, havled
Handful Black Olives, pitted and halved
Handful Green Olives, halved
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cubed OR Grated Mozzarella cheese
2-3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Handful of Fresh Basil leaves, chopped

Mix the tomatoes, olives, and cheese together in a bowl.  Mix the vinegar, oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl and pour over the tomato mixture.  Add the chopped basil and mix.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pantry Pick of the Month: Short Ribs/ Braised Short Ribs

This month's pantry pick is not really a pantry pick.  It's a freezer pick.  We bought a half of beef a couple of years ago.  It included short ribs.  I have ignored them in the freezer because I didn't know what to do with them.  So I googled it and came up with several recipes.  I decided on this one and was very happy I did.  It was very delicious.  It made the perfect Sunday dinner.  I browned them and prepared them before church and put them in a slow oven.  They were perfect and tender and delicious when we got home.  I used my enameled cast iron pan with a tight fitting lid, so I could brown and braise right in the same pan.  These were fall off the bone (literally), tender delicious.

Braised Short Ribs
6-8 short ribs
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
6-8 thin slices pancetta, diced
Large drizzle olive oil
1 onion, diced
3-5 carrots, diced
1 quart chicken or beef broth or a combination (which is what I did)
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons rosemary (crush it in your hand as you add it)

Salt and pepper the ribs well on all sides.  Dredge in the flour (put the flour on the plate and dip the ribs in, covering on all sides.)  Cook the pancetta in the covered pot you're going to put in the oven (large covered skillet that is ovenproof or enameled cast iron pan.)  Fry and stir occasionally until the pancetta is crispy and all the fat is rendered.  When the pancetta is crispy, add the oil and ribs and brown on all sides on high heat.  Reduce the heat and take the ribs out.  When the pan has cooled a bit, add the onion and carrots.  Stir and cook in the pancetta/ olive oil for just about 2-3 minutes.  Add the broth and cook and stir, bringing up all the meat bits.  Boil for about two minutes.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary to the liquid.  Put the ribs back in.  They should be almost completely submerged.  If they are not, add some more broth.  Put the lid on and put in a 300 for about four hours.  Take them out of the oven while you prepare the rest of the meal- about 20 minutes.  Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta.  Serve the gravy to pour over all.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Pork Tomatillo Stew

A friend sent me this recipe after I read a Ruth Reichl book. It came from another book she had read by the same author. Ruth Reichl was the New York Times Restaurant Critic and is a great author.  She uses dark beer, but I substituted with beef stock.  I made a few other small changes as well.  I know a stew sounds like a winter dish, but this is kind of citrus-y and is just delicious.  I think it makes a great springtime stew!
Pork Tomatillo Stew
1 lb. tomatillos, papery husk removed, washed, and quartered
2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cup orange juice
1 large (28 oz.) can diced or whole tomatoes

2 lbs. pork shoulder roast, cut into large cubes
Salt and pepper
20 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 large onions, chopped
1 big bunch cilantro
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 can black beans, drained

In a large saucepan, combine the tomatillos, beef stock, orange juice and tomatoes.  If the tomatoes are whole, break them up with your spoon.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the rest of the stew.

Cut up the pork roast and salt and pepper well.  In a enameled dutch oven, heat the oil and add the garlic cloves.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the pork cubes and brown on all sides.  Add the onions, cilantro and jalapenos.  Cook and stir until the onions start to soften.  Add the tomatillo mixture and combine well.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  You can then either simmer it on the stove for a couple of hours or put it in the oven for at least 2 hours at 300.  After that time, take it out of the oven and smash the garlic cloves with the back of your spoon as best you can and stir.  Add the black beans.  Put it back in the oven or on the stove and cook a bit longer.  It's nice if you do this the day ahead.  If so, let it cool, then refrigerate overnight.  Reheat the next day.  It's so much better the next day, but you can serve it right when it's done if you want to.

Serve with lime sour cream.  Add fresh squeezed lime to sour cream and put a large dollop in each bowl.   So yummy!!!!
Adapted from Ruth Reichl in "Tender at the Bone"

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Quinoa Chicken Chili

I made this yummy chili in my pressure cooker and it was delicious!
3 raw chicken breasts (boneless/skinless), chopped to 1 inch pieces (mine was still mostly frozen)
1 cup uncooked, rinsed quinoa
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 2 inch wide large slices
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed) OR 1 3/4 cups of the beans you made in your pressure cooker earlier ;)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic chopped OR 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 packet chili seasoning
3 cups chicken broth, divided (if you want it more soupy add more at the end)

Place chicken chunks, quinoa, sweet potatoes, 2 cups of the chicken broth, garlic, and chili seasoning packet in the pressure cooker and stir to combine. Add the can of tomatoes and do not stir. Put the lid on and cook for 5 minutes on High Pressure. Let the pressure drop naturally. When it's done add the other cup of chicken broth and the black beans, roughly chop the sweet potato to smaller pieces, stir, and serve. Seasson to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!