Braised Ribs and Rigatoni

Use more cheese as needed

Use more cheese as needed

This recipe is adapted from Lidia’s Italy. It is a great way to cook ribs if you are tired of barbecue.

Braised Short Ribs

  • 1 rack pork spare ribs
  • 2 onions sliced thin
  • 1 head garlic chopped roughly
  • 6-8 pickled sweet peppers
  • 3 28 oz cans whole tomatoes crushed by hand
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 2-3 cups beef stock
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated romano
  • Salt/peppper

Cut rack into single ribs and season with salt and pepper. In a large stock pot heat 2 tbsp olive oil and brown ribs in batches until all are done. Remove ribs to a paper towel lined plate to drain and strain off all but 3 tbsp fat from the stock pot. Add onions to pot and cook on low until almost caramelized. Add garlic and peppers and cook for a minute more then add 2 cups beef stock and deglaze pan. Add tomatoes, oregano and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Add ribs bring to a low simmer and cover partially. Cook for 1 hour then uncover pot and continue to cook until ribs are done, ypu may need to add more broth to keep the ribs covered in the sauce. Meanwhile cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Strain and coat in olive oil, pepper, parsley and cheese while hot. Serve ribs on top of cheesy pasta with more cheese on top.

Posted in Dinner, Food, Italian, Pork, Recipes | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Cheeseball with Pepper Jelly and Pecans

That's a lot of cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese

That’s a lot of cheese

All sorts of different cheeses can be included in a cheese ball. Some go to choices would be blue cheese, Swiss, cheddar, and more cheddar. Diced dried fruit or fresh fruit soaked in liquor is an excellent addition inside as well.

Here is a simple starting point.

Cheese Ball

  • 16 oz Neufchatel or cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gouda
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 tbsp pepper jelly
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts or a mix

In a mixing bowl whip cheeses and jelly together until smooth. Spoon mixture on to a large sheet of plastic wrap and form into a tight ball. Refrigerate at least six hours and up to a day. Remove from fridge and roll cheese ball in chopped nuts. Wrap in plastic again and refrigerate until serving.


Posted in Appetizers, Dessert, Food, Recipes, vegetarian | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Water Velveting Chicken

So mysterious

So mysterious

This is a healthier way to prep chicken, or any meat, for Chinese cooking. The traditional way is in oil, but the water bath works just as well and is far easier to clean up after.

Water Velveting

  • 1 lb meat cut into thin slices, or small cubes
  • 2 tbsp egg white
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 4 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Beat all ingredients together and add meat. Stir well and then refrigerate for 30 minutes. Pour enough water in a wok to cover the meat and add vegetable oil. Bring to a high boil, then add meat and cook for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to scoop the meat from the water bath and then drain in a colander. The meat is now ready to be used in any number of recipes.

Posted in Food, How to, Recipes | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Roasted Pepper Quiche with Bacon

That crust is in the country style

That crust is in the country style

This quiche is so fun to cut into. The layers give a pop of color and the flavors are incredible. Use cream if you don’t have buttermilk.

Roasted Pepper and  Bacon Quiche

  • 1 pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated Romano
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 large red bell peppers, roasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped oregano
  • Salt/pepper

Bake pie crust for 15 minutes or until golden and puffy at 375 degrees. Meanwhile fry bacon and crumble when cool. Beat eggs with buttermilk and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. In pie crust layer half the peppers and half the crumbled bacon. Pour half of the egg mixture over evenly. Repeat with another layer of all remaining ingredients including the oregano and cover with egg mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees until quiche is set, about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 3-6 tbsp ice water

Cut butter into small chunks and add to flour. Using a fork or pastry blender cut the butter until flour resembles coarse crumbs. Take a handful of the mixture and clench it in your fist. If the flour comes together in a rough mass there is enough butter in it. If it remains too dry to hold together add a tablespoon of butter at a time until the consistency is correct. Slowly add ice water to flour a tablespoon at a time until it pulls together into a rough dough. Knead quickly to form a smooth ball adding more water if the dough is too crumbly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to desired thickness, place in greased pie pan and prick with fork all over. Follow whatever recipe directions you happen to be making next. If the pie shell needs to be baked, first place a piece of tin foil inside pie shell and fill with dry beans. This helps hold the crust down while it bakes and the beans can be reused in dishes and food after baking.

Posted in Breakfast, Dinner, Food, Recipes, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Turkey Salad Stuffed Mushrooms

Use smaller mushrooms for an appetizer

Use smaller mushrooms for an appetizer

This is a quick lunch or first course that helps use up some leftover turkey.

Turkey Salad Stuffed Portobellos

  • 4 large portobello caps cleaned and stems removed
  • 2 cups diced white turkey
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped fine
  • 4-5 artichoke hearts diced fine
  • 2 green onions chopped roughly
  • 2 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 2-4 tbsp greek yogurt
  • Salt/pepper
  • Romano cheese

Mix everything together until smooth and taste for seasoning. Brush inside and outside of each mushroom cap with olive oil and place on a greased baking sheet. Spoon filling into each cap and place in an oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes then top with cheese and return to oven. Continue to bake until browned on top, about 10 minutes more.

Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Mashed Potato Pancakes

Equally good for breakfast lunch or dinner

Equally good for breakfast lunch or dinner

Leftover mashed potatoes usually don’t last long in our house. This year though we had a either a surprising amount of willpower or an extra large batch. We were inspired by this recipe over at Just A Taste. We had these as a hearty breakfast, but they’d be better as a base with grilled sausage, steak or duck. It’s worth making mashed potatoes to whip these up.

Mashed Potato Pancakes

  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar (or a mix of cheddar and Gruyere)
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour, plus 3-4 tbsp
  • vegetable oil for pan frying
  • Strained Greek yogurt* or sour cream

Mix potatoes, cheese, onion and bacon in a large bowl. Stir in egg and three tablespoons of flour. If the mix is still too wet to form a ball with your hands, then add a tablespoon of flour. Place the remaining flour in a pie pan for dredging. Heat about a quarter cup of oil in a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Form half inch balls and flatten into a pancake. Dredge each ball in flour and place in oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches until each side is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Serve pancakes with sour cream or yogurt.

*To strain yogurt, place desired amount of plain or Greek yogurt (we used a half cup of nonfat Greek) in a mesh strainer over a bowl, cover and drain in the refrigerator for about five hours or overnight. Discard excess liquid.

Posted in Appetizers, Breakfast, Food, Recipes, Sides | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Cornbread Dressing Strata

A sea of bread, milk and cheese

A sea of bread, milk and cheese

We always make way too much stuffing and dressing for two people. After a few days and a few open-faced sandwiches, dressing can get a bit tired. Or we can get a bit tired of dressing. Here’s a great way to use up leftovers and make them even healthier, cough, cough. If you don’t feel like adding turkey, sausage or bacon would be a nice replacement.

Cornbread Dressing Strata

  • 4 cups cubed cornbread dressing
  • small bunch kale
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped turkey (optional)
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup grated Swiss cheese,
  • 1/3 cup grated Gruyere
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Tear kale into inch size pieces and wilt in pan, stirring often. This should take about three-five minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool slightly. Chop coarsely and toss with dressing cubes, cheeses, and turkey in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix eggs, milk and nutmeg. Pour over the dressing mix and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Put in a greased 9 by 13 pan and bake at 350 until custard is set. This can be refrigerated for up to a day. The cooking time will increase by about 15 minutes. Cover with foil to keep from overbrowning in the last half hour.

Posted in Breakfast, Chicken, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments