Monday, January 25, 2010

Pad Thai

The other day a friend of mine took me to the Super 88 market to go shopping for Asian groceries. I was picturing a small little place to pick up the rare Asian things you cannot find in your local market. I was so wrong. The Supper 88 Market is the size of a regular grocery store with some of the most unique produce I have enver seen and that is just the begining.

We went to get ingrediens for making Pad Thai, but as you guessed we got so much more. It took us about two hours to get through the entire store and we were the only "white" girls there. There is some great stuff there that any kitchen would love to have ... for instance they have and aisle dedicated to soy sauce, one to vinegar, and one to tea ...

Look at all the tea ...

And this was just part of the aisle ... there were so many teas it was tough to decide which one to try.

Back to the reason we went to the market was to make Pad Thai at home, this is what we did ...

• 8 ounces dried wide rice noodles
• 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
• 3 tablespoons tamarind juice
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons peanut oil
• 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled with tails on
• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 shallots, sliced
• 1 fresh red chile, sliced
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
• 1/2 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
• 1 lime, cut into small wedges
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Soak the dried rice noodles in cool or lukewarm water for 30 minutes, or until they're limp but still firm to the touch; later cooking in the wok will soften them more. Drain the noodles thoroughly in a colander and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, tamarind juice, and sugar; stir well to melt the sugar. Taste and adjust flavors to the desired combination of salty, sour, and sweet.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat until it is smoking hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and quickly stir-fry the shrimp until they turn pink and are almost cooked through; 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining oil to the wok and toss in the garlic, shallots, and chile; stir-fry for 30 seconds. Push the garlic and shallots to 1 side of the wok and pour the egg into the center. Scramble the egg lightly until set, breaking it up into pieces with a spatula. Add the drained noodles to the wok, stirring and tossing quickly with 2 spatulas to separate the strands. Pour in the fish sauce mixture, tossing well to coat the noodles and keep them from sticking (if the noodles are still too firm, drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to help them cook.)

When the noodles are in good shape, toss in 1/2 of the bean sprouts and peanuts; save the remaining for garnish. Continue to stir-fry, to combine. Return the shrimp to the wok and toss the pad thai together to warm everything through. Serve the pad thai on a platter, pile the remaining bean sprouts and peanuts on 1 side of the dish and garnish with the lime wedges and cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over each portion before eating.



Last Sunday morning I found myself taking some family to Logan Airport. It was pretty early in the morning, and I was really craving a cappuccino from the North End (The Little Italy of Boston) and thought after I dropped everyone off I was going to see if I could find a bakery open to get a cup.

The thing about the North End and me is that when I was a little girl I would spend time there with my Great Grandmother who lived right across the street from Paul Revere's house. She lived in the heart of the North End with the bakeries, delis and grocery stores all within walking distance. She was quite and old fashioned lady in that she would not keep anything perishable on hand but would go out each day to by meat, veggies, and treats. Everyday was an adventure for her in what she would cook for her family.

The North End is famous for many things since Paul Revere rode his famous ride, to the cobblestone streets, and all the restaurants (most of which are holes in the wall family run with the best food your could find for the money). The other thing the North End has is many bakeries with the smell of fresh baked bread wafting through the streets that ropes you in to see all the desserts they have in store for you. Most folks who eat Italian pastry are drawn to the canolli, napolean, or tiramisu, all of which have become main stream and can be found even at your local grocrery store, but the sfogliatelle is one that most may not know about.

The best place in the North End to get one of these is Modern Pastry on Hanover Street. As a little girl my Great Grandmother and I would get up early and go to the bakery first thing to pick up a couple of theses for our dessert. For you see Modern Pastry only makes so many a day and when they are gone you cannot get anymore till the next day so it is very important to be there early. This is what I remember most, so the other day when I went to get a cup of cappucino I stooped at Modern and asked about the Sfogliatelle and best of all they just came out of the oven. I got myself two with my cafe and went on my way home.

A good Italian bakery will also put your treats in a Small box and tie the box, and that is just what I received ....

The package!!!

What's inside the package!!!

I have always wanted to learn how to make this flaky, moist and chewy dessert but have not tried yet. But this is the recipe of how to make them. I do know on thing for sure, they take time and are not very easy to make. If you do make them let me know how it goes ... or if you are like me ... get up early and drive to the North End and pick up a few to eat with coffee or tea later.

Sfogliatelle (Lobster Tails)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup lard or margarine, melted

Note: You may wish to substitute 1 (1 pound package of frozen
puff pastry dough, thawed, for the above pastry recipe

1 cup milk
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon candied orange bits or grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

To make the dough:
In a large bowl, combine both flours, sugar and salt.
Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture.
Gradually add the water until a soft dough forms.
Form the dough into a disk, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
To make the filling:
Put the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
Slowly add the semolina flour, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Simmer the mixture 3-4 minutes, until thick and smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool about 5 minutes.

Press the ricotta cheese through a sieve to remove any lumps.
Add the ricotta, egg, sugar, candied fruit, and cinnamon to the semolina mixture.
Beat well to blend and set aside.
Making the sfogliatelle:
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 2 equal pieces.
If you are using puff pastry, use 1 of the 2 pieces from the package.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into a 16 x 22-inch rectangle.
The dough will be very, very thin.
Starting at a short end, brush the first 1/3 of dough with some of the melted lard.
Begin rolling the pastry up like a jellyroll.
Brush the second 1/3 of dough with more lard, and continue rolling.
Finally, brush the last 1/3 with lard, and roll up completely.
Cut the roll into 1-inch pieces, which will resemble narrow rolls of ribbon.

Forming the sfogliatelle:
Place one of the slices in the palm of your hand.
Press the thumb of your other hand in the center of the pastry and push it down to form a small ribbed cup.
You do not want the ribs to separate.
Now you will begin to stretch the dough.
Carefully work around the cup, pushing down with your thumbs and pulling up with your fingers.
Think of it an opening a collapsible travel cup.
Form each piece into a cone, shaped 3 to 4 inches across the mouth and 1-inch at the tip.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Lightly grease or line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Fill each pastry cone with 2 tablespoons of the filling.
Gently press the open edges together to seal the pastry. Pull out the top ends to form a seashell shape.
Place the sfogliatelle 1-inch apart on the baking sheets.

Repeat the procedure with the second piece of pastry dough.

Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Allow the pastry to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.
Transfer the pastry to wire racks to cool completely.

To serve:
Sprinkle the sfogliatelle with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Makes about 32 pastries

Give it a try if you are ambitious.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pho 88, Lowell MA

Pho 88, Lowell MA

I thought when I started my food blog I was only going to talk about what is being made in my kitchen or my friend's kitchens, but that changed one day. My husband took me out to dinner about a month and when my meal appeared in front of me I knew I had to share this with everyone who follows my "blog." We went to what was once a small hole in the wall not very nice looking Vietnamese Restaurant for dinner, Pho 88. This place has become way more than anyone expected it to be ... They have a bar area on one side of the restaurant and a full dining room on the other side. Which if I may say there are usually more Asians eating there than white people. That is a good sign if you ask me.

I was never really a fan of Pho 88 or Vietnamese food till I tried Shabu Shabu, I will talk about that at a later time. It wasn't that I was not an adventurous eater but I had only seen the soups they make, and tripe is something I just cannot stomach, no pun intended.
About a month ago when we went for dinner we decided to sit at the bar to eat. I was so not sure of what to order and wanted to try something new. So I found this ...
A choice of soft or crispy yellow noodles or flat noodles combined with a choice of Beef, Chicken or sliced Pork with red peppers, onions, broccoli, green beans and snow peas.
I thought why not play it safe and order the Crispy Yellow noodles, with chicken as my meat.
When my dish arrived it looked like this ...

My very own "bird's nest" of yummy chicken and veggies. Who would have thought it was going to be so beautiful as well. This has totally turned me on to Vietnamese cuisine and I cannot get enough of it. And well, it does not help that Pho 88 is about 2 miles from my house.

I hope this helps you to become a more adventurous eater than you were before. It is all a matter of reading the menu good and finding flavors that you like. You may be surprised like me that Vietnamese food is your new favorite.

If you are ever in the Lowell/Chelmsford area go to Pho 88 and try something ... it is always busy and food is always good.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Chicken & Pasta

I have made it to day III of my challenge, and I have to say I think I have done very well. And to think the Risotto I made Friday was enough left over for us to have lunch on Saturday and the roast from Saturday had enough left over for someone to eat on Sunday. Which brings me to Sunday, and what to make on Sunday? This one was the first one I really thought I need to go to the market and pick up some stuff, and as you guessed it my husband invited friends over to have dinner with us. What was I going to do??? Then it came to me ... Chicken in Tomato Sauce in the crock pot over pasta. This is one of those semi-homemade dishes, since there was some fresh ingredients and some jarred ones too.
This is what I did ...
Chicken in Tomato sauce in Crock Pot
1 lb of boneless thighs
1 jar of tomato/pasta sauce
1/4 onion diced
1/4 bell pepper diced
4 cups of pasta
Place chicken, pasta, and vegetables in crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.
Cook pasta as you normally would have.
Serve with chicken mix over the pasta. Grate some Parmesan cheese and add some garlic bread for a full Italian meal.
Now that I have cooked my way though my pantry and my freezer for the past three days I am actually thinking of keeping it up till we eat more of the food we have in our house. It is quite amazing how much food is really in a well stocked house unless you really start to use it all. Not sure if I will be blogging about my pantry & freezer depletion any more ... but try it at your home and you will be surprised how much food you have even when you think you need to make a trip to the market.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cabernet Beef Pot Roast, Candied Carrots

As it turns out I seem to ALWAYS have a roast in my freezer in case we decide to have company last minute. I usually stop by Trader Joe's every few weeks, they have the best Cabernet Beef Pot Roast, already marinated. When I gave myself the challenge on Thursday I had no idea I was going to have my parents for dinner Saturday night, why not cook the roast. One of the very nice things about a roast is you can cook it in your crock pot.

The crock pot leads me to my next topic, 110 volts versus 220 volts. Other than the numbers in themselves tell you it is better to use 110 than 220 when you can for cooking. The toaster over, the counter top convection oven, the electric tea kettle, the microwave, and the crock pot (there may be more but I cannot remember right now) all use less power than you electric range when cooking. This as a result lowers your carbon foot print and this makes us feel good about our meal we are cooking too.

So out came the crock pot ... the next decision is what am I going to make for side dishes ...

Let's start with the roast ...

Cabernet Beef Pot Roast

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Brown the roast on all four sides in a skillet with the olive oil.
Put the roast in the crock pot. cook on high for 4 hours/low 8 hours.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the wine and the stock. Bring to a boil and all the while scrape the bottom of the pan, to get all the yummy goodness left behind from the browning roast. Pour that mix over the roast in the crock pot and cover.

When the roast is done put on a dish to rest. While to roast is resting remove the "juice" from the crock pot and put in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and whisk till butter is melted.
Slice roast and serve, ladle gravy over meat.
As you can see we decided on mashed potatoes and candied carrots. The only thing I am going to say about mashed potatoes is use Yukon golds only. Tyler Florence said "they are the Cadillac of potatoes" but they have so much flavor and stay together ... I will not use any other potato ever again.
The carrots are another story. I have been on a quest to find a recipe for good candied carrots. Carrots are already a sweet vegetable to begin with, it is only fitting that I try to candy them.
Candied Carrots
1 lb carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Place carrots in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. (do not cook carrots to a mushy stage)
Drain carrots, reduce heat to lowest setting, stir in butter, sugar, and seasoning. Cook 3 minutes till thick and bubbly.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Easy Teryaki Marinade

A few years ago I tripped over this recipe, and with the amount of steak tips we eat in the summer this is good to have on hand. Well, the amount of grilling we do in the summer, no matter what meat you are cooking, this recipe is good to have on hand. The cost of "30 minute marinade" is quite pricey when you think about it if you like meat marinaded and you marinade a few times a week. Keep in mind that after the meat has been marinated all the marinade must be tossed (since it is now contaminated). What a waste ... but when you make it at home it is so much cheaper which means less money down the drain.

Super Simple Teryaki Marinade

8 oz. can of crushed pineapple
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together.

When marinating it is best to pour it into a zip-lock bag and marinate meat in bag. Refrigerate for 1 hour-24 hours.

As you can see we made chicken on skewers and they were fantastic. Like I said, steak tips, chicken thighs, chicken wings, chicken or beef on skewers, etc. the sky is the limit.


Edamame & Mushroom Risotto

The other day on Facebook I said I was going to work my way through my pantry and freezer and cook all weekend without going to the market. Which if you think about it has many benefits, from cooking at home and not eating out, eating healthier since you are eating home, and eating things on hand so they do not expire or go bad.
After I made this post I began to think ... can i really do this? and my husband encouraged me that I could. But keep in mind when I made this I did some modification, for some items that I did not have and made do with others.
The thing with me is a meal still has to have tons of flavor and one I would cook again even if I used ingredients from the pantry and freezer. So after looking in the pantry and the freezer I started with Risotto. I know risotto is not the easiest "rice" dish to make, but it sure is yummy. The best thing about this version is the edamame (i.e. soy beans), they are full of protein and so good for you. This dish gives you the opportunity to eat a vegetarian meal and not miss the meat.

This is what I did ...

Edamame & Mushroom Risotto

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained

1 lb. of frozen edamame

3 cups of chicken broth mixed with 1 1/2 cups of water

1 small onion, chopped
1 1/3 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/8 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add drained mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
Cook edamame, following the directions on the package, Drain, cool, and remove beans from pods. Add to the skillet with mushrooms.
Chicken broth and water should be placed in a sauce pan and heated over medium-high heat, to simmer.
In a second sauce pan heat remaining oil over medium-high heat, and saute the onion. Add the rice to the sauteed onion, and stir until rice is coated with oil. Add the wine and cook till wine is absorbed. Add 1 ladle full/1/2 cup of simmering broth to mix. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the broth is absorbed. Continuing doing this until all the broth is absorbed. This is a bit of a process since you have to stay with your risotto and stir in between each added 1/2 cup of broth. This should take about 30 minutes.
Heat the mushroom and edamame and stir into the risotto. Remove the risotto from the heat and add 1/4 cup of Romano cheese.
The other 1/4 cup of cheese can be sprinkled over each bowl before serving.

As you can see from the picture I also made chicken teryarki, this I will blog about at a later date. When my husband ate this he was so happy. One bowl is so filling it is all you will need.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Anisette Cookies

Let's talk about cookies. Cookies are definitely something I love but I do not seem to make them enough. Anisette Cookies are an Italian favorite, and they are best when made with anise extract. When I was little my Nana would gather her grandchildren and we would make these cookies together. The fun part about making these cookies is that since they have to handled, we would all make our initials and those would be our cookies to eat when they were served to the family. It was silly but we all had fun making them.
Years later I was a friends house and she made them and they were just like Nana made!!! You know who you are if you are reading this :), and I love that you shared your recipe with me. I knew I had to make them for myself.

Anisette Cookies (Noni Cookies)

1 cup granulated sugar
12 heaping tablespoons butter flavor Crisco
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk (room temp.)
5 cups flour
6 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 tablespoon anise or lemon extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a large bowl cream sugar and shortening for 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mix well after each with mixer on low speed. Add 1/2 cup of milk, 3 cups of flour, baking powder and extract. Stir slowly adding the remaining 2 cups of flour until dough is pliable. Dough should be sticky when you take it out of the bowl, and kneed on a floured board. Kneed till dough is firm.

Break into 1"balls, dough will rise to 2x size when baked. Place dough balls on ungreesed cookie sheet 2" apart. Bake in hot oven 8-10 minutes, till top is slightly browned. Remove from oven and cook on rack before frosting.

YES!!! Frosting. This is what makes these cookies what they are, the frosting and the sprinkles.


3 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon anise or lemon extract (accordingly)
1/4 cup milk (room temp.)

multi-colored sprinkles

Combine sugar with extract and mix well.
Add milk to form a paste: to thick add more milk, to thin add more sugar.
Frost cookies on wax paper and immediately sprinkle.

When cooled (about an hour) move to decorative plate.


Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta & Beans)

If you are not Italian or know someone Italian you may never have heard of Pasta e Fagioli. When I was a little girl my Nana & Grandpi made this soup quite often, but it was not my favorite dish. It wasn't until years later that I realized how good it really is. You see I was in the North End of Boston (the Italian section) with some friends when we found this hole in the wall family restaurant, which sad to say I have no idea what is the name of the restaurant, but I do know it is family owned and operated. It was a cold winter day and all I really wanted was something warm and comforting and I think the cheapest and most filling dish on the menu. That was Pasta e Fagioli, it was so yummy I still think about it whenever I make mine.
Pasta e Fagioli is for the most part peasant food since it is pasta and beans, two very cheep ingredients that can fill you up and serve many. But don't let that stray you away from making it. It is so yummy. I will say I have been told that my version is quite fancy but why not, when you have the ingredients use them.

Pasta e Fagioli

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/8 lb. pancetta, diced

1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon chili powder or crushed red chili's

1 medium onion finely chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
2 ribs of celery finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
salt n pepper to taste

2 cans of beans (cannelloni, garbanzo, or kidney your choice)
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup water
1 quart chicken stock

1 1/2 cups of ditalini pasta

grated Romano or parmigiana

Heat a stock pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta. When pancetta is browned add the herbs, vegetables, and garlic. Season with salt n pepper to taste. But be careful how much salt you use since Pancetta is a cured meat. Brown the veggies, then add the beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and chicken stock, and raise heat to high. Bring it to a boil. At this point you can add the pasta, and cook for 6-8 minutes. Or what I like to do is let it simmer on the stove for a few hours so all the flavors meld. Then before I plan on serving I make the pasta.

When serving it is best to grate cheese over each bowl, either Romano or parmigiana.

What I can say is my Grandpi is very proud to eat my version, even though it is not like his. But one thing to remember mine will never be like his even if I make his version ... there is always something that makes Grandpi's different than mine. But the fact that I make Pasta e Fagioli now brings back all the memories of being in Nana and Grandpi's kitchen, and what great Grandparents I had and still have.

This is so Yummy ... you got to try it. YUM!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lettuce Wraps

Any visit to P.F. Changs for dinner and you probably have tried Lettuce Wraps, or about 5 years ago they were a staple on Chili's menu. To find good ones are sometimes not so easy, and since the closest P.F. Changs to me is 30 minutes away I have been thinking baout making these, but have not been really sure where to start.

The other day the January 2010 Everyday-Food magazine came in, and low and behold there was a recipie for Lettuce Wraps. This was the perfect oppertunituy I had to fininally make these for my husband.

This is what I did ...

Lettuce Wraps

1/4 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons fish sauce
4 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 lb. ground turkey meat

2 large heads of bib or boston lettuce
2 carrotts julienned

In a small bowl whisk soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar till sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat up a large skillet over high heat. When hot add oil, and swirl pan round to coat the pan with the oil. Add the shallot, ginger, garlic, ginger, and chilli and stir until fragrant (the oils in the shallot and the chilli will over take the other smells). Add the ground turkey and cook, braking up meat as it cooks with a wooden spoon.

Remove the leaves from the head of lettuce. The leaves are going to serve as you "vessel" to hold the meat.

To serve; place piece of lettuce on dish, fill with turkey mix, carrots, and drizzel sauce over. Fold like a burrito and eat.

If you are not sure what a shallot is ... it is a French onion. They are not very big but can be found at any local grocery store, and if you cannot find them I would suggest substituting red onion for one. Sometimes white onions are too strong and a milder onion flavor is needed here.

A secret I can tell you is I did not cut the carrots thin ... I used my potato peeler to make thin pieces of carrots. they came out very delicate and were so super easy to make. sometimes thinking outside the box can achieve the same goal.

One very nice thing came of this ... when we sat down to eat dinner my husband was so excited before he even took a bit. He knew before he ate it that it would be great. When he bit into his first one he asked "where did you get the sauce?" When I told him I made it he did not believe me and thought I purchased it somewhere. That was the best thing I heard all week. YUM!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is one of, if not my ultimate favorite dishes to eat. My husband realized a few years ago that I should try to make Chicken Marsala myself, since every time I went for Italian food I ordered Chicken Marsala ... and I can tell you where it is good and where it is bad, for there are some places that I just think it is bad. The bad ones are the ones that inspired me to make this dish at home. At first I thought this was going to be so difficult but it is really one of the easiest things to make.
One of the best parts of this recipe is it is versatile in that you can use any meat ... chicken, veal, pork, etc. They all taste good with this recipe as the foundation.
Chicken Marsala

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
3 slices of Italian prosciutto cut into small pieces
1 package of sliced mushrooms

4 chicken cutlets
3 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/4 cup of Marsala wine
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Saute 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, prosciutto, and mushrooms till golden brown. Set aside. Return pan to heat.
Pound chicken till 1/4 inch or less thick. Dredge in flour and saute two pieces of chicken in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Till golden brown. Set aside. Saute the other two pieces of chicken in rest of butter. Do not clean the pan.
The pan now has all yummy goodness stuck to the bottom and that is where most of your flavor is going to come from.
The step is deglazing the pan. Pour the liquid, Marsala wine and water, into the pan return to the heat, slowly scraping the bottom of the pan to release the yummy goodness. Add the dark brown sugar, and stir till dissolved. Remove from heat. Return the everything you have set aside; chicken, mushrooms, prosciutto. Cover and set aside for a few minutes before serving. This helps all the flavors marry.
Before serving sprinkle with parsley. YUM!!!

(This time when I served Chicken Marsala we also had mashed potatoes, the sauce on the potatoes was perfect!!!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Beer Braised Short Ribs

Beef is something that is not cooked as often in the winter time as it is in the summertime at our house. For in the Summer the grille is on almost every night and my husband knows how to cook a mean steak. When it comes to the Winter the grille is still in use and accessible but a juicy steak is not craved as much, since I don't consider steak comfort food, and in the winter that is what I crave the most ... comfort food.

A couple of months ago we went to a Beer Dinner at Summer Winter in Burlington, MA. we had never been to a beer dinner, wine dinners are so common, but a beer dinner seemed to really interest us. We went and the food was to die for. The first one was a Sam Adam's beer dinner and the last one we attended was an Allagash beer dinner. Beer dinners are a bit different from wine dinners in that not only is the beer paired with the food ... in most cases the beer is used in preparation of the food (Cherry Wheat vinegarette on my salad, and Cream Stout ice cream for dessert). Both of these dinners featured a Beer Braised short rib as the main course, and in both cases all that was left only our plates was the bone. I knew I had to find a way to make this, and I knew my Crock Pot was the secret component.

This is what I did ...

Beer Braised Short Ribs
1 -1 1/2lbs. of beef short ribs
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon if thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup flour
1 bottle beer - Wheat Ale (or stout, or a beer with a bold loud flavor)
1 cup chicken or beef broth
Add dry ingredients to crock pot; beef, brown sugar, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, in slow cooker. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat meat.
Add wet ingredients; broth, soy sauce, and beer, pour over beef.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or high for 4-5 hours). Cook until meat is fork tender. (I will advise to cook for 8-10 hours, slower and longer makes meat tender.)
Remove beef from sauce, and set aside. Ladle out two spoonfuls of the broth and put in a small sauce pan on medium low heat. In a cup mix 2 tablespoons of cold water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, add to the broth on the stove top. Whisk till thickens.
When serving put sauce over meat.
PS ... sorry no picture, we ate it all before i could even take the camera out.