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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bow Tie Pasta w/ Chicken, Peas and Pine Nuts



Last night's dinner was another one of those clean out the pantry/freezer concoctions. I don't think I've been to the grocery store in the last 3 weeks!
Bow Tie Pasta w/Chicken,Peas and Pine Nuts
Cook 1/2 pound of bow tie pasta in salted water. Meanwhile, saute 2 skinless-boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until browned. I seasoned mine with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add 1 large chopped clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of chili puree and 1 cup of thawed frozen peas, cook until peas are heated through. Top with toasted pine nuts and freshly grated Parmesan and serve.

Happy Halloween!!



This wonderful sculpture is from the restaurant, Tio Lucas in San Miguel and is perfect for wishing everyone a happy Halloween! I will post on this restaurant later.



Monday, October 29, 2007

San Agustin Chocolates & Churros-San Miguel


If you are a fan of hot chocolate or even better, fried- sugar-covered-sticks of dough, then you must visit San Agustin Chocolates & Churros in San Miguel. The first time we stopped in, we ordered Mexican hot chocolate, which is similar to what we are used to here in the states. It's very mellow, smooth and milky with just a hint of cinnamon. When you order your hot chocolate, you also receive 3 of those amazingly sinful churros and for only 33 Pesos, it's a great bargain to boot.

The second time we stopped in Dan, Dan B. and I ordered the Spanish hot chocolate, which was a thick, dark, bittersweet hot chocolate with an almost pudding like consistency. I did not like that version as well as the Mexican, but it was still very good.

They do serve other things as well, like real food, but we came only for the chocolate and churros. The decor was very interesting, it looked somewhat like an old coffee bar, the kind you see in Paris and Rome. The walls were covered with pictures of the owner, Margarita Gralia, a famous actress down there. From the pictures, she is a very beautiful woman, who probably has not eaten very many churros.

They are located in the Centro section of San Miguel at San Francisco #21 Centro 37700 San Miguel de Allende 415-154-9102.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Los Cabos Mexican Grill - Jenks,OK

I drove down to Tulsa yesterday, to spend the weekend with my son, Ryan. They actually live in Jenks, OK, which is a very nice suburb of Tulsa. Ryan wanted to see the movie, 30 Days of Night, a gory- slash- off- their- heads type of vampire movie which was playing at the Riverwalk Crossing Theater. We arrived a little late and decided we would catch the 9:50 PM showing, a much better time for a slash 'em up, blood spraying gorefest of a movie. Since we had 2 1/2 hours to kill, we decided to walk over to Los Cabos Mexican Grill & Cantina for dinner.
As could be expected at 7:30 PM, the place was packed and had a waiting list. My ex-wife, Judy, was with us and suggested we sit outside. I thought it was a little on the cool side, but the area is covered and had multiple heaters, so it was a perfect place to dine and we did not have to wait.
Los Cabos has a fairly nice menu, with all the regulars, plus things like tilapia and mahi-mahi tacos. It's casual dining place, with a little bit of sophistication.
They start you off with some nice, warm, thin and crispy chips and 2 salsas. One of the salsas is a warm, roasted salsa, which was my favorite. We ordered a cup of the White Queso($4.49), which was thick and creamy and very flavorful. For an additional $1.29, you can add chorizo, ground beef or fajita steak to it.
Ryan and I both ordered the Crispy Beef Tacos($8.99), which included 3 crispy beef tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, rice and your choice of beans. Ryan had refried and I had the rancho beans, all the food was very good. Judy ordered the Chicken & Spinach Stacked Enchilada($10.99) and had black beans with hers. I love having a bean choice and really liked their Rancho Beans, which were soupy with bacon and jalapenos.
The overall experience was good and I would go back. This was actually my second time there. The staff is well trained and the food is good. It is a little on the noisy side, both inside and out. And those eating inside come out smelling like grilled onions!
The restaurant is located along the Arkansas River, so you have a nice view of Downtown Tulsa's lights at night. They had live music the night we were there, but it was pretty bad. The girl that sang, also played guitar and seemed as though she started doing both last night. It was really loud and just plain bad, the only downside to a otherwise good dining experience.
Los Cabos is located at 300 Riverwalk Terrace #100 Jenks, OK 74037 918-298-CABO.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pineapple Skillet Uside-Down Cake

This is another recipe from my cooking class in San Miguel at Sazon. I typically don't like pineapple upside down cake(although I love pineapple), but this cake was wonderful. It almost had a pudding consistency to it. The fact that you use chunks of fresh pineapple as opposed to canned pineapple rings makes it all the better. This recipe was attributed to Rick Bayless, who is one of my favorite cookbook authors.
When Monserrat added the brown sugar to the pan, she let it melt before adding the pineapple. After it was melted she added the pineapple and let it cook for another 5 to 6 minutes.



Pineapple Skillet Upside-Down Cake



6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups 1/2" cubed, cleaned pineapple (about 3/4 of a medium pineapple)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
3/4 buttermilk or plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place rack in middle. Melt butter in a large(10") skillet, with ovenproof handle, preferably non-stick, over medium heat. Swirl the butter in skillet until it turns nut-brown then pour into a medium bowl. Without wiping out the skillet, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom. Top with the fruit in an even layer.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt , soda and baking powder. Add the white sugar to the browned butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the egg, then the buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients in the the bowl with dry mixture. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
Pour batter evenly over the fruit in the skillet. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, until cake is golden and springy to the touch. Remove and let cool 10 minutes.
Invert a plate over skillet, then holding plate and skillet firmly together with the towels or pot holders, invert the two in one swift movement. Remove the skillet and the cake is ready to serve.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day of the Dead Sweets





Here are a couple of pictures of sweets for sale in an outdoor market in San Miguel. Some of these candies were quite elaborate and beautiful, while others were very whimsical. Some of the people would not let you take pictures, which I assume is to keep other people from stealing their ideas. They put a lot of time and effort into making these, some women actually start working on them a year in advance. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is a festive occasion where they remember the dead and celebrate the continuity of life.


Mural From Escuela Universitania de Bella Artes


I love this mural from the former convent of La Concepcion in San Miguel and thought it was perfect for Halloween. The Escuela Universitania de Bella Artes is located in a former convent and the Church of La Concepcion is still located on the premises. Today the convent is an arts school with cultural classes in art, music and language.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chicken In Red Chile Sauce


This is another wonderful recipe that Chef Montserrat Castro demonstrated at Sazon in San Miguel. The sauce is not overly spicy and the chicken turned out perfectly. The chili sauce would also work great added to pozole.

Chicken in Red Chile Sauce

20 dried Guajillo and/or Ancho Chile pods
3-4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

Roast the chiles lightly in a frying pan until they soften slightly, taking care not to burn them. Remove all stems, seeds, and veins. Break them up into pieces and simmer in the chicken broth along with garlic, oregano and cayenne, for 40-45 minutes.
Blend chiles and broth in blender a little at a time. Pour sauce through a sieve into a bowl. Mash chile pieces against sieve with spoon to extract liquid and discard pulp. Bring liquid to a boil in saucepan, lower heat and simmer until the sauce reduces by a third. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper, saute in olive oil in oven safe baking dish or casserole for 7 to 8 minutes until browned.
Pour chile sauce over chicken. Cover and bake at 325 for 1 1/2 hours. remove from oven and serve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Classic Gaucamole

While we were in San Miguel, Dan and I took a cooking class at Sazon. Sazon is a beautiful shop located in an old casa just off the main plaza in San Miguel. We just happened to walk in minutes before the class started and even though they were full, they made room for us. The class was a demonstration not an actual hands on experience, but very informative. We got to eat the food that was prepared and it was all very good. At $600 pesos ( around $60 American) a person, the class wasn't cheap, but there was a lot of food and it was a great way to spend 2 hours. Sazon is located at Correo #22, Centro-San Miguel de Allende-Gto, Mexico 37700, you can visit their website at http://www.sazon.com/ .

Classic Guacamole

4 large ripe avocados
1 small white onion, minced
4 serrano chiles, minced
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced (in the class she added around 1 teaspoon)
Salt to taste

Cut avocados in half lengthwise, remove pits and scoop out flesh with spoon. Place in a mixing bowl and mash with fork, an old fashioned potato masher or use a molcajete. You want the avocados to be lumpy. Add onion, chiles, cilantro and lime juice. Save some onion and cilantro for garnish. Mix in tomatoes and season with salt. Place in a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro and onion. Serve with chips.

We're Back

Hi everyone, we are finally back from our trip, but because of the constant delays from Continental Airlines, we did not get home until around 10 pm last night and I have not had a chance to download my pictures. The trip was great, but as always, I am glad to be home.
We had some great dining experiences and got to spend some quality time with Dan and Larry and made new friends like Larry's son, Brian. I'll start writing up some of our experiences starting tomorrow.

Monday, October 15, 2007

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I am off for a week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!! You don't know how bad I need this trip. I will miss Gabby, but she is in the good hands of her favorite house/dog sitter. She refuses to go to Pete and Mac's since she was wounded there last time and had no medical attention.
We are hooking up with Dan and Larry , who have been there since July! The food and the art are supposed to be incredible. So until next week, here is a site to look at and see where we'll be.
http://www.sanmiguelguide.com/
Adios!!

Cafe Ole - Tulsa, OK



This weekend, I went to Tulsa to spend some time with my son, Ryan. One of his favorite places to eat is Cafe Ole, which is located in the Brookside area of Tulsa. Brookside is a great neighborhood that is full of some interesting non-chain restaurants and shops. We had a wonderful dinner here once before and decided to go Saturday for brunch.


It's a small place with a few indoor tables,with the main dining area being a large covered patio. It's truly a great spot to sit and enjoy some unique Southwest inspired dishes. They also serve beer and some tasty Margarita's, which we did not take partake of this visit.


I ordered the Breakfast Burrito, which was a large flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, chorizo, Monterey jack cheese and green chiles and topped with their Ranchero sauce. I chose Ole Browns as my side, which were nice chucks of potatoes that were roasted in some great seasonings. Ryan ordered a cheese quesadilla for his meal and we both cleaned our plates.


They start you off with chips and salsa. The salsa is good, but the chips are just so-so in my book. They taste store bought to me, but their website says that they are home made. The last time we ate there we started with their Ole Chile Con Queso, a nice blend of Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, onion and spices. The dip is really different and good.


They are located at 3509 S. Peoria Tulsa, OK 74105 918-745-6699. It's a nice place to eat and the food is great.

Hickory Plank Salmon w/ Spicy Mustard Sauce



Last night I used a hickory plank to grill some salmon and it was really good. The hickory wood gave a nice smoky flavor to the fish without overpowering it. I made a sauce for the salmon that I drizzled over the fish about 5 minutes before taking it off of the grill and then placed the rest on the table if anyone wanted extra. I combined 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of apple jelly and 1/2 teaspoon of chili puree in a small bowl and stirred until combined. After grilling the fish with the mustard sauce, I topped it with fresh chopped chives and served. This is the easiest way to grill fish in my opinion and the cleanup is a snap.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Zan's Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is the perfect football season dip. My neighbor, Zan, brought this to a party and it was sooo good. It's one of those dips that people can't stop eating. I am going to reproduce the recipe just as she gave it to me. She uses a hot sauce called Frank's and it is really hot, but very good.


Zan's Buffalo Chicken Dip

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Zan uses a rotisserie chicken)
1 block cream cheese, softened
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 small container blue cheese crumbles
12 oz. bottle of Red Hot
1/2 stick butter

Cut chicken in strips and boil for 20 minutes, cool and shred. Spread cream cheese in bottom of casserole dish. (8x8 or 9x9). In skillet, melt butter; add hot sauce and chicken. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and stir until melted. Pour chicken mixture over cream cheese. Add blue cheese and top it with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 -25 minutes. Serve hot.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

RACHAEL'S DUNKIN' GIG 'EVIL'

This article is from today's New York Post. I have to say that I agree with Anthony Bourdain on this one!


October 11, 2007 -- RACHAEL Ray is getting a royal dunkin' from Anthony Bourdain for her big-bucks endorsement deal with Dunkin' Donuts. The prickly chef and "Kitchen Confidential" author says of the Food Network cutie in next month's Outside magazine: "She's got a magazine, a TV empire, all these best-selling books - I'm guessing she's not hurting for money. She's hugely influential, particularly with children. And she's endorsing Dunkin' Donuts. It's like endorsing crack for kids." Bourdain adds: "I'm not a very ethical guy. I don't have a lot of principles. But somehow that seems to me over the line. Juvenile diabetes has exploded. Half of Americans don't have necks. And she's up there saying, 'Eat some [bleeping] Dunkin' Donuts. You look great in that swimsuit - eat another doughnut!' That's evil." Ray's rep shot back: "Anyone who knows Rachael and watches her on TV is aware she promotes balance and moderation, instead of living life in extremes. Her work addressing kids' and families' nutritional needs speaks for itself so we respectfully disagree with Anthony's opinion."

Boo Caramel Corn

Dan brought home this highly addictive caramel corn from work the other day. One of his co-workers gave it to him and I asked for the recipe so that I could post it here. The version she gave Dan had candy corn and M&M's in it, although the recipe does not include them.

Boo Caramel Corn

INGREDIENTS
1 bag Hulless Popcorn***
1 Stick unsalted butter

1 Cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ Cup light Karo syrup
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

In a greased roasting pan place 1 bag of hulless popcorn
***
hulless popcorn, is the popcorn that looks like puffs WITHOUT the cheese; Cheetos makes it and so do a few other brands; you want the plain or sometimes it says buttered, just not cheese.

Place the popcorn in the roasting pan, in oven while assembling; stir Butter, Brown Sugar, Salt, and Syrup continuously over medium heat until boiling; turn heat to low; cook 5 minutes WITHOUT stirring; remove from heat.

Add ¼ tsp baking soda and 1 tsp vanilla; stir well with whisk and then pour on warm popcorn from oven.

Bake 45 minutes stirring the popcorn in the roaster every 15 minutes; take out and spread on sheets of parchment paper, corn is hot and sticky so let it cool completely; place in airtight container. Devour and enjoy!

CAUTION: It is totally addictive and I’m not responsible for the amounts consumed!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tarantino's and the Perfect Calzone


Last night we ended up at Tarantino's for dinner. Dan and I both ordered salads and calzones for dinner. While we were waiting for our food, Stacy and Tracy showed up. We weren't expecting them, so it was a pleasant surprise. They ordered salads and a pizza. Our meals came out and Dan's was a little on the over done side. Joe, the owner, came over and told Dan that he had another one in the oven , because he did not like the look of the one Dan was served. Needless to say, Dan ate the one he was served and I was able to take the perfect calzone home to eat for lunch today!

It makes all the difference in the world when you get good service. It also doesn't hurt that the food is excellent and well priced. That's what keeps us going back and from the look of things, they have lots of regulars. They are located downtown and 601 McGee and worth checking out. I have posted a few other times on them including my original post:
Tarantino's Gourmet Pizza & Subs

Monday, October 8, 2007

Lemon-Chili Grilling Sauce


This is a great recipe to top grilled chicken or fish with. First, grill the meat and then add the sauce at the end of the grilling time. I flattened out some chicken breasts then coated them with sauce prior to removing them from the grill. You can also serve it at the table to add a little extra flavor. I used a chili puree that I bought at an Italian grocery, the brand is Gia and it comes in an 80g tube, like toothpaste. I used 1/2 Tbsp. in my recipe, but feel free to use more if you prefer yours spicier.


Lemon- Chili Grilling Sauce

Juice of 1 large lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon, grated
2 Tbsp. water
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. chili puree
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine ingredients and whisk together.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Macy's and Martha Stewart

Today, Dan and I headed to the Metro North Mall, to check out the new Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's. I wanted to check out her enameled Dutch ovens that have been prominent in the new ads. The merchandise looks very nice, but as we walked the housewares floor, we could not find that blue Dutch oven anywhere. Dan walked over to an associate, pointed to the picture of it on a fixture and asked "Do you have those?". The associate turned to Dan and replied "Yes" and went back to doing whatever she was doing, which looked to me like NOTHING!
I'm sorry, but where is the customer service in today's retail world? I wanted to purchase a $50 item and there was nobody willing to help me find it so that I could take it home. I had hoped that the customer service would improve at this store once Macy's took over, but I have been let down. It seems that in today's retail market, these types of stores would be falling all over their customers to make a sale. We actually received better service at K-Mart today, while looking for fixtures for the bathroom. Not only did the associate ask us if she could help us, she took us to the products we were looking for. When she saw us later, she asked if we found what we were looking for.
When I walk into a K-Mart or a Target, I don't expect to be waited on. I do however expect help if I need it and seem to always receive it. When we were in Macy's today, not one person acknowledged our presence. Needless, to say, I will be purchasing my Dutch oven somewhere else.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Tender Focaccia



I made this bread the other night to go with my short ribs and then served it with the chicken soup the following night. It's a good recipe and turned out well for me. I am not the best at baking, I'm more of an "eye it" type of cook, and baking requires such precise measurements and all. This is one area that I plan to work on, because I do love baked goods. The recipe comes from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. I topped my focaccia with truffle salt and chopped fresh rosemary.
Tender Focaccia
2 cups boiling water
3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup potato flour or 1/3 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus 2 to3 Tbsp. to grease pan and dough surface
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, sea salt or Fleur de Sel for topping
Put hot water and 2 cups flour in a large bowl and beat for several minutes to develop a smooth batter. If you have time, add 1/8 tsp. yeast once batter has cooled to lukewarm, and set the sponge aside for several hours or overnight; this helps develop flavor in the finished loaf, as well as the soft interior texture.
Whisk the potato flour with remaining flour, dry milk, yeast and salt. Add this to batter a little at a time, while continuing to beat. Add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Beat, with the paddle attachment of a mixer set at medium speed, for 8 to 10 minutes, changing to a dough hook when the dough begins to hold together.
After the dough has become smooth and shiny, put it in an oiled bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and let it rise for 30 minutes. The dough should increase by about one third and be puffy looking. Don't punch it down, but pull the sides of the dough up and over in a folding motion. Do this several times to release some gas, then let the dough rise another 30 minutes.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 12 or 14 inch round pan. Place the dough on the pan, gently stretching it to fit. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then stretch it out a little more.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Just before baking, dimple it with your fingers, brush it with a little oil and sprinkle with salt and fresh herbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's deep brown all over.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Brussels Sprouts w/ Sherry-Asiago Cream Sauce




I served this with the pork chops last night and while I liked it, Dan hated it. He loved the sauce, he just had an issue with the sprouts, they freaked him out somewhat. I have never made them before and have only eaten them one other time. I don't have a problem with them, but apparently there are lots of people who don't like them. I'll make them for Ryan the next time he is in town because he does like them. The sauce could be used for broccoli or cauliflower too. This recipe came from www.eatingwell.com.
Brussels Sprouts w/ Sherry-Asiago Cream Sauce
4 servings
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2/3 cup low-fat milk (I used skim)
2 Tbsp. sherry
1/2 cup finely shredded Asiago cheese
1/8 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Place Brussels sprouts in a steamer basket and steam in a large saucepan over 1 inch of boiling water until tender, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring once or twice until just starting to brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; stir until combined. Whisk in milk and sherry; bring to simmer, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until thickened and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the sprouts.
Nutrition Info:
146 cal, 8 g fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 14 g carbs, 7 g fiber, 212 mg sodium, 417 mg potassium

Boneless Pork Chops w/Mushrooms and Thyme



This is another very good recipe from Eating Well. Not only is it simple and quick, it is also good for you. The chicken soup I made the other day had Dan declaring it the best chicken soup he had ever eaten. It's always great to such wonderful praise for something so simple.
Boneless Pork Chops w/Mushrooms and Thyme
2 5-oz. boneless, center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed and pounded to 1/4" thick
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the chops and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
Swirl oil in pan, add shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add vermouth and cook 15 seconds. Stir in mustard and thyme and any juices that have accumulated from the pork; cook until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes more. Spoon the sauce over chops and serve immediately.
Nutrition Info:
350 cal., 16 g fat, 83 mg cholesterol, 4 g carbs, 31 g protein, 1 g fiber, 420 mg sodium

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chicken and White Bean Soup

This is such a simple recipe and very good. I received an offer from Eating Well magazine and decided to check out their website( www.eatingwell.com) to see if I would like their magazine. The website has tons of recipes and they all look easy and good. Needless to say, I subscribed to the magazine and look forward to receiving it, along with all the others. I made a few changes to the recipe, I used 1 leek not 2 , I added 2 cloves of garlic with the chopped sage, I used a 32 ounce box of broth and one cup of water and I added a little salt and some black pepper. I will post their recipe so that the nutritional values are the same.

Nutrition value:
6 - 1 1/2 cup servings 199 calories, 6 g fat, 52 mg cholesterol, 16 g carbs, 23 g protein, 4 g fiber

Chicken and White Bean Soup

2 tsp. olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 14 ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 2-pound roasted chicken, skin discarded, meat removed from bones and shredded

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in sage and continue cooking until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and water, increase heat to high, cover and bring to boil. Add beans and chicken and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.
Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Gorgonzola Polenta

This polenta dish goes with the Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs. On its own, its a very tasty dish and one that I would make again. The Gorgonzola may have been a tad strong for the ribs and could have been cut in half. I think that the flavor would still be good, just not so intense. It really did seem to fight the subtle flavor of the ribs.

Gorgonzola Polenta

2.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup polenta
2 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream

Bring broth to a boil in heavy 3 quart saucepan. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly. return mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until polenta is tender, stirring frequently and adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if to thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese and cream and stir until cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Mixed-Herb Gremolata

This is the topping for the Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs. It adds a nice fresh herb flavor to the ribs. The lemon peel helps to lighten and brighten the dish.

Mixed-Herb Gremolata

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 Tbsp. finely grated lemon peel
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over prepared short ribs.

Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs w/Mixed Herb Gremolata

I have wanted to prepare this recipe ever since I received my October issue of Bon Appetit. My picture is a little to dark, but the dish looked really good and the ribs were excellent. The polenta recipe, which will follow, was a little overpowering and seemed to fight the flavor of the ribs. On it's own the polenta was incredible, but if I made this recipe again, I would probably cut the cheese amount in half. Otherwise, this is a nice hearty meal to serve in the fall with a nice salad and some good bread. I made an incredible foccacia to go along with this. The magazine's recipe served 8, I cut it in half to serve 4.

Cabernet Braised Short Ribs

4 pounds meaty beef short ribs
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. coarse kosher
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 750-ml bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
1 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 tsp. all purpose flour

Gorgonzola Polenta(recipe to follow)
Mixed-Herb Gremolata(recipe to follow)

Arrange ribs in single layer in glass baking dish. Mix rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in small bowl; sprinkle all over ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.
Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in heavy wide ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add ribs to pot and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer ribs to large bowl. Pour off drippings from pot; discard. Add wine to pot and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Return ribs to pot and any accumulated juices;bring to boil. Cover; transfer to oven and braise until meat is very tender and almost falling off bones, about 2 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to large bowl; cover tightly to keep warm. Skim any fat from top of braising liquid. Boil liquid until reduce to 1 generous cup, about 10 minutes. Mix 1 butter and flour in small bowl until well blended. Whisk into braising liquid Whisk over medium-high heat until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Place ribs onto polenta, top with sauce and gremolata.