Tag Archives: love

Stew it up

I won a cookbook giveaway!  Since Mr. Kitchen and I have started planning our wedding, I’ve become a devoted wedding blog reader.  I recently entered a giveaway hosted by OneWed for the Dam Good Sweet Cookbook by Beard nominee David Guas, and I won!  The cookbook features New Orleans-style desserts and I can’t wait to give it a try.  (How I’m going to fit into a wedding dress, I have no idea.)  Mr. Kitchen is in for a yummy fall!  Speaking of yummy, Mr. Kitchen and I have been working tons and tons over the past few weeks, and we are plum tired.  So tired, that I forgot to buy tickets for today’s Vendy Awards.  So instead of spending the afternoon tasting the delicious fare of some of the city’s best food trucks, we’re heading over to Eataly.  Something tells me my bank account is going to be very angry with me later… Hey, some girls shop for shoes — I shop for food!

Anyway, on to fall produce!  Next up: Carrots.  Definitely one of the most versatile of the fall vegetables, carrots can go in, well almost any dish, and one of the easiest fall dishes to prepare is a hearty, stick to your ribs beef stew.  Seriously all you need is the ability to chop, brown and boil to make stew.  I’ve used lots of different cuts of beef for stews but I recently tried giving short ribs a try.  I really liked the way it turned out — the marbled meat was definitely falling off the bone by the time the stew was done and it was absolutely tender.  I’m also a firm believer (and perhaps this is my Irish heritage talking), that you can put in almost any vegetables you’ve got lying around.

Fall Short Rib Stew

Fall Short Rib Stew

Short Rib Stew

7-8 hearty-sized short ribs

3 celery stalk (roughly chopped)

3 shallots (roughly chopped)

2 medium sized carrots (roughly chopped)

2 Yukon Gold potatoes (cut into bite size chunks)

1 sweet potato (or just use 3 Yukons) (cut into bite sized chunks)

1 turnip (roughly chopped)

2 cups beef stock

1 small bottle red wine (I think it’s 375 ml?) (I prefer a cabernet sauvignon for beef stews)

1 tsp salt (to taste)

2 tbsp thyme

1 tbsp tarragon

Flour (for dusting short ribs)

2 tbsp olive oil (for browning ribs)

In a bowl, toss the short ribs with flour, salt and pepper.  In a large pot, heat oil and brown the short ribs on all sides.   Remove short ribs from pot.   In the remaining oil, saute shallots.  Once they are soft, add the meat back in and add the wine.  Cook over medium heat until the wine is halfway reduced, about 10 minutes.  Add beef stock, thyme, tarragon, carrots, turnips and celery and reduce heat, cooking meat until it is very tender (about 1.5 hours).   Add chopped potatoes and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour, until all vegetables and meat are completely tender.  Season with additional salt and pepper as desired.

Browned short ribs and shallots

Browned short ribs and shallots

Pour in the vegetables and herbs for short rib stew

Pour in the vegetables and herbs for short rib stew

Short rib stew

Add the potatoes and cook until tender

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Filed under Beef, Dinner, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Welcome, Fall

The weather in New York City has been glorious this past week (except for that whole freakish Tornado thing).   I’ve talked about how much I love this season, when it starts getting chilly and people buy new school supplies — I love the promise of an empty notebook!  Fall is also the season when Mr. Kitchen and I truly fell in love, so this season has all sorts of super happy memories for me.   One of our best dates was going to some of the OpenHouse NY sites.  Each year in the fall, there’s an “Open House NY” weekend, where sites that are generally not open to the public open their doors for everyone to visit.  We got to visit the garden rooftops surrounding Rockefeller Center and the Mason’s lodge in the city.  I love exploring the city and I was so so happy to discover that Mr. Kitchen did too.

Another reason to love fall?  The produce choices available in this season just can’t be beat.   So in honor of this fabulous time of year, where there are Apples! Pumpkins! Squash! All sorts of root vegetables! I thought it might be nice to focus on fall produce recipes for the next few weeks.

First up?  Apples.

Most people have an apple pie recipe, but apples make such a fabulous addition to all sorts of foods.  I’ve seen it added as a last step in stews, had it chopped and roasted with onions and celery with chicken, and all sorts of other mix-ups with turkey and other proteins.  My newest favorite is adding to it to a pork roast.  Actually, it’s more like adding a bourbon-infused apple pie to pork roast.

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Pork Loin with Apple Bourbon Topping

The rub

2 lb pork loin

1 tbsp salt

pinch cayenne pepper

generous pinch thyme, pepper and rosemary

2 tbsp olive oil,  another 2 tbsp for searing

The topping

1 apple (I like Granny Smith), finely chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp  cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp Bourbon (your choice, but a word to the wise — if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.)

A roasting pan

Preheat the oven to 325°

Mix together dry rub ingredients (salt, cayenne, pepper, etc.)  Rub down the pork loin with about 2 tbsp olive oil and then rub on dry ingredients.  Let stand 10 minutes.  In a pan large enough to fit the roast, heat the remaining olive oil.  Sear the roast on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.  (For a good tutorial on searing, see here)

Once the meat is seared, place it in the roasting pan.  I like to use roasting pans that have an elevated roasting rack.  I also add water to the base of the pan, as an extra insurance that the meat will remain tender.  Cook the roast in the oven, uncovered, for about a half an hour.  (You’ll be adding the topping to the roast and will be returning it to the oven.)

To make the topping, finely chop the apple and add the lemon juice.  Add vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg and bourbon.  Stir together well.

After the roast’s initial 30 minute cooking period, remove from oven and pile the apple topping on top of the roast.  Return to oven (make sure there’s still water in the base of the pan!) and cook until the center of the roast reaches 160° .  Generally, this takes about 40 minutes per pound, but I’ve found that using this topping makes the roast cook a bit slower.   We’re also cooking this at a slightly lower temperature, to let the apple flavoring soak into the meat.  If you’re shorter on time, a good guideline is 350° and 30 minutes per pound.  Let roast stand for 10 minutes before carving (it allows the meat to firm up to make slicing easier).

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

The pork with the olive oil and herbs rub

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Searing the roast

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Pile the apple mixture on top of the roast

pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

Cooked and sliced pork roast with brown sugar bourbon apple topping

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Filed under Baking, Dinner, Pork, Recipes, Tidbits

The Everything Good Cookie — Love at First Bite

Mr. Kitchen and I may be hazy about the first meal I ever made for him, but we’re definitely in agreement on the first thing I baked for him:  Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  I made these shortly after Mr. Kitchen and I first started dating.   These beautiful drop cookies are also known in our household as The Everything Good Cookie because they are a mixture of everything heavenly on Earth — peanut butter, steel cut oats, chunks of semi-sweet chocolate and sometimes, when I’m feeling frisky — walnuts or pecans.  Mr. Kitchen swore he heard the Seraphim after eating just one bite.  I knew I had him then.   I don’t bake them all that often — their yummy potency can be overwhelming (for the waistline) but when Mr. Kitchen has done something super awesome, I break out the recipe.   (Oh who am I kidding — I bake these when I’m PMSing too.)  I can’t remember where I saw the basis for this recipe, which I’m sure was a peanut butter cookie, but I just kept adding things until the dough literally couldn’t take anymore ingredients without totally falling apart.

I also think these are the perfect fall cookie and, maybe it’s a result of the super hot summer we’ve had in New York this year, but I’ve been craving the fall like nobody else.  I’ve taken to cooking those stick-to-your ribs type casseroles too in the irrational hopes that it will bring a change in the season.  (More on those next time.)  This is what happens to me in August in New York.  I go a little batty.  August also makes me want to buy school supplies, even though I’ve been out of school for nearly a decade.  Go figure.

Now, like I said — this recipe — the force is strong with this one.  Use sparingly, unless you want yourself a stalker.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 12 fairly large cookies

3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats (steel cut oats)

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 stick salted butter (softened)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tbsp vanilla

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

Approx 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (the amount really depends on how much you like chocolate)

* Optional — 3/8 cup nuts (walnuts work well)

In a food processor (or a blender), pulse 1/2 cup oats.  In a large bowl, mix together whole oats, ground oats, flour, baking powder and baking soda.  In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy, then add vanilla and peanut butter.  Mix well.  Add egg and beat well.  Add in flour mixture and beat well.  Add in chocolate chunks and nuts (if adding) and gently mix together.  Chill cookie dough at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325º  Drop large spoonfuls (think the size of a medium meatball) of cookie mix onto foiled cookie sheet (ungreased is fine) and gently press down on cookies to flatten slightly.  Cookies should be placed 1.5-2″ apart if possible.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  **I’ve found that these cookies are best when just the bottom is golden brown.

These are amazing fresh out of the oven with a scoopful of vanilla ice cream on top.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The peanut butter mixture gooeyness

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The dough -- try to resist eating this raw!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Drop the dough, flatten slightly

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Filed under Baking, Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

Graduating from the Barbie Kitchen

My old kitchen was what we affectionately termed a Barbie kitchen.  Literally the size of a dollhouse kitchen, it came complete with a mini, under-the-counter size fridge and an Easy-Bake Oven.  I have no idea how I ever cooked things there — I had one square foot of counter space.  Let me repeat that.  ONE SQUARE FOOT.  It was a galley kitchen you had to turn sideways to walk in.  But I was single, so it was perfect for me.  I had the unicorn of NYC real estate –a backyard — and I threw summer dinner parties and bbqs.  But it came with lots of cooking complications.  Like my freezer not working.  And the fact that I could fit absolutely nothing in my fridge.  And ONE SQUARE FOOT OF COUNTER SPACE.  Can you imagine rolling out a pie crust in one square foot of counter space? Or making lasagna? Or chopping, well, anything?!?  My stove was no better.  I couldn’t fit a standard size roasting pan in there.  I had to get itty bitty cookie sheets.  The one blessing of that kitchen — it forced me to cook nearly every day.  I couldn’t fit leftovers in my fridge!

Truth be told, I learned a lot about myself living and cooking on my own.  I learned that I could never ever date someone who didn’t love food and who didn’t love my cooking.  My husband-to-be, who I met while in that apartment, became my ultimate taste-tester and sometimes regretful guinea pig.  I would venture to say he might have fallen in love with my lasagna and my cheesecakes before he fell in love with me, but he disagrees.  It’s with him that I’ve finally graduated to a Big Girl Kitchen, complete with ten times the counter space of the Barbie Kitchen and a real, life-sized refrigerator and oven.  I can cook whole meals in there!  So here’s me, cooking my way through life, love and everything in between.

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Filed under Tidbits