Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Braised Short Ribs with Dried Fruit

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Food
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This was dinner last Friday night.  I posted a picture on Facebook and a few people asked me for the recipe so I decided I’d put it up here. Since I never actually wrote down a recipe for this and was improvising at the time, bear in mind that cooking is are and not science.

Ingredients

1.5 kg Short Ribs (What the Israelis call Asado)

Braised Short Ribs with Dried Fruit

Braised Short Ribs with Dried Fruit served with mashed potatoes

20 shallots, peeled

1 head garlic, peeled

20 dried apricots, quartered

10 seedless prunes, quartered

1/4 cup craisins

1 cup Jack Daniels

1/4 cup honey

Water

3 whole cloves

20 whole peppercorns

6 whole allspice

Salt, pepper, vegetable oil

Directions

Heat a medium sized pot (it needs to be big enough to hold all the ingredients).  While the pot is heating, season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Once the pot is very hot, put about 1 tbsp of oil in (don’t worry if it starts smoking – the pot should be that hot!) and then sear the ribs on all sides to a nice brown color.  Once the ribs are brown on all sides, take them out and put them on a plate.  Put the shallots in and brown them on all sides, add in the garlic and then the fruit.  Add the whiskey and then put the ribs back in.  Put in the honey and add water until the ribs are covered.  Put in the peppercorns, allspice and cloves.  Bring to a boil and then simmer on a very low heat for about 2.5 hours.  If the level of the liquids drops too low, add more water until the meat is covered.  If, when the meat is done there is still a lot of liquid, bring the heat back to high and reduce the liquid.

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Holiday Recipe – Matzo Brie

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Family, Food
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This is the traditional breakfast for Jewish families everywhere during Passover. It’s essentially French toast made from matzo. Personally, I like to eat it with jelly. My wife – for some reason – likes to eat it with cottage cheese. Every family has it’s own recipe and tweaks. This is the recipe that my father taught me when I was just a kid.

Ingredients

  • 1 board matzo
  • 1 egg
  • hot water
  • Salt, pepper, oil
  • Directions

  • Soak the matzo in the hot water until it is softened. Strain.
  • Add the egg to the matzo and mix well. Season to taste.
  • Fry in the oil until golden brown on both sides.
  • Comments
  • This is a minimum recipe. 1 board of matzo is probably a bit too much for one person, but not enough for two people. Just do some math to figure out who many is right for your table. I generally use 3/4 boards of matzo per person (ie – one board for 1 person, 2 for 2 people, and 3 for either 3 or 4 people.)
  • Some families like to serve it up us big pieces – either making pancake size individual ones, or large ones and cutting a piece for each person. My family tradition is to cut it up like scrambled eggs.
  • Unlike french toast – where I make different batters for sweet and savory – this works well with either jelly or a more savory topping like cottage cheese. Choose whatever you like.
  • Weekend Recipe – Pea Soup

    Posted: April 2, 2011 in Food
    Tags: ,

    Ingredients

    • 400g peas
    • 1 medium sized carrot, medium dice
    • 1 medium onion, medium dice
    • 1 liter chicken stock
    • salt, pepper

    Instructions

    • Put all ingredients in a pot without the seasoning and bring to a boil.
    • Simmer until the carrots are fully cooked – about 15-20 minutes.
    • Blend into a smooth puree
    • Bring back to a boil and season to taste.

    Comments

    If you don’t have chicken stock, use water and the appropriate amount of stock cubes or soup powder.  I usually use frozen peas, if you decide to use dried peas, use about 300g and soak them for about 20 minutes prior to cooking – make sure to discard the water you soaked them in.  If you’re using fresh or frozen peas and want a brighter green only put half the peas in at the start, put the rest in immediately prior to using the blender.  If you’re using a regular blender and not a blender stick hold back about 1/3 of the water when blending – then add it back in to get the consistency you like.  Serve it with croutons, grated parmesan cheese and crumbled bacon.

    Well – Passover is almost upon us and I figured I’d start with an old family recipe.  Every year my grandmother would make the soup, my aunt would make the matzoh balls and Mom would make stuffed cabbage…  Personally, I don’t like the cabbage – so mom would always make twice the meat, half stuffed and half unstuffed – and I tried it without the cabbage once but it wasn’t the same.  If you really don’t like cabbage, line the pot with some cleaned cabbage leaves – you’ll get the same flavor in the sauce without wrapping the meat balls.

    Ingredients

    • 1 Large Head Cabbage – separated into leaves and softened in boiling water
    • 1 kg Chopped Beef
    • 1 Onion, chopped
    • 1 egg
    • ½ cup ketchup
    • 2 12 oz (330 g.) cans tomato sauce
    • ¼ tsp sour salt (lemon salt)
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar

    Instructions

    1. Mix meat, onion, ketchup and egg in a large bowl until the mixture is uniform.
    2. Form balls out of the mixture, place each ball into a cabbage leaf and close the leaf around the ball.  Place in pot.
    3. Pour the rest of the ingredients into the pot.
    4. Partially cover and bring to a boil.
    5. Let simmer for 1 hour and taste.  If too sweet, add sour salt.  If too sour, add brown sugar.  Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes after adjusting flavor and taste again.  If the taste is right, it’s ready.

    Comments

    As I said – cabbage has to be in the pot for it to taste right.  If you don’t want to wrap the meatballs you can either put some cabbage leaves at the bottom or chop the cabbage up and put it in – I’ve done both and I don’t mind the cabbage so much chopped up.  I tend to make a lot of this at a time and freeze it – it’s great as an appetizer or served over rice or mashed potatoes as a main dish.  This is a copy of my mother’s recipe – you can just as easily sub the canned tomato sauce for homemade using the recipe I gave a few weeks ago… If you decide to use canned, we always used Hunts and that’s the flavor I recognize from my childhood (I always go out of my way to get it since it’s hard to find in Israel…)

    Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts, in cutlets
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 1 loaf bread, cut into cubes
  • 2-3 stems of basil, leaves only
  • 2-3 stems of oregano, leaves only
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • flour (for dredging the chicken)
  • oil (for frying)
  • 3 balls fresh mozzarella, sliced
    Instructions 
  • Put bread, herbs, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper into a food processor and chop until you have uniform bread crumbs.
  • Beat the eggs with a little bit of salt and pepper
  • Season the chicken with a little bit of salt and pepper
  • Dredge the chicken through the flour making sure that each cutlet has an even, thin coating.
  • Dredge the chicken through the egg, letting all excess egg drip off
  • Dredge the chicken through the breadcrumbs making sure that each cutlet has an even coating.
  • Heat about 1cm oil in a frying pan until it is nice and hot (if you drop a cube of bread in, bubbles should start forming almost immediately)
  • Fry the chicken cutlets until golden brown on both sides.
  • Coat the base of a roasting pan with tomato sauce
  • Place the chicken cutlets in the roasting pan and cover them (don’t smother – you should see the brown around the edges) with tomato sauce.
  • Place the cheese on top of the cutlets – you should be able to see the tomato sauce on the cutlet after you place the cheese.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 180C oven for about 20 minutes – until the cheese starts to brown.
    Comments 
  • For Kosher alternatives – you can use eggplant instead of chicken. If you do, slightly salt the egplant slices and let them sit for a few minutes before dredging in flour.

    This is one of my family’s favorite recipes. I tend to serve it with spaghetti – or some other pasta – in the same tomato sauce. Because my family likes the fried chicken cutlets so much, I tend to make 2-3kg of chicken cutlets and then freeze what didn’t make it into the roasting pan – we just reheat it later and eat. While I tend to like making my own bread crumbs you can use store bought. If you do use store bought -get unseasoned and add the seasoning yourself. The seasoning of the breadcrumbs can have a big effect on flavor – just make sure that any herbs you use (whether fresh or dried) are chopped extremely fine.
    Bon apetit! 

  • I’ve decided that I’m going to do a series of my favorite Italian recipes over the next few weeks.  Since almost all of them are red sauce Italian, I’m going to start with that basic recipe – tomato sauce.

    Ingredients

    • *1kg peeled, chopped tomatoes
    • 100g onions, finely diced
    • 50g carrots, finely diced
    • 3-4 bay leaves
    • 700ml water
    • 6-8 stems of thyme or oregano, finely chopped
    • 4-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 bunch basil, finely sliced
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 200g tomato paste
    • salt, pepper, olive oil
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • * Preferably fresh tomatoes, when using canned I tend to go with crushed.

    Instructions

    • In some olive oil, sautee onions, carrots, celery and thyme or oregano until is starts to brown.
    • Add in the garlic and once the smell of garlic starts to come up, add the tomato paste.
    • Add in the red wine. You should now have a very thick liquid with the vegetable chunks.
    • Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil.
    • Add the sugar and give it its initial seasoning. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes
    • Add in the basil.
    • OPTIONAL – with a blender stick, blend it until you have a smooth puree
    • Adjust seasoning (and sweetener) to taste.

    Comments
    Since tomato sauce is a base ingredient in so many recipes I tend to make about 3-4 times this recipe at once and freeze it. I also take great care to leave it a relatively neutral flavor – not to sweet and not too overpowering. If I want to make pizza I’ll use some of this sauce and sprinkle a drop of sugar on before I add the cheese and toppings. By adding things such as ground beef, olives, capers, etc. when reheatign you can change this basic sauce from tomato sauce to bolognese, putanesca or whichever tomato based sauce you like on your pasta – and still have only made one huge batch (which doesn’t require that much work).

    Next week – Chicken parmesan!

    Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce is one of my favorite dishes to get in Chinese restaurants. I know some places make it spicier and some smoother – this is the way I make it. Special thanks to my sister-in-law Steph for giving me the original recipe!

    Ingredients

  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp water
  • 2 ½ TBS sesame oil
  • 2 TBS peanut butter (smooth) or 2½ TBS peanut butter (chunky)
  • 2 ½ TBS water
  • 2-3 TBS soy sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • Instructions

  • Mix dry mustard with 2 tsp water, set aside.
  • Add all ingredients one at a time in the order they appear, stirring well after adding each ingredient. Add the mustard last.
  • Cover and chill in fridge.
  • Comments
    This is a good dipping sauce for things like fried chicken cutlets as well as being great over cold noodles. You can serve it with cold noodles with chicken – I would recommend grilled or nuggets – that is either hot or cold and it can make an excellent meal. This recipe will make enough sauce for 1 500g (or 1 1lb) box of spaghetti. I have – on occasion – switched the sesame oil with Asian chili oil and it makes a very nice spicy version. If you are going to serve it over noodles traditional garnishes include thin peeled cucumber strips, sesame seeds and crushed peanuts.

    Recipe Requests…

    Posted: March 3, 2011 in Food
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    Since I started posting recipes every Friday they’ve become some of my most popular posts.  So now, I’m going to let you – the loyal readers – let me know what you want.  Add a comment with suggestions for different recipes that you’d like me to post and I’ll try do as many of them as I can over the next few weeks.  Thanks!

    Weekend Recipe – Pancakes

    Posted: February 25, 2011 in Food
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    Continuing what I started last weekend, today I’m going to give you one of my favorite recipes: Pancakes.  It’s easier and cheaper – and better – than any store bought mix and worth the effort.  You can make the batter ahead of time (like the night before) and enjoy later.  I usually make them when it’s my turn to get up with the kids on Saturday.  The kids help me make the batter and then we stick it in the fridge until my wife wakes up…  The recipe I’m going to give is what I would make for myself – when I make for the family I just triple the recipe and it makes enough (maybe on left over at the end).

    Ingredients

    • 1 Egg
    • 1/2 cup Flour
    • 1/2 cup Milk
    • 1 pinch (about 1/8 tsp) Salt
    • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
    • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
    • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1 1/2 tsp Vegetable Oil/Butter (softened)/Margarine(softened)

    Instructions

    Whip the eggs – either by hand with a whisk or (what I usually do) with the whisk attachment on a blender stick until fluffy.

    Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until a smooth batter is formed.  The batter should be thick enough so if you put a spoon of it on a flat surface, it will be about 1mm thick.

    If you want to make flavored pancakes (i.e. blueberry, chocolate chip, etc.) this in when you fold it in.

    Let it rest in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

    Heat up your frying surface with nothing in it – it needs to get hot otherwise they stick.  When it’s hot pour a little of the batter and lower the flame to a medium heat.  When the edges have dried and the bubbles that pop are not re-covered in batter, it’s time to flip them.  If they are too dark – lower the heat, if not dark enough raise it a bit.  This takes trial and error and the first batch may come out all different shades.  When I got a new stove it took me 3 batches to figure out what the right heat was (and I still mess up the first one!!!)

    Put them on a plate one on top of another – the top one that just came out of the pan will help keep the other ones warm.

    Serve with butter and your favorite pancake toppings.

    Comments

    If you want to make crepes you can use this recipe without the baking powder – just make it a drop thinner.  Take the time to get to know your stove – I use the smallest of my burners and have it almost all the way down and I do them one at a time (or I use the big burner all the way down and use a griddle pan and do 6-8 silver dollar pancakes) but when I heat up the pan I use it on full – if the pan isn’t hot enough they will stick!  I like to cut in fresh strawberries when they’re in season – it’s a yummy add on.

    Weekend recipe – Beef Stew

    Posted: February 18, 2011 in Food
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    OK. So I’ve decided that every weekend I’m going to post a favorite recipe. Today I’m going to post what I’m about to cook. Realize that my philosophy of cooking is that it’s more of an art form so forgive me if I’m not 100% exact here…
    Beef Stew
    My preface to this recipe is that I make it in an 8 qt pot and freeze most of it because it freezes really well…Bear that in mind when I give quantities…
    Ingredients

  • 1 – 1.5 KG (2.5 – 3.5 lbs) of beef shoulder, cut into cubes (I cut it myself because the butchers tend to cut it into really big pieces and I don’t like that)
  • 2 big onions, very large dice
  • 2-3 HEADS (not cloves!!!) garlic, peeled
  • 4 medium-big carrots, cut into 1/2 in (1cm) chunks
  • 4 medium potatoes (this week I found a nice bag of baby potatoes which I’ll cut into quarters…), cut into 1/2in (1cm) chunks
  • 1 container of button mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 1 medium sized leek, cut into 1/2 in (1cm) chunks
  • 4-5 stalks of celery, cut into 1/2 in (1cm) chunks
  • 200g tomato paste
  • 600g crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes
  • salt, pepper
  • 5-6 sprigs of thyme
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • dried basil & oregano
  • Oil (I usually use olive oil but you can use canola if you want
  • A cup or so of red wine (if you aren’t willing to drink the wine then don’t cook with it!)
  • Comments on ingredients
    This is what I’m using today, sometimes I’ll use celeriac and parsnips as well – or maybe not use celery – this is really a recipe of what’s available. The important thing is to cut all the ingredients to be about the same size.
    Instructions

  • In a large pot heat the oil over a high flame. Brown the meat on all sides in the oil and then remove to the side.
  • In the same pot (if you need more oil add – you don’t want the veggies sticking) fry the onions until the start to brown. Add the garlic and, when you can smell the garlic from the pot, add in the carrots, celery, herbs and leek. Once the veggies have all started to get some color add in the potatoes and give it a stir or two.
  • Add in the tomato paste and stir well. It should coat all of the vegetables
  • Add the wine and stir
  • Add the tomatoes and put the meat back in. Stir well.
  • Cover with water (cold water), season and stir well
  • Bring to a boil and simmer over a low-medium heat (it should be a slow boil) until the meat is fully cooked. Don’t forget to check the seasoning occasionally because as the liquid boils off the seasoning will get stronger.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook for another 10-15 minutes
  • General comments
    I like to cook this and eat it with fresh bread (sometimes I make and sometimes I go out and buy) because it’s just so good to dip the bread in the sauce. Like I said earlier I tend to make a lot and freeze it – re-heating is as simple as bringing to a boil and cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then serving. If I’m not having bread I’ll serve it over rice or pasta. One general bit of advice that I made in the recipe – check the seasoning often but don’t make major adjustments till the end. It’s easy to over season something if you only check it at the beginning because as the water evaporates, the seasonings get stronger. But don’t forget to put some in at the beginning or the things in the liquid won’t get the benefit of seasoning while cooking.