Monday, June 28, 2010

Pulled Beef Short Ribs

ok, ok, ok... I don't know why I've been making such time intensive meals the last few days.  But, I had a taste for short ribs.  And, all the recipes I have had carrots in them.   One thing we didn't have are carrots.  Apparently, I've been on a carrot kick and the BF is somewhat sick of them.  So, I was banned from buying carrots this weekend at the farmer's market.  *grin*

We did have onions, beer and lemons.  OMG - this ended up SO good!  But, it is a LOT of work compared with other beef short rib recipes.  I use two different pans for this. 1) cast iron skillet to brown up the ribs and 2) cast iron Dutch oven for the braising - but if you don't want the extra clean up you can do it all in the Dutch oven.

Also, you can break this out into multiple days which we ended up doing by accident.  I didn't realize that separating the meat and bone would make so much of a difference in both taste and ease of eating.  Although, I'm sure you can figure out the later when you have the short rib still on the bone.  If your doing this all in one day, it will take about 5 or 6 hours.

Beer Braised Pulled Short Ribs

  • 3 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1 good porter - I highly recommend Bell's
  • 1 really large onion (or two normal sized ones) - sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic - sliced thinly
  • 3 thick slices of lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 celery stick - chopped roughly
  • parsley (if you have fresh great! you just need a few sprigs - if not - about 3-4 tbsp dry)
  • chicken stock or water - enough to cover the short ribs well (approximately 3 cups)
  • bacon fat - enough to brown up the beef and saute the onions

Preheat oven to 300 F.

Salt and pepper the beef and brown in a pan. I use two different pans for this, a fry pan to brown the beef and a dutch oven to braise the ribs. If you choose to use only the dutch oven, then pull out the beef and set it on the side and then saute the onions.  Otherwise, heat up the dutch oven while the meat is browning and saute the onions.

Add garlic to the onions and stir it for about a minute.  Add beer to onions and garlic mixture, cook down a bit (about 5 min).  Add beef and bring liquid to a soft boil/simmer.

Place pot in the oven for 2 hrs.  And, if you are like me and working from home - back to work you go. Otherwise - do whatever you would normally do for the next 2 hours. TV anyone? 

Pull it out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature so that you can handle the meat.  You can even pull the meat out and place it on a separate plate to cool.

When you can easily hold the meat in your hands - remove the gristle and bones. Place the meat in one container, the bones in another and the gristle in the garbage. If you are doing this over multiple days, place the meat in the fridge.  

Put the bones into the dutch oven with the juices/liquid that has been there from the braising
simmer/low boil the bones and liquid until liquid is 1/2 to 3/4 gone (this is a few hours - depending upon how high you have the heat).

Strain the liquid and add the meat which you have either pulled by hand or you can pull with a fork
cook until liquid is all gone.

Now you can do this in many stages over a few days and it will taste better for it.  The lemon isn't overwhelming - but it does make the house smell lemony.  Which is a good thing, no? ;)

I really need to get a new camera so I can take pictures of the food... but that is on hold for a bit.  So, I'll just put up random images unless the BF is sweet and takes a picture of the meal.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mutton! Mut-ton! Muuuuuttttttttoooon.

When my cousins were in from India and my sister's were taking them out for a meal post some sight-seeing event .... they would inevitably ask if the restaurant served mutton.  Now, mutton is a very popular meat in India and so they were quite shocked to find out that hardly anyone serves mutton in the US.   They were also surprised that we ate so much beef.

Now, we are catholic... (well, culturally) ... and so beef isn't the same taboo it would be for someone who is Hindu. But, Indian's in general don't tend to eat a lot of beef in India.

Anyway - guess what we got in our CSA yesterday? Mutton! LOL.  Sure, when the cousin's aren't here to eat any.  However,  my mum should enjoy the curry I'm making for tomorrow.   But, as always - I did hack it up a bit.

The BF helped cook it and laughed when I said to put in a bit of peanut butter. *shrug* we didn't have any peanuts in the house and after shopping already half the day -- I just didn't want to go to another store.  :)

Here is the recipe. You are welcome to hack away at it as well. It is a lot of ingredients - sorry!  Remember, it's Indian food - you can ad-lib all you want and measurements of ingredients is very optional.

Mutton Curry

  • 2 1/2 pounds meat from shoulder or leg of mutton
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (more if you like spicy)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped/ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped/ground peanuts
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon white poppy seeds (khas khas)
  • 3 brown cardamom pods (I only had green so that was what was used)
  • 8 small green cardamom - seeds pulled out from the husk and crushed  (I only used 3, since I had done up 3 already)
  • 14-16 peppercorns
  • 8-10 cloves (whole)
  • pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons coconut (desiccated - no sugar added)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger - chopped roughly
  • 12 - 13 medium garlic cloves - sliced / chopped roughly
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 2 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 1/4 cups yogurt (use a thick yogurt like Brown Cow or FAGE - whole cream)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes - liquid separated
  • 1 teaspoon garam masalla
  • fresh coriander leaves

whew. now that you have all the ingredients. you do right?

Here is what you do with all of that....

Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes and put to the side.

In a pan over moderate heat, toast the coriander powder for a few seconds.  Add almonds, peanuts (if you substitute with peanut butter, wait until later when putting everything in the blender), cumin seeds, poppy seeds, 3 whole cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns, nutmeg, coconut --- stir until you smell the aroma of roasting spices. (about 1 1/2 min). Toss in the ginger, garlic and red chili powder and toss the whole thing (well, not the pan) into the blender.  Add some water and blend until a nice paste like consistency.  

Heat the ghee/butter in a pot (fairly large pot as you are going to be adding loads of stuff to the pot). Add onions and the crushed seeds from the cardamom to the pot. Saute until onions are browned. Add the blended spices and turmeric powder, mix and fry for 4 to 5 minutes. Add yogurt a bit at a time, allowing any liquids to cook out.  Or, if you are lazy like me - dump it all in and then stir until all the liquid is gone - but it is not quicker and might be even more work - since you can not let yogurt cook on too high of a heat as it will break up and you need keep stirring or else it will break up.

Once yogurt has dried up - add the tomatoes (no liquid) and stir up.  Cook until tomatoes have softened, it should be fairly dry still at this point. Something like a puree or thick sauce. Add meat, stir. Add tomato liquid, stir. Make sure that meat is covered by the curry - if not - add water until it is nicely covered.
Once it starts to simmer, cover and cook for 2 hrs.  Stirring occasionally. 

Sprinkle garam masala and chopped coriander leaves. Stir. Serve.

If you want you can make it more curry like by adding water 1/2 way through the cooking process.  Or more dry - by not adding water and allowing for the last 1/2 hr to cook uncovered.  Or to continue cooking until you get the liquid consistency you want.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cartoon Thursday

I'm not so sure I can find a cartoon for every Thursday... but, I'll make the attempt. :)

This is from a comic strip called Committed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Orleans duex

We had some andouille sausages I wanted to use and as you know, I'm in a New Orleans kind of mood. So, I was browsing the Gumbo Pages and found this recipe that uses andouille sausage. Now, I have to admit to being very bad and hardly following the recipe at all. I was planning to and I will do so next time. But, this version came up pretty darn good.

Black Eyed Peas and Andouille Sausage Soup/Stew

  • 1/2 pound black-eyed peas
  • 2 Andouille Sausages  - pan fried and cut into bite size pieces
  • 5 oz ham (I had some left over in the freezer from a dinner we had done up a bit ago)
  • 6 cups beef stock (well that was what I had in the fridge since we had just done up some beef stock)
  • 2 tbsp Cajun spices (I used Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning )
  • 1 large onion - chopped finely
  • 1 large bell pepper - chopped finely (red since the BF doesn't like green, go figure)
  • 2 bay leaves handful of parsley leaves - roughly chopped
  • butter to saute
In a hot pan, saute the onions and bell pepper in butter until onions are softened, about 5 min.

Add Cajun seasoning and give it a quick stir. Add bay leaf, stock, black eyed peas - simmer for about 10-15 min.

During the simmering time, cook up the sausages and cut them into bite size pieces.

Put in sausages, ham and parsley.

Simmer for a few min - until the black eyed peas are done to a consistency you like.

We did eat it with a wee bit of sourdough bread that I got from Gene's. Best sourdough I've bought outside of San Fran.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Orleans

Yes, yes, I know - everyone has something to say about BP, the gov't and the oil muck-up.

I have been telling the BF that I feel that we need to go down to NO to support the businesses there. Can you imagine the lousy luck - Katrina, Jindal, BP. The triumvirate of tribulation.

Here is a article about P & J who will now be importing oysters from the west coast to LA.Can you imagine? A company which has been around since 1876 - being forced due to this fiasco to buy from the west coast.  And, you know that NO people pride themselves on their seafood.  Now chefs in NO are finding creative ways to deal with the loss of seafood.  But, chicken livers?  I don't like oysters but I don't think that chicken livers and oysters taste anything like each other.  I actually kind of like chicken liver. *blush*

Anyway - due to my affinity of what is going on down in Louisiana - the BF has been having a New Orleans themed meals (for the few meals I've cooked this week - god, but I hate painting!) .

Here is a recipe for Shrimp Etouffee that I got from Gumbo Pages which is based on a combo of  Mom's recipe and Perry's .

Shrimp Etouffee

  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1 cup cold water (more if you wish more soupier mix)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Creole seasoning blend, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 tomato - pealed
Heat the butter in a saute pan and saute the onion, bell pepper and celery until the translucent. Add the Creole seasoning, thyme, oregano, bay leaf - quick stir it to just warm up the spices a bit. Add tomato, stir it up. Add water. Simmer for about 10 - 15 min.
Once the liquid is almost gone - add in the shrimp. Cook it through.  You know shrimp are done once they are nicely pink - but pull off as soon as that happens or they will get rubbery. Since we aren't eating rice - I tend to make my sauces a bit thicker - hence the "once the liquid is almost gone".  If you want a soupier mix, just keep more liquids. Or add more water.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WI and the new prohibition

WI has been having ongoing debates about raw milk.  Apparently their Senate passed the resolution to allow the sale of raw milk but the Governor vetoed it - even after he said he would not veto the bill.

I do like this cartoon from WI State Journal

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another reason to buy heirloom vegetables

I tend to do random Google searches while waiting for things to finish up.  One day a friend of the BF had stated she looks for nutrient dense foods.    So, what the heck, I looked up nutrient density and foods... and this Times article from 2/2009 popped up.  With a header of: "Eating Your Veggies: Not As Good For You?"  --- you know I was definitely going to read it.

Apparently vegetables from supermarkets are have less nutrients than they had even 50 years ago. The article covered what Davis wrote in his 2009, Journal of HortScience, article - but having read Taubes - I needed more information/documentation to make sure it wasn't just this one off scientist saying the sky is falling. (see below - while there is quite a lot of references to Davis' work, there are quite a few other studies done that appear to validate his theory).

You can read the information for yourself... but here are the highlights:
  • due to mass production of farming, we are producing more food with less nutrients in them
  • chemical fertilizers - which organic farmers don't use - grow plants faster and so they are less nutritious than organic foods
  • heirloom foods tend to have higher nutrients because they have not been mucked around with as much as "normal" vegetables / fruits 
  • the earlier a fruit / vegetable is picked and the longer it is stored, the more vitamins and minerals it looses 
  • chicken has "twice as much fat as in 1940, a third more calories and a third less protein" (easy reads #3) - this is entirely based on what it eats and the fact that it is cooped up without access to the outdoors.  Another reason to buy free range, organic.
It bothers me that we are not told how much of a change in quality we are getting - just because we have quantity.   It is like going to a all you can eat buffet - you get a lot of crap food for a relatively cheap price.  But, at the end of the day, you have eaten crap food.
I realize that organic, heirloom, free range, grass fed / grass finished is more expensive and hard to find - but don't you think it is so much more worth while to eat something that nourishes your body?  I'd rather eat a small good meal than a large crappy one.  But, buffets wig me out on a lot of different levels - germaphobe that I am.  :)

------------------------  More info  ----------------

Easy reads:
  1. Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence?
  2. CHARTS: Nutrient Changes in Vegetables and Fruits, 1951 to 1999 
  3. It's supposed to be lean cuisine. So why is this chicken fatter than it looks? (This was a odd ball find - but I couldn't resist putting it in the blog.  I figure I wouldn't be able to do so for another posting...and it was just too good not to pop it in)
  4. Fruits and vegetables aren't what they used to be 
  5. Declining Nutritional Value of Produce Due to High Yield Selective Seed Breeding. 
  6. Critical Issue Report: Still No Free Lunch 
Technical reads: 
  1. Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence?  - this has the full article by Davis with the graphs and additional documentation. 
  2. Effect of agricultural methods on nutritional quality: a comparison of organic with conventional crops.
  3. Comparison of the Total Phenolic and Ascorbic Acid Content of Freeze-Dried and Air-Dried Marionberry, Strawberry, and Corn Grown Using Conventional, Organic, and Sustainable Agricultural Practices
  5. Characterization of soil quality: Physical and chemical criteria
  6. Soil fertility management and insect pests: harmonizing soil and plant health in agroecosystems
  7. istorical variation in the mineral composition of edible horticultural products.
  8. Agriculture and Climate Change: Real problems, false solutions
  9. Trade-offs in Agriculture and Nutrition
  10. Influence of Organic versus Conventional Agricultural Practice on the Antioxidant Microconstituent Content of Tomatoes and Derived Purees; Consequences on Antioxidant Plasma Status in Humans