Monday, December 29, 2014

Red Currant Glaze for Ham

You could make this with cranberry sauce, or even a tart raspberry sauce, but I liked it with the Red Currant Syrup I made earlier this year. This was excellent on smoked ham.

1 cup Red Currant Syrup
1 large shallot, peeled
2 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste
1 Tbsp cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a blender and whiz until well blended. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for  up to several days (it improves after sitting for a day or so, as the flavors more fully blend).

Use to glaze ham as it bakes, and/or as a sauce at the table. Bring to room temperature before serving at the table.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of glaze.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

These were a huge hit with all of us, making me wish I had made a bigger batch. Savory and nutty, a little bit crispy. This recipe works fine with all sprouts or all sweet potatoes, too.

3-4 cups trimmed Brussels sprouts
3-4 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (1/2-inch cubes)
1 1/2 Tbsp walnut or canola oil
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Toss all ingredients in a medium bowl until well coated. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Veggies are done when tender when pierced with a fork. Serve hot.

Serves about 4.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ginger Pear Crumble

Candied ginger is a wonderful foil for many fruits, and pear is one of the best. I made this with Asian pears from our tree, but European pears would work just as well. Be sure to serve this with whipped cream or ice cream - perhaps some Snow's Ginger.

6 cups peeled and cubed pears
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
5 Tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8x8-inch baking pan.

Place the cubed pears in the baking pan. Sprinkle the crystallized ginger over the top.

Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until nicely crumbly. Carefully spread the topping over the pears.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the pears are very soft. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves about 6.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Shallot Butter

There aren't too many savory things that can't be made better by the addition of shallot butter, and Brussels sprouts are no exception.

1 quart Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered if large
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced
Dash of lemon juice (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the Brussels sprouts in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 5-8 minutes, until tender. Drain.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the shallots and saute for 1-2 minutes, then add the Brussels sprouts. Continue to saute over medium heat until they have given up excess moisture from the boiling. If desired, add a small splash of lemon juice to the pan and saute for another moment. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

Serves about 4.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Broiled Polenta with Balsamic Vegetables and Chicken Tomato Sauce

If you have leftover chicken, especially grilled chicken, this would be a great way to use it. Otherwise, if cooking chicken just for this purpose seems like too much bother, skip it or throw in some chickpeas instead.

To do this properly, prepare the polenta ahead of time so it has time to chill and solidify in the refrigerator. If you don't plan that far ahead, though, you can serve it soft in bowls and spoon the topping over it for an equally delicious result. I usually make polenta in my rice cooker now - no fuss, no stirring, no getting burned by spattering polenta - but I've given stovetop instructions below.

4 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1/2 cup quinoa (or another 1/2 cup cornmeal)
1 1/2 tsp salt

Olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwide
1 medium summer squash, diced
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
3-4 cups diced cooked chicken
3 cups tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled feta for topping

Prepare the polenta: Bring the water to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal, then add the quinoa and salt. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until it reaches the desired consistency (it should be quite thick). Oil a 9x13-inch pan and spread the polenta into it in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Refrigerate when no longer hot.

When you are ready to prepare the meal, slice the polenta into squares. Spread them on a baking sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes, until crispy on the outside and beginning to brown.

Prepare the vegetables: Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, squash, and shiitakes and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Prepare the sauce: Combine the chicken and tomato sauce in a saucepan and heat through.

To serve the dish, place squares of broiled polenta on plates. Top with a spoonful of vegetables followed by a spoonful of sauce (alternatively, stir the vegetables into the sauce). Top with crumbled feta at the table.

Serves 4-6.

Dried Tomato Risotto

I had some freshly dried tomatoes sitting on the counter, and they smelled so good I couldn't resist using some right away. This is a deeply savory risotto, and it is excellent topped or accompanied by Balsamic and Garlic Mixed Grilled Vegetables or Tomato-Balsamic Grilled Vegetables if you still have some fresh tomatoes around. Some balsamic-marinated grilled chicken would be nice as well.

Olive oil
1/2 cup dried tomatoes, finely chopped (rehydrate first if necessary)
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably warm
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in the pressure cooker. Add the tomatoes and shallots and saute for about 1 minute. Add the rice, stirring to coat with oil, and saute for another minute or so. Pour in the stock and stir well. Cover the cooker and bring to pressure. Cook at pressure for 7 minutes, then remove from heat and release steam. When pressure is fully released, open the cooker and stir the risotto. If excess liquid remains, simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.  Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Barley with Shallots and Summer Squash

This is a simple side dish using some of the season's last summer squash. Although the ingredients are few, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, as the flavors and texture of the shallots, barley, and squash play off each other.

1 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 medium summer squash, in very small dice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the barley and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the barley is tender and the water is all absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.

While the barley cooks, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallot and saute for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the squash and continue to saute until tender. Remove from heat.

Combine the barley and the squash mixture, stirring to thoroughly mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Grilled Steak with Shallot Butter

This is so simple it hardly counts as a recipe, but the shallot butter is addictively delicious while grilled steak is great all on its own, the shallot butter takes it to a higher plane. Should you end up with extra shallot butter, it's delicious on...well, almost anything savory that you can think of.

Grass fed steak of your choice to serve 4
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, minced

Blot the steak dry with a paper towel, then liberally season all over with salt and pepper.

Grill the steak over high heat for 4-5 minutes a side for medium rare.

While the steak grills, make the shallot butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan or skillet, then add the shallots and cook over medium heat until tender. They will be mouth-wateringly aromatic.

Serve the steak and top each serving with a generous spoonful of shallot butter at the table.

Serves 4.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mashed Red Potatoes with Garlic and Kale

You don't have to make these with red potatoes, but I love the way they look with the skins left on. The kale is tasty and adds a bit of extra nutrition in addition to looking appealing, and I found both my kids consumed it readily in this form.

2 lbs red potatoes, scrubbed and cut up for boiling
2 Tbsp butter (divided)
1 small head garlic, cloves peeled and minced
2-3 cups chopped kale
Salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes in a Dutch oven or large saucepan until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to the pot.

While the potatoes cook, melt about 1 Tbsp of the butter in a skillet. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute, then add the kale and continue to saute over medium-high heat until nicely wilted. Remove from heat.

When the potatoes are done and rained, mash them with a potato masher. Stir in the remaining butter, the garlic and kale mixture, and enough milk to achieve a consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tarragon Corn Risotto

This is simple but delicious, and the corn kernels are little bursts of summer flavor in each bite. I think my kids each ate about six helpings of this. Optional: stir in some sauteed mushrooms after the risotto is cooked. I tried this with shiitakes and they were delicious.

1 Tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 1/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh corn kernels (or substitute frozen off season)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 - 2 cups diced mushrooms, sauteed in butter (optional)

Melt the butter in the pressure cooker. Saute the shallot for a minute or so, then add the rice. Stir and saute the rice for about a minute, then add the stock. Stir well, then cover the cooker and bring to pressure. Cook on high pressure for seven minutes, then release the pressure. If excess liquid remains, simmer, stirring frequently, for another couple minutes. Stir in the corn, tarragon, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Stir in sauteed mushrooms if using, or reserve them for topping at the table.

Serves 4-6.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Vegetable Fried Rice with Egg

Fried rice is my go-to dish when I have a bunch of leftover cooked rice in the fridge. You can throw almost anything into it, so it's a great way to clean out extra or aging veggies in the fridge or use whatever the garden is producing in bulk. The vegetables listed here are what I happened to have on hand, but feel free to mix it up. You can throw in diced leftover steak or shredded chicken, chopped bacon, etc., but I also like this version, with a fried egg on top. This makes a good sized batch - we had a few servings leftover after feeding my family. I suggest only frying up as many eggs as you are sure you will serve in the first round; you can also cook a few more later if you need to, or you can cook them up fresh for the leftovers.

Canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger root (optional)
1 pint shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1-2 sweet peppers, diced
1-2 hot peppers, seeded and diced (optional)
1 large carrot, diced
1-2 medium summer squashes or zucchinis, diced
4 cups cold cooked rice (white or brown)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup cashew or peanut pieces, lightly toasted (optional)
1 cup Thai basil leaves or cilantro (optional)
1 egg per serving

Heat a little canola oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the onion, ginger (if using), and shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining veggies and continue to stir-fry until tender by not mushy. Drizzle in a little soy sauce if the vegetables are sticking too much to the bottom of the pan.

Add the rice to the pan, breaking it up with your fingers if it is clumped. Stir to mix with the vegetables, then drizzle with the soy sauce and make sure it is well combined. Stir in the nut and Thai basil or cilantro, if using. Cover the fried rice and set aside.

Fry enough eggs to place one on top of each serving. Sunny side up makes an attractive presentation, but over easy is fine, too. Ideally the yolk should remain at least somewhat gooey so it can mix in with the fried rice as you eat.

Serves about 6.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tomato-Balsamic Grilled Vegetables

The tomatoes sort of melt and disintegrate as you grill the vegetables, turning them into almost a light sauce that mixes well with the balsamic vinegar flavoring.

1 medium eggplant, peeled, quartered and sliced 1/4-inch thick (or 2 medium Asian type eggplants)
2-3 medium zucchini or summer squashes, sliced 1/8-1/4-inch thick
1 ripe sweet bell pepper, halved, seeded, and sliced cross-wise
2-3 Roma type paste tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh basil for topping

Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and oil and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Grill vegetables in a grill basket over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and pleasantly charred in places. Serve topped with a generous sprinkle of basil.

Serves 2-4.

Curried Green Beans and Cashews

This is my six-year-old's favorite green bean preparation and I have to agree that it's good.

You can leave the green beans full length or trim them into 1-2 inch lengths for easier handling. You can speed preparation of the dish by lightly steaming the green beans first if you like.

Canola oil
1 lb green beans, stemmed
1/2 cup cashew pieces, lightly toasted
1 tsp garam masala (or curry powder if that's what you have)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little canola oil in a large skillet. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Saute over medium heat for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the green beans are tender. Serve hot.

Serves about 4.

Roasted Tomatoes and Peaches Over Polenta

Peaches and tomatoes share the same season, and they go well together in several contexts, a balance and counterpoint of tangy and sweet. Here they are combined with sweet roasted red onion over polenta, with a sprinkling of feta, fresh basil, and pine nuts to top it all off. Feel free to throw a fried egg on top if you like.

5-6 cups chopped fresh paste tomatoes, seeded and cored
2-3 medium peaches, sliced into slender wedges
1 medium red onion, sliced lengthwise
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal
4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup crumbled feta for topping
1 cup chopped fresh basil for topping
1/2  cup lightly toasted pine nuts for topping

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the tomatoes, peaches, and red onion in a 9x13-inch baking pan. Drizzle with good quality olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss to coat. Roast for 45-60 minutes, stirring once or twice (the longer you roast them, the more liquid will cook off).

While the tomatoes and peaches roast, prepare the polenta. I have taken to making mine in my rice cooker, but to make it on the stovetop, bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the cornmeal and stir in the salt. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened to desired consistency.

Serve polenta in bowls, topped generously with the tomato and peach mixture. Add feta, basil, and pine nuts at the table.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Red and White Potato Salad with Dill

New potatoes are coming out of the ground right now, and they make for a truly excellent potato salad. This one combines red and white potatoes for the visual effect, but feel free to use all of one kind (I suggest red in that case).

3 lbs new potatoes, washed but not peeled
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/3 - 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup good quality olive oil

Cut the potatoes into bite sized chunks. Boil in a large pot of salted water until nice and tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain cool to room temperature. .

Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Combine the vinegar, salt and pepper and drizzle over the potatoes, tossing gently to coat. Let sit for 5-10 minutes so the potatoes can absorb some of the vinegar.

Add the onion, parsley, and dill to the potatoes and mix gently. Drizzle with olive oil and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Serves 6-8.

White Currant Sorbet

We got just enough fruit off our white current bush this year to make this sorbet. It was experimental, and I was pleased with the result. The full depth of the currant flavor really comes through. It also comes out a lovely hue - not only are white currants actually a pale peach color when ripe, but the fruit takes on some of the color of the seeds as it cooks.

I used my ice cream maker for this (1.5 qt), but you can also make sorbet without one: freeze the fruit mixture for several hours in a baking pan or other shallow dish, then pry it out in chunks and run it through the food processor just before serving to get the texture right.

4 cups stemmed and washed white currants
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white sugar

Fresh white currants, washed and ready

Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the skins separate from the fruit. Put the mixture through a food mill or press it through a sieve to remove the seeds and skins.

Chill the currant mixture until cold in the refrigerator, then either put it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions or freeze.

Serves about 6.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Asian Noodle Bowl with Bok Choy, Bacon, and Scapes

A chance of pace from stir fries, and easy to assemble. Some shiitake mushrooms would not go amiss here, but I didn't happen to have any when I made this.

1 lb linguine or spaghetti (or Asian noodles if you have them)
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 lb bacon, diced
3-4 Tbsp minced ginger root
1-1 1/2 cups chopped garlic scapes
1 lb bok choy, sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
Asian hot sauce (optional)

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, toss with the sesame oil, and set aside.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet or wok until chewy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off most of the bacon fat, leaving 1-2 Tbsp.

Add the ginger and scapes to the skillet or wok and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the bok choy and stir fry until tender. Stir in the soy sauce and mix well to coat.

Assemble each bowl by placing a serving of noodles in the bottom, then adding the bok choy mixture and the bacon on top. Serve with additional soy sauce or hot sauce if desired.

Serves 4-5.

Asian Snow Pea and Carrot Salad

A quick and simple summer salad straight from the garden. Substitute snap peas if you like.

1/2 lb snow peas in 1-inch lengths
1/4 early carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar

Combine the vegetables in a bowl. Combine the oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar and mix well, then dress the vegetables. Serve immediately.

Serves about 4.

Pasta with Summer Squash, Sausage, and Basil

A good summery dish, loaded with the produce of the garden.

1 lb cut pasta such as fusilli
Olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 medium onions, sliced lengthwise
1 cup sliced garlic scapes (or 5-6 minced garlic cloves)
1 1/2 - 2 lbs summer squash and/or zucchini, shredded
2-3 cups fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan for topping

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Drain and toss with a little olive oil.

While the pasta cooks, cook the sausage in a large skillet, breaking it apart as it cooks. Set aside when done.

Pour off most of the fat from cooking the basil, then add the onions and scapes and saute over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the squash and cook, stirring often, until tender. Stir in the basil and add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the squash mixture with the pasta. Serve hot, topped with Parmesan at the table.

Serves 4-6.

Mint-Pea Pesto with Feta and Walnuts

We accidentally planted shell peas this year after my husband bought a packet of seeds he thought were sugar snaps. But shell peas are delicious, too, and this is a nice way to enjoy them fresh.

1 cup fresh shelled peas
1 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted and cooled
1 cup fresh mint
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup crumbled feta, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

If your peas are small and sweet, you can use them raw. If they have developed a little bitter aftertaste, give them a quick steam until they are just barely tender.

Combine 1 cup of the peas with the walnuts, mint, garlic, and feta in a food processor. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and process until fairly smooth. Thin with a little water (pasta cooking water is perfect for this).

Serve this with pasta, tossing in another cup or two of fresh peas.

Makes enough to sauce 1 lb of cooked pasta.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

This is REALLY good. The raspberries make the perfect sharp counterpoint to the richness of the cream cheese. And it really does taste like cheesecake. Even if you're using fresh raspberries, freeze them first so you can get small chunks instead of puree. This recipe is designed for a 1.5 quart ice cream maker.

3/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups raspberries, frozen
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt

Process the cream cheese in a mini food processor or with an electric mixer until very smooth. Add the milk and process until thoroughly combined (note: do not try doing this with cream). Transfer to a bowl.

Pulse the frozen raspberries a few times in a food processor, so that you get small chunks.

Combine the cream cheese and milk mixture with the sugar, vanilla, cream, and salt, then stir in the raspberries.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers instructions. (Mine took 15-20 minutes for this.) Serve immediately or freeze until ready. Note that this recipe remains quite easily scoopable even after firming up in the freezer.

Serves 4-6.

Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Feta, and Dill

Another good main dish salad for hot weather. This one is especially good, as there is nothing in it that requires cooking. Just soak the bulgur until tender, then combine with other ingredients and serve. If it's not scape season, throw in some chives or a couple finely sliced scallions.

1 1/2 cups dry bulgur wheat
1 garlic scape, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup dried tomatoes, soaked and finely chopped
1 cup walnut pieces, toasted and cooled
3-4 ounces crumbled feta
1-2 cups chopped snap or snow peas (optional)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the bulgur in cold water for an hour or so, or until tender, then drain. You can do this in advance and refrigerate the bulgur in a sealed container for a day or two if you like.

Combine the soaked bulgur with the scape, dill, chickpeas, dried tomatoes, walnuts, and feta. Drizzle with the lemon juice and a bit of olive oil. Stir well, adding more oil if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Cashew Chicken Salad with Snow Peas

This simple, satisfying hot weather meal is adapted from a recipe my mother-in-law has been making for decades. You can use leftover rice (or make extra with another meal, planning ahead), or cook the rice in the morning or evening before and stash it in the fridge until you're ready. If you're making this outside of scape season, use a couple of scallions or some chives instead.

3-4 cups cooked and cooled brown rice (I like a short grain brown rice here)
2-3 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
1/4 cup minced garlic scapes
3 cups chopped snow peas (or snap peas)
1/2 - 1 cup cashews, lightly toasted and cooled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Serve cold.

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Risotto with Scapes, Basil, and Summer Squash

It's really starting to feel like summer now, with the first summer squash harvested from the garden (along with garlic scapes and basil). This is substantial enough to serve as a main course. For an alternate presentation, stir only the Parmesan into the rice and top with the vegetable and nut mixture. This recipe gives directions for making the risotto in a pressure cooker (so easy! and fast!) but you can always do it the old fashioned way instead (adding warm liquid half a cup at a time and stirring until absorbed, until the rice is tender and creamy). Feel free to substitute zucchini for the squash.

Olive oil
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups warm chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup chopped garlic scapes
3 medium summer squash, diced
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Heat a little olive oil in the pressure cooker. Add the rice and saute over medium-high heat until translucent. Add the stock and stir well, then cover the cooker, lock it, and bring to pressure. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure, the do a quick release of the steam. Open the cooker and stir; if there is excess liquid, simmer for a few minutes uncovered.

While the risotto cooks, heat a bit more olive oil in a large skillet. Add the scapes and squash at the same time and saute over medium high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. The scapes should retain a little crunch and the squash should still be just firm enough to be toothsome, not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir the vegetables, Parmesan, and pine nuts into the rice and stir to combine well. Serve hot.

Serves 4-5.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Asparagus Feta Pizza

Slice the asparagus fairly thin and it will come out of the oven just right - tender but still with a little crunch.

1 14-inch pizza crust
Olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4-6 ounces asparagus, thinly sliced into rounds or on the diagonal
4 ounces crumbled feta
1/2 tsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces shredded mozzarella (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread the tomato sauce over the crust, then add the asparagus and feta distributed over the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with dill, then salt and pepper. If desired, top with a scattering of mozzarella.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Garlic and Chard Frittata

This is simple and satisfying. Don't be surprised by the large amount of chard that goes into it - it really cooks down. Feel free to substitute spinach. You could also substitute a bunch of green garlic for the mature garlic at this time of year.

Olive oil
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb bunch of chard, chopped (stems finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
10 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the chard (you may need to do this in batches). Saute until the chard is tender, another few minutes. Drain off excess liquid, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Use a 10-inch ovenproof skillet to cook the frittata. Either clean out the one you used to cook the vegetables and then oil it, or use a fresh one, coated with olive oil.

Place the chard mixture in the oiled pan, then pour in the egg. Cook over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, shaking periodically, until the frittata is mostly set. Turn on the broiler. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top of the frittata, then place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the top of the egg is set and the cheese is browned.

Serves about 4.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Grilled Asparagus with Chipotle Butter

Not that fresh grilled asparagus really needs any embellishment, but this is delicious. Chipotle peppers and asparagus make an excellent, if perhaps unexpected, pairing. (If you like this, you should also try my Chipotle Roasted Asparagus and Chipotle Asparagus Scramble.)  Conveniently, it takes just about exactly as long to grill asparagus (unless you have very skinny spears) as it does to grill a good steak to medium rare. Also conveniently, this chipotle butter is great on steak, too.

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, seeded and very finely minced
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 lb asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off
Canola oil
Salt and pepper

To make the chipotle butter, combine the minced chipotle with the melted butter and mix well. Set aside. You may need to remelt it just before serving, or slather it on the asparagus in a semi-soft state.

Prepare the asparagus for grilled by brushing or spraying it lightly all over with canola oil, then sprinkling with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for about 6-10 minutes (depending on how fat the spears are and exactly how hot your fire is), turning once or twice.  You want them a bit charred but not blackened.

Serve the asparagus drizzled with chipotle butter, or pass the butter at the table. Chipotles do pack some considerable heat, so start with a little and taste it before adding more.

Serves 3-4, unless you're feeding serious asparagus lovers.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

About Ramps

Every spring I post a few recipes using ramps, but not everybody is familiar with them. They're a wild relative of the garlic and onion family. They are not cultivated but only foraged, and they show up at local markets for only a couple weeks in the spring.

Ramps ready for slicing
You can eat the entire plant (and you should!) with the exception of the roots. I like to slice the bulb and stem thinly, then cut the leave into chiffonade (thin ribbons cut cross-wise). The flavor is mild - you can even eat them raw (at least, this is true of what we call ramps here in New England; I've read a few things suggesting that maybe there are other more pungent plants that are called ramps in other places). Alternatively, try a quick grilling of whole ramps and eat them dipped in romesco sauce.

Whatever you do, if you spot ramps for sale at a farmers market or the local food coop (I saw some recently at Green Fields Market), snap them up! They're delicious, and you won't see them again for another year.

Pizza with Ramps, Eggs, and Bacon

I guess I'm on kind of an egg kick this spring. This is easy and delicious (even my six-year-old liked it!). You can really taste the flavor of the ramps alongside the bacon and egg, and the eggs come out just right with the yolks still gooey.

1 14-inch pizza crust
Olive oil
3 ounces shredded mozzarella
3 ounces ramps (1 small bunch), roots trimmed off and remainder thinly sliced (including leaves)
3 slices cooked bacon, diced
4 eggs (up to 6 if desired)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread the mozzarella over the crust, then spread the ramps and bacon over the cheese. Bake for 12 minutes.

Ready to go in the oven for the first round
Remove the pizza from the oven (leave the oven on). Carefully crack each egg onto the pizza, then carefully put the pizza back in the oven for another 4-6 minutes. You want the whites to be fully set but the yolks to still be gooey (not totally runny).

Serve hot, and slice with care.

Serves 3-4.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sweet Rhubarb Quick Bread

I always save some strawberries in the freezer for this time of year, when the rhubarb is ready to pick but the strawberries aren't. But rhubarb is great on its own, too. Make this recipe as written, or, if you like, substitute some strawberries (mash partly first).

Rhubarb in the garden
3/4 lb rhubarb stems, stringed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.

Place the rhubarb in a microwave proof bowl with a small splash of water and cover with plastic wrap or a plate. Steam on High for 1 minute, stir, then cook for another 1 minute and stir again. The rhubarb should be quite soft and will exude a good bit of liquid. If needed, steam for another 30-60 seconds. Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and stir.

Combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and oil in a large bowl and stir well. Stir in the rhubarb with its liquid. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Makes 1 loaf.

Polenta with Spinach, Blue Cheese, and Egg

That's right, Put An Egg On It! I often mix some quinoa into my polenta for an extra nutritional boost, but it's optional. Here that mixture is topped with tomato sauce and fresh spinach, blue cheese, and spring eggs from the farmer's market. I've done pizza topped with eggs, but this was the first time I tried it with polenta and I have to say I was quite pleased with the result.

1 cup polenta (coarse corn meal)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups water
Olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, diced
1/4 lb spinach (or up to 1/2 lb if you want lots of it)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup tomato sauce
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
6 eggs

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the polenta and quinoa in a large saucepan with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the water is all absorbed and the polenta is nice and thick. Be careful not to burn yourself as bubbles pop.

While the polenta cooks, heat a little olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about another minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the polenta is ready, grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Spread the polenta in the pan, then spread the tomato sauce over it. Spread the spinach mixture over the tomato sauce, then sprinkle with blue cheese.

Make 6 shallow hollows in the vegetables and polenta. Crack an egg into each one. Bake the polenta for 10-15 minutes, until the egg whites are set and the yolks are still gooey. (Time may vary depending on the size and shape of your hollows and the size of your eggs.)

Serve hot. Serves 6.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Goat Cheese and Thyme Quiche

Another easy and delicious brunch number. Use your favorite pie crust recipe.

1 9-inch pie crust
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Have the pie crust ready to go, pricked with a fork and chilled.

Spread the goat cheese in the bottom of the pie crust. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and thyme, and pour carefully over the cheese, being sure to avoid overfilling the crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.

Serves 3-4.

Sausage Cheddar Quiche

Perfect for breakfast or brunch, even lunch. I like to make these with some whole wheat in the pastry, but use whatever is your go-to pie crust recipe.

1 9-inch pie crust (not deep dish)
1/2 lb breakfast sausage, crumbled and cooked
3 oz shredded sharp cheddar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Have the pie crust ready to go, pricked all over with a fork, and chilled.

Spread the sausage and cheddar in the bottom of the pie crust. Combine the eggs, milk, and salt, and pour over the filling, being careful not to overfill the crust. Carefully transfer the quiche to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.

Serves 3-4.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Maple Cinnamon Grilled Parsnips

Spring dug parsnips are here! Enjoy these suddenly warm days and pop some on the grill. Don't rush the grilling - stick to low-medium heat, stir often, and let them take their time. You will be rewarded with some nice burnt sugar crispiness on the outside with tender, sweet insides.

3 lbs spring-dug parsnips
1 Tbsp walnut or canola oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of salt

Cut the parsnips in half or into 2-inch lengths so you can see where the core is. Slice the outside part off the core (which is woody and hard to eat on spring dug parsnips). Slice the outside parts into lengths of 2 inches or so, with the slices no more than 1/4-inch thick. Place all the slices in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients and mix well. Pour over the parsnips and toss until they are all thoroughly coated.

Place the parsnips in the grill basket and grill over medium heat for at least 25 minutes, stirring periodically to keep the ones on the bottom from burning.

Serves about 4.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

White Bean Soup with Garlic, Rosemary, Sausage, and Greens

This is one of those bean recipes where cooking the beans from scratch really makes a difference. You could try throwing this together with canned beans, but don't - it won't really be worth it. The beans play a starring role here, and cooking them from scratch produces a flavor and texture you just can't get out of a can. My six-year-old declared it one of his new favorites, and for a dish containing visible greens, that's something.

This recipe calls for cooking the beans in the pressure cooker, which is quick, easy, and reliable. But you could also turn it around and do them in a slow cooker, just adding the sausage and greens at the end.

2 cups dry navy beans or other small white beans
1/2 cup pearl barley
8 cups chicken stock
1 whole head garlic, loose paper removed but not peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus additional chopped rosemary for garnish if desired
2 Tbsp olive oil
Parmesan rind (optional)
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 lb spinach, kale, or other greens, coarsely chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste

Soak the beans for at least 4 hours (overnight is okay). Drain and rinse.

Place the beans in the pressure cooker with the barley, chicken stock, garlic, rosemary sprigs, oil, and Parmesan rind if using. Lock the lid and bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, or according to the directions for white beans that came with your cooker. Let pressure release naturally - this may take as long as 20-30 minutes.

While the pressure releases from the cooker, cook the sausage over high heat in a frying pan. Brown it well, breaking it up into small pieces as you go.

When the pressure has completed released, unlock the cooker's lid and open it. Taste a bean to make sure they are tender (if not, simmer until done). Remove the garlic and let it cool enough to handle. Also remove the rosemary stems (the leaves can stay) and the Parmesan rind if you used one. Add the sausage and greens to the soup.

Squeeze the garlic out of its peels. Mash or quickly puree it, then stir it back into the soup. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. If desired, sprinkled a little chopped fresh rosemary over the soup upon serving.

Serves about 6.

No-Knead Bread II

This is my favorite adapted version of the famous no-knead bread recipe developed by Jim Lahey and popularized some years ago by Mark Bittmann. Back in 2009 I posted a version that's a bit closer to the original, but I've been playing with it since then and I like the version below better - plus this one is made entirely with whole grain flour, so more nutritious, too.

I get local wheat from  Upinngil Farm or Four Star Farms and grind it at home, though pre-ground flour is available from both farms and Four Star Farms grain and flour is available at Green Fields Market.

That's my flour mill
To bake this bread, you will need a good sized covered casserole pot, preferably ceramic or cast iron (I use a cast iron dutch oven). Glass is okay but not as good. Be sure the pot and lid are oven proof at high temperatures.

Overnight version
1 cup oat flour (whiz some rolled oats in a food processor if you don't have the flour on hand)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use a hard red wheat)
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp yeast
2-3 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water

Combine all ingredients except cornmeal in a large bowl. The dough will be very wet. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 15-18 hours (this is flexible: can be less, especially if the room is warm, or can be as much as 24 hours if you forget about it accidentally).

Liberally flour a work surface. Scrape the dough out of the bowl. Using well-floured hands and maybe a dough scraper, form the dough into a ball. You will need to keep sprinkling it with flour as you do this, until it is not sticky to the touch.

Sprinkle cornmeal onto a dish towel (not a fuzzy one!). Place the dough on the cornmeal and sprinkle more cornmeal over it. Cover with another towel and let rise for 30-60 minutes.

When ready to bake, put your pot and lid in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. When the oven and pot are both nice and hot, take the pot out of the oven and put the dough into it. Give the pot a little shake to even out the dough if needed. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

Quicker version
This is not quite as good as the overnight version, but it's close. What I like about the overnight version is that it develops a faint sourdough flavor from sitting out so long rising.

Use 1 Tbsp yeast instead of 1/4 tsp. After combining all ingredients in the bowl, cover and let rise for about 4 hours. Follow the same procedure as above with the flour and cornmeal for the second rising. Follow procedure above for preheating and baking.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Vietnamese Root Vegetable Hash with Fried Egg

A root vegetable hash with egg on top is a pretty yummy idea even without the the Vietnamese sauce making it special. My original idea for this dish was to turn the shredded veggies into fried pancakes, but I quickly realized it would be much faster and easier - and at least as good - to just mash a hash instead. With a food processor to do the shredding, this goes together pretty quickly. I liked the flavor of the celeriac here, but feel free to mix and match with other root veggies.

Hash with egg
Nuoc cham
Nuoc Cham
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili paste
2 Tbsp lime juice (ideally fresh)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

Make the Nuoc Cham first (unless you have some from a previous batch in the fridge already) so the flavors can meld while you prepare the bowls.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar and let sit.

Leftovers and a fresh egg
Root Vegetable Hash with Fried Eggs
2 large shallots or a small onion, minced
1 lb celeriac, peeled and shredded
1 lb potato, peeled and shredded
Canola oil
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
Butter to fry the eggs
8-10 eggs (2 per diner)

Combine the shallot or onion with the shredded celeriac and potato and mix well. Heat a tablespoon or so of canola oil in a large skillet (or wok if you don't have a large skillet) and add the shredded vegetable combination. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are nearly tender. Stir in the cilantro, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook until the vegetables are completely tender. Remove from heat.

While the hash cooks, melt a little butter in another skillet and fry the eggs, a few at a time. Sunny side up makes the prettiest presentation for the dish, but cook them however you like best. Ideally the yolk should still be quite soft and oozy so that it will combine nicely with the hash once broken.  Keep the cooked eggs warm on a covered plate while you finish frying the remainder.

Serve mounds of hash on each diner's plate, topped with a fried egg or two. Pass nuoc cham at the table and top the whole dish with a couple spoonfuls before digging int.

Serves 4-5.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sweet Potato Tortilla Pie

Another entry in the tortilla pie series, this one combines shredded sweet potatoes and salsa with refried beans and cheese. It's delicious and substantial on its own, but you could throw in some cooked shredded chicken in place of some of the sweet potato if you like. A food processor with a grating attachment makes quick work of the shredding.

Olive oil
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 large onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp lime juice, or to taste (optional)
2 10-inch flour tortillas
1 14-ounce can refried beans
1/2 - 3/4 cup good quality salsa, plus more for topping if desired
6-8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shredded sweet potatoes and onion and saute over medium-high heat until tender.  You want them to brown a bit in some places, but not char. Taste the sweet potatoes and add salt and pepper to taste; if you want to cut the sweetness a little, stir in the lime juice.

When the sweet potatoes are tender, place one of the tortilla in the bottom of a 10-inch oven-proof skillet. Spread half the refried beans over the tortilla, then add half the salsa. Top this with half the sweet potato mixture and press it down a bit.  Sprinkle with half the cheddar. Add the second tortilla and repeat.

Turn on the broiler of your oven. Place the tortilla pie under the broiler and cook for about 3 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown a little. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Pass additional salsa at the table if desired.

Serves about 4.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ginger Beef Noodle Soup

Don't be shy with the ginger here - use the full amount. And feel free to substitute other vegetables (peppers, celeriac, broccoli, even greens) depending on what you have on hand. You could also skip the beef shanks and make this with leftover pot roast if the seasonings are compatible.

2 lbs beef shanks
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions diced
1/4 cup grated ginger root
2-3 large carrots, sliced into rounds
2-3 cups shelled edamame (frozen is fine)
Beef stock
2 cups egg noodles, rombi, or similar

Preheat the broiler of your oven. Lightly oil the beef shanks all over, then liberally sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Broil for 3-5 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Set aside.

Heat a little canola oil in a soup pot, then add the garlic and onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the ginger and saute for another minute or two. Add the vegetables, then the browned shanks. Pour in enough beef stock to almost cover the shanks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, until the beef is very tender.

Remove the shanks from the pot. Discard the bones and connective tissue and shred the meat, then return to the meat to the pot. Bring the soup back to a boil and add the noodles, then simmer vigorously until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.  Taste the soup and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serves about 6.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Red Bean and Vegetable Soup

Locavore vegetable soup in February usually means root vegetables or squash, but it doesn't have to if you plan ahead and have some storage space. Last summer I froze heaps of local corn along with our own paste tomatoes and peppers, and those flavors and colors sure are welcome now. Because I was using good sweet corn as well as tomatoes that are sweeter than your typical commercially canned tomatoes, I added a splash of lemon juice at the end to temper the flavor. If you use more acidic tomatoes, you may not need it.

Olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
8-10 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 - 3 cups peeled chopped tomatoes (canned, or thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (frozen is fine)
3 cups chopped red peppers (frozen is fine)
4 cups cooked red beans
Chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2-3 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste (optional)

Heat a bit of olive oil in a soup pot, then add the onions and garlic and saute over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomatoes, corn, peppers, and beans plus enough stock to generously cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, then add the parsley, time, paprika, salt and pepper, and lemon juice (if using). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serves about 6.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pureed Lentil Soup with Spinach and Bacon

Get the lentils started, then throw the rest of it together while they cook and it all comes together in about 30 minutes. I like this with the spinach, but it's also good without.

1 1/2 cups brown lentils
Chicken stock
Olive oil
2 medium-large onions, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 cups chopped tomatoes (canned, or thawed if frozen)
1 cup chopped cooked bacon
1/2 lb spinach, stemmed and chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the lentils and enough water to cover them by about one inch in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender.

While the lentils cook, heat a little olive oil in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic over medium-high heat for several minutes, until pleasantly browned. Add the onion mixture and the tomatoes to the lentils and continue to cook until the lentils are tender.

When the lentils are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender (or do it in batches in a regular blender). Once pureed, stir in the bacon and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted. Stir in the red wine vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste  Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Creamy Celeriac Soup with Rosemary and Bacon

I was really pleased with the balance of flavors in this soup. It's a good showcase for celeriac's nutty, celery-y flavor, and the rosemary and bacon round it out and make it hearty enough for a light main course. I served this with Whole Wheat Popovers, which went really well with it.

2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs celeriac, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Chicken stock
Up to 1 cup milk
4-6 oz cooked bacon, chopped
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a soup pot, then add the onion and garlic and saute over medium-high heat for several minutes, until slightly browned. Add the celeriac and rosemary, then enough stock to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the celeriac is very tender, about 10-15 minutes.  (If you have not cooked the bacon ahead of time, this is a good time to do it. I like to do large-ish quantities under the broiler; I line a rimmed pan with foil then place a cooking rack over it and the bacon on the rack. Broil for 3-4 minutes per side.)

Once the celeriac is tender, puree the soup. I do this with an immersion blender, but you could also do it in batches in a regular blender. Once pureed, stir in milk to reach the desired consistency, then add the bacon and white wine vinegar. Season with salt to taste.  Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Italian-Style Braised Beef Short Ribs with Rich Tomato Sauce

I will definitely be making this again. Not only is the beef succulent and the sauce rich and deeply flavorful, but leftover sauce makes a perfect pasta sauce. The recipe is deceptively simple, with only tomatoes and garlic going into the braising liquid. But with the spices in the meat rub and the flavor of the beef itself, the end result is layers of savory goodness. Serve this over egg noodles or polenta.

I used tomatoes that I had roasted prior to freezing, which I am sure added to the depth of flavor. But given the long simmering called for here, canned tomatoes or tomatoes frozen raw (thaw them first!) would work well, too. Also: no need to be strict about using short ribs. Other good braising cuts like shanks or various pot roast cuts would work well, too. You can use (say, 2-3 lbs) if you have a boneless cut.

4 lbs beef short ribs
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
7-10 cups tomatoes with their liquid (canned or frozen; thawed if frozen)
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped

Have the short ribs at or near room temperature.  Preheat the broiler of your oven. Place the short ribs on a baking pan with sides (you may with to line it with foil for easier cleanup).

Combine the salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and oregano in a small bowl and mix well. Rub this mixture all over the meat.

Broil the short ribs for 5-8 minutes per side, until nicely browned on both sides.

Place the browned short ribs in a Dutch oven or similar pot. You should be able to get the lid on comfortably, but you don't want a lot of extra room. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2-3 hours (a bit more if you have the time), until the meat is very tender.

When the short ribs are tender, remove them from the pot and set aside.  Using an immersion blender, puree the braising liquid, then return the short ribs to the pot.

Serve the short ribs over egg noodles or polenta with a generous serving of sauce.

Serves 4-6.