Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tiki

When friends come for a Tiki Party - and bring food! Thank you Heather (and John, Anne and Cindy):


Brussel sprout salad, bacon wrapped dates and turkey quesadillas.



I had planned to make two pizzas but there was quite enough food so I just made a spicy shrimp pizza (the photo is before it entered the oven).

We finished with a banana ice cream that I made with ripe bananas and served with a raspberry torte from Thanksgiving. No photo of that but dancing after!

video

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Birthday

We had a great meal at Mexique:

http://www.mexiquechicago.com/

Roommate David walked in 15 minutes before we were leaving and came with us - and paid for dinner (thanks again)!

My app - pretty but a little boring:


David and Paul had this French Onion soup with a Mexican spin (some tomato and a little spice) - they loved it (as did I) and were full afterwards - David would go back just for the soup:


David's - pork belly, scallops, purple slaw and a pumpkin-tasting puree - delicious:


Mine - Lake trout with brussel sprouts on top of a potato puree - another winner:


Paul's - Flank steak on a spicy sauce with veggies - he thought that the sauce was a bit much but I was crazy about it (he was also full from the soup):


We skipped dessert - but then I had mine the night before thanks to my sister.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ribs

Procure a rack of baby back ribs.

Mix 1/2C brown sugar, 1TB salt, 1TB chili, 1TB black pepper (I also add 1TB onion or garlic powder). Rub on the ribs.

Wrap tightly in aluminum foil.


Roast in a 250d oven for three hours, unwrap and roast until a little drier. They will be very tender and "wet" and delicious and you will (kind of) wonder why grilling is such a big deal!

I didn't make the sauce this time as Baby Ray's was on hand but you will feel pretty pleased with yourself if you make this (both recipes are from the Weber Grill book):

1/2 c ketchup
2 tb molasses
1 tb white wine vinegar
1 tb Dijon style mustard
1 tb brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper

Sounds complicated but all (that) you have to do is mix everything, pour it into a glass jar and use it whenever.





Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Duck

If you are a Costco member, they sell pre-cooked duck legs that are delicious. I brown them until crispy outside and warm inside. Add some cheesy polenta and sautéed vegetables (carrots, celery and parsnip)! 

They come with a sweet sauce that I rarely use but did this time and, BTW, the ducks come from near my parents in northern Indiana.



Polenta is easy if you stay in the kitchen and "work" it:

4 C of water (chicken stock makes it richer)
1 t salt
1 C of yellow corn meal (I tried the stone ground, more expensive, kind once but found it too coarse)
2 T butter

Boil the water and salt, then slowly whisk in the corn meal. When the corn meal has been absorbed, switch to a big spoon and cook until it pulls away from the pan and doesn't stick. Then add butter, pepper and grate some romano cheese. The recipe calls for 1/4C of parmesan and 1/4C romano. I just use romano and more of it until it tastes nice and cheesy. Oh, and add some coarsely ground pepper at the end too.

Ugly

I need to really try and figure out this phone camera - it's 8mp so it should be better than this. Or, perhaps, it thought that this plate was too ugly to deserve a decent photo:



Anyway, this is "purple" asparagus (used because it wouldn't last until the next time that I could use it two nights later), mashed potatoes and braised beef short ribs:


Brown the 3-4 short ribs in an oven-proof pan (with a little vegetable or canola oil).


Saute a sliced red onion until barely browned.


Add 1TB tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.


Add 1 cup of stock (recipe calls for beef but I only had chicken), 1/8C red wine vinegar (I have it but thought that balsamic would be better) and a bottle of dark, stout beer (again, I didn't have something so I used a German style pale amber).


Bring to a boil then cover and put in a 350d oven for a couple of hours. I don't remember how long it took but start to check it after 90 minutes. It will be fork tender, falling off of the bone.


Best served with something to mock up the sauce - such as the potatoes.


How's that for a cooler weather dish (even if it's ugly)? If you try it, skip the asparagus (it was only $1.99 pound) and make a green salad.