Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vegetable Soup

I wanted to use up some vegetables from my refrigerator, and it is freezing here in Ohio. This vegetable soup recipe sounded like a good fit. The soup was very flavorful. I used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, did not add the peas, and used red skin potatoes.

Vegetable Soup
from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 medium russet potatoes (1 pound), scrubbed and chopped medium
14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until shimmering.
Stir in the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and 3/4 tsp salt.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the broth, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Off the heat, add the peas.
Let the soup stand for 2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

I had beef short ribs at a restaurant a month ago, and really wanted to make them at home. The recipe I found was for bone-in ribs, but the ones I bought were boneless. I decreased the amount to liquid and the result was fabulous!!! The sauce alone was so good for dipping bread. I served the ribs with mashed potatoes.

Braised Beef Short Ribs
from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

6 lbs bone-in English style short ribs, trimmed
salt and pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped coarse
2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarse
1 rib celery, chopped coarse
9 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp tomato paste
3 cups dry red wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Pat the ribs dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.
Brown half of the ribs, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a large plate.
Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the fat and repeat with the remaining ribs.
Pour off all but 1 tbsp of fat from the pot, and return it to medium heat.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and 1/4 tsp salt and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits.
Stir in the broth, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and browned ribs.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook in the oven until the meat is tender, 2&1/2 to 3&1/2 hours.
Transfer the ribs to a large plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Strain the broth into a large container, let settle for 5 minutes, them skim any fat from the surface using a spoon.
Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Pumpkin Cake

Here is another great recipe from Cathy at Noble Pig
This cake is a great quick fall dessert. It only uses a yellow cake mix and a small can of pumpkin puree. I can eat more cake and not feel as bad because there is no eggs or oil added. I have made this cake twice this week (it really is that good). I have also thought about using cream cheese frosting for the cake.

Pumpkin Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 15oz can pumpkin puree

1 & 1/2 cup powered sugar
4 tbsp water
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine cake mix and pumpkin.
Use a hand mixer until incorporated (it will be thick).
Pour into a greased 7x11 or 9x12 pan.
Bake at 350 for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Prepare glaze while cake is baking.
Mix sugar, water, and pumpkin pie spice and stir.
Let the cake rest for 5-10 minutes, then pour the glaze over.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Char Siu-Chinese Barbecued Pork and Singapore Curry Noodles

My favorite take out dish is by far Singapore Curry Noodles. We have a few places around town that make them to our liking. Cate at Fresh From Cate's Kitchen posted about Char Sui which is Chinese barbecued pork and I knew I had to try to make this dish this week. Here is her recipe.

Here is the recipe that I created my dish from

Singapore Fried Rice Noodles
adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Nov 2005, pages 64-65

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
8 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms
12 ounces of fine dry rice vermicelli (Wai Wai brand recommended)
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced thin
1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
8 green onions, root end trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound char siu (Chinese barbecued pork), cut into matchsticks
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons oyster sauce

For sauce:
3 tablespoons Madras (hot) curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons hot chili paste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

If using dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them in hot water for half an hour.
Drain, then cut off the stems.
Slice the mushrooms thinly.
Put the rice vermicelli in a large bowl and soak in enough hot water to cover, until the noodles are soft (about 8 to 10 minutes).
Drain noodles and set aside.
Start by heating up 2 tablespoons of oil in a small pan over medium heat.
Add the curry powder, the ginger, and the minced garlic, and saute until fragrant.
Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, and chili paste.
Stir to combine and then cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large wok over high heat.
Add in the remaining garlic and ginger, and stir-fry until the garlic starts to become golden.
Add in the celery, onion, pepper, sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms.
Stir-fry for 3 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Set the vegetables aside in a bowl.
Heat the last 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok over high heat.
Add in the shrimp and stir-fry until they start to turn pink on both sides.
Add the char siu and toss to combine.
Add in the noodles and the vegetables.
Pour on the sauce and also add the oyster sauce.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly to coat all the noodles and incorporate all the vegetables.
Serve hot.

Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Sauce

Here is another great recipe from Cathy at Noble Pig. Check out her recipes and great pictures.
I served the pork with cheddar garlic smashed potatoes, asparagus, and Poizin wine. The wine came from a trip to California wine country. It is from Armida Winery in the Dry Creek Valley appellation. The bottle itself has a cool skull and cross bones on it. The wine is called "the wine to die for". It is a Zinfandel with a hint of fruitiness and a small kick of tannins. Check out the website

Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Sauce
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb pork tenderloin
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup chicken stock (original recipe called for white wine)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Cut the pork into 2 inch medallions and season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Sear the pork on each side for about 5 minutes or until a nice crust has formed.
Add cider, stock, and vinegar.
Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove lid and cook for 5 more minutes.
Transfer pork to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Simmer the liquids until reduced to about 1/2 cup.
The sauce should be thick and syrupy (this will take about 20 minutes).
Spoon sauce over pork and serve.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeno Burgers

This recipe came from a food blog I enjoy reading My husband said this was the best burger he has ever had!!! The grilled pineapple added a nice sweetness while the jalapeno added a nice level of spiciness. I also added some Gouda cheese to melt over the burgers! We will be having these again. I have to thank my husband for doing the grilling. It was raining outside and I was just going to cook them inside, but he said he would do the grilling. Men love to grill. I guess they can help out and drink a beer at the same time!!

Grilled Pineapple and Jalapeno Burgers

1 lb ground sirloin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dried minced onion
1/4 red onion, grated
salt and pepper
8 slices pineapple, canned
4 jalapenos, slice in half (seeds can be discarded)
4 slices Gouda cheese

Combine beef, Worcestershire sauce, onions, salt, and pepper.
Shape into 4 patties.
Grill burgers on medium high heat for 6 minutes per side.
Melt the cheese over the burgers.
Grill pineapple and jalapenos for about 3-4 minutes.
Assemble burgers with 2 slices of pineapple, and 2 halves of jalapeno.
Add condiments of your choice (We added mayo and lettuce).

Spaghetti Carbonara

I was in need of quick dinner option to make on an evening when I had to work late. This meal can be made in 15 minutes. I had made carbonara before, but made a few adjustments to make the sauce creamier.

Spaghetti Carbonara
1 lb spaghetti
1 clove garlic
1/4 red onion
8 slices turkey bacon
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese
4 eggs

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Finely dice onion and garlic and add to a skillet on medium heat.
Chop bacon and add to onion.
Saute for 5-6 minutes until the bacon is slightly crispy.
In a large bowl combine eggs, cheese, pepper, and milk and whisk until combined.
As soon as the pasta is done, drain and add to the egg mixture.
Stir bacon and onions into the pasta and serve.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This is a quick meal that I don't feel guilty about eating. It is flavorful and the lettuce gives this dish a nice bit of crunch.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 lb chicken breast
1 red bell pepper
1/4 red onion
1 jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
2 scallions
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp chili paste
1/4 cup garlic hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
head iceberg lettuce

Bake chicken breasts in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, and then cut into small dice.
Dice red pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeno and saute on medium with the red pepper flakes for about 3 minutes (leaving the vegetables still crunchy).
Add chicken and vegetable mixture to mixing bowl and add chili sauce, hoisin, and soy sauce.
Dice the scallion and add to the chicken mixture.
Stir to evenly coat with sauce.
Serve chicken in individual iceberg lettuce leaves.
Place 2 spoonfuls of chicken mixture on lettuce and wrap and eat.