27 March 2009

A feast for the eyes

west village, new york

23 March 2009

Chocolate covered strawberries

Perfect for spring. Easy to make; easy way to impress your guests.

Directions: melt chocolate, dip strawberries, allow to cool. Optional: melt white chocolate, drizzle over chocolate-dipped berries. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

20 March 2009

St. Paddy's Day dinner


Irish cheddar


Irish "car bomb" cupcakes

she's not Irish, but she's got green eyes

16 March 2009

Braised short ribs

I've been dreaming about making braised short ribs for a long time. I'm glad I did. While they were serious tasty business (the sauce was outstanding!), in the end, the ribs were just a little too fatty for me. I will make this again with a less fatty cut of meat.

Regardless, if you are a fan of short ribs - and I know many of you are - I highly suggest you try this recipe. Mario Batali's braised short ribs? C'mon, you know they're gonna be good. This dish is too easy to mess up, the prep is really fast, and the aroma that fills your kitchen can't be beat. These ribs make a big, hearty meal, perfect for a party (you can mingle with your guests while the meat braises in the oven).

mise en place

first brown the ribs

then brown the vegatables

add the wine, tomatoes, and chicken stock

when done, the meat will be falling off the bone

roasted brussels sprouts round out the meal

Braised Short Ribs

adapted from: Babbo Cookbook

4 16 oz beef short ribs
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups red wine (Mario suggests Barolo, I used a Cabernet Sauvignon I had lying around)
1 16 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes (with juice), crushed by hand (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 bunch each rosemary, oregano, and thyme (I tied them up with butcher's twine for easy removal later)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large dutch oven, heat some olive oil on high heat. Season the ribs (liberally) with salt and pepper on high heat until browned all over. Remove the ribs from the pan. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned and soft (~5 minutes). Add the wine, tomatoes (with juice), and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge browned bits). Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and place in the oven for ~2 hours (meat will be falling off the bone).

I served the ribs over buttered orzo with roasted brussels sprouts.

02 March 2009

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies bore me. I know, I know; everybody loves chocolate chip cookies. Don't get me wrong - if you hand me a chocolate chip cookie, I'm going to eat it. I may even love it. But when I take the time to bake cookies from scratch, chocolate chip cookies seem too commonplace to be worth the effort. That's why I knew I had to make these these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as soon as I saw them. A small twist on the classic cookie makes a world of difference. And these cookies were totally worth the effort -chocolaty, salty, nutty, chewy, and not too sweet. Perfectly good; perfectly not boring.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
(adapted from: Baking: From my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt (a little bit more than suggested, I like salty cookies!)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, NOT all natural)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips)
1 cup finely chopped salted, roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugars and beat for another 2 minutes, until well blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute each. Slowly blend in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips and nuts by hand with a spatula. Spoon the dough into slightly rounded tablespoonfuls and place on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center. Allow cookies to rest for 1 minute before moving them to a rack to cool.