Archive | December, 2014

Beef Braciole

17 Dec

Beef Braciole

Once again I am cooking for one of my children and loving it.

It is Andrews Birthday and this is his favorite.

8 thin sliced beef braciole meat. You can use pork, veal or chicken.

1/2 cup chopped parsley

4 cloves crushed, diced garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

One chopped onion

8 slices of thin cut off the bone ham

8 thin cut slices of provolone cheese

8 slices thin cut italian genoa salami, not hard salami

8 slices thin sliced prosciutto ham

2 cup baby spinach.This is optional but I like it.

Before you start you must pound the meat.

Braciole is  top round and it needs to be tenderized and this is done by pounding.

Pounding can be very therapeutic because you can get a lot of aggression out every time the mallet hits the meat. Not a bad idea to relieve holiday  stress.

After you pound the meat you can start layering the cheese and meat.

Saute the onion in the olive oil till soft

Mix with the garlic and parsley

Put the piece of meat down

Add one teaspoon garlic, parsley ,onion mixture and spread evenly on the meat.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

Layer a slice of ham, salami , provolone, and prosciutto.

Add a 1/4 cup of the spinach

Start from the long end of the meat and start rolling.

Try to seal everything inside the meat.

Take some twine and tie the meat firmly to form these great packages.

Brown the meat in olive oil on all sides

This is two versions.

One is to put the meat in tomato sauce and cook on slow heat for hours till the meat is fork tender.

The other version is to slice up three or four onions, season with salt and pepper and place in a covered baking dish with three tablespoons of olive oil.

Place the meat on top and cover tightly.

Bake at 325 for at least two hours or until the meat is fork tender.

Serve both with either pasta or buttered noodles.

Make sure you take off the twine before you serve these delicious bundles.



Braised Short Ribs

16 Dec

Braised Short Ribs

This takes some time to make and is worth every second.

It was my son Mikes birthday and this is one of his favorites so I made it for him. A labor of love.

This is enough for 8 to 10 good eaters so cut the recipe if you need to but follow the cooking  directions.

My Mom used to make this and the house would smell great.

It was a real inexpensive meal back then and would stretch to feed all of use for days. Now it is not cheap.

This also freezes well and is a great make ahead company meal.

Take out your largest pan you have to braise the meat.

12 pounds of short ribs

1/3 teaspoon olive oil

4 ounces of chopped pancetta

Flour, salt and pepper to dust over the ribs.

2 large diced onion

8 cloves garlic

1 1/2 pounds of baby carrots

6 chopped celery stalks with the green tops

2 boxes of sliced mushrooms

1 small can of tomato paste

2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with the juice

6 cups good red wine plus a little extra to get you threw this recipe.

8 cups of beef broth

2 teaspoons dried thyme

4 bay leaves

2 beef bouillon cubes

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley for garnish

On medium heat add the oil and pancetta.

Cook till the pancetta is crisp and then take out of the pan and set aside.

Sprinkle the ribs with the flour, salt and pepper.

Place the ribs in the hot pan to brown on both sides. Do not crowd them, so work in batches.

Put the ribs in the largest aluminum roasting pan you have and place the pan on a cookie sheet.

You need the cookie  sheet or else the pan will bend with the weight of all the ribs and vegetables.

De-glaze the braising pan with the red wine then add the tomato paste and mix well. Cook for about five minutes till the wine starts to boil

Pour over the ribs.

In the same braising pan add the onions, mushrooms, celery and garlic and cook just  till soft.

Add the diced tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf.

Pour everything over the ribs.

Add the beef broth over everything.

Add the pancetta.

Add 2 beef bouillon cubes instead of salt.

Cover tightly with foil.

Bake 375 for at about four hours.

Check after two hours and add more broth if needed.

Stir the bottom of the pan to make sure it is not burning.

If your oven runs hot lower the temperature to 325 or 350.

Make sure the foil is tight.

The meat should fall off the bone when it is  finished cooking.

It is amazing how the sauce thicken up.

Taste for more salt and pepper.

Make sure you take the bay leaves out before serving

Serve with big wide pasta noodle, polenta or cheese grits.

I went with the cheese grits this time.

I like to make this ahead of time then chill.

The beef fat hardens and you can scrape it off.

The bones from the short ribs are so good to suck on. You can taste the marrow so don’t throw them out.

My Mom used to save the bones and put the them in a soup. She wasted nothing.


Nick’s Hot Peppers

12 Dec

Nick's Hot Peppers

My Dad used to grow and dry his own hot peppers.

I don’t but I found dried hot peppers in the grocery store.

These are small hot peppers that you can get either in the Mexican or Chinese section of your store.

1/2 cup olive or canola oil

50 small peppers with the stems broken off

Do not discard the seeds.

They have a ton of flavor.

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat a small skillet with the oil.

Add the peppers and  seeds.

Cook on medium high till the peppers change color and start to smell wonderful.

This takes only a cople of minutes so do not leave the stove.

Just stir fry till the peppers are dark and crunchy

Use the fan on your stove because the aroma can make you cough.

Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Place in an airtight container.

Serve with everything.

I love them with my eggs.

Put them on a sandwich or just serve them as a spicy condiment.

These little peppers are addicting.

Beet and Onion salad

11 Dec

Beets and Onion Salad

2 cans of shoestring cut beets

One medium sliced onion

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Drain the beets and put them in a bowl

Slice the onions

Add to the beets

Add the salt and vinegar and let them sit for a couple or hours or more in a covered container.

This is a clean, light tasting vegetable.

Serve with a sandwich instead of cole slaw or with fish or meat.

Fresh beets taste so much better but this is still good.

Butternut Apple Squash Soup

10 Dec

Butternut Soup Butternut Soup

This is a perfect winter soup.

I decided to reblog it from last year because it is so good

If you use a tart apple add one to two teaspoons of brown sugar

One large diced onion

Two cloves of garlic

Three tablespoons butter

Three packages of cut up butternut squash

Two diced and peeled apples

48 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

One can of drained and washed black beans

One cup of half and half

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter till soft

Add the butternut squash, apples, broth and seasoning.

Bring to a boil.

Cover the pot, turn down the heat to low and cook the squash till it is soft.

Let it cool and pour into a blender in batches till smooth

Pour back into the pot

Add the half and half and beans

Simmer on low till hot

Adjust the salt and pepper

I served this with a grilled sausage grinder.

When I served this for Thanksgiving, I omitted the black beans and put popcorn on top for garnish.

Soft Garlic in oil

5 Dec

Soft Garlic in Oil

My family loved this and I wondered why I never made it before.

I served it as an appetizer but it could be served with the meal.

One cup of garlic

Two cups of olive oil or you can use one cup of olive and one cup of canola oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Peel the garlic and leave it whole

Add it to the oil in a small saucepan

Simmer, uncovered on the lowest heat for one hour till the garlic is soft

Take the garlic out of the oil and sprinkle with salt

Save the oil, it has been infused with the garlic and it is delicious.

Do not let the garlic get brown.

Serve with crackers

This is a fabulous, simple extra that is now a regular at my house.

Mushroom Meringues

4 Dec

mushroom meringues


You have to make these meringues.

About 30 years ago I started making them.

They are so pretty, low fat and delicious.

The recipe is easy but you have to read on how to pipe and assemble the cookies.

Go to Maida Heatters, BOOK OF GREAT DESSERTS.

Fabulous book and she walks you through each step.

Its about three pages of instruction and worth every word.

I have made other recipes and hers is the best.

These cookies take a lot of time so make them over a couple of days.