Tag Archives: thyme

Braised Beef Short Ribs

I’ve been in flu-induced hell for a while, and I’m finally starting to surface. Last night was the first night in a week and a half that I didn’t have a fever. I’m not constantly exhausted and I have the energy to cook, which means we aren’t subsisting on frozen pizza and fast food. Hallelujah!

Anyway, I want to share this special-occasion recipe with you that I made a few weeks ago. It takes some time, but it’s not difficult. You roast beef short ribs just until they brown, then braise in a flavorful broth that includes an entire bottle of wine. That’s my kind of recipe. I pureed the braising liquid at the end to make a sauce, but you don’t have to. Serve with rice and sauteed vegetables for easy sides that let the beef shine.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Braised Beef Short Ribs (adapted from Ina Garten)

6 beef short ribs, trimmed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 leek, cleaned and chopped, white part only
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 onions)
4 cups large-diced celery (6 large stalks)
2 carrots, peeled and large-diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (750-ml) bottle Cotes du Rhone or other dry red wine
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 cups beef stock

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the short ribs on a sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and add the fennel, leek, onion, celery and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and wine, bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the rosemary and thyme together with kitchen twine and add to the pot.

Place the roasted ribs on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and add the brown sugar and beef stock. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover the Dutch oven and bake for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. Discard the herbs and skim the excess fat. Cook the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for 20 minutes, until reduced. (Optional: Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the sauce until smooth.) Put the ribs back into the pot and heat through. Serve with the vegetables and sauce.

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Tomato-Mushroom Tart

[Printable Recipe]

We’ve been so busy lately, so I’ve been looking for quick meals that can be prepped ahead of time or made in Rachel Ray-style speed.

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Greenling had passed along a recipe for a savory veggie tart a few weeks ago, and I thought a tart would be perfect for one of those hectic nights. It would come together quickly and allow us to use more than 1 veggie from our Greenling box (which is always a plus, as it’s hard to make it through the huge box with just 2 of us!).

Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie crust, either storebought or homemade (here is my pate brisee recipe)
  • 5 roma tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 lb. criminis, sliced thinly
  • 1-1/2 c. mozzerella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Press the pie dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake the tart shell for 7 minutes.
  • Remove the tart from the oven when it’s lightly browned and sprinkle 1 c. of the mozzerella cheese in the bottom.
  • Toss the tomatoes and mushrooms with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper, then add the tomato-mushroom mixture to the tart on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 c. of mozzerella cheese on top, then bake the tart for an additional 15 minutes until the cheese is bubble and the tart shell is golden brown.
  • Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm.

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I served this alongside a green salad with candied pecans and blue cheese. It felt very much like we were eating at a French bistro!

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To candy pecans, just toss the pecans in corn syrup and brown sugar (~1 Tbsp. corn syrup and 1 tsp. brown sugar for a 1/2 c. of pecans) and a pinch of salt. They can be baked at whatever temperature your oven is at, but they do best at 350 for 8-10 minutes. I baked these with the tart at 400 for 5-6 minutes.

Verdict:
Gooey and bubbly from the cheese, juicy and sweet from the tomatoes: this tart was quite reminiscent of pizza, which is never a bad thing. I really liked the thyme with the mushrooms. While the original recipe called for basil, I thought the earthiness of the thyme and mushrooms would go really well together, and I wasn’t let down.

Fresh Pasta with Roasted Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes

I have no idea why I haven’t been making homemade pasta more frequently. Perhaps it’s because the last time I tried, my KitchenAid stand mixer conked out, leaving me worried that I didn’t have a mixer powerful enough to handle pasta. Or perhaps I thought it was harder than it actually is. Probably both. I was wrong on both accounts though.

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I made this on a weeknight and it took about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s definitely more work than hard pasta, but the reward is definitely worth it.

This is sort of a 2-part entry: the pasta part and the roasted shrimp part. I’ll split the recipes up, so if you want to make one or the other, it’s easy to follow. These recipes make 4 servings of shrimp and pasta.

The Pasta
[Printable Recipe]

From Bell’ Alimento

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 c. bread flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Spread the flour out onto a work surface and make a well in the middle of the pile of flour. Crack the eggs into the well and whisk them, incorporating the flour into the egg mixture as you whisk.
  • Work the dough into a ball and knead until it’s smooth (5-7 minutes). Add flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  • After the dough has rested, divide it into 3 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (leaving the remaining pieces in the fridge while you’re working with the first), knead the dough a few more times, flatten it out with your hands, then run it through the pasta maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Let the pasta dry (my fettucine took about 20 minutes; I don’t have a rack, so I laid the pasta flat and covered it with a kitchen towel), then boil for 2-3 minutes until the pasta is al dente.

The Shrimp
[Printable Recipe]

From Real Simple

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (You can get them peeled and deveined already at the grocery store to save some time.)
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped finely
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp with the rest of the ingredients. Spread the shrimp and tomatoes out on the baking sheet in an even layer.
  • Roast until the shrimp is cooked through, about 17 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the shrimp before serving.

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Verdict:
We’ve been getting really sweet tomatoes in our Greenling box for the past few weeks, and this sweetness was fantastic in this dish. I did, however, need to add the lemon juice for some acid before serving (the lemon juice wasn’t called for in the original recipe). While you could also saute the shrimp, roasting them gave it a great dimension of flavor.

Fresh pasta is a completely different animal from hard pasta. It’s hard to describe the differences, but I’ll try. =) It’s got a fresher taste (obviously) and a much different texture (smoother, maybe?) after it’s cooked. It also tastes like pasta, and the hard pasta I’ve had sometimes doesn’t taste like much at all. It’s a dish in itself, rather than just a vehicle for a sauce or topping.

Buttermilk Biscuits with Portobello Mushrooms and Thyme

[Printable Recipe]

Biscuits are one of my favorite comfort foods, especially when they’re still warm from the oven. Crunchy and golden on top, soft and buttery in the middle — just perfect.

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They’re also a great vehicle for a number of add-ins. We got a few really huge portobellos in our Greenling box, so I thought this would be the perfect way to use them up.

Adapted from Woman with a Whisk, originally from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 c. fresh thyme, chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap, diced
  • 1 c. buttermilk, plus 1 Tbsp. for finish (I used low-fat buttermilk)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats. (Based on my experience last time, these tend to stick to parchment paper, even when it’s buttered.)
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. When hot, add the mushrooms and saute until they’re soft (~3 minutes). In the last minute or so of cooking, add the thyme to the skillet and toss with the mushrooms. Set aside to cool a bit before adding to the biscuit batter.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until it’s crumbly.
  • Add the cooled mushroom-thyme mixture and the buttermilk. Stir with fork just until a sticky dough forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I needed much more flour than “lightly floured” to knead it) and knead gently 8 times with floured hands. Do not over-knead!
  • Form into a round, about 3/4-inch to an inch thick. Cut the round into 8 wedges.
  • Use a pastry brush to brush on some extra buttermilk over the surface of the wedges.
  • Bake for ~20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

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Verdict:
The woodsy thyme is a perfect compliment to the hearty portobellos. The texture is light and the outside is golden and crisp. Heavenly!

I encourage all of you to use the base recipe and mix it up from there! Add veggies or herbs for savory biscuits, or a sugar or fruit for sweeter ones.

Slow Cooker Goat “Bourguignon”

A few weeks ago, I picked up some goat meat on a whim at the Pearl Brewery farmer’s market in San Antonio. I had been reading a lot about it, but found it in local grocery stores. I’m so glad I tried it; I am now a total convert and preach the marvels of goat to anyone who will listen.

It was frozen (for food safety reasons, most of the meat sold at the farmer’s market is frozen), so using the slow-cooker was a great solution. If it wasn’t frozen, I would have browned the goat in some bacon fat before putting in the slow-cooker. This by no means is a traditional “bourguignon,” but it uses many of the same flavors. I kind of just dumped whatever reminded me of traditional boeuf bourguignon in the slow-cooker.

This is the kind of dish into which you can add whatever comes in your Local Box that week. Last time I made this with green garlic and red spring onions; this time I had a ton of carrots and used the pattypan squash. If you have mushrooms, those would be fabulous too. I’ve included the basic recipe, but the intent is that you improvise with whatever’s in season/on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of carrots, peeled and chopped into medium-sized chunks
  • 1 large onion or a few spring onions (either red or yellow, though I used red) chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 bottle red wine (I used a French burgundy.)
  • 1-14 oz. can low-sodium beef stock
  • 1-6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 lb. goat stew meat
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper

Directions:

  • Put the chopped vegetables and the herbs in the bottom of the slow-cooker, then add the tomato paste and liquids and stir well.
  • Add the goat so that all of the pieces are covered in the liquid, then add the salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, then on low for 2 hours (alternatively, low for 8 hours — 9 if it’s frozen — would be okay also).

Verdict:
This was PHENOMENAL. I’ve made boeuf bourguignon in the slow-cooker before using a similar recipe, but the goat was much more moist and flavorful. The goat was more flavorful than beef, but not game-y at all. I served this with garlic mashed potatoes (saute ~3 cloves of garlic in butter, then add milk or buttermilk to the skillet to heat through, then add to the boiled potatoes and whisk everything in a stand mixer until smooth), so it was nice to have so much sauce with it, but if you want a thicker gravy, stir about 1 tsp. cornstarch into the beef stock before adding to the slow-cooker.