The Earth Laughs in Flowers...

>> Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I love making cupcakes for my kids, such a simple pleasure. What a great way to celebrate the arrival of Spring!! I made these using Dum-Dum pops and green Fruit Roll Ups for the leaves, a few sprinkles of chocolate jimmies for the dirt, and voila spring has sprung.

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Cherished Possessions

>> Thursday, March 11, 2010

Growing up I can remember having Sunday dinners at my Grandmother's house. My Grandmother loved to cook, which was something we had in common. She was a good cook, but not what you would call a healthy cook. I think sugar and salt were my Grandmother's two favorite ingredients. Even her tossed green salad was loaded with sugar and salt.
Most of her veggies seemed to come from a can and she even knew how to make those taste good. Her canned corn casserole is still on our table every year at Thanksgiving.
But you never did hear anyone complain about the meal that was put before them, especially my Grandfather. He used to say "Boy, I wonder what the poor people are eating tonight" every time we sat down together.
And dessert was always part of the meal. I can still remember her milk glass cake plate that her sugary cakes were placed on. Such a fancy thing to a 7 year old girl, a billowy frosted cake served on a pedestal.
As I got older and started preparing my own meals I realized just how unhealthy of a cook she was. She would often give me recipes or tell me how she would go about making something. And of course I would graciously accept them, however never giving them a second glance knowing that this one recipe alone might just take a year off my life.
Well, my Grandmother passed away a few months ago. I find myself trying to remember those recipes, and the things she shared with me, wishing I had paid closer attention. It's funny how losing someone makes those details so much more important. And those recipes she handed down to me are now some of my most cherished possessions, along with that beautiful glass cake plate that now will proudly serve my own beautiful confections.

Here is a recipe for short ribs. It is not my grandmother's recipe but she used to tell me all the time how much she loved short ribs and how I really should try them. Well Gram, you were right, they really are delicious. This ones for you!

Honey and Vinegar Braised Short Ribs
adapted from Bon Appetit

This recipe is best made the day before you are going to serve it.

4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 1/2 lbs beef short ribs
1 cup carrots
1 cup onion
1 cup celery
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vinegar
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups dry red wine
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon butter
3 Tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil over med. high heat in a large heavy pot. Sprinkle salt and pepper over ribs. Working in batches brown ribs really well on all sides. Wipe out the pot and add remaining olive oil. Add carrots, onion, celery and garlic to pot, cook about 5 minutes stirring as you go, until vegetables are soft. Return ribs to the pot and add honey, cooking about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and boil until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add broth, red wine, thyme, and bay leaf and boil 5 minutes. Cover pot with lid and put in preheated oven. Bake until meat almost falls off bone, about 2-2 1/2 hours.
When ribs are tender, transfer them to a large bowl. Boil cooking liquid until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Mix butter and flour in a small bowl to form a paste. Whisk into sauce and boil about 3 minutes or until thickened. Let cool. Store both ribs and sauce in refrigerator over night in seperate containers. The next day when you are ready to eat remove both the ribs and sauce from the refrigerator. Skim the layer of fat off the top of the sauce that has formed over night. Return the ribs to the pot with the sauce and rewarm both the sauce and the ribs over medium heat.
Serve with sauteed spinach and creamy polenta...yum!!!

Oh yeah, and its almost spring....yeaaahhhh!!!


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