Tag Archives: carrots

Merlot Braised Short Ribs

Short ribs, coming from the “short plate” (lower middle rib area) on a steer, contain a considerable amount of connective tissue and tendon that can result in tough and chewy meat if not prepared correctly.  There are, however, a number of ways to prepare and cook these tasty (and less expensive) cuts of meat to ensure they finish tender and juicy; braising is one of those.  Simply find a combination of liquid ingredients and spices or herbs that will complement the signature beefy flavor of the short ribs, and cook “low and slow” for several hours until things are ready to fall off the bone.

Another trait of short ribs is the noticeable amount of fat that is usually present between the different layers of muscle.  When cooked for a long time at low temperatures, this fat will melt to add flavor to the meat.  On the barbecue, the excess will simply drip off and collect in the drip bucket.  When braising, however, the excess will become part of the stewing liquid and will result in too  oily of a finished meal if not removed before serving.  For that reason, we turned this recipe into a two-day process – completing the primary cooking on the first day, followed by an overnight stay in the refrigerator to separate and solidify the extra fat, and then finishing up the cooking and preparing a stew from the braising liquid on the second day (or even several days later).

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Carrot Beet Slaw

Alternate Title: The Recipe That Made Me Like Beets

I will be the first to admit that I have never been a fan of beets.  Growing up, we would occasionally have pickled beets in the house (I remember being told they were one of my grandpa’s favorites).  We also grew them in our garden, and I can remember my mom making them occasionally (though usually she would pickle them).  Over the years, I’ve tried them at various times – some places will put a slice or two on your salad when they bring it out, and occasionally they’ll show up roasted with other root veggies.  But they always had an overly “earthy” taste to me.  Actually, more accurately, they always made me consider what consuming a dirt clod would taste like.  The only thing I really ever had liked about beets were the greens.

So, you can imagine my lack of enthusiasm when our CSA newsletter listed beets as one of the items in our share this past Thursday.  I am not going to turn down anything that is part of our weekly share (with exception of wheat and similar gluten-containing grains if they come up), and I enjoy the challenge of finding ways to try to use as much of the plant we receive as possible (even if it just means chopping up the greens in a big salad).  So I wasn’t going to turn down the beets – I just wasn’t sure what I was going to use them for.  Until I showed up to pick up the CSA share…

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Creamy Cashew Chicken Salad

This recipe contains a perfect blend of chicken, stir-fried veggies, and salad greens all coated in a creamy cashew dressing.  It is easy to make ahead and serve cold – making it perfect for lunch or for a summer potluck.  The dressing by itself would be great for dipping coconut-breaded chicken tenders, or as a sauce over grilled asian-spiced pork chops.  And feel free to toss in your own variations on the veggies rather than sticking simply to the carrots and red bell peppers we used.  I know this would go great with the addition of mushrooms, snow peas, or just about anything else you can think of.

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Ginger Carrots and Turnips

It’s hard to believe that I went from never having a turnip before to having them three weeks in a row in our CSA share!  After trying creamed greens and then simply grilling the turnips last week, I thought it would be good to do something different this time.  So I combined them with some carrots and a glaze/sauce consisting of a reduction of butter, honey, lemon, and fresh ginger for a real treat – both sweet and peppery at the same time.

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Sesame Chicken Salad

The weather is finally supposed to be really nice this weekend here in the PNW, which means that everyone will be outside trying to get lots of Vitamin D built up in the next few days.  And while grilling is a favorite way to prepare a meal when the weather gets nice, it can sometimes be a little much to serve hot food when you’re working on getting acclimated to the first real warm days of the season.  A nice alternative, especially for lunch on the porch on a hot afternoon, is a chilled salad with plenty of meat mixed in.

This recipe came to us from a friend, Amy, at the gym – whose husband Brad is also one of the trainers.  She had adapted it from a recipe of a friend of hers, eliminating the original recipe’s brown sugar, fried won tons, and soy sauce in favor of some less problematic ingredients.  Of course, we made a few adjustments of our own…but mostly based on what we had on hand at the time.  Get this made up just after breakfast so it has a chance to sit and chill in the fridge until lunch – letting the flavors mix and mingle a bit before eating.

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Cream of Chicken Stew

I will warn you now: this recipe uses a little bit of dairy – heavy cream to be exact.  So, if you are avoiding dairy, you’ll want to substitute (coconut milk would certainly do nicely).  Outside of that, this is a simple and easy recipe that can be cooked up in about 45 minutes and makes for a great meal and great leftovers.

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Quick Turkey Soup

Part of our weekend routine is to sit down with our own hand-written book of recipes, our folder of clipped recipes, and the other sources we draw from for ideas and inspiration, and put together a menu for the week.  We make notes on adjustments, compile a list of ingredients needed for everything on the menu, check it against our current pantry, fridge, and freezer stocks, and then work through the grocery list before going to the store to get what we don’t have.  We take any meat for the first few nights out of the freezer and put in the fridge to thaw (imperative since our built-in microwave has been dead for about a month, and we’ve not bothered to call to have someone look at it yet).

This eliminates the dialog that otherwise starts by about Tuesday night and continues through the week:

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t know – what do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t know – what will the kids eat?”

“I don’t know – go ask them.”

“We want eggs and sausage!” (which they’ve already had for breakfast)

Or, I should say, this routine almost eliminates this dialog.  Every once in a while, no matter how well I review the menu and plan things out, something comes along to derail me.  Case in point is this past Monday.  Somehow, in putting everything together, I completely overlooked the fact my planned recipe was a slow cooker recipe.  There is nothing like coming home after a 9+ hour day at work, plus my first day back to the gym in well over a month, to realize that the only meat thawed out for dinner is the main ingredient for a dish that requires a good 5+ hours on low in a crock pot.  Add in the fact it’s approaching 7pm and everyone’s getting hungry.  Now what do I do???

Improvise!  Grab a few ingredients (including a frozen package of ground turkey) and whip something up fast, before the natives get too restless and tear apart the kitchen.  The result is a soup that will almost take you less time from start to finish that it will for you to read through the intro of this post.  So let’s get started…

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