Grad Party – Success

It took a lot of work and our parents were amazing, it was a lot of fun and a great success. Our graduate is incredibly appreciative of both the party and the generosity of our guests. 

The cooking went as expected without a hitch and I had plenty of food. I would probably make a recommendation for those considering ribs for a large party to think about the type of ribs they have when calculating how many to make. All of my reading lead me to account for 3 ribs per person when serving other proteins. A typical baby back rib weighs 1½-2½ lbs., the ones I had were 3½-4½ lbs, I would have come closer to what I needed if I had done my calculation with the thought of 2½ ribs per person. 

On the day of the party, I started by getting the ribs and mac and cheese out so that they could come to room temperature for more even cooking. Everyone in the house chipped in; this included both boys, my mom, and my in-laws. Once everything was set, excluding the food, I sent my team on missions, boys to get the fried chicken, moms to get the cake, and men to get the beer. 

    
I set about to cooking and put the mac and cheese in the oven and started on the ribs. 

  

I took each pan of ribs out to my grill, and brushed one side with my glaze, and once they were on the grill I glazed the other side. 

  
I moved them through from one side of the grill to the other and ultimately transferred them to a cutting rack for my dad to cut them into single and double ribs and put them in the trays covered with foil to stay warm. 


Just before the party we set everything out and started the slide show. 


The recipes are as follows and can obviously be scaled as needed. I hope that you enjoy! Please ask questions if you have any regarding the recipes.

Thank you to everyone who helped!

Cole Slaw

Salads, Summer, Tested and Approved!

Makes Serves 10-12 ∙ Difficulty Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS
Shred cabbage. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage. Salt and pepper.

NOTES
Add red cabbage and carrots, or use other vinegars for altering flavors and adding color.
Sticky Balsamic Ribs

Entrées, Grilling, Pork

Makes Makes 8 Servings ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Gourmet | July 2009

INGREDIENTS
For ribs:

  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 8-12 pounds baby back pork ribs, (8 racks; see cooks’ note below)
  • 1 cup water

For glaze:

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed

DIRECTIONS
Marinate and roast ribs:

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt. Stir together with rosemary, brown sugar, vinegar, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub evenly all over ribs and transfer to roasting pans. Marinate, chilled, 8 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 425°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Pour 1/2 cup water into each roasting pan and tightly cover pans with foil. Roast ribs, switching position of pans halfway through, until meat is very tender, about 1 3/4 hours. Remove pans from oven and transfer ribs to a platter.

Make glaze and grill ribs:

Add 1 cup hot water to each roasting pan and scrape up brown bits. Skim off and discard fat, then transfer liquid to a 10-inch skillet. Add vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas).

Brush some of glaze onto both sides of racks of ribs. Grill, turning occasionally, until ribs are hot and grill marks appear, about 6 minutes.

NOTES
If you can only get larger ribs (4 racks), you will need more glaze; use 12 large garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.

Ribs can be roasted and glaze can be made ahead and chilled separately (covered once cool). Bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before glazing and grilling. 
Sally’s Mac & Cheese

Entrées, Pastas, Tested and Approved!

Cook 30-40 minutes ∙ Makes 8-10 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Aunt Sally

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 eggs beaten, large
  • 24 ounces cottage cheese
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 4 cups cheddar, shredded
  • 4 cups macaroni, cook as directed in salted water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Mix the ingredients in order and salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, top with panko or crushed saltines.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

NOTES

Can be mixed in an oven proof bowl and baked directly or for more crispness on the top, bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Also scales well for large groups.

I have played with this recipe successfully including substituting Picolini for the elbows, dropping the cottage cheese down to 16 oz. and replacing with feta, and replacing half the cheddar with other cheeses such as smoked Gouda.

To make this as Bacon Mac & Cheese, use 3 eggs, and reduce cheddar to ~1 cup, and add 1 block of shredded sharp white cheddar, 1 block of shredded Boar’s Head 3-pepper co-jack, and ~1 pound chopped cooked bacon.
Sweet Rolls

Breads, Tested and Approved!

Difficulty Hard ∙ Source Grandma

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups milk, lukewarm (less amount of water used to dissolve yeast)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 envelopes yeast
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 7 – 7 1/2 cups flour

Icing

  • butter, soft
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • cream or half and half

DIRECTIONS

Dissolve yeast in a small amount of warm water. Mix milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and heat to ~105℉. When the milk is warm pour into a large bowl and mix in the yeast. Stir in the eggs and butter. 

Start mixing in the flour, stirring until thick and then kneading until soft and elastic. 

Allow to rise for 2 hours (until doubled) then punch down. Butter pans (allowing dough to rest) then make the rolls. Allow to rise until light. 

Bake at 400℉ for 15 minutes.

NOTES

Use light colored metal pans to bake the rolls, dark and glass pans can tend to over bake the bottom.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Breads, Tested and Approved!

Prep 2-2½ hours ∙ Cook 30 minutes ∙ Makes 3 loaves ∙ Difficulty Medium ∙ Source Mom

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 envelopes yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 – 5 1/2 cups flour

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, salt, and yeast. 

In a pan, heat water, milk, honey, and oil until warm. Pour liquid over flour mixture and mix for two minutes with a mixer. 

Add white flour until smooth and elastic; knead for 5 minutes. Raise for 60-90 minutes (until doubled). Punch down and shape into loaves. 

Let raise for 45-60 minutes. Bake 30 minutes at 400℉.

Grad Party – Part 4

Only 21 hours before the party and I think we are set. I finally made it through 18 years of pictures, I had been delinquent for the past 10. But that’s not why you are reading this, today I finished the cole slaw. I did two quintuple batches and ended up with 3 full trays. I didn’t want to have the veggies around for long so my mom and I picked those up this morning: 10 heads of cabbage (9 green and 1 red), 10 bunches of green onions, and 2 lbs. of carrots. When we got home we cleaned them all and peeled the carrots. 

  

Then we went to work on slicing the green onions and shredding the the cabbage and carrots in the food processor. 

I placed each batch in my large bowl and added half of the dressing I made the other day. As always, I seasoned well with salt and pepper. Stirring was a little bit fun, but I managed to keep it all in the bowl. I followed it with the other half of my ingredients and ended up with 3 trays which are now in my MIL’s fridge since I ran out of space. 

  

My mother arrived yesterday to assist and also brought home-made rolls, ~17 dozen. She made them in large batches too and while time-consuming, it is simple to make good bread. The start is active-dry yeast, proofed with a bit of sugar and warm water until it’s frothy. This gets stirred into flour to make a sticky dough, then kneaded with even more flour until smooth. 

        

Then you let it rest to rise for about 1½ hours (still using the same bowl that she used when I was a little girl). 

  

After it’s risen you punch it down, let it rest briefly, shape it into rolls, and then let them rise again before baking them. 

      
I’m so excited to enjoy one of these with a bit of butter. 


I also have signs made, soda chilling, and they put up the tent today. I’ll have one more post tomorrow on the outcome, let’s hope the storms miss us!

Grad Party – Part 3

Today I made the glaze for the ribs after removing the last of the fat from my collected drippings. 

To my concentrated drippings I added the rest of my cheap balsamic vinegar (yes, cheap, only suitable as a marinade and for concentrating). And an equal part of water with 2 cups of dark brown sugar and proceeded to further concentrate the glaze.

    

After a couple of hours I had a thick vinegary sauce.


I also whipped up the dressing for my cole slaw that I’m planning to make on Saturday morning, since it is always better if you make it a day in advance. The dressing is very simple; I prefer a vinegar base to a creamy sauce. Sugar, vinegars (white wine, red wine, apple cider, and raspberry because I ran out of the red), and oil go into the blender.

        
This will keep in the fridge easily.

We’ve also been trying to minimize other food in the fridge, so have been keeping dinners simple this week: M-pizza, T-brats, W-sushi, and my hubby suggested cold cuts for dinner and my grad has friends over so I whipped up my version of Italian subs. It is fresh baguette, olive oil, olive tapenade, Prosciutto, hot capicola, peppered salami, fresh mozzarella, and basil.


Grad Party – Part 2

Between yesterday and today I have finished up the ribs. After each batch has cooked, I have collected the drippings in my stock pot. Tomorrow I’ll be making the glaze with it, but in the meantime I’ve been reducing it so that it all fits in the stock pot. I’ve also been skimming off the fat from the top, which is easiest to do after it’s been chilling in the fridge. This image is just after my final addition.  


With that done, I’m onto the mac and cheese. I’m made this before with the mention that it scales well. I’ll be making four triple batches for this party and it’s quite the pile of ingredients (just ignore the beer). 

My first task was to spray my pans; a loss of mac and cheese to the side of a pans is tragic! After that on to mixing the eggs, cheeses, and sour cream with a healthy dose of salt and pepper. I used my scale to weigh the pasta and cheddar that I purchased in bulk (with the tare set at 1 lb.). 

           
I rinsed the pasta with cold water before stirring it in, since these are going in the fridge rather than the oven. 

  

And then I topped each pan with panko and covered them so that they would be all set. 

I had a little bit left, so it looks like I’ll have 13 ½-trays at the end. 


Only 3 batches more to go and more to come tomorrow. 

Grad Party – Part 1

My oldest is graduating from high school this year, so we have decided to have a grad party, as many families do. I considered having it catered or at least purchasing the food already made. As I reviewed the expense, I elected to make most of the food myself. I am buying chicken, because who wants to spend the day over a fryer and because I have a local market that uses all amish chicken to make their fried chicken. The biggest savings is from making my own ribs. 

I have built up a large amount vacation days so I decided to take the week off to do the ribs. By pre-cooking them in the oven, they will only take 6 minutes on the grill on the day of the party. I’m starting with my rosemary in my new food processor (I decided using the broken one was going to waste too much time. 


After chopping it, I added in the remaining ingredients for the wet rub. You can see I took some liberties for the bulk prep (I can’t even imagine the amount of time it would have taken to peel enough garlic cloves for 2 cups minced!)

    

The resulting sauce is thick and beautiful, my graduate decided the smell alone was amazing. 

The next part is prepping the ribs for the rub; you must remove the membrane/silver skin from the back of the ribs to ensure they are tender. 

  

And then 3 to a pan; I’ll be doing about 12 of these. 

    
To cook them, ½ cup of water goes into each pan and they are tightly sealed with foil and roasted at 425°F for 1¾ hours. 


Once cooked they are very tender. I’ll be keeping them cold in giant ziploc bags until the morning of the party. I’m reserving juice from the bottom of the pan for a glaze and I’ll have BBQ sauce too. 


More to come this week as I progress.

Mmm… Paella

I originally published this last year and realized it is one of the many that the images were lost. Paella is a process and picture help if you haven’t made it before. So I have added them back and reposted for everyone to enjoy while the weather is beautiful. 

Original post…

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all of you that are Moms. Instead of my regular Sunday dinner, I was watching my son’s soccer game scheduled for 6PM. Sometimes that happens.

Our spring is always busy and this week was no exception. Last Sunday, I had a soccer game in the middle of the day so I had to do some creative work with the timing.

My boys also had a 5k run early last week so I selected a dessert that I could make quickly before they got home starving. Chocolate mousse. It’s quick, delicious, and needs at least 8 hours in the refrigerator.

The amazing taste of chocolate mousse has an inversely proportional relationship with the amount of work needed to make it. In brief, it’s really easy even though it tastes like it took hours to make.

I got up at 8, as my boys were starting the run, I lolly-gagged a bit, and still managed to have the mousse in ramekins in the fridge by 9. While the recipe states to finely chop the chocolate, I tend to use chips or just beat the candy bar on the counter; or in this case I used a mix of both.

Once the butter, chocolate, and liquor (bourbon this time) melt together, allow it to cool before stirring in the egg yolks. This is a good time to beat the cream and the egg whites with the sugar.

  

                    
Once those are ready to go, the chocolate will be cool enough to stir in the yolks and then the egg whites and cream (alternating).

        
From this point they go into the ramekins and into the fridge.


After we got back from the game at 3, I started on my prep work so that I could get the stock started. The stock used some of the scraps from the prep for the paella. I also had some leftover chorizo from another use, so that went in too. I started with the shrimp, reserving the shells for the stock. I doubled everything to so that I could use it for a couple of meals. Since everything get strained from the stock, there is no need to peel the garlic or carrots.

      

Everything goes into the pot.


Once the shells gain their pink color and the vegetables start to become tender, the water goes in and you bring it to a boil and then let it simmer.

  
This gave me the time to do my other prep for the paella. The key is a good soffrito: onions, garlic, celery, and then ultimately tomato.

  
My market had 3 different brands of Spanish chorizo, so I used them all.


I also made a spice blend with sugar, salt, and smoked paprika.


I cleaned my micro greens and rinsed my olives.

  
My favorite pan for paella is my 17″ cast iron skillet, and the easiest place to use it is my grill.


By this time, the stock is done and you pour it through a fine strainer and press the solids for this beautiful stock.

    

So once with everything prepped and the grill hot, I brought it all out to my bar height table next to the grill.


The chorizo goes in first and the aroma begins.


And when they are done, set them off to the side and add the shrimp to the pan.

  
They cook quickly in the hot skillet and it’s important to not overcook them. When they are done set them off to the side wth the chorizo and keep them warm.


The soffrito goes into the hot skillet until it cooks down with the wine being added in the middle.

  

Then add the stock and once it’s hot, the saffron. When it returns to a boil, the rice.

  

After the rice goes in, stir until it comes back to a boil, and then only turn the pan so that the rice cooks evenly. I also squeezed a couple of loaves of garlic bread onto the grill from our local bakery on the market and my MIL made a fabulous salad.

When I brought it inside, I added in the zest and juice of a lemon.

  
And I served it with a rosé Sancerre.


Dessert was accompanied with whipped cream and Baileys.

  
And as mentioned much earlier in this post, this meal did become a second; I put it in a wrap with queso fresco and grilled it. It also reheated VERY well in our lunch!


Back-Burner Stock

Makes About 3½ cups ∙ Source Bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces charcuterie trimmings (such as ham, bacon, and/or sausage ends)
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro stems
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mixed vegetables (such as carrots, celery, and/or fennel)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander or fennel seeds
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Shrimp shells (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add charcuterie, onion, cilantro stems, garlic, bay leaves, vegetables, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, and shrimp shells (if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells turn bright pink and vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes.

Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on solids; discard solids.

Do Ahead: Stock can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.

Chorizo and Shrimp Paella

Makes Servings: 4 ∙ Source Bonappetit.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound Spanish chorizo, casings and ends removed, sliced into rounds
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • ¾ cup dry white or rose wine
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Back-Burner Stock
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1½ cups bomba rice
  • 1 cup green olives (such as Castelvetrano), pitted, torn into large pieces
  • 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  • Radish sprouts (for serving)
  • Flaky sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Process onion, celery, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl. Add tomatoes to processor and process until smooth; set soffritto aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a 12″–14″ paella pan or skillet over medium-high. Add chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add shrimp to same skillet, season with salt, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate with chorizo.

Heat remaining ½ cup oil in same skillet over medium-high. Add reserved soffritto and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8–10 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until mixture is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add paprika, sugar, and 2 tsp. salt. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick, about 3 minutes. Add stock and saffron and bring to a boil.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid starts to simmer, about 5 minutes. Quit stirring; a film will form on the surface (this will trap steam, making a gooey cover over the rice, helping it cook evenly). Reduce heat to low and simmer, moving pan around every few minutes so the entire bottom gets equal time over the hottest part of flame, until liquid evaporates, 12–15 minutes.

Top with olives and reserved chorizo and shrimp. Finely grate lemon zest and squeeze lemon juice over paella, top with sprouts, and season with sea salt. Let paella rest 5 minutes before you dig in; serve with lemon wedges.

Paprika File

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Desserts, Ice Cream and Custards, Tested and Approved!

Makes 6 Servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Epicurious | 2004

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 Tbsp Kahlua, or other favorite alcohol (i.e., Bourbon)
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

DIRECTIONS

Combine the chocolate, butter, and kahlua in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.

Meanwhile, whip the cream to soft peaks, then refrigerate. Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.

Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)

Paprika File

Red Pozole

I promised my sister another weeknight recipe. And this is certainly easy, the trick is it takes 2 hours to simmer. My son had a fundraiser for his lacrosse team on a night I had time to cook. The following day was karate with no time, so this was a perfect fit in the meal plan. 

I did all the work so that it could simmer while we were gone; the smell when we got home was amazing! We were already excited to have dinner the next day.

I saved this recipe a few years ago, and I’m very glad I did since the link I downloaded it from no longer contains the recipe. The recipe calls for either country ribs or pork shoulder, use a boneless pork shoulder if you are in a hurry, but otherwise the ribs add a unique element with a mix of loin and rib meat.

As usual, I gathered all of my ingredients.

And before cleaning the meat I used my cutting board and favorite knife on the veggies. The soup doesn’t end up hot, just flavorful, but the peppers can be hot; if you don’t want the residue on your hands, wear gloves to pull off the stems and shake out the seeds. 

The onion only needs to be coarsest chopped.

  

  
Then I seared the peppers in a hot dry pan and set them aside to cool. 

    

And when I could touch them I crumbled them into my blender and then poured boiling water over them to soften them. 

  

In the same pan that I roasted the peppers, I sautéed the onions and minced garlic.

    

When they were soft and nicely colored from the chili peppers, I added them to the peppers. 

  

Blending them to a purée, yielded a beautiful thick sauce.

  

I started to clean the meat while the onions softened, but had to stop a few times. Once you make the sauce it can sit while you finish cleaning the pork. You can see each had a wedge of bone in the middle; I used about 4.5 pounds of bone-in ribs to get 3 pounds of meat. 

  
I cooked the pork in 2 batches, each seasoned with cumin, salt, and pepper. 

  

When both batches were done I returned them all to the pan and added in the purée and chicken stock. (Hint: Use the chicken stock to rinse your blender.) Then add in the rinsed hominy and oregano. 

      

Once it came to a boil, I reduced it to a simmer and came home to this beautiful pot of soup. 

For toppings, I shredded a block of queso fresco and shredded a few radishes. 

  

  

When I finally got to taste it the following day with my cucumber G&T, it was perfect.


Warming Red Pozole

Soups Stews etc., Tested and Approved!
Makes 10 to 12 ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Epicurious.com | Food52 | February 2015

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 dried New Mexico chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder or country style ribs, cut into ¾” cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cans hominy, drained and rinsed
  • Water

Toppings:

  • Cabbage, shredded finely
  • Radishes, sliced thinly
  • Limes, quartered for squeezing
  • Avocado, cut into small chunks
  • Tortilla chips or corn tortillas
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Crumbled queso fresco or your cheese of choice

DIRECTIONS

Toast chiles in a dry pan over high heat for a few minutes until slightly browned. As you heat them, they should puff up, soften, and become fragrant. Remove from pan, let cool, and cut or tear roughly. Pour 1 cup boiling water over them to soften them for 15 minutes.

Add oil to a large, heavy pot and turn the flame to medium high. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions have softened and colored. Remove from heat and add them to the blender with the chiles and their liquid. Purée until smooth.

Put pot back on high heat and brown the pork in two batches. Add 1 teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper to each batch as the pieces brown. 

Add all pork back to pot along with chile liquid, chicken stock, oregano, and hominy. The liquid should completely cover the pork. (Add more stock if necessary.) Bring to boil then lower to simmer. Cover the pot and cook the stew over low heat for 2 hours.

While the pozole cooks, get toppings ready.

To serve: Ladle pozole into bowl. Top with cabbage, radishes, and any other toppings. Squeeze a healthy dose of lime juice into your bowl and dig in!

NOTES

This recipe was originally published on Food52 as “Warming Red Pozole”.

Weeknight Stew

Not long ago, my sister was scrolling through my recipe files on Paprika and asked if any of them were quick enough for a weeknight. Many of them are, even though I have a tendency to post more Sunday dinners because I enjoy them so much.

This however is very simple and easily a weeknight meal with slicing the onion as the most difficult task. It is originally a Bon Appétit recipe with modifications over time. I’ve left a few of my notes in the copy below. 

Start with cooking the sausage, the rest of the prep can be done while they cook. (And yes use the hot Italian sausage if you are ok with a little bit of heat, the added flavor is amazing). 


While they cook, slice the onion, mince the garlic, and rinse the thyme and cannellini beans. 

While they cool, start the onions with the garlic and thyme, making sure to use the onions to scrape up all of the crispy bits of sausage. Also start boiling the water for the pasta. 

      

Once they are soft and golden, the beans, broth, and paprika go in with the onions and it’s time to cook the pasta and slice the sausage. 

        
When the beans start to cook use your spoon to smash a few and help to thicken the sauce. 

Taste and add a tiny bit of salt and a healthy bit of pepper. 

  
Then add the spinach, either in handfuls or just throw in like me.


Once it just starts to wilt, stir in the sausage and pasta. 

      

Serve. Taste. Love. 



Sausage and White Bean Stew

Entrées, Pastas, Pork, Quick Meals, Soups Stews etc., Tested and Approved!

Prep 15 min ∙ Cook 45 min ∙ Makes 4 servings ∙ Source Bon Appétit | February 2013

Paprika Recipe File

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound fresh hot Italian sausage links
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced, then quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 30 oz. cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ⅛ tsp. smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper, freshly ground
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (~10 cups)
  • ½ lb. fusilli or orecchiette pasta cooked
  • Parmesan, freshly shredded

DIRECTIONS

Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate and slice lenthwise and then into ½” thick slices on an angle when cool enough.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans, broth, and paprika and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Stir sausage into stew; add pasta water or additional broth to thin, if desired. Divide stew among bowls over pasta and sprinkle with paprika and parmesan.

NOTES

Ingredient info: Smoked paprika can be found at most supermarkets.

2015-01-07 – First day tried and I made modifications from the Bon Appétit version, in addition to what I drafted as the final recipe, I threw in roasted garlic with the onions and minced fresh garlic as a treat.

2017-03-04 – fresh garlic with the onions is very good, used 5 large. And orecchiette pasta is perfect with the size of the sausage.

Reasons to Cook

This post is not so much about what I made as it is about why I made it. 

Today was special; and not because it was a holiday or Hallmark “______” Day. It was special because my eldest returned from France and my in laws returned from Florida. These are special people in my life, and I want to cook well for them. 

Each time I have travelled internationally my first desire for food is “normal”, meaning normal for my own routine. With this in mind I selected bold simple flavors that are typical in our house. 

Rather than a salad, a shishito pepper appetizer – pan fried and seasoned with lemon and coarse sea salt. 


And for dinner, skirt steak and roasted cauliflower with chimchurri sauce, along with green rice and one of our favorite wines, Kouros red


Lastly for dessert, triple chocolate cake. 


I hope that you treat your family with love and good food. 

Dinner for Two

With our eldest in France and our youngest with activities that run through dinner we are finding ourselves learning what life will be like once they in turn leave for college. Tonight’s dinner is just the two of us and there are no allergies to contend with. When I went to the store, I had most of a grocery list, but only fish in mind for tonight. At the meat counter I pursued the selection and was excited to find beautiful yellowfin tuna (1¼” thick steaks)  for only $10/lb. and that is all we needed! With the weather abnormally awesome today (66 and sunny – in Michigan) I quickly decided on grilled tuna with a citrus pepper crust, lemon garlic broccoli, and couscous. I also came across shishito peppers in the produce section and decided that they would make a great appetizer. 

I started by making the citrus pepper marinade/crust by zesting ½ of an orange, lemon, and lime and adding the juice from the lemon and lime halves. (I always cut the end off the lemon so it juices better.) 

  
I then chopped the leaves of a few sprigs of parsley and a sprig of basil that I had on hand. 

    
I added a very generous amount of pepper, about ½ teaspoon of coarse salt and two very large cloves of garlic, then covered the mix with olive oil (1-2 Tbsp.).

      
Then I patted the tuna dry with paper towels and coated them with the marinade and set them aside. (You need to wait at least 20 minutes, but can set them in the fridge for up to an hour.)

  
I also cleaned the peppers and the broccoli. 

  
The peppers are simple, cook them in hot oil over medium heat until they blister, ~3-5 minutes. When they are done, drain them briefly on paper towels, squeeze fresh lemon (¼ lemon/pound) on them, and sprinkle them with coarse sea salt. (YUM!!! This was inspired by a dish at The Sardine Room in Plymouth.) 

          


While we had our tasty appetizer, I was heating the grill. 

After our appetizer I started the couscous and broccoli, adding the lemon to the broccoli after 5 minutes and with only 5 minutes left on the couscous I started the tuna on the hot grill. 

        

  
The tuna should be served rare, so it only takes 2½ minutes per side. After the first side, I added the garlic to the broccoli. 

  
All was perfect.