Monday, February 19, 2018

Slow Cooker Ham and Beans


Ingredients

1 pound dried Great Northern beans, sorted and rinsed
4 cups water
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (bulb only), cut in half lengthwise
1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces
5 slices bacon
4 cups chicken stock
1 pinch sea salt to taste
1 pinch fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place the beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Drain and rinse before using.
  2. Combine the soaked beans, 4 cups of water, celery, onion, bay leaves, cumin, garlic powder, and parsley into a slow cooker.
  3. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the leeks in the butter mixture until tender and the smaller pieces start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the leeks to the slow cooker. In the same pan, cook and stir the ham until the edges start to brown; stir into the soup. Place the bacon into the hot skillet, and pan-fry until the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces and stir into the soup. Pour the chicken stock into the hot skillet, and stir to dissolve any brown flavor bits from the skillet; pour the chicken stock into the soup. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  4. Set the cooker to Low cook the soup until the beans are very tender, 6 to 8 hours. Roughly mash about half the beans with a potato masher to thicken the soup.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Best Baby Back Ribs

I LOVE good ribs.
This is easy, because it's all done in the oven.
Give it a try.


Ingredients

1 rack of pork baby back ribs.
Dry rub (you can use whatever spices you like, but definitely don't leave out the brown sugar)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon or less of cayenne pepper (unless you
like it HOT)
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
mix it all up.

Preparation

Prep the ribs:  On the back of the ribs will be a very thin but very tough membrane that you must remove. You can't really see it well, but trust me that it's there. I usually use a knife to pry up a corner of the membrane, then I just pull it down the entire length of the ribs. Sometimes it tears and you have to try a few times, but you definitely don't want to skip this step.  Once the membrane is removed, put the dry rub all over the ribs (both sides) and rub it in. The meat will take on some of the colors in the dry rub and look a little reddish.

Wrap the ribs in some heavy duty tin foil and let them hang out in the fridge til you're ready to cook them. Cook the ribs: At 250 degrees, place the ribs wrapped securely in tin foil onto a cookie sheet (sometimes juice/fat can escape the tin foil) and place them in the oven. cook for 2 hours. After 2 hours, pull them out and open the tin foil to take a look. At this point you can add a little apple juice on top of them, but that's not really necessary. Re-wrap them, and put them back in for another 1/2 hour. Pull them out again and open the tin foil completely.

At this point you can brush some BBQ sauce on them, or leave them the way they are. Crank up the heat to 350 and put the ribs back in the oven with the tin foil open. After half an hour, they're done! You can always do this last part on a BBQ, but watch the ribs and make sure they don't burn from the sugar.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Oxtails with Gravy

Oxtails make the most flavorful beef stock. For the most part, the robust beef flavor comes from the bones and marrow, but the meat is also very tasty. The rendered stock will be thick and gelatinous due to the collagen released. 

Long, slow braising in a liquid is the preferred method to derive a tender result while drawing maximum flavor from what is pretty much all bones. Plan on a long cooking time. Oxtails work particularly well in crockpots and pressure cookers.


The first time I tried Oxtail, it was prepared by Tong, owner and operator of Tong's Thai.
I don't know his recipe, but I remember it had a very nice, gravy-like, sauce.  I found this recipe online and decided to give it a try.  I was not disappointed.   ~Shelly 
 

INGREDIENTS
2 pounds beef oxtail
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Greek seasoning
Browning Sauces
at Harter House World Flavors
Gravy Master - 2 oz.  $2.89
B-V Broth and Sauce - 3 oz.  $3.39
1 teaspoon seasoning salt                           
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or shortening
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups broth from cooked oxtails
2 dashes browning sauce
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste

DIRECTIONS
Place oxtails, garlic, onions, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, Greek seasoning, and seasoning salt in a large stock pot. Fill with enough water to cover oxtails, and place over high heat. Bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from heat, and reserve 2 cups broth.

Warm bacon drippings in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and browning sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook, stirring constantly, until gravy thickens. Remove from heat.
Place oxtails in skillet, and stir to coat with gravy. Return to stove, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The Oxtails are very fatty.  I removed the meat from the oxtail portions, separating the fat, before adding the meat to my gravy. 
Add any vegetables you desire to this delicious meat and gravy dish!
~Shelly 
 
This is another Oxtail recipe I want to try next.
 
OXTAIL STEW

INGREDIENTS
2 cups flour
Salt and pepper
6 pounds oxtail, cut into chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic sliced then mashed in salt to puree consistency
1 red onion chopped
1 cup red wine
3 cups crushed tomatoes with juice
Water, to cover
3 bay leaves
2 pounds carrots peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 pounds potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks
DIRECTIONS
In a shallow bowl, add the flour. Season well with salt and pepper. Dredge the meat in the flour, shaking off any excess. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat, add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat, and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. When all of the meat is browned, remove the meat from the pan and set aside on a plate.
To the pot, add the garlic and red onion and allow to sweat. Add the wine to the pot. Add the browned meat back into the pot and add the crushed tomatoes. Add enough water to cover the meat and add the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and simmer over low heat for 2 1/2 hours.
Add the carrots and the potatoes and simmer for another 45 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins




"These Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins are so good people won’t even notice they’re healthier, my kids had no idea! Instead of being made with plain white flour they are made with healthier white whole wheat flour, then instead of being made with granulated sugar they are made with honey and about half the amount in comparison to the typical amount of sugar that’s normally added. Then another healthier swap is the coconut oil in place of the butter. I’m not normally someone that’s into healthier baked goods but when they’re this good then I’m all in!"


 
 
Ingredients
2 cups white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting*
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup  honey
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups well mashed overripe bananas
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain Greek yogurt

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the holes of 16 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray and dust lightly with wheat flour. Shake out excess flour, set aside. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds. Set aside.

Add coconut oil to a large microwave save mixing bowl. Heat in microwave until it's just melted. Stir in honey then whisk in eggs. Whisk in bananas and buttermilk. Add wheat flour mixture and whisk just until combined (batter will be lumpy). Divide batter among prepared muffin cups filling each about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few crumbs, about 16 - 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around muffins to loosen. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store muffins in an airtight container.

*Whisk flour in container before measuring, then scoop using a measuring cup and level top using a butter knife.

Yield: 16 muffins
Recipe source: Cooking Classy



100 Ways to Show Your Love



Enjoy this very special day with your sweetheart, have a wonderful romantic dinner and listen to romantic love songs.

These wonderful ideas brought to you by your favorite neighborhood market - Harter House Supermarket!






Ladies, Just a few of these ideas will make your man feel loved. To show him how truly special he is, pick a bunch of ideas and surprise him with your loving bouquet of sweet sentiments on February 14. From 100 to one, here are lots of romantic Valentine's Day inspiration for you!
Men, These will work for you too!


Of course, my favorite is #1
1. Grab him spontaneously and kiss him like you mean it.







*******************************

100. Send your sweetie a sweet, short and sexy text or email. (Not to his work email!)

99. Leave a little note in his briefcase or laptop bag so he will find it when he gets to work.



98. When your significant other gets home, be waiting in the bedroom dressed in your favorite sexy lingerie (or nothing at all!) … you know what happens next.





97. Plan a surprise outing! Start with dinner at his favorite restaurant, then reveal tickets to a show or sports game.

96. Take a hot air balloon ride together.

95. Surprise him with that special something he has been coveting (no matter how big or small).

94. Send flowers or cookies for no reason at all.

93. Take his dog for a walk.

92. Stock his fridge with his favorite beer and his shelves with his favorite snacks. (from Harter House Supermarket)

91. Stop by your sweetie's office around lunchtime with his favorite noontime food.

90. Take a drive together -- car trips provide some of the best time for talking one-on-one.

89. Snuggle after sex -- even if you are tired.

88. Give a back massage.

87. Offer a foot rub -- without asking for one in return!

86. Fill up his gas tank.

85. If he comes home after a boy's night WAY past the time he said he would, let it go.

84. Make breakfast in bed.

83. Stay in bed all day -- pajamas optional.

82. Take a late-night, hand-in-hand stroll.

81. Sign up for a class you know he has been wanting to take together.

80. Make up silly nicknames for each other that you ONLY call each other in private!

79. Make a mousepad (or a mug or a calendar) with your picture on it for his desk.

78. Start a hobby together.






77. Do something nice for his mother, brother, sister, etc.

76. Let him pick the movie this time.

75. Make a special dinner for him.

74. When he gets home, hand him a glass of wine, sit down together and let him talk about his day.

73. Do chores or errands without being asked and without complaining.

72. Put the toilet seat down.

71. Leave a note on the bathroom mirror so he will see it first thing in the morning.

70. Send a sexy picture message to his phone.

69. Leave a note for him to meet at his favorite bar or club. When he arrives, do some fun role-play and pretend you are meeting for the first time.

68. Wash his car for him.

67. Do his laundry.

66. Recreate your first date -- then recall all the feelings you had for each other that very first night.

65. Make a creative coupon book (free massage, free night out with the guys, etc.) without an expiration date!


64. Book a couple's massage.







63. Plan a romantic getaway to a bed and breakfast.

62. Dedicate a day to the one you love -- plan a day filled with his favorite things.

61. Plan a surprise party for him.

60. Send him a nice (or naughty!) card. Even if you live together, mail it!













59. Take out the trash.

58. Buy him a calendar and fill it with important dates (our first dinner together, our three-year anniversary, etc.).

57. Have a romantic/sexy photo session done together or have sexy pictures taken of yourself and make a private album for him.



56. Make a big deal out of the holidays.







55. Scatter rose petals on the bed

54. If he has to work late, have his favorite take-out delivered to the office, and pre-pay, of course!

53. Have a talk about the future and let him know that he is a part of it.

52. Buy his favorite perfume, and simply put it in the medicine cabinet for him to discover on his own.

51. Declare a day of the week "your" day -- always spend that day together, even if you just snuggle on the couch together.

50. Take him home to meet the family.



49. Propose.







48. Go on a picnic.

47. Explore your adventurous sides together -- do something daring that neither of you have tried before, such as bungee jumping or sky diving. The experience will bring you closer.

46. Designate a place as "yours" -- your favorite restaurant or bar -- and frequent it together often.

45. Volunteer together. Work side-by-side at your local animal shelter, nursing home or as you gather donations for your local food bank.

44. Take him to an art gallery or art walk.

43. Arrange to have a house cleaner come to his place and spruce things up!

42. Introduce him to your best friends.

41. Walk him out when he leaves for work.

40. Make him a special bag lunch with a note written on a napkin inside.

39. Get him a subscription to his favorite magazine.

38. If he has a business trip, offer to drive to the airport, so he doesn't have to take a cab.

37. Leave a sweet note on a post-it on his car windshield or steering wheel.



36. Flirt with him unabashedly.






35. If he has been working out extra hard or dieting, compliment him on his weight loss or how big his muscles are getting.

34. Rent some silly comedies and spend the night laughing together.

33. Take a shower together.

32. Offer to shave his face or ask him to shave your legs.

31. Guys, offer to paint your ladies toes.



30. Go stargazing. Bring a bottle of champagne.








29. Try an activity that he loves, such as golf, or that she loves, like shopping! (No complaining!)

28. Get up early on the weekend and do some of the chores he has on his list.

27. Laugh at his jokes.

26. Compliment her on her new hairstyle, shoes, outfit, etc.

25. Frame a picture of the two of you during a special trip.

24. Ask his mother for the recipe to his favorite dish that she made him growing up.

23. Ask her father for her hand and his blessing.

22. Buy a little teddy bear to sleep with when you are not there.

21. Get her oil changed and her brakes checked.

20. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride. (Bonus points if this is at Christmastime or Valentine's Day.)

19. Buy her favorite chocolates and sneak some into her purse.

18. Buy him a new tie.

17. Iron his shirts.



16. Feed each other dinner. Or better yet, dessert.






15. Sneak a sexy note into the pocket of his slacks or into her purse.

14. Kiss him when he leaves in the morning and when he gets home at night.

13. Brag about him to his friends for something really macho that he does.

12. Tell her mother how smart you think she is.

11. Go on a bike ride -- extra credit for using a tandem bike.

10. Baby him when he is sick.

9. Leave lipstick kisses on the bathroom mirror.

8. Go to the park together (even if you don't have kids). Go down the slide, play on the teeter-totter and go on the swings.

7. Let him teach you a new skill.

6. Buy a little gift and surprise him at the end of a long week.

5. Go hiking together.

4. Take a trip to the beach.


3. Watch the sun set or rise together.




2. Share the morning paper and some mimosas over the weekend.

1. Grab him spontaneously and kiss him like you mean it.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Chipotle-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Black Bean Salsa

The benefits of pork tenderloin go on and on: It's low in fat and calories, easy to prepare, quick to cook, affordable, and absorbs seasoning and other flavors easily.

























Here, pork tenderloin is marinated in a Southwestern chipotle blend, seared in a grill pan, and served with a fiber-rich bean and tomato salsa.

Ingredients

• 1 can(s) chipotle chile, in adobo sauce, (for pork)
• 3 clove(s) garlic
• 1/2 cup(s) coarsely chopped white onion, (for pork)
• 2 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice, (for pork)
• 1 teaspoon(s) sherry vinegar
• 1 teaspoon(s) dried Mexican oregano OR Italian Seasoning
• 1 pound(s) pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
• 1 can(s) (19 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 cup(s) grape tomatoes, quartered
• 1/4 cup(s) finely chopped white onion, (for salsa)
• 1/4 cup(s) finely chopped fresh cilantro
• 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice, (for salsa)
• 2 teaspoon(s) minced canned chipotle chile, in adobo sauce, (for salsa)
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
________________________________________

Directions
1. Make the pork marinade: Process chile, garlic, onion, lime juice, vinegar, and oregano in a blender until smooth. Rub marinade all over the pork. Transfer pork to a dish, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill pork until seared on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pan to the oven; cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 145 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Let pork stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

3. Meanwhile, Make the Salsa: Stir together the black beans, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, chile, and cumin in a small bowl. Serve with the pork. Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of meat.

You will find everything you need at Harter House and Harter House World Flavors.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pesto





beef-tenderloin-crostini-with-whipped-goat-cheese-and-pesto

This is one of my favorite appetizers to serve my guests.


Ingredients
½ baguette, cut into ¼-inch slices (you should have about 25 slices)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, divided
2 8-ounce pieces beef tenderloin
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup pesto of your choice
For the Whipped Goat Cheese:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt


Instructions
  1. Start with the crostini. Arrange the baguette slices on a large baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides of the bread with olive oil (you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of oil for this) and sprinkle with a little salt. Place bread under the broiler for 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly brown.
  2. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides generously with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the steaks and cook for about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. When you turn the steaks (after the first 4 minutes), smash 4 garlic cloves in their skins and add them to the skillet. Periodically use a spoon to baste the steaks with the oil/juices in the pan. Remove the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing them against the grain.
  4. While the steaks are resting, make the whipped goat cheese.  Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy and smooth.
  5. Assemble the crostini! Spread each toasted baguette slice with whipped goat cheese. Top with a slice of steak and a small dollop of pesto. Serve immediately.


Preparing your Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pesto:
Start with the crostini. Arrange the baguette slices on a large baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides of the bread with olive oil (you’ll need about 2 tablespoons of oil for this) and sprinkle with a little salt.

beef-tenderloin-crostini-with-whipped-goat-cheese-and-pesto-step-1

Place bread under the broiler for 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly brown. Please pay attention while you do this, peeps, it is scarily easy to burn crostini.


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the steaks and cook for about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. When you turn the steaks (after the first 4 minutes), smash 4 garlic cloves in their skins and add them to the skillet. Periodically use a spoon to baste the steaks with the oil/juices in the pan.


beef-tenderloin-crostini-with-whipped-goat-cheese-and-pesto-step-5

Remove the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing them against the grain. (Please don’t skip the resting step!!! You need to let all the beef’s glorious juices redistribute.)

beef-tenderloin-crostini-with-whipped-goat-cheese-and-pesto-step-8

While the steaks are resting, get going on the whipped goat cheese.  Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy and smooth.

beef-tenderloin-crostini-with-whipped-goat-cheese-and-pesto-step-7

To assemble your crostini: Spread each toasted baguette slice with whipped goat cheese. Top with a slice of steak and a small dollop of pesto. 

oscar-party-appetizer-beef-tenderloin-crostini-with-whipped-goat-cheese-and-pesto-7

My guests are going to enjoy this appetizer.

This recipe was revised just a bit from this website.