Steve’s Fave

One of Steve’s absolutely favorite recipes is Blazing Short Rib Tacos. With the cold weather, last night seemed like a good night for brazing. I made modification suggestions, especially if you are serving just two people. Enjoy the recipe and photos.

Blazin’ Short Rib Tacos with Roasted Peppers

Recipe courtesy Aaron McCargo Jr.
Cook Time: 2 hr
Serves: 4 servings (Adapted version, 2 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) boneless short ribs (1.5lbs of short rib before bone removed)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 onion, sliced (small onion)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 chipotles, minced (Chipotle in adobo, three peppers)
1/2 cup hot salsa (1/3 cup medium salsa)
1 quart beef stock (1 container 24 oz beef stock)
1 jar fire roasted whole red peppers, drained and patted dry (used own roasted red/yellow peppers)
1 jar fire roasted whole yellow peppers, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Flour tortillas
1 lime cut in wedges, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, to taste. Add short ribs to pan, 1 at a time, and sear on all sides until nicely browned. Remove them from the pan to a platter.

In the same Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add the onions. Cook until the onions are well caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and mix well. Stir in the chipotles, salsa, stock and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then add the short ribs and cover. Put the pot in the oven and braise the ribs until the meat is fork tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Remove the ribs from the oven and shred the meat with 2 forks. Slice the peppers into thin strips and put them in a bowl along with the cilantro. Warm the tortillas in the oven. Assemble the fajitas with the desired amount of short rib meat and top with peppers.

Garnish with lime wedges and serve.





Chicken Piccata

Every so often we have Steve’s sister and husband over for, what they call, “Dinners with Julia.”. On Monday they headed over for chicken piccata. For an appetizer I made roast pepper crostini. It was an idea from a Giada cookbook which is essentially just roast red peppers topped with smoked mozzarella (I used Beechers) on crostini. It was delicious and easy.


The chicken piccata was an Ina Garten recipe which was delicious as always. It was served with egg noodles and salad with a simple vinaigrette. Enjoy!


Chicken Piccata

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Cheddar Ale Soup with Homemade Croutons

Last night I made a delicious new recipe. I found it on kind of a random blog but it was delicious! The croutons were absolutely fabulous in the soup and I made extra to have in salads. Enjoy!


Cheddar Ale Soup with Homemade Croutons

6 thick-cut bacon slices, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pale ale (I actually used amber ale and it was delish)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk (I used part half and half and part 2%)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I had some Beechers Flagship that I added as well)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
croutons (optional, for garnish)

Set a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, stirring occasionally, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pot.

Add the butter and give it a minute to melt, then mix in the onion, carrots and celery. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic, cooking just until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently (you’re just trying to get the raw flour flavor cooked off). Add the beer and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a thick paste, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, milk and chicken broth until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the soup come to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to continue simmering for 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat under the pot and puree the soup with an immersion blender (or, if you don’t have one, in a traditional blender – you’ll probably want to do it in 2 batches.)

Set the pan over medium-low heat and, stirring constantly, add the cheese a little at a time. Be careful not to allow the soup to boil. Continue until you’ve added all of the cheese and the soup is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with the bacon and croutons.

Serves 6

Homemade Croutons

day old bread (I used French bread)
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to mix well.

Baked for about 15 minutes, or until the cubes are golden brown and crisp.


New Year’s Dinner

We celebrated New Year’s day this year rather than eve. With my hectic work schedule I thought I would be at work but fortunately was able to stay home and see the ball drop with my hubby and hound.

Our dinner to celebrate the new year was filet mignon, jumbo prawns, grilled asparagus and cheesy garlic bread. Steve did the honors of cooking and did everything on the BBQ. It was delicious! We also toasted the new year with a bottle of 2006 malbec from aMaurice.

What a fabulous way to celebrate the start of 2012!


Woodinville Wine Tasting

Steve and I had a groupon to taste wine at Kestrel and it was about to expire so we headed over to Woodinville. We didn’t do too much tasting but stopped in at Guardian and Kestrel while we were there. There are over a dozen wineries in this little area, many worth tasting but we were just there for a quick trip.

Guardian Cellars has fabulous wine. We were the only ones there during our tasting and the winemaker was fabulous to talk to. I definitely recommend hitting up this winery if you are in Woodinville.



Kestrel Vintners is also tasty but not nearly as delicious as Guardian. We opted for their reserve tasting so we could taste more of their reds. We weren’t overly impressed with any of the reserve wines but did purchase a couple bottles of their Lady in Red which is a fabulous everyday type of wine.