Wednesday, December 30, 2009

food for the gods

First time for me to bake these cookies. They were easy to make.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dates, pitted and chopped (you could use raisins instead)

1 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp.vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (other nuts will do)

1/2 cup brandy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

Grease and line a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Combine first 4 ingredients. Take 1/2 cup of flour mixture and dredge the dates.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after every addition. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Add dates and walnuts and stir until completely combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 300 degrees F (200 degrees C) and bake for 45-50 minutes or until done.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Brush with brandy and cut into bars. Wrap individually with foil or colored cellophane wrap.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

braised beef short ribs

This past Thanksgiving we ate a late lunch with Maman and some friends at Auberge du Soleil in Napa . It was a four course to-do. Most of the party ordered the braised beef short ribs for their main. I opted for the fish which was good but nothing to rave about. My friend gave me a bite of the shortrib and it was the most delicious shortrib I've tasted. On our way home, as usual, we discussed how fabulous the entire restaurant experience was. The one point we kept coming back to was how fantastibulous the short ribs were.

Two weekends later, we replicated it to perfection and served it over sauteed broccolini. The bitterness of the broccolini was a good match for the rich braised beef.

2 lbs beef short ribs, trim the fat
2 cups red wine (we used a Cote de Rhone)
2 cups beef stock
1 onion, chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
2 bay leaves
bunch of parsley
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp tomato paste

Make sure that the ribs are completely trimmed of the fat. Dredge in flour, shaking excess. Heat olive oil on high heat until close to smoking. Brown the beef on all sides. Remove and set aside. Drain oil from the pot and add more olive oil. Saute the onions and carrots on medium heat, scraping the pan to get the 'goodness'. Add the red wine, short ribs, bay leaf, parsley stalks and enough beef stock to cover. Add a good pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer for 2 - 3 hours. Turn the ribs occassionally. Short ribs should be fork tender with the bone completely separated.

Remove the ribs to a warm plate. Strain the liquid into a hot saucepan. Discard the vegetables. Add the tomato paste to the sauce and reduce to half. For extra richness, you may use some veal demi-glace at this point. Adjust the seasoning and add the short ribs to warm through.

Serve hot with some sauteed or steamed leafy vegetables.

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