Rustic Italian Braised Beef Short Ribs with Cheesy Polenta

I know, I was just going on and on about grilled steak and not wanting to give up summer.  Then what do I do?  Mix it up with a rich, hearty comfort food that would be perfect for winter.  I can’t explain it, I just goes with what speaks to me as I’m coming up with the weekly menu, then factor in time and schedules.  The beauty of this is that the braised ribs were done in a slow cooker. Believe me, I’m shocked too.  And, I was able to do the major prep work the night before. This is an incredible meal for sitting down with your family, and it would be equally appealing for guests.  I’m already planning my next dinner party!  (PS – Cheesy Polenta to follow in another post)  Update my friends – The short ribs reheated fabulously for lunch!  Polenta, not so much.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped onion
10 garlic cloves thinly sliced (I’m sorry, as a working mom. I just don’t have time for this.  I subbed minced garlic [by Spice Island] and no one ran from the table covering their mouths)
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional, especially if you have a 6 & 7-year-old that will act as if you are trying to perform some ancient ritualistic punishment)
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes (such as Muir Glen)
4 (10 oz) boneless beef short ribs (definitely go boneless.  The meat is fall off the bone, so the bones, well, just become a problem)
Salt and pepper to taste
Slivered fresh basil, to taste

Preparation:

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add onions, garlic, tomato paste, oil, oregano, and pepper flakes.  Stir until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to slow cooker.  Stir in tomatoes.  Season short ribs with salt and pepper.  Add to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low until beef is tender, 8-9 hours.  Less time?  5-6 hours on high is just as good.

Transfer short ribs to serving dish and tent with foil.  Strain sauce into fat separator, reserving  tomatoes, and let stand 5 minutes.  Add reserved tomatoes back to empty slow cooker and break into large chunks with a wooden spoon (I used a square face potato masher and it worked just fine!). Stir in defatted sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over short ribs and sprinkle with basil.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Bordeaux
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves: 6
Active time: 10 minutes; Inactive time: 9 hours

Braised Short Ribs

*From America’s Test Kitchen – Slow Cooker Revolution

Beef Teriyaki & Vegetables

It has been so long since I’ve updated my blog. Life has been incredibly hectic. Am I the only one looking forward to summer? A little less hussle to get out the door before school starts each morning will be nice. I’ll still need to go to my office, but just taking away that stresser will be nice.

It has been HOT in Cali this week! When it’s hot I like to make quick dishes that don’t require a lot of heat. This is just that dish, and the bonus, I used my rice cooker!

Ingredients:

2 cup carrots sliced thin (I used the precut carrots in the produce section)
2 cup snow peas (just the name cools me off!)
1/2 cup terijaki sauce (your favorite bottled will do just fine)
3 tsp corn starch
6 tsp vegetable oil divided
12 oz sirloin tip steak thinly sliced against the grain into strips (you could even purchase the already sliced carne asada in the meat department.  Also, feel free to sub chicken if prefered.)
4 scallions diced, whites and greens seperate (I omitted b/c the kiddos would have crinkled their cute little noses)
Small pinch red pepper flakes (omitted for the same reason as above)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (purchase presliced in the produce section)
8 oz mixed sweet bell peppers cut into strips (red, yellow, and / or orange)

Preparation:

Either cook rice in rice cooker or according to package directions.  While rice is cooking, prep all other ingredients.

Stir cornstarch into teriyaki sauce and set aside.  In a wok or heavy bottomed pan, over very high heat, place one teaspoon of oil and let it get smoking hot.  Add beef (can divide into two portions for even browning) and brown on both sides (about 1 minute) and remove to a bowl.  If browning beef in two batches, add next teaspoon of oil, allow to get smoking hot, brown second half of meat, remove to same bowl.  Let pan get smoking hot again, add third teaspoon of oil add carrots and snowpeas.  Cook until crisp / tender, 4-5 minutes.  Add pepper flakes, mushrooms, and peppers.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly cooked but still a little crunchy. Return cooked beef.  Stir, keepin heat on high.  Stir teriyaki again and add to pan.  Remove from heat and stir a few times.  Serve immediatlely over warm rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Cabernet Franc
Grenache
Merlot
Syrah / Shiraz

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 1 hour

Beef Teriyaki and Vegetables

*Derived from Weight Watchers

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

I don’t think I have discovered a way to make shrimp that my kids WON’T eat.  Not that I’m really trying.  But sometimes I think, “There is no way they are going to go for this.”  And they do.  We even went to our favorite Chinese place earlier in the week at the request of D, for the honey walnut prawns.  I was telling the owner that I tried making them at home, and while they were very good, they weren’t OIC Bowl good.  After she walked away, Berto leaned across the table and whispered to me, “Yours were REALLY good Mommy.”  Heart melting.  Right there.  Right then.  Well, these got the same reaction from the kids, and the Hubs, too!

Ingredients:

Vegetable Oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs linguine
6 Tbs unsalted butter
5 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs minced garlic (time saver tip:  Buy jarred minced garlic, such as Spice World)
2 lbs large, peeled and deveined shrimp (I always buy them that way)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 small lemons)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced in half-rounds (left mine whole rounds, but half is better)
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional, I omitted)

Preparation:

Drizzle some vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, do not skip this step.  It helps keep your linguine from clumping together.  Add 1 tbs salt and the linguine.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, or according to package directions.

While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, in another large, heave-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Keep a close eye, the garlic will burn very quickly.  Add the shrimp, 1 tbs salt, and the pepper.  Sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slice, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Toss to combine.

Drain the linguine and add it back to the pot in batches.  In-between batches, add some of the shrimp and sauce.  Toss well, and devour!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Friulano
Picpoul Blanc
Vinho Verde

Serves 6

Total time: 40 minutes

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

*Courtesy Ina Garten