Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cincinnati Chili Dog

Cincinnati Chili Dog
serves 4
Cincinnati-style chili is an enduring American classic that I first tasted in the Cincinnati airport while on a business trip and Coney dogs (New York style chili dogs) are something I grew up eating so it just seemed naturally to combine the two.. 

                                                                Prep time:                            10 minutes
                                                                Polish sausage cook time:     7 minutes
                                                                Sauce cook time:                 30 minutes
                                                                Total time:                           47 minutes


Cincinnati chili (makes about 3 cups):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons granular garlic
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 dried bay leaf
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper,  to taste
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder


4 Polish sausages
4 hot dog buns
½ cup finely grated cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped onion


brown the beef:

In a 12 inch sauté pan over medium high heat, bring oil to the ripple stage.  Add the ground beef and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown.

build the sauce:

Add the granulated garlic, dehydrated onion, chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, oregano, nutmeg, celery seed, bay leaf, salt and pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Tilt skillet, spoon out any accumulated fat and discard. Add the tomato sauce, cocoa powder, and water and then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, until somewhat thick, about 25 minutes.   Taste and correct seasoning.

grill the Polish dogs:

Place the dogs on the grill or griddle (or a large frying pan) and cook the sausages, turning them occasionally, until they are cooked through and the skin is slightly crisp.


Place one sausage on each of the split, open hot dog buns and spoon a generous portion of the chili sauce over each sausage and top each with some chopped onion and cheddar cheese.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
(serve 8)
                                                                         prep time:    10 minutes
                                                                         cook time:    6 hours
                                                                         total time:     6 hours 10 minutes


corned beef:

1 3 to 4 pound corned beef with seasoning packet
1 medium head of cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 wedges
2 to 3 large potatoes cut into wedges
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
8 ounces baby carrots
½ cup butter, cut into small cubes


commercial horseradish sauce
prepared horseradish (to add to the usually bland commercial sauce to spice it up)


the corned beef:

1.  Place the corned beef, fat side down, in the bowl of you slow cooker.
2.  Remove the seasoning from the seasoning packet and place them in your mortar and, using the pestle, slightly crush them.  Don’t completely grind them up you just want them crushed to release their essential oils.
3.  Sprinkle the crushed seasoning on the corned beef in the bowl.  Cover the beef and seasoning with cold water, place the cover on the crock pot and turn it to high.
4.  Cook the corned beef on high for the first hour, then continue cooking for 10-12 hours on low or 5-6 hours on high.

the vegetables:

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Arrange the cabbage wedges on the bottom of a baking dish and arrange the other vegetables over the wedges.  Distribute the butter cubes over the vegetables and  sprinkle with Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bake until the potato wedges and carrots are tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.


Arrange the cooked vegetables on a service platter.  Shred or slice the corn beef and arrange it on the platter.  Serve accompanied by the horseradish sauce and the prepared horseradish for those that like the sauce spicier.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Guinness Braised Short Ribs with Noodles
Serves 8
                                                                               prep time:  20 minutes
                                                                               cook time:  5 to 7 hours
                                                                               total time:   5 to 7 hours 20 minutes


4 pounds bon-in short ribs
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly grated black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cups beef broth
1 ½ cup (1 bottle) Guinness Extra Stout
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
16 ounces baby carrots
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
4 tablespoons corn starch

1 pound egg noodles, prepared according to package instructions


brown the ribs:

1.  Blot the ribs dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle the ribs liberally with salt and black pepper on both sides.

2.  Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary, about 8 to 10 minutes.  When thoroughly browned remove the ribs to you waiting slow cooker.

prepare the braising liquid:

Add the chopped onions and sauté for about 2 minutes stirring often.   Add the broth, 1 cup of the beer, the sugar and the thyme to the onions in the skillet and bring to a boil.  When the liquid comes to a boil pour it and the onions over the beef ribs in the slow cooker, cover and turn the slow cooker on to high.  Cook on High for 5 hours or on Low for 7 hours.

bring it all together:

1.  In a 1 cup measuring cup whisk together the remaining ½ cup of beer, ¼ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper and the tomato paste, brown mustard and corn starch.

2.  After the ribs have cooked for 3 ½ hours (for high) or 5 ½ hours (for low) add the baby carrots to the slow cooker, recover and continue cooking for the remaining 1 ½ hours.

finish the braise:

After the appropriate cook time is completed stir in the thickening mixture in the measuring to the slow cooker, replace the cover and cook 15 minutes more or until the sauce is thickened.  If the sauce does not thicken make a slurry of 1 tablespoon corn starch and 1 tablespoon cold water and stir it  into the sauce and cook another 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.


Serve over buttered egg noodles.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fettuccine Gorgonzola

Fettuccine Gorgonzola 
serves 4
                                                                                 Prep time: 10 minutes
                                                                                 Pasta cook time:  10 minutes
                                                                                 Sauce cook time: 15 minutes
                                                                                 Total time: 35 minutes


1 pound Fettuccine Noodles
Alfredo Sauce:
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 to 1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano Cheese
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh Italian flat-leafed parsley, for garnish

4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


cook the pasta:

Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente.

Alfredo Sauce:

1.  Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan heat heavy cream over medium to medium-low heat, do not allow the cream to boil or it will break.  Add the butter and whisk gently to melt the butter and combine it with the cream.

2.  Add the peas (if used) and stir to distribute.

3.  Sprinkle in the sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate, if the sauce doesn't begin to thicken add a little more cheese. Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg to taste.

bring it all together:

1.  When the pasta reaches the al dente stage, reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and thoroughly drain the pasta and add it to the sauté pan containing the Alfredo sauce.  Reduce the heat to low and  gently toss the noodles to coat with the sauce.  

2.  Add the Gorgonzola and gentle stir/toss it into the tossed pasta, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water (a tablespoon at a time) if the sauce is too "tight" (thick) for your tastes to "loosen” it up (make it more liquid).  Be careful not to overdo the loosening as this sauce is supposed to be rich and creamy.  

3.  Finally turn the heat off and add the sliced/torn Prosciutto (if used) and gently toss to distribute, you are not trying to cook the Prosciutto.  


Transfer the coated pasta to a warm serving bowl and top with more grated cheese and garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

*note: 1/4 cup of roasted red peppers, 1/3 pound of Prosciutto di Parma sliced into thin strips, or 1/4 cup of petite green peas (or a combination) can be tossed with the sauced pasta to create an interesting variation on the  theme. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jumbo Stuffed Shells for Two

Jumbo Stuffed Shells for Two
Serves 2
Stuffed shells  is one of those pricey Italian Restaurant standbys that are easily prepared at home. This is an interpretation that my family particularly enjoy, it takes a little time due if you  use of homemade tomato sauce but the result is worth it, if you’re in a hurry any good commercial spaghetti sauce will do.   
                                                                             Prep time:  15 minutes
                                                                             Pasta cook time:  10 minutes
                                                                             Bake time: 29 minutes
                                                                             Total time: 54  minutes


16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded through the course side of a hand grater, divided use
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided use
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

14 large shell pasta
1 cup Arrabbiata sauce (see recipe) or commercial spaghetti sauce, plus additional for service at the table


1.  Preheat oven to 400º F.

2.  Prepare the jumbo shells following package directions for al dente. 

3.  In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, beaten egg, Parmesan, Mozzarella, parsley, nutmeg and salt and pepper until thoroughly blended.

4.  Coat the bottom of each individual baking dish with 3 tablespoons of sauce.  Drain the shells and when they are cool enough to handle fill, one at a time, each of the shells with one heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and place the stuffed shell into the sauced baking dish and repeat until each dish hold 7 jumbo shells.

5.  When both baking dishes contain 7 stuffed jumbo shells place ½ cup of the tomato sauce over the stuffed shells then sprinkle ½ of the remaining Parmesan cheese over that followed by ½ the remaining mozzarella. 

6.  Place the baking dishes in the preheated oven and bake for about 29 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.  Remove dishes from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving accompanied by additional sauce.

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