Thursday, March 5, 2015

Another Short Rib Recipe

We are having Short Ribs for dinner tonight.  We love short ribs around here and I have shared a crock pot recipe with you in the past.  Today's recipe is very similar as will be every recipe that you find for this cut of meat.  The veggies may change, the vessel may change, the liquid may change but every recipe (worth it's salt) will have you season and brown your ribs, cook up your vegetables, deglaze your pan with liquid, nestle the browned ribs into the liquid and vegetables and cook low and slow for a fall off the bone, tender, flavorful meal that you will want to make again and again.

Today's version of this recipe came from Things Cooks Love by Sur la Table.  I received this as a gift from my brother Larry and his wife, Mary and I do love it.  It is broken up into recipes cooking vessels, implements and tools that cooks have in their kitchen.  This recipe came from the Dutch Oven section.  I was lucky enough to get a Le Creuset Dutch Oven from Frank many years ago for Christmas.  Let me just say that I LOVE that pot.  It is heavy and enamled cast iron.  It has been well used and it is now very discolored and has a few chips in the enamel but it still cooks a beautiful braise.  Someone told Frank that we can send it back since it chipped and it will be replaced but I have not checked into that yet.

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Now I need to confess, that when I was doing my Weekly Menu I saw this recipe for Oven Braised Short Ribs with Fennel and never bothered to read through the recipe since, as stated earlier, they are all basically the same.  So I marked it, set it aside and picked up fennel when I was at the grocers.  Today when I opened the recipe it did not call for fennel at all but only fennel seed LOL.  I had some fennel seed but I would much rather have the fresh fennel which cooks up into a lovely sweet bite of deliciousness, so I did as I always do and adapted the recipe to suit me.

Sometimes I serve my shortribs with mashed potatoes but today I served them over egg noodles.  I sauteed up some broccoli in a little butter with pine nuts and dinner was served.  YUM!!

Oven Braised Short Ribs with Fennel
adapted from Things Cooks Love- Sur la Table

3-4 lbs meaty short ribs
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. coconut oil
1 small oven, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, scraped and sliced
1 head fennel, fronds removed, cored and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. red wine
2 bay leaves
1 qt tomatoes with their juices

Pat dry and season the ribs with salt and pepper on each side.  Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the coconut oil.  When hot add the ribs, being careful not to crowd them, or they won't brown properly.  Brown them, in batches if need be on both sides.  Remove from pot and set aside on a plate.  

Add the onion, celery, carrots and fennel to the pot and cook over med low heat, stirring, for about 8 minutes until golden and starting to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for a few moments until fragrant. Add the wine and stir, scraping up any brown bits stuck to that pan.  Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the bay leaf and the tomatoes with their juices.  Return the ribs to the pan and submerge into the liquid.  Cover and place in a preheated 325* oven for 2-3 hrs, until the meat is pulling away from the bones.

Remove the ribs to a platter, discard any loose bones.  Pour the remaining contents of the Dutch oven through a strainer set over a large bowl.  Discard the bay leaves and then spoon the strained vegetables over the ribs. Defat the juices and pour over the ribs, you can make gravy from the juices if you prefer but today I left them brothy to be served over the noodles.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter of the World...Review

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Last night I finished Winter of the World by Ken Follet.  It is the second in a trilogy, the first being Fall of the Giants.  You can read my review of that book here.  Fall of the Giants ended as World War I ended and left you with several families from different parts of the world picking up the pieces of their lives. 

Winter of the World begins just as we are on the brink of the 2nd World War.  The same families are followed but now it is their children who are fighting the battles, both in war and in their personal lives.  I enjoyed this book even more than the first.  These characters seemed a little bit more well rounded and it showed how much gray there is in the world and that we don't always make the right decisions but sometimes we make the decisions that are right for us at the moment.

I am looking forward to the third book and have already purchased it but first I am reading "The Feast Nearby" by Robin Mather for our Cook the Books Club.

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A Peanutty Treat for #Foodie Extravaganza


That's right....In March we celebrate Peanuts!!  

Now the recipe I chose to share with you is delicious and peanutty but it was created for Chinese New Year which was celebrated last month.  You can see our menu here.  See those Chinese New Year Cookies at the bottom of the menu?  They are delicious. They are easy, peasy.  They are full of peanutty goodness.  So just change the name to Crunchy Peanut Surprise Cookies and you are all set for National Peanut Month.  You're Welcome. And then when you are done looking at copying my recipe you can join the party at take a look at the other 9 wonderful peanutty recipes shared this month.  You are welcome again.

When I was planning my dinner for Chinese New Year I tried to incorporate as many of my club requirements as I could.  Two of my appetizers, Roasted Red Pepper Pinwheels and Clams with Black Beans, were also used for Sunday Supper posts.  The Ginger Venison Stir Fry was used to showcase one of my cookbooks in the challenge I have given myself this year and this post for Foodie Extravaganza rounded it all up.

I did a google search for "peanut recipes celebrating Chinese New Year" and this recipe popped up on  I adapted it slightly, using chocolate chips instead of peanut butter chips because that was what I had on hand.  I also have a little confession to make....I did not really make these cookies. My little girlfriend and adopted grand-daughter, Raechal, who is 10 years old, was here and she made them while I worked on other aspects of the dinner.  Great job Rae!!!!

Rae not only made the cookies for me but she followed the directions and needed absolutely no assistance from me.  Then she taste tested them, took a couple for her mom and brother and piled the rest onto a serving platter for the celebration.

Crunchy Peanut Surprise Cookies (aka Chinese New Year Cookies)
slightly adapted from

1 (12 oz) pkg Butterscotch Chips
1 (12 oz) pkg Chocolate Chips
6 oz. pkg Chow Mein Noodles
2 c. peanuts

Place both bags of chips in a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir.  Microwave on high in 30 second increments stirring after each until completely melted.  Stir in Chow Mein Noodles and Peanuts.  Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper and allow to harden.

Welcome to the March Foodie Extravaganza!   

This month the ingredient is Peanuts!  We have a great variety of yummy recipes from main dishes to desserts to share with you.  If you would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to the Facebook page to join.  We would love to have you!
  Here are 11 delicious Peanut Recipes!
Peanut and Candy Popcorn Ball from We Like to Learn as We Go
Kung Pao Chicken from Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Peanut Almond Polvoron from The Joyful Foodie
Cold Spicy Peanut Noodles from Culinary Adventure with Camilla
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scones from Baking in Pyjamas
Reese's Cheesecake Brownies from Making Miracles
Peanut Crunch Pull Apart Bread from Mrs. Penguin 
 Spicy Georgia Sugared Peanuts from Food Lust People Love
Chocolate Caramel Peanut Clusters from The Freshman Cook 
 A Peanutty Treat from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Whoopie Pies with Peanut Filling from Passion Kneaded

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

City Chicken for the 2015 Healthy Solutions Seasoning Blend Challenge

There is a big storm going on here today.  We are supposed to get 3-4" of snow (which has been coming down for the past few hours) and then, lucky us, it is turning to freezing rain until 7 pm this evening.  So instead of meeting with Frank's family for dinner tonight it has been rescheduled for tomorrow evening.

That means that Thursday's dinner of City Chicken is going on the table tonight.  I am very anxious to share this recipe with you.  As some of you may recall I have shared City Chicken with you before using this recipe.  You may also recall that I was accepted in the 2015 Healthy Solutions Spice Blend Challenge that I told you about here when I made Spareribs and Cabbage.  That dish turned out delicious, but, as is often the case with crockpot meals, it was not very pretty.  Then, the other day when Frank asked if I would put City Chicken on the menu, I knew that it was going to be the perfect foil for this delicious spice blend.

For those of you who may have missed my introductory post for this great product you can see that this rub is made specifically for Pork and Poultry.  So I thought it would be perfect for City Chicken....get it???  Fake chicken legs made from pork?  Forget it, I guess you have to be here.

But here is my favorite part of this spice blend. See those ingredients?  There is nothing there that I cannot pronounce or that I have to wonder what in the world it might be.  That makes me very happy.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am in a contest sponsored by this company.  I have been charged with using this spice in an original recipe.  I can't really claim that city chicken is original, seeing as it has been around forever, but I can claim that I have never seen a recipe using the spice ingredients included in this package of Healthy Solutions Spice Blend.  I can also claim and guarantee that had I not been happy with the product, I would have foregone this contest rather than post something dishonest on my blog.  All opinions contained in my blog are 100% mine and 100% truthful.

I knew the minute that I started browning my skewers that this was going to be delicious.  The aroma was so wonderful that Tingting came in to see "what smelled so amazing".  

My original recipe that I shared with you is an adaptation of the recipe Mom Klik uses.  I adapted it to use seasoned bread crumbs and did my braise using chicken broth.  For this recipe I seasoned panko bread crumbs with the Healthy Solutions Spice blend.  Let me just say.....YUM!!!!  I don't think I will be using the original recipe any longer.  This is going to be my new go to recipe when making City Chicken and my family couldn't be happier.

Combine the Panko and the Seasoning Mix in a Shallow Bowl.

Create a Breading Station.
The first bowl contains flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
The second bowl contains 2 eggs, beaten.
The last bowl contains the seasoned bread crumb.

Bread the skewers by first rolling them in the flour, then roll them in the egg and finally in the bread crumbs.

Brown the skewers in coconut oil over med high heat until golden and crisp on all sides.
Deglaze the pan with chicken broth and return the skewers to the pan.
Cover and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

Remove from pan and place on a serving platter.
Drizzle with pan gravy if desired.

A Delicious Healthy Solution for tonight's dinner.

Healthy Solutions City Chicken

2 lbs. Pork Stew 
4.5" long wooden skewers
1/2 c. flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. panko bread crumbs
2 t. Healthy Solutions Pork and Poultry Rub
2 T. coconut oil
1 c. chicken broth

Place 4-5 pieces of pork on each skewer.  Create a breading station by placing the seasoned flour in a shallow bowl and the eggs in a second shallow bowl. Combine the panko and Healthy Solutions seasoning in a third shallow bowl. Roll each skewer in the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs.  Brown in batches in the coconut oil over med high heat in an oven safe skillet, removing from pan when brown and crispy on all sides.  Deglaze the pan with 1 c. chicken broth.  Return the skewers to the pan, cover and bake in a preheated oven at 350* for 30-40 minutes (you cannot overcook them but if you let them cook longer you will need to add additional broth).  Remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  Print Recipe

My Buddy Boy

It's a sad day in the Klik household today.  Our Buddy Boy who we have had for the last 14 years had to be put down.  He was the worst puppy in the world.  I promised myself that I would keep him for one year no matter what and I was so glad that I did because at one year of age we got him a puppy, our Bessie Girl who had to be put down a couple of years ago, and Buddy trasformed into the best dog in the world.

He and Pops were best of friends and now they are back together again.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Meatless Monday Breakfast for Dinner

Today is Meatless Monday, the day each week that I try to feed my family of carnivores something other than beef, pork, chicken or fish.  Every Monday they roll their eyes at my offering, eat it grudgingly and then sheepishly admit that it was better than they expected.  I've gotta say....this can hurt a girl's feelings when all she is trying to do is include a little bit healthier fare into their lives.

But tonight it was different.  Tonight there were no sighs...there were no eye rolls.  There was an "Oh, this kind of reminds me of a dish from home" from Ting and a "very good, dear" from Frank.  It made my heart sing.  Perhaps I should do breakfast for dinner more often on Meatless Mondays.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you are aware that we raise laying hens (and other animals as well).   It is coooooold here so our layers are not laying as well as they do when the weather is nice but they are still giving me 2 or 3 eggs each day so we are not lacking.  Normally, we have more eggs than we know what to do with so my sister in love, Mary, sent me this cookbook that she found in California.

My meal for today was taken from this book.  I have made many frittatas and they always turn out well but I had all the ingredients on hand for this recipe and so decided to give it a go, with adaptations, of course.

The recipe called for fresh basil and Mozzarella.  I used Gourmet Garden Basil and packaged, shredded Mozzarella.  The recipe also called for 10 eggs but I only had 8 although one was a double yoker so I guess I had 8 1/2.   I also sprinkled the top with Parmesan cheese before baking.  It was delcious.  Light and fluffy and chock full of goodies.

Combine the tomatoes, Mozzarella and basil in a bowl.
Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Whisk together the eggs and cream with a little salt and pepper.

Start it off on the stovetop over med low heat.
When the edges start to set, place it in the oven to finish cooking,

I had a beer bread mix in my pantry that I had bought at a fundraiser from Tastefully Simple.
I threw that together earlier in the day.
The mix, some beer and some melted butter.
I don't normally use boxed bread mixes but this was delicious.

While the Frittata baked,  I grabbed what fruit I had and made a quick salad.

Dinner is served.

Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Frittata
adapted from Eggs by Jodi Liano

1 bunch fresh basil, chopped or 1 T. Gourmet Garden Basil.
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
8 eggs
1 T. heavy cream
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Mix together basil, cheese and tomatoes in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper.  Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the eggs and cream, season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil over med low heat in an oven safe 10" round skillet.  Add the egg mixture and stir gently, without scrambling, until eggs begin to set.  Add the tomatoe mixture and gently combine with the eggs.  Let cook over med low heat until the edges begin to set.  Place in a preheated 350* oven and bake until the eggs are set and firm in the middle, about 5 minutes.  Cut into wedges and serve.  Print Recipe

A Couple of Recipes from our After Dive Party

Yesterday we hosted our After Dive Party from our trip to Statia.    I had shared my menu for the party with you here.  As with all menus there were some changes.

The fish was lovely.
Not only was the presentation colorful but the fish was tender and delicate.
One of my guests gave me a huge compliment by saying it was better than any of the fish dishes we enjoyed while on the Island and we had some GREAT fish dishes while there.

I couldn't find Grouper so I used MahiMahi.  I was feeding 20 ppl so instead of wrapping the ingredients in foil, I put them all in a covered roaster.  It was delicious!  The recipe was taken from the Statia Cookbook that I purchased when we were there.  I am giving you the version for 4 servings but don't hesitate to make it for a crowd.....easy peasy.

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MahiMahi with Peppers and Onions
adapted from Grouper in Papillote from The Statia Cookbook.

4 Mahi Mahi Fillets
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. olive oil
salt, pepper and thyme to taste

Place MahiMahi fillets on a large piece of aluminum foil (or in a baking pan).  Sprinkle with salt pepper and thyme.  Scatter the peppers and onions on top of the fish.  Pour the olive oil and white wine over all and seal the foil or cover the baking pan with foil.  Bake in a hot oven (450*) or place foil packets over a hot grill for 15-20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Print Recipe

Image result for Kitchen Fare International Menus Cookbook

The second recipe I would like to share with you is one I often serve at parties when I want to impart an "Island" feel.  I found this Pineapple Chicken recipe in a cookbook called International Menus.  I always serve it with Rice Mingle Salad which is from the same cookbook.  This chicken is a great meal to serve to a crowd.  It can be made ahead of time and reheated or served at room temperature.

I handed Frank the platter to place on the buffet table and asked him to please take a photo as well.
I guess he was distracted and didn't think to remove the tongs LOL.
I tripled this recipe and made 30 pieces of chicken.
I have printed it here as presented in the cookbook.
I used panko bread crumbs and I omitted the MSG that was included in the original recipe.

Pineapple Chicken
adapted from Kitchen Fare, International Menus Cookbook

2 chickens, cut into serving pieces
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 (6 oz) can frozen pineapple juice, thawed
1 1/3 c. panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. melted butter
1 1/3 c. flaked coconut

Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces.  Combine undiluted, thawed pineapple juice and egg in a shallow bowl or pie tin.  Combine bread crumbs, salt and pepper, butter and coconut in a plastic, sealable bag. Coat chicken pieces in pineapple mixture and then shake in coconut mixture.  Place on 2 shallow baking sheets that have been lined with aluminum foil.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 40 minutes. Reverse baking sheets positions in the oven and bake an additional 40 minutes.  Print Recipe