Archive | November, 2013

Potato Latkes

17 Nov

My mom has been making these potato pancakes for as long as I can remember. And before this recipe, she probably made another version of potato pancakes. Eating potato pancakes (aka potato latkes) is part of our eastern european heritage (we’re Lithuanian).

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Most of the time, I am disappointed with potato latkes when I order them out. So I typically don’t eat them anywhere other than my family’s house. They are usually made with too much “filling” so that its consistency is more cake than potato. They are too thick and greasy and sit like a bomb in your stomach. I don’t know what they add to it to weigh them down, but it’s just not cool. I find myself asking “where’s the potato”?

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This recipe is INSANE though – not only insanely simple, but insanely delicious. It was posted in the New York Times EONS ago and it comes from Simon and Garfunkel. Here is a pic of it!

simon and garfunkel

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When you use a food processor to grate your onions and potatoes, it goes SO much easier and quicker! Also, if you find the mixture to be too wet, drain some of the liquid out of the bowl.

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You want to make sure you use a non-stick frying pan as well – something that will encourage the pancakes to lift up easily. I have made the mistake of using a bad pan and it was a disaster!

potatoes

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Our family serves these with sour cream. Some people like to eat them with applesauce or ketchup. Whatever you prefer, go for it!

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 The next time you have Jewish friends over, make this for them – they will beg you for the recipe!

Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tblsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil

Directions:

Grate potatoes into the milk. Grate the onion into the mixture. Add flour and salt, mix well.

Spoon mixture one tablespoon at a time into hot oil in a frying pan. You can make the pancakes as little or as large as you like. Make sure that the pancake is flat and not too lumpy or thick.

Brown on one side, then turn and brown on the other. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve hot with a side of applesauce or sour cream.

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Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

10 Nov

I found this recipe 2 years ago in Bon Appetit magazine and instantly knew it would be a hit.

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It is the perfect cold-weather food for a nice night staying indoors with a fire going and something good on the tv! Or if you are having a casual dinner with a couple friends…..It’s so darn good!!

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This dish couldn’t be simpler to throw together. You brown the meat, cook the veggies, pour in the liquids and the meat, and then toss in the herbs.

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Here is a before shot – this is right before the dish braises in the oven for 2 hours:

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And now here is a shot once the dish comes out of the oven. I cant stand how good this is:

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For some reason, we didn’t serve with mashed potatoes. We were feeling more like potato pancakes instead.

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The best thing about this recipe is that once you do a few mins of prep-work upfront, you just have to let the dutch oven do its magic in the oven for a couple hours. I really urge you to give this a try – it’s an unfancy gourmet dinner that will please everyone!

Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2” pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tblsp vegetable oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 tblsp flour
  • 1 tblsp tomato paste
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine (preferably a cab)
  • 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs oregano
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 4 cups low-salt beef stock

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tblsp drippings from the pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.

Add flour and tomato paste and cook stirring constantly until well combined and deep red (2-3 minutes). Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half – about 25 minutes.

Add all herbs to the pot along with garlic. Stir in the stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until short ribs are tender – about 2 – 2.5 hours.

Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned on top.

SHARKNADO

3 Nov

For whatever reason, I really enjoy the Halloween pumpkin carving contest at work. I have won the past two years I’ve been there (Check out the pics from previous years). I am not even a creative type of person – I cant paint or draw anything more than a stick-figure.

This year I felt a lot of pressure to come up with an idea that would really set me apart. I saw a couple “cute” ideas on Pinterest, but I sat on it for a while because I knew that once I found the right kernel of an idea, I would be able to roll with it.

And on a Monday morning, there it was…..my mom called me at work saying that she had just seen the Today Show or Good Morning America (it’s all the same thing) and saw a cute idea: A pumpkin carved as a shark with a foot coming out of its mouth. There was my kernel.

I mentally prepared all week to carve a shark pumpkin with a bloody foot coming out of the shark’s mouth. But on Friday as I was driving home from work with a couple sketches, my idea blew up:  SHARKNADO.

I couldn’t find ANYONE ELSE online who had carved a sharknado pumpkin. And the pumpkins that were carved like sharks were either too intricate, the wrong angle, or just not good…..So I went rogue. I found a video online for someone who made a sharknado costume – and used that as my guide (who knew the sharknado costume was popular this year??).

Here it is in all its glory – SHARKNADO!!!!!!! I have closeups of the top and the bottom of the shark as well so you can see the details. I still cant believe I made this…..creating something felt pretty darn good 🙂

Oh, and I WON FIRST PLACE!!!!! 🙂 🙂

Sharknado

bottom of sharknado

Top of sharknado

Now the pressure is on for 2014……..oh boy! Can I win one more time?

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