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Thursday, January 7, 2010

I pretty much kicked it in the kitchen today. I think just knowing that snow was in the forecast made me want to fill the house with cozy warm smells. To me, snow is all about what you have going on in the kitchen!

So, my first project before lunch was to make strawberry jam with these wonderful Florida strawberries that are coming into season. I'm glad I jumped on it because there's no telling what will happen to the strawberry crops after all this cold weather this weekend. I enlisted the help of my 7 year old and we ended up making 9 jars. I had hoped to make two batches but was a little short on strawberries so I decided to us the rest of the strawberries for our dessert tonight. Enter the ready made organic granola pie crust I picked up on sale at Kroger a while back. Hmmm....a pie crust + fresh strawberries=Strawberry Pie!
I looked around online and picked out this recipe from Betty Crocker:

Fresh Strawberry Pie
Obviously I skipped the crust part since I already had it on hand and I added a few tablespoons of sugar to the cream cheese to sweeten it a bit. I also used 3 tbsp. of corn starch instead of 2. Pretty easy to make and a sweet taste of Summer on this cold night. Into the refrigerator it went to get set up for tonight.

I couldn't pass up making cookies on a snowy day, so while the boys played outside I whipped up some of Pioneer Woman's Oatmeal Crispies with white chocolate chips and cranberries. And just so you know, she uses shortening in hers, I use butter.

While those were baking, I got a start on our dinner, Asian style braised short ribs. I've been planning on making these for awhile now and got the meat from the Butcher's Market yesterday. I had never cooked short ribs before and I don't recall ever braising anything but after reading up on it in CL, I decided to give it a try. It was pretty easy to assemble, but you do have to plan ahead since it simmers on the stove for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. And I think it's important to have a good dutch oven, like a Le Cruset or a heavy cast iron one. I'm not sure if it would work as well in a regular stainless steel pot. But if that's what you have definitely try it. I love recipes that I can make in the afternoon and just let them do their thing so I can relax a little before dinnertime. Or go for a hike in the snowy woods. I served these up with buttered white rice and sauteed green beans seasoned with orange infused olive oil and seasoned salt. Let me say...the guys LOVED this dish! Wyatt loves short ribs! Who knew? Be sure to serve them up with lots of the juices spooned over. Sooooo good!

Here's my recipe, adapted from Cooking Light Jan/Feb. 2008:

Asian Style Braised Short Ribs:

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 8 equal pieces
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry sherry
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (8-ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1 (4-inch) cinnamon stick
1 (8-ounce) can diced water chestnuts, drained
4 cups hot cooked short-grain rice

Preparation
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef to pan; cook 3 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining beef.

Add ginger, rind, and garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in sherry, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add mushrooms; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add beef, broth, and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon); bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until beef is very tender. Stir in water chestnuts; cook for 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon. Serve over rice.

6 comments:

Judith McLoughlin said...

Oh Jennifer, that all sounds amazing! What cozy winter comfort in this cold night! Love the photos too!

Joy said...

I have made the same Asian short ribs myself and they're really good. I think I'm going to borrow this idea and cook all day w/ Abby since her birthday plans had to be cancelled. A day in the kitchen sounds pretty fun!

Jen said...

The short ribs are a recipe I cooked as soon as I saw it in Cooking Light and it's become a family fave. I had never made short ribs either, but was pretty impressed with these.

I decided after two days of cooking and washing socks and mittens I am sick of the snow. Oh, how I long for a picnic and flip-flops!

Scott and Sara said...

All sounds so great! Interested in trying short ribs now. What size dutch oven do you have? I want to get one, but don't know what size.

Jen, come on down under and we'll go to the lake for a picnic!

Jennifer said...

Sara, I'm not sure exactly what size I have. I actually have two. One smaller and one bigger. I used the bigger one for the short ribs. I also use it for making soups and stews.

The Kiep Kid's Mom said...

Jenn, this all sounds so wonderful! I wish I was this good of a cook! I will have to try the spare ribs and of course I would love to make my own jam.