Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

print2

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the mild weather, the sunny afternoons, and the comfortable clothes that come along with the change in temperatures. I grew up in Upstate NY, and let me tell you, if you’ve never been there during Fall, add it to your bucket list. The days of sweltering, humid summer days are gone, and are replaced by cool, crisp air an a breathtaking view of the leaves changing colors. It’s a lovely sight to see. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since I was in school, September always marks the beginning of fall in my mind and also gives me a feeling of new beginnings.

I know the calendar date for Fall isn’t quite here yet, but along with the cooler temperatures, this time of year has me yearning, like many, for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. They remind me of my days as a student, living in Boston, getting settled in a new dorm and starting a new semester.

ABM_1410493563

I know there are many PSL lovers out there, so I created this cookie recipe for us. It has real pumpkin in it, the spices that make it feel like fall, and a hint of coffee flavor. This cookie is fluffy, and cakey in texture and I am absolutely in love with it. So if you love pumpkin, and fall flavors, I suggest grabbing your self a can of pumpkin puree and getting these cookies started!

ABM_1410881411

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

IMG_20140902_141857_961

Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds.

IMG_20140902_141954_728

Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

IMG_20140902_142229_533

Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet.

IMG_20140902_142905_595

Feel free to place them close together to get them all one one shape. They won’t look pretty, and the dough will be sticky.

IMG_20140902_143340_209

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill over night in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

IMG_20140902_165105_081

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

IMG_20140902_170716_510

Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

IMG_20140902_175924_849

Is white chocolate just not your jam? I’ll admit I wasn’t always the biggest fan, and I’ve only recently started to come around to it, so I understand if you don’t dig white chocolate, so here are some alternatives:

While we’re on the topic of alterations, if you feel this cookie would be even better with a 1/2 c of chocolate chips or a handful of pecans, go for it!

ABM_1410494200

Now, I know this recipe only calls for a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree, but I wouldn’t leave you high and dry with will those leftovers, now would I? Here are some of my favorite fall recipes that use pumpkin puree, let me know which ones you like best!

Never miss a post by becoming a Reckless Subscriber and receive posts directly in your inbox, and if you’re looking for sneak-peaks of future posts or what’s cooking in my kitchen check out my Instagram account, RecklessInTheKitchen.

print2


Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds. Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill overnight in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

 

Irish Soda Bread

 

print2

ABM_1394600633

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! I have got a lovely recipe for you today. This is the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread my Nana made when I was younger. I know, I know, my Nana wasn’t Irish, but she got this recipe from a friend of the family and this recipe is the bomb diggity. (I just wanted to say bomb diggity). BUT, in all seriousness, this recipe is great.  It’s a dense, flavorful bread and to me, the caraway seeds are what really gives this bread such a great flavor so don’t skimp on them.

IMG_7841

The absolute best part about this recipe? It’s super easy. So, open up a Guinness and give it a whirl.

ABM_1394600519

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

IMG_7791

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk.

IMG_7795

Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

IMG_7799

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

IMG_7802

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

IMG_7809

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

IMG_7823

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Looking for more great St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out one of my favorites, Guinness Cupcakes.

print2


Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk. Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Irish Soda Bread

 

print2

ABM_1394600633

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! I have got a lovely recipe for you today. This is the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread my Nana made when I was younger. I know, I know, my Nana wasn’t Irish, but she got this recipe from a friend of the family and this recipe is the bomb diggity. (I just wanted to say bomb diggity). BUT, in all seriousness, this recipe is great.  It’s a dense, flavorful bread and to me, the caraway seeds are what really gives this bread such a great flavor so don’t skimp on them.

IMG_7841

The absolute best part about this recipe? It’s super easy. So, open up a Guinness and give it a whirl.

ABM_1394600519

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

IMG_7791

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk.

IMG_7795

Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

IMG_7799

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

IMG_7802

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

IMG_7809

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

IMG_7823

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Looking for more great St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out one of my favorites, Guinness Cupcakes.

print2

 


Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk. Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Skip the Chalky Conversation Hearts This Year

It’s true, I’m not really that into Valentine’s Day. It’s too over the top, too pink, and in general, just too much. However, Valentine’s Day happens to be a great excuse to bake adorable treats and share them with friends. Which, coincidentally, is something I really enjoy doing.

So this year, as I’ve done in the past, I’m skipping the paper valentines and cards, I’m skipping the candy and chocolate from the stores, and I’m making something tasty and sharing it with friends. How better to show my love than to share these tasty treats? With this spirit in mind, I’ve got two lovely desserts that I will be sharing with you. The first, are these adorable sugar cookie sandwiches with a brown sugar icing. The second will be a post on poached pears, which will be up next week.

IMG_7421

These are so much fun to make. Below is my go-to sugar cookie recipe but feel free to use any you like. I’ve paired it with this absolutely heavenly brown sugar icing, but any kind of frosting or your favorite jam will do. So, let me ask you, do you like sugar cookies? Do you like icing that tastes of marshmallows? Oh, you do? Then these cookie sandwiches are for you! Forget the sweets at the store, homemade goodies that come from the heart are always better.

IMG_7385

My Favorite Sugar Cookie

Slightly adapted from Bake at 350

Ingredients:

  • 14.5 oz (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small mixing bowl and set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer cream the butter and the sugar together until well incorporated and fluffy. Add the eggs and extracts into the mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a medium speed until well combined.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together. The dough might be a bit crumbly, but it will come together after some kneading by hand.

Now for the fun part! On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/8 in thick. I roll these pretty thin since they are to become cookie sandwiches. Use any cookie cutter you like. I wanted something with fun edges so I decided to use these mini tart pans I got from my Nana. I liked the frilly edges, the variety of shape, and they are the perfect size.

IMG_7402

Arrange the dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Cut out a heart (or any other shape) to create a window in half of the cookies. These will be the tops of the sandwiches. Place the cookies sheets in the refrigerator and let them chill for 10-15 minutes. This will help the cookies keep their shape when they are baking.

IMG_7391

While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes. Bake the mini hearts from the center of the cookies for 6 minutes.Allow them to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack for cooling.

IMG_7392

While the cookies cool, make the frosting you would like in the center of the sandwiches. I made a small batch of this brown sugar icing. It is fluffy and delightful and I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while, and now seemed like a good time to do so. You can use any frosting you like for the center of the cookie sandwiches, you don’t even have to use frosting at all. Jam is beautiful and tasty in between these cookies.

IMG_7427

After the cookie have cooled completely and your frosting is ready, it’s time to assemble the cookies. Separate the cookies onto two baking sheets or trays, placing the cookies without a cutout in the center on one tray and the other half of the cookies on the other tray. The cookies that are the bottom of the sandwich get a dollop of frosting (or jam). The cookies that are going to be on top get dusted with powdered sugar.

IMG_7404

Now assemble the cookies. Sprinkles optional.

IMG_7415

I love how dainty these cookies look, like they should be enjoyed while sipping on a hot cup of tea and discussing literature with a British gentleman who wears a monocle. Too much? Just enough.

IMG_7439

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these adorable cookies. Make them, share them with those you love (and/or you choose to tolerate but it would rude not to include).

IMG_7405

P.S. look at how adorable these little heart cut outs are? I could eat, like 20 of these!

IMG_7446 IMG_7455

 


 

print2

My Favorite Sugar Cookie

Slightly adapted from Bake at 350

Ingredients:

  • 14.5 oz (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or 2 vanilla beans

Directions:

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small mixing bowl and set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer cream the butter and the sugar together until well incorporated and fluffy. Add the eggs and extracts into the mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a medium speed until well combined.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together. The dough might be a bit crumbly, but it will come together after some kneading by hand.

On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/8 in thick. I roll these pretty thin since they are to become cookie sandwiches. Use any cookie cutter you like.

Arrange the dough on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Cut out a heart (or any other shape) to create a window in half of the cookies. These will be the tops of the sandwiches. Place the cookies sheets in the refrigerator and let them chill for 10-15 minutes. This will help the cookies keep their shape when they are baking.

While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes. Bake the mini hearts from the center of the cookies for 6 minutes. Allow them to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack for cooling.

After the cookie have cooled completely assemble the cookie sandwiches; spread brown sugar frosting or jam between two cookies and top with powdered sugar.

 

print2

Brown Sugar Frosting

From I Wash You Dry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix brown sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil. (Be careful, as it will rise, so make sure the sides of your pan are taller). Let it boil at medium to medium high until the syrup drops like a hair from spoon (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from burner and set aside.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites until stiff.

SLOWLY pour the hot syrup in a THIN stream into egg whites, beating constantly. Beat until icing holds peaks, then blend in vanilla.

Let cool to room temp, then store covered in the fridge until ready to use.

 

 

Ring in the Chinese New Year with Pork Dumplings and Scallion Pancakes

This year Chinese New Year is celebrated from Jan 31- Feb 6, and I have a delicious feast for you celebrate the year of the horse; pork dumplings, scallion pancakes, and roasted spicy broccoli.

I would like to note this might not be a traditional Chinese New Year dinner, but these are a few of my favorite asian-inspired dishes to make and they are all super easy.

To kick things off, and the star of the show really, we’re going to make pork dumplings. This is a recipe my sister taught me a few years ago, which she learned from one of her students while she was teaching in China. You won’t believe how easy and inexpensive they are to make. Try them once and you might just find yourself making them in large batches and tossing them into soups or cooking them up for quick appetizers.

There are lots of recipes out there that show you how to make won ton wrappers or dumpling dough from scratch. I encourage you to try them, but for this recipe I’m going to be using store bought won ton wrappers. I love these things, they are great for making ravioli or even just toasting them in the oven to make a delicious chip.

Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 inches (or so) of ground, fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 package won ton wrappers
  • Olive or Canola oil (for frying)

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the ground pork, ginger, garlic, scallions, salt, and pepper.

IMG_7041

Next, working with only a few wont ton wrappers at a time (leave the rest in the package so they don’t dry out as you work), use your finger tip or a brush to wet the perimeter of the won ton wrapper. Deposit a small dollop of the meat mixture in the center of the won ton wrapper (slightly less than 1 teaspoon).

IMG_7045

Fold one corner of the won ton wrapper to the opposite corner forming a triangle, and sealing the pork inside the wrapper, Being careful not to tear the dough, press all of the air bubbles out and seal the remaining edges.

IMG_7053  IMG_7049

Place finished dumplings on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

IMG_7055

If you are saving these for later I recommend freezing them on the tray first then transferring them to a zip lock bag after they are frozen.

This mixture should use all the won ton wrappers in 1 package (give or take 1-2 wrappers).

To cook these tasty dumplings there are a few different methods, they can easily be added to any soup by boiling them in the broth for a few minutes. However, my favorite way to cook them is by browning them slightly and then finishing them with steam. Here’s how: start by heating 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and easily coats the bottom of the pan place 5-6 dumplings on the pan.

IMG_7058

Fry until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

IMG_7061

Very carefully add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover the pan. Allow the dumplings to cook in the steam for 4-5 minutes. All water should be dissolved. Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Finish cooking the dumplings for 3 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan and repeat the process until the desired amount of dumplings have been cooked.

IMG_7063

Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sriracha Hot Sauce (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.

Scallion Pancakes

IMG_7253

Recipe originally from About.com*

*A Note on this recipe: Yes, this is technically a Korean pancake recipe not a Chinese pancake recipe, but it’s super easy and it’s my dinner so I’ll make what I want!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Olive or Canola oil for frying

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except oil and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil on a medium-sized frying pan. Once the oil is heated and easily coats the bottom of the pan pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom of the pan entirely.

IMG_7226

Cook the batter until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Gently flip the pancake over and fry the bottom of the pancake for about 2 minutes. The bottom should be browned and lovely.

IMG_7240

Remove from pan and cut into wedges. Repeat this process with the rest of the batter.

IMG_7257

Roasted Chili-Garlic Broccoli

IMG_7269

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)*
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

*This ingredient can easily be substituted with dried chili pepper flakes if desired.

Directions:

Place baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients except garlic in a mixing bowl so that all the broccoli is evenly coated. When the oven is up to temperature carefully remove the baking sheet and spray with a non stick cooking spray. Place the broccoli onto the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes; remove from oven. Add the garlic to pan and stir. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned.

IMG_7271

 


print2

Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 inches (or so) of ground, fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 package won ton wrappers
  • olive or canola oil (for frying)

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the ground pork, ginger, garlic, scallions, salt, and pepper.

Next, working with only a few wont ton wrappers at a time (leave the rest in the package so they don’t dry out as you work), use your fingertip or a brush to wet the perimeter of the won ton wrapper. Deposit a small dollop of the meat mixture in the center of the won ton wrapper (slightly less than 1 teaspoon).

Fold one corner of the won ton wrapper to the opposite corner forming a triangle, and sealing the pork inside the wrapper, Being careful not to tear the dough, press all of the air bubbles out and seal the remaining edges.

Place finished dumplings on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking (If you are saving these for later I recommend freezing them on the tray first then transferring them to a zip lock bag after they are frozen).

To cook the dumplings; start by heating 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and easily coats the bottom of the pan place 5-6 dumplings on the pan. Fry until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Very carefully add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover the pan. Allow the dumplings to cook in the steam for 4-5 minutes. All water should be dissolved. Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Finish cooking the dumplings for 3 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan and repeat the process until the desired amount of dumplings have been cooked.

print2

Pork Dumpling Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sriracha Hot Sauce (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.

print2

Scallion Pancakes

Recipe originally from About.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • olive or canola oil for frying

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except oil and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil on a medium-sized frying pan. Once the oil is heated and easily coats the bottom of the pan pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom of the pan entirely.

Cook the batter until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Gently flip the pancake over and fry the bottom of the pancake for about 2 minutes. The bottom should be browned and lovely.

Remove from pan and cut into wedges. Repeat this process with the rest of the batter.

print2

Roasted Chili-Garlic Broccoli

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)*
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

*This ingredient can easily be substituted with dried chili pepper flakes if desired.

Directions:

Place baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients except garlic in a mixing bowl so that all the broccoli is evenly coated.

When the oven is up to temperature carefully remove the baking sheet and spray with a non stick cooking spray. Place the broccoli onto the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes; remove from oven. Add the garlic to pan and stir. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned.

Chocolate Bark

I love working with chocolate. The possibilities are endless, and let’s admit it, a chocolate drizzle makes everything better. Because I just love playing with chocolate so very much, I have 2 chocolate bark variations in this post. They are easy and fun to make, and if you need a last-minute “cookie” for a cookie swap or holiday party, these are always a big hit. Also, as far as DIY gifts go, these are pretty awesome. So make one, make them all, and for the love of my girlish figure, someone please come over and eat all of these!

IMG_7032

Before I get started on these beauties, let’s have a quick chat about melting chocolate. For these recipes and for melting chocolate in general, I recommend using baker’s chocolate or melting chips, rather than say a solid chocolate bar, or white chocolate chips. The reason for this is that I’ve been burned before, or more accurately I’ve burned chocolate before. A lot actually. It’s so easy to do. Especially white chocolate, so that’s why I recommend using a chocolate that is intended to be melted. Also, white chocolate can totally be a pain in the butt, and some white chocolates actually need some oil added to them, so really save your sanity and buy melting chips or baking chocolate, it melts nicely and nothing needs to be added to it.

Also, I do not like melting chocolate in the microwave. If this is your preferred method, you have my blessing, but if you, like myself, belive your microwave is an inconsistent appliance out to get you, set up a double boiler.  You don’t need any special equipment for this; all you need is a pot with about and inch or two of water in the bottom and a heat proof bowl that can put on top of the pot so that it receives the heat from the steam but is not directly in the pot.

Put the pot on your stove top and put on medium heat. Break up the chocolate you are melting into medium-small pieces. Set aside 1/4 of the amount and save for later. Put 3/4 of the chocolate in to the bowl resting on top of your pot.

Depending on the amount of chocolate you are melting and how large the pieces are, this could happen pretty quickly so keep a close eye on your chocolate. Stir the chocolate gently as it begins to melt. Once it is about 75% melted remove the bowl from the heat. Add the reserved un-melted chocolate and stir to combine for 30-60 seconds.

IMG_6956

Put the bowl back over the pot, and let the mixture continue to melt. Once the mixture is almost melted, but still has some small lumps, remove from the heat. Stir the chocolate until smooth.

IMG_6961

Melt your chocolate like that and you will not burn it, and it will be just lovely to work with.

IMG_7019

Christmas Bark with Cranberries and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz chocolate (any kind you like, white, milk, dark, etc)
  • 1/4 c pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries, roughly chopped*

*Don’t like cranberries? Try dried cherries, or freeze-dried strawberries

IMG_6949

Directions:

Melt the chocolate per the instructions above. Pour the melted chocolate onto a flat pan lined with parchment paper.

Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness.

IMG_6962

Or using a large spoon dollop chocolate onto the parchment paper to form bite-size circles.

IMG_6997

While the chocolate is still warm top with the nuts and dried fruit.

IMG_6967

Allow the bark to cool and harden at room temperature.

IMG_7005

This will take some time, but if you put it in the fridge the chocolate will most likely bloom (bloom= unsightly white circles and dots will form on your chocolate). Once the chocolate has cooled completely cut up into smaller pieces (if desired).

IMG_6975

Aren’t these just lovely? So festive, I love it!

IMG_7029

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Directions:

First, melt the white chocolate and pour on to a flat pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness. Allow the white chocolate to cool and harden. Once the white chocolate is mostly dried, melt the dark chocolate, and pour on top of the white chocolate. While the dark chocolate is still warm sprinkle the candy canes on top.

IMG_20131210_122237

Allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely before cutting.


print2

Christmas Bark with Cranberries and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz chocolate (any kind you like, white, milk, dark, etc)
  • 1/4 c pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries, roughly chopped*

*Don’t like cranberries? Try dried cherries, or freeze-dried strawberries

Directions:

Melt the chocolate per the instructions above. Pour the melted chocolate onto a flat pan lined with parchment paper.

Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness, or using a large spoon dollop chocolate onto the parchment paper to form bite-size circles.

While the chocolate is still warm top with the nuts and dried fruit. Allow the bark to cool and harden at room temperature. This will take some time, but if you put it in the fridge the chocolate will most likely bloom (bloom= unsightly white circles and dots will form on your chocolate). Once the chocolate has cooled completely cut up into smaller pieces (if desired).

 

print2

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Directions:

First, melt the white chocolate and pour on to a flat pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness. Allow the white chocolate to cool and harden.

Once the white chocolate is mostly dried, melt the dark chocolate, and pour on top of the white chocolate. While the dark chocolate is still warm sprinkle the candy canes on top.

Allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely before cutting.

Red Velvet Snowflake Cookies

 

print2

RedVelvetCookie_Edit5

It’s the holiday season and I’m ready to get started on some holiday baking! Rather than make the same cookies every year, I wanted to make some new-to-me cookies this year. There are so many delicious cookies/dessert recipes that I’ve collected over the last year (thanks a lot Pinterest!) that it’s hard to choose which ones to make.

RedVelvetCookie_Edit2

Despite my growing list of cookies I want to make, these tasty little buggers were actually inspired by a recent trip to Panera. I saw a poster advertising these red velvet cookies, and I thought to myself, “I can make those!” I’ve made chocolate crinkle cookies in the past, but I was excited for the challenge of adapting the recipe to be a red velvet cookie. Unlike the chocolate crinkle cookies I’ve written about in the past (check out the original article here), these are a bit richer and much more chocolately. So, I hope you enjoy this recipe, honestly, they are so tasty you might want to eat them all yourself!

IMG_6899

Red Velvet Snowflake Cookies

Recipe adapted from Country Living

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt) in a small bowl and set aside. Next, using a mixer beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Then, add the brown and granulated sugar and beat until combined.

Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring to the mixture and beat on a low speed until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Continue mixing until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixing on a low speed add the dry ingredients to the red mixture. Continue mixing until a soft dough forms. Lastly mix in the chocolate chips.

*For this next step I highly recommend wearing gloves to prevent getting dye on your hands.*

Put confectioner’s sugar in a medium sized bowl. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop a small amount of dough into the bowl of confectioner’s sugar. With your hand, roll the dough around the bowl to form into a sphere (doesn’t have to be perfect) and generously coat in sugar.

RedVelvetCookie_Edit3

*Typically, I try to make 1 inch-1 1/2 inch balls, these cookies are pretty rich, so I generally don’t make them too big.*

IMG_6892

Place the sugar coated dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a baking mat, spacing the balls 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies have puffed up slightly and have started to crack. After removing the cookies from the oven allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

RedVelvetCookie_Edit

This recipe makes just over 2 dozen cookies depending on size.

IMG_6900

Stay tuned, there are more holiday treats on the way!

print2


Red Velvet Snowflake Cookies

Recipe adapted from Country Living

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt) in a small bowl and set aside. Next, using a mixer beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Then, add the brown and granulated sugar and beat until combined.

Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring to the mixture and beat on a low speed until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Continue mixing until all ingredients are incorporated.

Mixing on a low speed add the dry ingredients to the red mixture. Continue mixing until a soft dough forms. Lastly mix in the chocolate chips.

*For this next step I highly recommend wearing gloves to prevent getting dye on your hands.*

Put confectioner’s sugar in a medium sized bowl. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop a small amount of dough into the bowl of confectioner’s sugar. With your hand, roll the dough around the bowl to form into a sphere (doesn’t have to be perfect) and generously coat in sugar.

*Typically, I try to make 1 inch-1 1/2 inch balls, these cookies are pretty rich, so I generally don’t make them too big.*

Place the sugar coated dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a baking mat, spacing the balls 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies have puffed up slightly and have started to crack. After removing the cookies from the oven allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe makes just over 2 dozen cookies.

A Thanksgiving Smorgasbord

print2

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and I cannot wait! As promised I have one more fabulous side dish suggestion (I saved the best for last!) and some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

Let’s start with my last side dish suggestion: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. Oh, this stuff is good. So, so, so, delicious! Even if you consider yourself to be not much of a squash-eating person, you will probably find this mac & cheese dish delicious. If you don’t have room on your Thanksgiving table for this dish, I strongly suggest making room for it in the near future.

IMG_6809

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine (Click here for original recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 c chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c fat-free milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 c) smoked Gouda cheese, grated*
  • 1 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 lb pasta, uncooked (I suggest cavatappi, rotini, or small shells)
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray

*A note on ingredients; please feel free to substitute in any kind of cheese you enjoy, but I strongly suggest you use smoked Gouda for this recipe because it really gives the dish a great flavor. Trust me.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan combine the squash, chicken broth, milk, and garlic and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes (the squash should be sort of soft and easily stabbed with a fork).

IMG_6780

When the squash has 10 minutes of cooking time remaining, in a separate pot, bring enough water to boil to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging.

When the squash is done cooking remove from heat and pour into a blender or food processor with the salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. If you are not able to run your equipment without allowing steam to escape (and not getting hot squash everywhere), allow the mixture to cool slightly. Blend the squash until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the grated cheese. Stir to combine.

IMG_6790

Drain the pasta from the water, when done cooking and combine the drained pasta into the mixing bowl.

IMG_6794

Spray a 9×13 baking pan or a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Spread the macaroni mixture onto the pan and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until it bubbles slightly.

IMG_6804

This delicious mac & cheese can easily be made ahead of time and warmed in the oven before serving. It is so fabulous, seriously, you should probably just make it now.

IMG_6820

Hungry for more? Here is a round up of a few more mouth-watering suggestions for your Thanksgiving dinner;

I hope everyone has a fun and delicious Thanksgiving!


print2

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients

  • 2 lb butternut Squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 c chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c fat-free milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 c) smoked Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 lb pasta, uncooked (I suggest cavatappi, rotini, or small shells)
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan combine the squash, chicken broth, milk, and garlic and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes (the squash should be sort of soft and easily stabbed with a fork).

When the squash is cooking, in a separate pot, bring enough water to boil to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging.

When the squash is done cooking remove from heat and pour into a blender or food processor with the salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. If you are not able to run your equipment without allowing steam to escape (and not getting hot squash everywhere), allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Blend the squash until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the grated cheese. Stir to combine.

Drain the pasta from the water, when done cooking and combine the drained pasta into the mixing bowl.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan or a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Spread the macaroni mixture onto the pan and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until it bubbles slightly.

 

Roasted Mushrooms and Buttermilk Biscuits

Alright people, Thanksgiving is less than a week away and it is time to get your game faces on!

We all know the main players at the Thanksgiving table; a big ol’ roasted turkey, mouth-watering mashed potatoes, and stuffing, stuffing stuffing. This year, for the very first time, I am hosting my own Thanksgiving dinner! I am so excited and I am looking for ways to make our table really special with some non-conventional side dishes.

Here are two potential side dishes that I’ve tried out already that get my seal of approval.

Side Dish # 1: Roasted Mushrooms

IMG_6858

These make the cut because I absolutely love the earthiness that roasted mushrooms bring to the table and they complement turkey and gravy oh, so well. These are easy to make and will certainly impress your guests (or your hosts if you have offered to bring a dish).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cooled bacon fat (Optional, but this really takes these mushrooms to the next level)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly coat at 9×9 pan or small roasting pan with cooking spray or butter. Next, clean the mushrooms with a damp, clean towel. Toss the cleaned mushrooms with the olive oil, bacon fat, salt, and pepper and place in prepared pan. Roast for 25 minutes , stirring the mushrooms gently after 12 minutes.

Allow the mushrooms to cool slightly after roasting and top with fresh parsley before serving.

IMG_6840

Pretty easy, right? Don’t let that fool you, this side dish tastes amazing and can easily become a favorite, and definitely has a place at my Thanksgiving table this year.

Side Dish #2: Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

IMG_6854

Growing up, I was more likely to see hearty Italian rolls or a slew of mini muffins to accompany my Thanksgiving meal. Over the years, however, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the buttermilk biscuit and I thought it might make a nice and unique (in my experience) addition to the Thanksgiving table.  This recipe is also very simple. (Noticing a theme? Roasting a turkey can be tricky enough, the rest of the dishes should be easy to make!)

Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart (click to view the original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes, plus 1/2 tbsp melted
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions or a handful of chives, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Rearrange oven placing  the racks towards the bottom of the stove, then preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or your hands), cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined and has a coarse texture.

Next, add the buttermilk, cheese, and chives and mix until combined, and a unified dough is formed (I like to use my hands to mix together but a spoon works just fine).

IMG_6825

Place the dough onto a well floured surface and roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter or the top of a water glass.

IMG_6834

Cut the biscuits close together. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough out to 1 inch to cut the remainder of the biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing the biscuits 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

IMG_6837

These can be made in advance and stored in air-tight containers. This recipe makes just shy of 2 dozen biscuits.

IMG_6844

If you enjoyed this article, stay tuned; I’ve got one more post coming up to help you get in the mood for Thanksgiving. I’ll be posting it Monday morning and it will include one more side dish suggestion along with a round up of some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from around the web. If you don’t want to miss this and other upcoming posts join my other reckless readers and subscribe to receive new posts by email.

IMG_6848

 


print2

Roasted Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cooled bacon fat (Optional, but this really takes these mushrooms to the next level)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly coat at 9×9 pan or small roasting pan with cooking spray or butter. Next, clean the mushrooms with a damp, clean towel.

Toss the cleaned mushrooms with the olive oil, bacon fat, salt, and pepper and place in prepared pan. Roast for 25 minutes , stirring the mushrooms gently after 12 minutes.

Allow the mushrooms to cool slightly after roasting and top with fresh parsley before serving.

 

print2

Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart (click to view the original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes, plus 1/2 tbsp melted
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions or a handful of chives, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Rearrange oven placing  the racks towards the bottom of the stove, then preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or your hands), cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined and has a coarse texture.

Next, add the buttermilk, cheese, and chives and mix until combined, and a unified dough is formed (I like to use my hands to mix together but a spoon works just fine). Do not over mix (over mixing = tough biscuits).

Place the dough onto a well floured surface and roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter or the top of a water glass.

Cut the biscuits close together. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough out to 1 inch to cut the remainder of the biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing the biscuits 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

These can be made in advance and stored in air-tight containers. This recipe makes just shy of 2 dozen biscuits.

 

Braised Short Ribs; A Guest Post

print2

For the first time ever, I have a guest post for you! Check out the article below as my husband Joe writes about making Braised Short Ribs that will knock your socks off!

Don’t forget to subscribe Recklessly to receive emails every time an article is posted, so you never miss a recipe!

IMG_6562

So, let’s just admit that we’re all human. Seriously, take a moment or two and think about it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Got it? Good. One of the dirty little secrets about being human is that we desire recognition for the things we do well. Don’t even bother trying to argue against it, you do. We all do. It’s just part of the deal. We get to have thumbs, too, so its a fair trade in my book. We’ve all had those grand dreams of impressing our friends and loved ones beyond belief over something we’ve done. Maybe you save a bus full of school children from falling off a cliff. Maybe you cure cancer while setting the world record for spinning a basketball on your fingertip. Or maybe you run a marathon… while carrying a live brown bear. As impressive as these feats are, they seem really hard. This is a much easier way to impress those friends and loved ones, and with a far smaller chance of getting mauled. By a BEAR. This is really just an ever so slight adaptation Anne Burrell’s recipe that was posted to Food Network’s website, but it is really, really good.

Here’s what you’ll need (serves 8):
About 5 hours of time (hands on: 90 minutes)
About 5-6 pounds boneless Short Ribs
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves

IMG_6466

In this post, I have halved the recipe since Clara and I don’t have any kids. Or friends. It easily reduces down to serve 4. Here is the halved version, for those who aren’t too good much fractions:

About 2.5-3 pounds boneless Short Ribs
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 rib celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed
3/4 cups tomato paste
1.5 cups hearty red wine
1 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
1 bay leaf

One last note about this slight adaptation: we used boneless short ribs because they are cheaper for some reason on base than their bone-in brethren. If you use the bone-in variety, which are probably less expensive under most circumstances, nothing really changes. Just be sure to adjust for the weight of the bone when planning your serving sizes. And you don’t need to brown the bone. Just saying.

The Process
-Season each short rib generously with salt. Like, for serious. This salt layer will help create a crust on the outer layer of the ribs, which is critical to lock in the flavor of this whole process. This recipe is not for the faint of heart, or the health conscious. This is a treat meal. It is not healthy by almost any standard, but trust me, it is delicious. And I guess it has a lot of protein. So there’s that!

IMG_6468

-Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. For the full version, a large soup pot will do just fine. Extra space isn’t a problem, but not having enough space certainly is. For the halved version, we are using a very large cast iron pan with a cover. You NEED a cover, so make sure you have one that fits the pot/pan you choose.

-Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary. This is a marathon, not a sprint. They have to go in the oven for like 3 hours anyway. Taking an extra 10 minutes to do this right isn’t a big deal. Each side should look very, very brown, but NOT black or burned.

IMG_6488

-Preheat the oven to 375F. This can be done first thing, if you so choose, but it will be awhile before you need it. Just trying to save a few cents on that electric/gas bill.

-While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. This will form a large part of the flavor base for the braising liquid. While the short ribs will be the star of the show, the veggie base will be the, uh, well trained stage crew that does all the little things behind the scenes to let that star shine so bright. Hooray for long analogies!

IMG_6477 IMG_6493

-When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. DO NOT wash out that pan if you can avoid it. Drain the fat, and leave whatever else you can; those browned bits will add some serious flavor later on.

IMG_6495

-Season the vegetables with salt and brown them until they are a nice light brown and a slight crud layer has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking: crud is actually an acronym that stands for “Chalk River Unidentified Deposit”, relating to the strange, radioactive particulates found downstream of the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory near Ottowa in the 1950’s. Please let that slide for just a moment. When the semi-colorful paste starts turning brown, good things are happening.

IMG_6500

– Scrape the crud and let it reform (Brown food is good food!). Scrape the crud one more time and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. I use the term “brown” pretty liberally here. If it goes full on brown, that’s fine. If it just turns a deeper red, that is also fine. Just let it cook for those 4-5 minutes to let all those flavors blend together. (The original recipe calls for the more full on brown. Feel free to cook the tomato paste longer to achieve that color. I’m paranoid about burning things.)

IMG_6525

-Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan once again. Lower the heat if things are starting to burn, as we are in the home stretch now. Brown is good, black is bad! Continue cooking and reduce the mixture by about half. Remember, lowering the heat at this point is OK! If you have seen a few black bits in your crud layers, lowering the heat is recommended. At this point, we are just waiting for the alcohol to cook off. As long as you see some steam coming off the mixture, all is well. It might just take a little bit longer.

IMG_6527

-Return the short ribs to the pan and add water until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours.

IMG_6536IMG_6548

-Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Again, we want the ribs not quite covered, but you also don’t want the liquid level to get too low. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. I have never had this problem, at least until the halfway mark. If you have cookware you can trust, just set it and forget it for the full 90 minutes until the halfway point and re-evaluate the water level while you are flipping the ribs.

-Remove the lid during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce down a bit. When done the meat should be very tender but not completely falling apart. Stick a fork in it and pull it back out. It should just slide right back out without taking the short ribs with it. Serve with the braising liquid, and a side of your choice.

IMG_6551

A nice creamy side works well to enhance the texture of this dish. Pair this with your favorite mashed potato, and everybody will be pretty darn happy. Unless your favorite mashed potato sucks. We’ve also tried this with polenta, which was even better, in my opinion.

IMG_6560

print2


Braised Short Ribs

Slightly Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Ingredients:

  • About 5-6 pounds boneless Short Ribs
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato paste
  • 2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a large oven-safe pot (that has an oven safe cover) with olive oil and bring to a high heat.

Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary. Each side should look very, very brown, but NOT black or burned.

While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. DO NOT wash out the pot.

Season the vegetables with salt and brown them until they are a nice light brown and a slight crud layer has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.

Scrape the crud and let it reform (Brown food is good food!). Scrape the crud one more time and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan once again. Lower the heat if things are starting to burn, continue cooking and reduce the mixture by about half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add water until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours.

Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. You want the ribs almost but not completely covered in liquid. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time.

Remove the lid during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking to let the sauce reduce down a bit. When done the meat should be very tender but not completely falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid, and a side of mashed potatoes or polenta.