Monday, December 19, 2011

West Town Tavern Pot Roast with Black Vinegar Sauce By Susan Goss

Ingredients for Pot Roast
8 square-cut bonless beef short ribs, 9 ounces each (I just got the short ribs from Costco)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup of canola oil
2 carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped (I also peeled mine)
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, cut into eighths
2 large bay leaves
10 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups of zinfandel
For the Black Vinegar Sauce
4 cups of red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark raisins
Make the short ribs
Preheat the oven to 325. Sprinkle short rib pieces with salt and pepper to taste. In a heavy 5 quart saute pan, heat the canola oil and sear the beef on all sides until brown. Leave the beef in the pan.

Add carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, and parsley to the pan. Pour in the wine and just enough water to come 3/4 of the way up the sides of the beef. Bring to a boil. Remove the pan from heat, cover with a lid or foil and braise int he oven until meat is very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Let me stand in the braising liquid until ready to serve.

Make the Sauce
While the short ribs are braising, in a 3 quart saucepan, combine the vinegar and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer rapidly until liquid reduces to 2 1/2 cups. Add the raisins. Continue to simmer the sauce and reduce to 2 cups. Sauce should be black, syrupy, and glossy. Be careful sauce does not over reduce and burn. Let the sauce cool to room temperature and serve with pot roast.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Drink

This what I made in the NINJA!
2# fresh strawberries
3/4 of a bottle of vanilla vodka
16 oz pineapple juice

Blended until frothy

Top with Sprite. Decorate with Cherry and fresh mint

Crunchy Green Salad with Goat Cheese and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

This was made by Margie G
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, executive chef and partner of the renowned four-star Mobil, five-diamond AAA, Relais & Chateaux Relais-Gourmand restaurant Tru 676 N. St. Clair St., Chicago IL 60611.
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min erves:
6 to 8 as appetizer, 4 as dinner
• 1 pound (about 12) red-skinned boiling potatoes
• 3 cups (about 1 pound) diced slab bacon
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic
• 1/2 cup chopped shallots
• 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
• 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
• 1/2 head frisee (curly endive), well washed and torn into pieces
• 4 cups mixed salad greens (mesclun), or a mixture of at least 3 lettuces such as red leaf, Romaine, endive, radicchio, arugula, frisee, watercress or Boston
• 4 teaspoons chopped chives
• 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
• 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced into half-moons
• 2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 6 ounces fresh, mild goat cheese, crumbled
• Croutons, recipe follows
Put potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and boil until the potatoes are tender, between 12 to 15 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. In a skillet, saute the bacon over a medium-high heat until most of the fat has been rendered and the bacon is golden and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and pour off the fat into a glass-measuring cup. Remove the bacon from the pan and let drain on paper towels. In the skillet, with its thin coat of bacon fat, add the garlic and shallots and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until dissolved. Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and add the balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and orange juice. Add 1/4 cup of the bacon fat and process, pulsing, until, just until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the warm potatoes 1/4 inch thick and combine with half of the warm vinaigrette (reheat the vinaigrette in the microwave if necessary) and half of the bacon pieces. Divide in roomy serving bowls. In a large bowl, combine the lettuces, chives, tomato, cucumbers, and celery. Toss with the remaining vinaigrette and divide on top of the potatoes in the serving bowls. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese and reserve bacon pieces over the salads, place 3 or 4 croutons on each, and serve.

• 16 to 20 baguette slices, 1/4 inch thick
• 3 tablespoons garlic oil, or olive oil mixed with 1 minced garlic clove
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• Freshly ground black pepper
For the croutons, preheat to 350 degrees. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and brush the tops with garlic oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with cheese (if using) and pepper. Cover with foil to keep warm.

almond pound cake with lemon - lavendar glaze

from sandra hall of floriole cafe and bakery
from the chicago homegrown cookbook

6 tbsp almond paste
3 1/2 oz butter
3/4 c plus 1 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
juice and zest from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c sliced almonds
preheat over to 350 F
brak up almond paste
cream together almond paste with butter and sugar
add eggs one by one
add lemon juice, zest, and salt
fold in flour and baking powder
fill a 9x5in loaf pan three quaters full and top with sliced almonds
bake in preheated overn for 40 minutes or until done ( i cooked it for 55 minutes)

lemon lavendar glaze
1/3 c lemon juice
1/4 c honey
1 tbsp lavender
combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
let cool for about half and hour (or just dump it on the cake like i did)
remove cake from pan and brush the glaze onto the cake, making sure to include the sides and bottom

Cincinnati Turkey Chili

cooking Light

* 4 ounces uncooked spaghetti
* Cooking spray
* 8 ounces lean ground turkey
* 1 1/2 cups prechopped onion, divided
* 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
* 1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
* 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
* 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped semisweet chocolate
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; set aside.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add 1 cup onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in chili powder and next 5 ingredients (through allspice); cook 1 minute. Add broth, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate and salt. Serve chili over spaghetti; top with remaining 1/2 cup onion and cheese.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 16-oz can black beans
* 1 16-oz can kidney beans
* 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
* 10 oz package frozen corn kernels
* 2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
* 1 packet taco seasoning
* 1 tbsp cumin
* 1 tbsp chili powder
* 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
* chili peppers, chopped (optional)
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Top with fresh cilantro. Also try it with low fat cheese and sour cream (extra points).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hummingbird Cake

Cake Servings: 12
From Art Smith (Oprah's personal cheff)
Cake Ingredients:

•3 cups all-purpose flour
•2 cups granulated sugar
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•2 cups chopped ripe bananas
•1 cup drained crushed pineapple
•1 cup vegetable oil
•2 large eggs , beaten
•1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•1 cup (4 ounces) finely chopped pecan
Icing Ingredients

1.8 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature
2.1/2 cup (1 stick) butter , at room temperature
3.1 pound confectioners' sugar (about 4 1/2 cups sifted)
4.1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cake, position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350°. Lightly butter two 9" round cake pans, sprinkle evenly with flour and tap out the excess. (If you wish, butter the pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, then flour the pans and tap out the excess.)
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, stir or whisk the bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Do not use an electric mixer. Pour into the dry mixture and fold together with a large spatula just until smooth. Do not beat. Fold in the pecans. Spread evenly into the pans.

Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cakes to wire racks and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks (remove the parchment paper now if using). Turn right side up and cool completely.

To make the icing: Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until combined. On low speed, gradually beat in the sugar, then the vanilla, to make a smooth icing.

Place 1 cake layer, upside down on a serving platter. Spread with about 2/3 cup of the icing. Top with the second layer, right side up. Spread the reaming icing over the top and sides of the cake. The cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored, uncovered in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Honey Roasted Parsnip Bisque

Recipe courtesy Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min.
Prep15 min.
Cook1 hr 0 min.
Yield:8 cups .

2 pounds parsnips, peeled and quartered lengthwise
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons salt, divided
6 tablespoons honey, divided
6 cups water
1 bunch parsley
1 carrot, cut in 1/2
1 small onion
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons white pepper
3 cups heavy cream
Special Equipment: cheesecloth
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Toss the parsnips with the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt and drizzle with 3 tablespoons honey. Place on a baking sheet and put into the top half of the oven. Roast 30 minutes, or until the parsnips are a deep golden brown; they tend to burn easily so make sure to toss often while roasting.

Meanwhile, put the water into a large pot and place over high heat. Lay a double layer of cheesecloth on a flat surface and place the carrot, onion, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns in the center. Tie the cheesecloth up and around the vegetable and herb mix and drop it into the water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the parsnips from the oven and place them immediately into the stock. Add the remaining honey and salt and white pepper; simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Add the cream and cook for another 10 minutes or until thick.

Black Bean Dip by the Hardy Boys

1 plum tomato, diced
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce
Tortilla chips, for dipping
Place the tomato, onion and cilantro into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add the black beans, cumin, hot sauce and salt, to taste, and pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth. Scrape into a decorative bowl and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Garbanzo Bean chili

From Land o Lakes
Garbanzo beans are sturdy enough to hold up during the long hours of cooking without becoming soft or mushy.
10 min.prep time 1:15total time
5 (1-cup) servings
0 Ratings
2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 medium (1/2 cup) red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup sweet and spicy French salad dressing
4 ounces (1 cup) LAND O LAKES® Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup LAND O LAKES® Sour Cream
Chili powder, if desired
Place all ingredients except salad dressing, cheese, sour cream and chili powder in slow cooker. Cover; cook on Low heat setting for 6 to 8 hours, or High heat setting for 3 to 4 hours or until flavors are well blended. Just before serving, stir in salad dressing.

To serve, place chili into bowls; sprinkle with cheese. Dollop each serving with sour cream; sprinkle with chili powder, if desired.

Pretzel Rolls - Tasty Kitchen

• 1-½ cup Warm Water (110°F)
• 1 package (1/4 Oz. Packet) Active Dry Yeast (not Quick Rise Yeast)
• 2 teaspoons Sugar
• 4-½ cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour
• 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
• 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
• ¼ cups Baking Soda
• 1 whole Egg, Lightly Beaten
• Pretzel Salt, To Sprinkle On Top
Preparation Instructions
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water and the yeast and let rest 5 minutes until foamy.
Add the sugar, flour, salt, and butter; mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Cut the dough into 18 pieces (2 ounces each). To shape, take a piece of dough and start forming a round, smooth ball by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal. Place, pinched side down, on a counter and lightly cupping your hand around the dough ball, rotate your hand in small circles lightly rolling the ball around the palm of your hand.
Place the ball on the baking sheet pinched seam side down, with at least 1” between each roll. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.
Preheat oven to 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.
In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer. Put the rolls into the poaching liquid, seam side down. Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn the roll over in the liquid. Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a slotted spoon to the same prepared sheet pans, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
With a pastry brush, glaze each roll with the lightly beaten egg, making sure to coat all sides completely. Top each roll with a sprinkle of pretzel salt. With a sharp straight edged knife, cut a slash or “X” in the top of each roll.
Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Cheese Soup

_ Alton Brown, Food

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 5 ounces small diced onion (approximately 1 cup)
• 5 ounces small diced carrot (approximately 1 cup)
• 5 ounces small diced celery (approximately 1 cup)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt for sweating vegetables, plus more if needed at end of cooking
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 quart chicken broth, heated to a simmer
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 10 ounces Fontina, shredded
• 1 teaspoon Marsala wine
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Melt butter in large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and salt. Sweat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Sift the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Gradually add the chicken stock and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Remove bay leaf. Turn off the heat, add the heavy cream, and then puree with an immersion blender or in a conventional blender*. Gradually add the cheese, 1 small handful at a time, and stir until melted before adding next handful. Stir in the Marsala, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and white pepper. Taste and add additional salt if desired. If soup is not hot enough, return to a low heat until warmed through.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Artichoke Mushroom Lasagna

1 lb sliced baby portobella mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14 oz each) water packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 cup chardonnay or other white wine (I used chardonnay)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups 2% milk
2 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup chardonnay or other white wine

9 no-cook lasagna noodles
4 cups (16 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1. Saute mushrooms in butter until tender. Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Add the artichokes, wine, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until liquid is evaporated.
2. For the sauce, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth, gradually add milk. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and wine.
3. Spread 1 cup sauce into a greased 13 in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with three noodles,
1 2/3 cups sauce, 1 cup mozzarella and 1 1/3 cups artichoke mixture. Repeat layers twice. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered 15-20 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Fruit Dip

1 block of cream cheese
1 jar of marshmallow fluff

Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Combine fluff with cream cheese. MIx well with wooden spoon. Serve with fruit of your choice.

Articoke Stuffed Chicken

Modified from Cooking Light

* 2 1/2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
* 1 (3-ounce) package herbed goat cheese, softened *** I used 8 oz instead
* 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - I butterfly the breasts


1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Combine first 6 ingredients; stir well.
3. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Top each breast half with 2 tablespoons cheese mixture; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Tuck in sides; secure each roll with wooden picks.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan, and cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Wrap the handle of pan with foil, and bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Beer Menu

Cooking Club September 17, 2011
Beer Tasting!

Beer, Cheddar and Apple Tarts and Spinach Artichoke Dip
Crispin Hard Apple Cider
Crisp over ice. A classically styled, but untraditional hard apple cider. Fruit forward, with a fresh, crunchy appley nose and a deliciously creamy, refreshingly crisp mouth feel.
Samuel Smith Cider
A medium dry cider with brilliant straw colour, light body, clean apple flavour and a gentle apple blossom finish.

Cheese Soup –
Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale
The walnut or hazelnut notes in Nut Brown Ale come from dark malts and from fermentation in Yorkshire Squares - no nuts are used in the recipe! Dry, medium-bodied; the Sam Smith ale yeast strain gives a fruity note to the finish.

Spicy Vodka Sauce with Spinach Balls and Artichoke stuffed Chicken
Belgian White Wheat Ale
Complex flavors of orange peel, coriander and subtle spice take this Belgian-Style wheat ale to new heights. This unfiltered Ale soars above the rest with a uniquely crisp taste and glides in gently for an exceptionally smooth finish. Our blue ribbon Belgian White displays a clean, crisp, full-bodied flavor for all to enjoy. This Ale’s best co-pilot is a tall frosty glass, garnished with an orange slice.
312 Goose Island Chicago
Densely populated with flavor, 312’s spicy aroma of Cascade hops is followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body. This gives 312 a balance of flavor and refreshment that never fills you up and won’t let you down.

Lemon Pound Cake with Cherry Sauce
Classic Shandy Equal Parts of Hofbrau Oktoberfest and lemonade
In Germany, this type of drink is called a Radler (German for "cyclist") or Alsterwasser (river in northern Germany). In France and in Italy, it is called a panaché ("mixed"). In Spain it is champú ("shampoo") or clara con limón.
Youngs Double Chocolate Stout
Dark chocolate and chocolate malt are mixed together with a full-flavored rich dark beer to create a drink that is sweet yet alcoholic enough to make you want to order one again as soon as you are done with your first. The crystal malt with the pale ale, chocolate malt, hops, dark chocolate, and sugars provide a unique taste experience that you will not soon forget.