Monday, April 06, 2015

Of Lighthouses, Tiny Ships and Good Food (Scalloped Potatoes, Pasta Bolognese & Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Taco)

This past Saturday I spent the day buried in my art. This time, instead of encaustics, I am creating a piece for an altered book display and contest. The art has to involve altering a book and the rest is up to you.

I settled on a ship related story; I choose Captain Courageous by R. Kipling. I am excited with how it is going so far. I am especially excited that I figured out how to make it light up. Oh how I love technology!

Here's what my desk looked like this evening:
I had hoped to finish it tonight, but the evening has gotten away from me. I was late coming home because a few kids at school were in need of someone to focus, listen and relate. They needed to feel heard and validated. That is one of the most important things I do, so the rest of the work was pushed off.

I need to finish it tomorrow as I am going to deliver it on Wednesday.

We spent Easter Sunday at a family party at my mother's house. Most of Kohlton's family that lives in town joined us. We closed up the evening at a party at the Cure homestead. It was a nice way to end the evening.
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Here's what I made for Easter dinner:


Scalloped Potatoes
Via: Martha Stewart (and modified by me, of course)

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, and sliced paper thin (I used russet potatoes that I sliced with my food processor and that was just fine.)
1 small Onion (diced)
5 TBL flour
6 tablespoons Butter, diced
1/2 tea Pepper
1/2 tea Dry Mustard
1 tea Garlic Powder or 1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tea Paprika
1-2 TBL Parsley
1 tea Salt
pinch of Cayenne Pepper (omitted)
1 quart whole milk, or as needed (or 2 and 1/4 c milk)
1 cup heavy cream (I left this out as I do not like really rich food.)
5 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (I probably used more than this amount.)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees with a rack set in the lower third of oven. Combine sliced potatoes and milk in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until potatoes are just tender.

Place a colander over a large bowl and drain potatoes, reserving milk. You should have 2 cups of thick, starchy milk. If potatoes have absorbed more than 1 cup of milk, add enough milk to bring the reserved milk volume to 2 cups.

In another sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour, garlic, dry mustard, paprika and salt. cook the roux a bit longer, turn off the heat just as the flour begins to brown (if you can tell that.) Pour the reserved milk into the pan and stir to combine and thicken.

Rub a 3 1/2-quart oval baking dish with garlic and butter. Arrange sliced potatoes in the baking dish; season with salt and pepper. Dot with remaining butter, some parsley and pour over reserved cooking milk (and cream). Do Sprinkle cheese over top. Do this for each layer, ending with cheese on the top.

Transfer baking dish to oven and bake until cheese becomes deep golden brown and milk has reduced and thickened, 80 to 90 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

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Here's what we had tonight. It was great, but I will most likely wait until the fall to make it again.

Nigel Slater's Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese
via: Food52

For the bolognese

4 tablespoons butter
3 ounces cubed pancetta
1 medium onion
2 fat cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
2 large, flat mushrooms such as portobello, about 4 ounces
2 bay leaves
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 cup crushed tomatoes or passata
1/4 cup red wine
3/4 cup stock
1 nutmeg (just a few grinds, really)
3/4 cup half-and-half or cream
Spaghetti or tagliatelle for 4
Grated Parmesan

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pot -- then stir in the pancetta and let it cook for five minutes or so, without coloring much. Meanwhile peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and stir them into the pancetta. Peel and finely chop the carrot and celery and stir them in, too. Lastly, finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pan, then tuck in the bay leaves and leave to cook for ten minutes over a moderate heat, stirring frequently. Turn up the heat and tip in the meat, breaking it up well with a fork. Now leave to cook without stirring for a good three or four minutes, then, as the meat on the bottom is starting to brown, stir again, breaking up the meat where necessary, and leave to color. Mix in the tomatoes, red wine, stock, a grating of nutmeg and some salt and black pepper, letting it come to the boil. Turn the heat down so that everything barely bubbles. There should be movement, but one that is gentle, not quite a simmer. Partially cover the pan with a lid and leave the putter away for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring from time to time and checking the liquid levels. You don't want it to be dry. Pour in the half-and-half or cream a bit at a time, stir and continue cooking for twenty minutes. Check the seasoning, then serve with the pasta and grated Parmesan.

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Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Taco
Recipe adapted from "Tacolicious" by Sara Deseran, published on Tasting Table

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours and 30 minutes

For the Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Ribs:

8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs (see note above)
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 (12-ounce) bottle dark Mexican beer, preferably Negra Modelo
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1½ tablespoons Mexican oregano
½ cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Tacos:

Corn tortillas, warmed
Diced white onions, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Salsa of choice, to serve
Lime wedges, for garnish

1. Make the guajillo-braised beef short ribs: Preheat oven to 325. Toast the dried chiles on a sheet tray until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Remove and set them aside on a plate.

2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the short ribs until deep golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Add more oil to the pot to prevent any scorching. Remove the short ribs and set aside on a plate.

3. Adjust the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the reserved chiles and beer and adjust the heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chiles have softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Place the contents of the pot in a blender. Add the cumin, oregano, water and season with salt and pepper. Purée on high speed until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin out the chile mixture.

5. Return the meat to the pot and add the puréed chile mixture. Cover and transfer to the oven, and cook, stirring occasionally until the meet is fork-tender, about 3 to 4 hours.

6. Remove the meat from the oven. Using two large forks, shred the meat. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

7. Make the tacos: Serve the guajillo-braised beef shorts ribs over corn tortillas and top with onions, cilantro, salsa and lime.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tam--I am blown away by this!!! The Frida piece is also amazing:)! I love that you are carving out time to do art, to create. Love You!! Natalie