Monday, July 23, 2007

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My Favorite Tomato Soup Recipe


Tomatoes were on sale last week, and so I made up a batch of my favorite tomato soup. Good thing because we had last-minute guests for dinner, so the timing was perfect. It's very easy to make, and you can control your seasonings to taste, such as the herbs and hot pepper flakes.

For dessert I had already planned rice pudding. The day before I made up a batch of jasmine rice in the rice cooker, and then it dried out in the fridge for a day. Then it's a snap to throw it together and bake it off a couple of hours before it's eaten. That way, it has a chance to cool but still be warm enough to enjoy with a drizzling of heavy cream. Fresh fruit would also be good. Leftovers, reheated, are a delicious and filling breakfast.

Harry’s Tomato Soup



Olive oil & butter
Shallots
1 stalk celery, halved
salt, pepper

Sweat above, covered; then add to the above

pepper flakes
thyme
smoked paprika
1 – 2 T tomato paste
2 T brown sugar
2 T flour

Stir in well; then add to the above

About 5 lb tomatoes, either Roma or on-the-vine, coarsely chopped

Lower heat; simmer, covered, until tomatoes give up their juice and reduce a bit. Then add to the above

2 – 2 ½ cups water

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer; simmer, covered, 30 minutes; then process and strain or run through food mill. Then bring to a boil and reduce and then add to the above

Cream, about ½ cup

Retaste for salt and pepper.

This recipe came from the Sterns website called Roadfood.com. They do a segment each week on The Splendid Table show on NPR. It's very conveniently available on podcast, free, through iTunes.

Rice Pudding


4 cups cooked rice
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 cups whole milk
1 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
Heavy cream

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.
3. Pour into a casserole and bake 1-1/2 hours until the top is browned.
4. Serve warm, topped with a fine dust of nutmeg if desired. Drizzle with
cream.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hairyspray -- Best Movie Ever???? Well, One of the Best!!!

Okay, so we went to the very first show today of the Hairspray premiere day. It was very good. Well, hell, it was effing incredible!! Go see it lots of times.









Enough? Alright already.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Poor-Man's Osso Buco alla Milanese

The other day we drove down valley to Indio to shop at a new Latino market called Cardenas. Wow! Fantastic produce and meats. And the bakery is just like the ones in Mexico where you go through with a tray and tongs and pick out a variety of things. We'll definitely go back soon. Most memorable were the cheese-jalapeno rolls (ate them on the way home) and the Telera rolls. Way better than the ones we get from Ralph's.

MILAN-STYLE BRAISED VEAL SHANKS


Kitchen twine
6 center-cut veal shanks (each about 2 inches thick)(I only used 4 beef shanks)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups finely chopped onions
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot
3 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
(the onions, carrots, garlic I whizzed in the processor for quicker softening, and less chopping)
All purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes in juice (I drained the juice really well; then reduced to a thicker consistency so the sauce wouldn't be so watery.)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 3 x 1/2-inch lemon peel strips (yellow part only)
3 cups (or more) canned beef broth (I used closer to 4 cups.)
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Tie kitchen twine around circumference of each veal shank so that veal will hold shape while cooking. (Securing the twine was kind of tricky/slippery; so I just left it off and they came out fine. When finished, the meat separated from the bone anyway because it was so tender.) Set a heavy large pot over medium heat (pot should be big enough to accommodate meat arranged in single layer). Add 1/4 cup butter to pot and melt. Add onions, carrot and 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic and sauté until vegetables are tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper. Coat veal with flour, shaking off excess. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef to skillet and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer veal to pot with vegetables. Discard fat in skillet.
Add 1 cup white wine to skillet and boil until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, scraping up browned bits, about 3 minutes. Pour over veal and vegetables. Add canned tomatoes with juices, 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped basil and lemon peel strips to pot. Add enough beef broth to cover veal. Bring mixture to boil. Cover pot tightly with aluminum foil, then lid. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until veal is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (I brought it to a boil; then transferred to 325 convection oven for about 2 1/2 hours.) (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)
Transfer veal to platter; cover to keep warm. Boil sauce until slightly thickened and reduced to 4 cups, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (I didn't bother reducing, because it was nice and chunky and not to thin as it was.)

(The following for gremolata was in the recipe, but I forgot to mix it up and it turned out fine.)

Mix grated lemon peel, remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and 2 tablespoons parsley in small bowl. Pour sauce over veal. Sprinkle with lemon peel mixture.

Serves 6 (or 4 if making only 4 shanks)


Notes on the recipe:

Definitely a keeper. Next time, though, I'll sweat the vegetables as suggested, but instead of the messy browning step, I'll season the meat, place on a sheet pan in a hot oven, and roast them about 30 minutes until nicely browned; then deglaze the sheet pan with the wine. Lots less cleanup. To help thicken the sauce, I'll sprinkle the vegetables with flour and mix in well.

I started this in the afternoon, with the vegetables and browning steps; then deglazed. Cooled it all, stored it covered in the fridge until the next day and picked up with the rest of the recipe.

Served it up with sour cream garlic mashed potatoes.

Tonight we'll strip the meat from the remaining 2 large shanks and mix it with the sauce, top Telera rolls from Cardenas market in Indio, and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!