Sunday, October 18, 2009

Red Wine Braised Shortribs ala Hubert Keller

Earlier this, I tried Hubert Keller's Red Wine Braised Shortribs after watching his Secrets of a Chef show on PBS - serving it with corned polenta, stir fry bok choy and a bottle of J Winery's 2007 Pinotage.

Here's his recipe with a couple changes:

4 pounds bone-in short ribs
salt and pepper
chayenne (my addition)
chili pepper (my addition)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 stalk lemongrass
1 1/2 cups red wine, pinot noir preferably
1 cup strong coffee (my addition)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups beef stock
1 sprig fresh sage

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Heat olive oil in a 5-quart saute or casserole pan over high heat.
  • Lay the short ribs out on a clean work surface and season all sides with salt, pepper, chayenne and chili pepper.
  • When oil is almost smoking, add ribs and let sear on high heat, 5 minutes per side or until well browned. Use tongs to rotate the ribs.
  • Once browned on all sides, remove ribs with tongs and place on a baking tray.
  • Add onions, carrots, celery, ginger, and garlic to the same pan.
  • Smash the lemongrass stalk with the back of the knife, slice, and add to pan. Saute vegetables for 2 minutes, or until softened.
  • Over high heat, add red wine and scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon as wine comes to a boil.
  • Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, brown sugar, parsley, beef stock, coffee and sage leaves to pan and bring to a simmer. Add ribs back into pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Place casserole in pre-heated oven for 1.5 hours. Remove cover and continue cooking for an additional 1 hour.
  • When rib meat is very tender, remove ribs from oven, using tongs to place on baking tray. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  • Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a saucepan, removing all of the vegetables. Over medium low heat, simmer the sauce for 5 minutes until darker in color and thicker. Add the ribs to reheat.
  • Serve ribs with sauce over polenta and bok choy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Flourless Spiced Apple and Almond Tea Cake

A couple weeks ago I came across Flourless Apple and Almond Tea Cake at Citrus and Candy. The recipe seemed simple enough to follow and would be a perfect mid-day snack when I'm needing an energy boost.

In order to cut cost (since I bought most of my ingredients at Whole Foods), I decided to make my own almond meal by grinding the almonds in the food processor. It turned out delicious, but unfortunately was on the crumbly side because I couldn't grind the almond meal small enough. Next time I'll make it easy on myself and buy the almond flour, hopefully then it will turn out better. Lesson learned... In baking, just follow the recipe and not improvise like in cooking.

Here's the recipe according to Citrus and Candy, with the changes that I made:

3 small apples - cored and cut into 8 wedges
30g (1.06 oz) unsalted butter
4 cloves (the original recipe only calls for 2)
4 cardamom (my addition)
50g (1.76 oz) raw caster sugar (I use powdered sugar, a mistake here. Maybe using regular sugar will be better?)
75g (2.65 oz or 1/2 cup) raisins

260g (9.17 oz) almond meal
220g (7.76 oz) almond
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons ground ginger (the original recipe only calls for 2)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (my addition)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (my addition)
4 eggs
230g (8.11 oz) raw caster sugar (I used regular sugar)
125ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup

Apple and Almond Topping
2 red gala or granny smith apples - cored and thinly sliced
50g (1.76 oz) almonds, roughly chopped
20g (0.70 oz) unsalted butter - melted and slightly cooled
sprinkles of raw turbinado sugar

  • In a pan large enough to fit the apples in a single layer, melt the butter over medium heat and add the apples, cloves, cardamoms and sugar and mix to coat.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are starting to color and softened.
  • Remove the cloves and cardamoms, and add raisins and stir for a minute or two until raisins have softened.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C (325F) and grease and line a 10-inch springform tin with baking paper.
  • In a food processor, pulse the almond meal, almonds, baking powder, ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon until roughly chopped. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and maple syrup until thick, pale and fluffy - at least 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Note: After 5 minutes, mine still looked a bit watery and didn't get thicken up.
  • Add the almond nut mixture and gently fold to combine.
  • Add the apple mixture and gently fold to incorporate. Pour into a cake tin.
  • Arrange the apple slices on top of the cake batter, overlapping a little to make a decorative circular pattern. Sprinkle the nuts over, drizzle with melted butter and scatter with sugars.
  • Bake in the oven for 60-75 minutes (mine was closer to 75 minutes) until skewer comes out clean of cake batter.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the cake pan before slicing and serving.

Shredded Beef with TriColor Beans and Tofu Puffs

I love using tofu puffs in Chinese dishes because they absorb the sauce's flavor very well. This Shredded Beef with TriColor Beans and Tofu Puffs is a nice comfort stir fry dish to be eaten on Sunday night. The crunchiness of the beans compliments well with the tofu puffs.

BTW, do you know that purple beans would change its color to green when fully cooked? I didn't know that, I wonder why...

1 lb stir-fry beef meat, shredded (cut into strips)
1 lb of green beans
1 lb of yellow beans
1 lb of purple beans
1 pack of tofu puffs
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
1 onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon of chinese shaoxing rice wine
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of corn starch
1/8 cup of water
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 teaspoon of corn starch, diluted in cold water in a small bowl

  • Marinate the shredded beef meats with garlic, soy sauce, mirin, shaoxing wine, salt, white pepper, red pepper flakes and corn starch for at least 1 hour.
  • Before stir-frying the beef, add a tablespoon of oil to the meat so it won't stick to the pan.
  • Stir fry the beef with a couple tablespoon of oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat until just cooked. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, stir fry the onion for a couple of minutes with a small amount of oil.
  • Add in the beans and water and cook covered for 5 minutes until the beans are just al dente.
  • Add back in the beef, tofu puffs, oyster sauce and dissolved corn starch. Mix well.
  • Add the chopped parsley and stir together.