Main Dish

Slow-cooker Beef Ragu

During my Levy Court campaign, pretty much the only type of cooking I did was in the crock pot – slow cooking.  The only free time I had was at the very beginning of the day, and that only for about 15 minutes. So, that meant it needed to be recipes with very little preparation before going into the crock pot.

This beef ragu was a great meal that, served with pasta, provided us with hearty meals for several days.

I was able to pick up some locally raised beef (flank steaks) at the butcher. Yes, we are lucky to have a butcher near our home.

And look at the colors (and flavors) that went into the sauce. The herbs all came from my garden.

Slow-cooker Beef Ragu

from PinchofYum.com

1 teaspoon olive oil

6 garlic cloves, smashed slightly

1½ pounds flank steak, cut against the grain into 4 pieces (locally raised)

salt and pepper

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup reduced sodium beef broth

1 carrot, chopped

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme (from the garden)

16 ounces pappardelle pasta

Parmesan and parsley for topping

Directions

In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

Pour the tomatoes and broth over the beef and add the garlic from step one, carrots, bay leaves, and thyme.

Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Discard the herbs and shred the beef in the pot using 2 forks.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot, and add the sauce from the slow cooker. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the pasta and sauce are combined, about 1 minute.

Divide among 8 bowls and top each with Parmesan, ricotta, and parsley. Serve hot!…Yum!

Serves 8.

Categories: Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Lentil Loaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze

As we ate this and I was so surprised at how delicious it was, our daughter laughed and said, “What did you expect, of course it would be bad, you were making it. pause. Of course it was going to be good!” Now, you have to realize how amazing this is – growing up the girls pretty much lived on Zatarains and dreaded when I would “cook.” They still tell war stories about some of the big failures.

The change came really came about 8 years ago when I had a slow time with my business and dove into my garden and cooking for real. They started looking forward to coming home for dinner. They now tease my 7 year old that he never had to eat “bad” food (I even made just about all of his baby food).

To me, this loaf was still a shot in the dark because it was not my recipe and I have always had mixed experiences with vegetarian loafs. But this was a big hit, we all loved it, so its a keeper! (but next time I will use a narrower loaf pan, it will look prettier)

It was very reminiscent of a good meatloaf. Even the texture working with it felt like meat.

And the glaze added a nice interest and even extra flavor to an already flavorful loaf.

Lentil Loaf with Maple Balsamic Glaze
very slightly adapted from Eating Bird Food‘s Lentil Loaf with a Maple Sweetened Glaze

 

½ cup dry brown (green) lentils

1⅓ cup water

1 bay leaf

1 Tablespoon olive oil

½ large onion (about 1 heaping cup), chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup rolled oats

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (local)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon dried thyme (from the garden)

1 teaspoon dried oregano (from the garden)

1 teaspoon dried basil (from the garden)

8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Maple Sweetened Glaze
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1½ Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
pinch of sea salt
Directions
Heat oven to 375°.
Prepare lentils by rinsing them and adding to a pot with water and a bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat down and simmer covered until all the liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf and set the lentils aside to cool. This step can be done in advance (it helps with time management).

In the meantime toast walnuts by spreading them onto a baking sheet and toasting in the oven for about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions, garlic, carrots and celery until they’ve softened and become fragrant. About 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Add lentils (reserve ½ cup for later), cooked veggies, toasted walnuts, oats, soy sauce, tomato paste, ground flaxseed, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, thyme, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, ground pepper and sea salt to the food processor.

Pulse until mixture is just combined and the texture is to your liking. You want the mixture to be combined enough to stick together, but you don’t want it to be completely pulverized. It should look and feel like ground beef texture.

Stir in the reserved lentils

Press mixture into parchment lined loaf pan.

In a small bowl stir together glaze ingredients.

Spread the glaze over top of the loaf.

Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 8 more minutes. Let the loaf rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Serves 6.

Categories: Carrot, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 3 Comments

Spaghetti Squash Latkes

Spaghetti squash latkes, who would have thought? Zakah Glaser, that’s who; and I thank her for the recipe I found on Chabad.org.

I have to say that these were good the first day, but they were excellent as leftovers.  I have no idea why this was true, but that bodes well for making these in advance for a party or other gathering and then warming them up for serving.

Spaghetti Squash Latkes

Zakah Glaser on Chabad.org

1 spaghetti squash (from Highland Orchards)

1 onion, grated

2 eggs (from Highland Orchards)

1/4 oat bran

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper, to taste

Directions

Slice the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, place face up in a baking pan and bake for 1 hour at 450ºF.

Let squash cool, then scoop out squash and mix with remaining ingredients.

Coat skillet with vegetable spray or oil and drop mixture by spoonful into pan. Brown well on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve and enjoy!

Categories: Hanukah, Jewish Holiday, Main Dish, Recipe, Spaghetti Squash, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Kotlet Latkes – Persian Beef & Potato Patties turned into Latkes!

I really enjoy when I can blend my husband’s Persian foods with Jewish holidays. We found a perfect combination with Kotlets.  Kotlets are a small beef, potato and onion patty that is fried to crispy goodness. As my husband described them to me, his mom made them with potatoes that were mashed. But I have also seen them with grated potatoes.  Next time I will make the mashed potato version, but for our Hanukkah version – grated potatoes it was!

I used advieh and turmeric to get the flavor we wanted. If you do not have advieh, cinnamon is similar, but use less of it.

We ended up with enough to serve 6 – 8 people as a main dish. It was a fun way to start Hanukkah and celebrate our diverse household.

They were gobbled up before I got a good picture of a plate – but we ate them with parsnip fries, cucumber tomato salad and torshi (gardiniera).

Kotlet Latkes

1 – 1 1/4 lbs potatoes

1 large onion

1 pounds ground beef

½ tsp advieh

1 1/2 – 2 tsp turmeric

1/2 – 1 tsp Kosher salt

4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup oil, more if necessary

Directions

Peel the potatoes and boil in salted water until just tender, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool until you can easily handle them, then grate the potatoes.

Peel and grate the onion, squeeze out the excess water.

Mix all the ingredients (except the oil) together in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix them together really well.

Form the patties by take a handful of the meat mixture, about the size of a large egg, and form it into a flat oval (or egg-shaped) patty. It should be 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick. Repeat until all the meat mixture is made into patties.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the patties on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, then about 3 minutes on the other side.

Drain on paper towels. Enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8.

Categories: Hanukah, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | 2 Comments

Kimchi Fried Rice

Last month, we got savoy cabbage and oriental radishes in our CSA box.  So I made my first kimchi. It came out surprisingly well. If I make it again, I will need to post it, but for now, it will become the star of the fried rice.

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I also had gotten a very large bok choy, half of which I froze.

Both came together in a very happy fried rice. It was perfect served with some extra kimchi as a garnish.

Kimchi Fried Rice

adapted from Ministry of Curry

6 cups of cooked Jasmine rice

3-4 eggs

1/2 cup diced onions

1/4 cup chopped scallions

4 garlic cloves minced

1 cup of Kimchi chopped with liquid

2 cups chopped bok choy

2 tbsp canola oil

Directions:

Cook rice and set aside to cool, or use day old rice.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large wok and scramble 3-4 eggs. Remove from wok and set aside.

In the same wok add remaining oil, sauté onion  and garlic until onions turn translucent. Add chopped Kimchi with the liquid and cook on hight heat until all the liquid disappears.

Add bok choy, half of the scallions and cook for another 2 mins on high heat (with frozen bok choy it will take a bit longer to cook to get rid of the moisture). Add cooked rice, scrambled eggs and mix well. Add salt if needed.

Serve topped with the remaining scallions with additional kimchi to pass. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

 

 

 

Categories: Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Spinach Empanadas

I had spent days and days baking cookies and cakes for Hanukkah. I thought I was finally finished baking.  I went through 10 lbs of flour in just a few days! I put away my baking mat and pushed the standing mixer back into the corner. I was done.

And the next day…I decided to make empanadas for dinner. Out came the mixer. Out came the mat. Out came the flour…and the butter…and…

sweet potatoes from my garden and spinach from the CSA! Yes, vegetarian empanadas.

The filling was delicious, just the right amount of smokiness from the adobo sauce.  Thank goodness the recipe made extra – we munched on the filling by itself as the empanadas baked.

The pastry was one of the best I have ever made. It was super buttery and flaky.

I served it with some home-made guacamole, chipotle salsa and mild salsa.

Smoky Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Empanadas

from Smells Like Browniescrust from Epicurious
makes 7-8

Crust:
2¼ cups flour
1½ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
⅓ cup ice water
1 tbsp. white vinegar

Filling:
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup finely diced shallot
2 large cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. adobo sauce
½ tsp. salt
2 packed cups chopped baby spinach
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1½ cups sweet potato mash (from about 1 large sweet potato, microwaved for 7-8 minutes) (from the garden)
egg wash
guacamole, sour cream, and/or salsa, for serving

Directions

Whisk together the flour and salt for the crust. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter, working until the butter is about the size of peas and well mixed with the flour.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Stir in the ice water and vinegar.

Gently mix the liquid with the flour, using a fork in a fluffing motion. When all of the liquid has been mixed in and the dough is in large clumps, turn it out onto a clean work surface. Knead 5–6 times, or until all of the shaggy bits of flour have been absorbed into the dough. Shape the dough into a 1″ thick rectangle and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the shallot is translucent and barely beginning to brown. Stir in the cumin, coriander, adobo, and salt.

Stir in the spinach and let it wilt for 1 minute. Add the black beans and sweet potato mash and stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Remove the filling from the heat and let it cool while rolling out the crust dough.

Heat the oven to 400°.

Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a floured work surface. Roll it out to about ¼″ thickness. Use a 6″ round cutter or trace a bowl to cut 6″ circles. Re-roll the dough as needed to incorporate the scraps. Aim for 7–8 dough circles.

Transfer the crust rounds to a lined baking sheet. Brush the edges with egg wash.
Drop about ⅓ cup of the filling in the center of each circle. There may be a little filling left over, but do not give in to the temptation to over-fill the empanadas, or they will be unable to close.

Fold the dough circle in half over the filling to form a filled semicircle. Press the edges together with a fork and prick the top of each empanada 3 times to create vents.

Brush the tops of the empanadas thoroughly with egg wash.

Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and baked through. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with guacamole, sour cream, or garlicky salsa for dipping. Enjoy!

Makes 7 – 8 empanadas, serves 6 – 8.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Stuffed Cabbage

There is a cabbage farm just a couple of miles from our house. I am glad it is not closer because at certain times of the year, it is painful to drive down that road – cabbage is a very “aromatic” crop – to put it mildy.

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picture from Papen Farms Facebook page

Naturally, cabbage was in our CSA basket.

I had already made rye bread that day, so I would continue to channel my eastern european-ness and made stuffed cabbage for dinner.

Now THIS is comfort food!

I remember stuffed cabbage being an all day process for my mother, so I thought “why would I want to put myself through that?” While I was making this dinner for 3, I realized why hers took so long.  When she made it, she was typically cooking for a holiday meal of 40 people! No wonder it took all day! Trust me, this cooks for a long time, but the actual work time is well under an hour.

Stuffed Cabbage

adapted from Prakkes in Jewish Food – The World at Table by Matthew Goodman

1 medium cabbage, about 2 lbs (locally grown)

filling

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped (locally grown)

1 lb lean ground beef

sauce

1 1/2 cups tomato puree

1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup water

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the cabbage to the pot and cook just a few minutes until the outer layers of leaves are pliable and can be removed without breaking (I sliced them at their base with a sharp paring knife to remove it). Place the removed leaves in a large bowl of cold water. Continue this process until you have 10 – 12 leaves removed. Save the rest of the cabbage for lining the pot.

Pat the leaves dry.  For large leaves, slice them in half, removing the center rib. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are well browned. Remove from the skillet and place in a medium bowl.

Add the meat to the skillet and cook til browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Mix into the onion-mushroom mixture, season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Line the bottom of a heavy pot or dutch oven with the leftover cabbage leaves.

Place about 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of a cabbage leaf.  Fold the sides of the leaf to trap the filling, the roll up the leaf to form a cylinder. Place in the pot, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining leaves.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomato puree, brown sugar, vinegar and water and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour over the stuffed cabbage. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the cabbage is very tender, at least 1 1/2 hours.

Serve the stuffed cabbage with the sauce spooned over it.  Enjoy!

Serves 4.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | Tags: | Leave a comment

Khoresh Karafs Morgh – Persian Celery Stew with Chicken

The celery from my CSA basket was adding up, perfect for some Khoresh Karafs – Persian Celery Stew.

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I can vividly recall the first time I had Khoresh Karafs; it was the first time I was in Tehran, and we were having dinner at my husband’s niece’s apartment. His sister made khoresh karafs for dinner. I was not excited at the thought of CELERY stew, but my husband was very excited. All it took was one taste – this is good stuff! Earthy, yet bright, and very satisfying, Persian comfort food.

Typically, khoresh karafs is make with beef, but I happened to have some chicken I had recently roasted, so I made khoresh karafs morgh. It turned out surprisingly good! I Iike it just as well with the chicken, and what a delicious use for leftovers!

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Khoresh Karafs Morgh

Adapted from My Persian Kitchen.com

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 lb of chicken (cooked & cut into bite-sized pieces)

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 head of celery (locally grown)

1 bunch of mint

1 bunch of parsley (from the garden)

2 Tbsp dried fenugreek

3 dried Persian limes

2 tsp advieh

salt & pepper

Directions

In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, scallions, and garlic until translucent.

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Add add the chicken and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper, puncture the dried Persian lemons and add them and 3 cups of water.  Cover and cook while you work on the greens.

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Cut the celery in pieces about 2 inches long. In a separate pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, add celery, and saute for about 5 minutes.

Rough chop the parsley and mint.

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Add the celery, chopped herbs, advieh, and 2 cups of water to the meat pot.  Cover and cook on medium for 1 1/2 hours. Adjust seasoning.

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Serve with rice and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Shanghai Braised Beef with Turnips

Turnips from the CSA and beef from our local butcher; the makings for a dinner the men in our family would really enjoy.

I saved the turnip greens for a gumbo – that came out well, but not outstanding, we all decided it was good but not blog-worthy. But I love being able to use all parts of the vegetables that come in my CSA box.

But back to the turnips themselves.  They melded with the meat, it was a luscious and satisfying dish. There was not a drop left in the entire pot when dinner was done. That makes me very happy!

As you can see, I served this with Persian rice – I was outvoted by the overwhelming desire of my “diners” to have tadig – the crispy rice that comes with good Persian rice. But, really this should be served with a sticky rice.

Shanghai Braised Beef with Turnips

from Roots by Diane Morgan

3 Tbsp canola oil

1 1/2 cups scallions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

2 lb boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks (locally raised)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp flour

1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

2star anise pods

1 1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick

1 tsp five spice powder

1/3 cup rice wine

2 cups beef broth

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 lb turnips, peeled and cut into wedges (locally grown)

Cooked rice for serving

Directions

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F.

In a large dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the scallions, the garlic, jalapeno and ginger and cook, stirring, until tender and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to burn. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mixture to a plate.

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper and toss it in the flour til evenly coated. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil.  Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, 6-8 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the meat to a rimmed baking sheet.

Pour off all but 2 Tbsp of the fat from the pot and return to medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick, and five-spice and stir until fragrant and the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to loosen the brown bits stuck to the pot bottom.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half.

Return the onion mixture and the meat with any accumulated juices on the baking sheet to the pot. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover with a tight fitting lid, transfer to the oven and braise for 2 hours, stirring the meat once after 1 hour.  After 2 hours, add the turnips to the pot, stirring to submerge them in the liquid.

Re-cover, return to the oven and cook until the turnips are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes longer. The meat should be very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spoon the rice into shallow bowls and ladle the stew over the top, serve and enjoy! 

Serves 4

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Time to use another section of my giant crookneck squash.

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I roasted about 2/3 of the neck and since I only needed 2 1/2 cups of pulp, it was still too much , so I will need to find another use for the couple of extra cups of pulp. Since even just the plain roasted pulp was delicious, that will not be a difficult thing to do.

I used the squash in place of butternut for these lasagna roll ups. The squash is the base for both the filling and the sauce.

They were delicious!

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Slightly adapted from Proud Italian Cook

1 butternut squash (or part of a crookneck squash), enough to get 2 1/2 cups of pulp (locally grown)

10 cooked lasagna noodles

FOR THE FILLING

2 cups of squash pulp

1 cup ricotta

¼ cup of cooked, chopped spinach, measured after it is drained well

½ cup of grated parmesan

⅓ cup of grated asiago

1 egg (locally raised)

1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE SAUCE

½ cup of reserved squash pulp, pureed smoother than the pulp for the filling

2 shallots, finely diced (I used 1 shallot and 2 very small onions from my garden)

½ stick, unsalted butter

1 small bunch of sage leaves (from the garden)

¾ cup of stock, I used vegetable

¾ cup of cream

½ cup of grated parmesan

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Prepare the squash ahead of time (you can even do it the day before and refrigerate it until ready for use).  Cut lengthwise, with skin still on, remove seeds and roast the squash, cut side down at 350 degrees until tender and a knife goes through with ease, close to an hour. Let it cool, then scoop out pulp.

FILLING MIXTURE

Mash 2 cups of the squash pulp into small chunks, making it easy for spreading.

Add in ricotta, egg, cheeses,grated garlic, zest, salt and pepper.

Mix together well, then fold in spinach until incorporated.

SAUCE

In a medium-sized skillet, saute the shallots in the butter with the sage leaves until slightly golden.

Remove the sage leaves, then add the broth and whisk in the ½ cup of the well pureed squash that was reserved until nice and smooth on low heat.

Whisk in the cream and add the grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

ASSEMBLY & BAKING

Place a little sauce on the bottom of a shallow baking dish.

Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on each cooked lasagna noodle.

Roll up and place them seam side down in the baking dish.

Spoon sauce on top of each lasagna roll up, plus grate a little parmesan cheese on top of each. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, sauce will be set and top will be slightly golden.

Serve topped with some sauce and enjoy!!

Serves 4-5.

Categories: Butternut Squash, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Spinach, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

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