Maura’s Pot Roast

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1 – 2 ½ pound Brisket or Rump roast for pot roast
salt and pepper
meat seasoning (Adobo or Accent)
flour

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

1 14.5 ounce beef broth

1. Sprinkle meat seasoning, salt and pepper on all sides of roast. Rub it in.
2. In a dish, add flour. Dredge roast in the flour, covering generously all sides of roast.
3. In a large frying pan add olive oil. Heat oil on medium flame. Once oil is hot, add floured roast and brown on all sides evenly. Place roast fat side down and add beef broth and cover the pot. Cook long and slow until tender, about 3 hours on a very low flame. Turn roast every 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Optional – Cook roast for 1 and 1/2 hours and then add large chunks of peeled and cleaned potatoes, carrots and celery. Cook another 1 and 1/2 hours or until vegetables are cook all the way through.
5. Serve sliced pot roast immediately over cooked egg noodles or with vegetables.
6. ENJOY! – Savory Pot Roast that will make your mouth water!

Maura is my sister from another mother.

She and her family moved next door to me when we were about 3 years old, and we’ve been as tight as peas in a pod ever since. As the years flew by, we married our true loves; Maura moved to New Jersey, and I moved to Westchester. Different lives & different towns did not make a difference in the friendship between these two little sister-friends. We still take a vacation together with our families and other childhood friends every year on the Jersey shore, and make it a priority to visit each other as often as time permits. As far as I’m concerned, it’s never enough, as for Maura, perhaps not so much. I say this with a wink because I know she is reading this story.

Both of us get up at dawn on the weekend and, over time, created a ritual I hold dear to my heart. We have maintained a strong connection throughout our lives by phoning each other every Saturday morning. We chat and catch up on our lives as our families sleep. Years ago, when every phone call appeared on the monthly phone bill, my husband, Tom, would go crazy over that one page of calls to Maura in Jersey that totaled sometimes over $30. Eventually, Tom couldn’t complain once I explained that he was getting a break because a therapist would cost him $50 an hour. After all, I was actually saving him $20!

With all the snow we’ve been having lately in the tri-state area, being snowbound at home isn’t so much fun anymore. Personally, I love to cook and bake, so it has been great to prepare those time consuming dishes in the kitchen on a snowy day. As a special education teacher, Maura’s idea of the perfect snow day is to do work for her students or to spend time cleaning. (Wish I had that gene!) But just these past few weeks, Maura has gotten into cooking. She has always cooked for her family and prepared all of the holiday dinners. But now, she is getting into cooking for the joy of it and recently made this pot roast, a simple recipe with few ingredients. Happily, she shared it with me. There is no great secret to a good pot roast, except patience. Believe me, it’s worth the wait!

Maura, I am really looking forward to us cooking together! I know, I know, I will have to keep waiting for that to happen. But, in the meantime, what are we going to make together on our next snow day?

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Lamb Meatballs with Spinach and Tomatoes

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1 1/ 4 ground lamb
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
1/ 2 teaspoon rosemary

Oil for frying

1/ 2 cup chicken broth
1/ 2 cup of spinach, cooked and drained
1- 14 ounce can petite cut tomatoes, drained or 3 tomatoes diced into
1/ 4 to 1/ 2 cup heavy cream or half and half
salt and pepper

8 ounces box of orzo pasta, cooked

1. In a bowl, mix lamb, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, rosemary, salt and pepper together. Shape into 24 to 30 bite size meatballs.
2. In a large frying pan, add olive or canola oil, about 2 tablespoons to cover the bottom of the pan. Add meatballs, fry until cooked through and browned all over. Remove meatballs from pan and set aside. Drain off fat.
3. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté until tender, add cooked spinach. Lower flame and simmer, add chicken broth, cook 10 minutes, then add half and half or heavy cream with salt and pepper. Cook 5 to 10 minutes more. Add meatballs back to frying pan and simmer a few more minutes until everything is heated through
4. Serve immediately while still warm over cooked orzo.
ENJOY – Lamb, spinach and tomatoes, oh my and oh so good!

My observation about lamb is that people either love it or hate it. They will either embrace their plate of lamb or push it away; there is no in between.

While my husband and I love it, we only choose to enjoy it on occasion as not all our kids share the love. Every time I make lamb, I return to my childhood kitchen table with my dad sitting next to me. Cooked lamb has a strong aroma, and it’s this aroma that always triggers memories of my dad.

Dad was a butcher, so we’d eat meat five nights a week. He’d explain to me what we were eating and what part of the animal it came from. These days, with everyone so sensitive about eating meat, I understand that some of you might find this offensive or even barbaric. However, please keep in mind that this was the 1960s, vegetarians were very rare, and folks felt blessed to even have food on the table. Our parents lived through tough times and experienced the feeling of hunger on a regular basis. Being a butcher was my father’s livelihood. He was the head of the house and took pride in his ability to keep his family safe and well fed. I so loved and respected him for that.

This recipe, with the combination of the tomatoes, spinach, and lamb meatballs in a slightly creamy sauce, is so flavorful that you may actually discover a new found love for this dish.

To this day, I still enjoy meat. No, I no longer eat it five nights a week, but I will not deny my attraction to its taste and aroma.

I send love and thanks to my Dad for letting me appreciate a good meal made with meat.

Rissoles

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2 to 3 cups cooked leg of lamb (any meat can be substituted)
1/ 2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/ 2 Italian green pepper
parsley
olive oil
2 slices bread
2 eggs
salt and pepper

Italian bread crumbs
canola oil

1. Trim fat from leftover roasted boneless leg of lamb. Places small pieces of lamb
into food processor to grind. Place lamb into a medium bowl.
2. Mince onion, carrot, pepper and garlic cloves. In a medium frying pan, drizzle olive
oil on bottom of pan. Add vegetables to oil and saute until tender.
3. Mix lamb, vegetables, parsley, salt and pepper together. Add 2 eggs, slightly beaten
and 2 slices of slightly stale bread, broken into small pieces. Mix eveything together
well and shape into small patties. Dredge the patties in Italian bread crumbs, coating
the patties completely. Fry in canola oil until browned on both sides.
4. Serve immediately.
7. Enjoy – Leftover Lamb never tasted sooo good!

Sorry I have not posted sooner, but I have been experiencing some technical difficulties.
I just wanted to say that before I continued with this post. Thank you for your patience.

Rissoles have apparently been around a very long time, though I had never heard of them. My friend, Dom, told me about them.
Of course, I had to try to make them once I heard a new recipe. They seem to me to be glorified meatballs. Where as a meatball is made with ground uncooked meat, a rissole is made with leftover already cooked meat. The sautéed carrot with an Italian pepper are just the right addition to enhance an already delectable flavor.

My family and I enjoy a roasted leg of lamb for a Sunday dinner on occasion. But the next day no one wants to eat the leftover lamb. Till now that is. This rissole recipe was taste tested by my husband, children, their spouses and my grandchildren. Hands down, these rissoles received accolades all around.

No more wasted leftover lamb or any other roasted meat, now that I have my rissole recipe!

Leg of Lamb

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2 1/ 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb
2 or 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 garlic cloves
1 / 2 cup red wine
Salt and pepper

1. In a shallow marinating dish place boneless lamb.
2. Spear the lamb with a knife on fat skin side to create small holes. Cut the garlic into
long spear pieces and place in the holes of the lamb. Add fresh rosemary and pour the red wine
over the lamb. Cover and marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
3. Oven to 325 degrees. Place the lamb into a oven baking dish. Place on center rack and cook 1 hour, remove from
oven and check the meat with a meat thermometer. The correct temperature for lamb for medium is 165 degrees inside the
center of the lamb. After one hour, it should not have reached this temp yet, so return to oven. Cook another 30 minutes
and check the meat again with the thermometer. After checking if the temp is still too low, cook again for no more than
15 to 20 minutes longer. I removed my lamb at a temperature of 157, because the lamb will continue to cook while sitting in
the dish on top of the oven before cutting into it. (Depending on the thickness of the cut of the meat, check the
center for a pinkish color. If the lamb is too rare for your taste cook a bit longer but
keep a close eye on it. Lamb should not be raw but it should be cooked medium rare. Definitely do not over cook your lamb.)
4. The aroma of the lamb with garlic in rosemary is delightful and makes for a delicious gravy. Serves 4 to 5. Suggestion – serve
with either roasted or mashed potatoes.
5. ENJOY – Lamb the other meat, we love to eat!

Traditional dishes are something I enjoy preparing when it comes to holiday dinners. It isn’t Easter without Leg of Lamb, as much as it isn’t St. Patrick’s Day
without Corned Beef and Cabbage. If nothing else, these holiday dishes are familiar and loved. Potatoes are always part of the menu whenever I prepare lamb.
But whatever you cook, I hope you enjoy it with those you love.

This year as well as the past few years, Easter will be spent at my daughter, Marisa’s home in Buffalo. Her and her husband, Jeff, host Easter every year since they were married four years ago. We all “Shuffle off to Buffalo”! All meaning, my other daughter, my son, his wife and their 3 children and their dog. Marisa and Jeff have a dog and 2 cats. Picture this – 10 people, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 bedrooms. It is very cozy and close. Marisa seems to love it, the first few days anyway. No matter how many times I offer to stay at a hotel, she just shrugs it off. You can’t have more togetherness as a family than this. We spend a total of 4 nights and 5 days thisclose. If that doesn’t bond our family together, nothing will!

Whether you spend the holidays near or far, may you spend them with those you love and hug!

SHORT RIBS

short ribs 2

short ribs 2

short ribs 1

short ribs 1

short ribs

short ribs

3 1/2 to 4 lbs beef short ribs

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper

1 14ounce can of beef broth
2 onions, peeled and halved
6 to 8 carrots, peeled and cut into halfs/thirds
2 celery stalks, cut into thirds
thyme
oregano
salt and pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup red wine

1. In a large pot over a low flame, add canola oil, about 2 tablespoons, just enough to coat the bottom of the pot. In a bowl, add flour with salt and pepper and stir to sift together. Dredge the short ribs through the flour till coated completely. Raise the flame the pot from low to medium. Place the flour coated short ribs into the pot. Cook the ribs quickly, to sear all four sides brown.
2. Add can beef broth to pot and then fill can three times with water and pour into the port. Add onions, carrots, celery, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook for one hour. Turn off stove. Let sit.
3. Meanwhile, in a dutch oven pot, add olive oil, about 1 1/2 tablespoons, and minced garlic to a medium flame. Cook until garlic is translucent. Add tomato paste and stir fo a few minutes. Add red wine to pot 1/2 cup at a time. Stir constitantly, to blend.
4. Oven to 375 degrees.
5. Scoop with a slotted spoon, ribs, and then all vegetables out of the pot to the dutch oven pot. Pour the seasoned beef broth mixture in the dutch oven pot just to cover the meat. Stir to blend the tomato paste and beef broth mixtures all together.
6. Cover the dutch oven and bake for one hour. Uncover the pot and if the sauce looks like it decreased, add some more beef broth and stir to blend it. Cover the dutch oven pot and cook for another hour. It should be down at that time. Remove the dutch oven to the top of the stove and remove the cover.
7. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6. Options – serve with mashed potatoes on the side or over egg noodles.
6. ENJOY – Short on ribs, Long on flavor!

Nothing speaks of friendship like a get together with old friends at a good restaurant.  Some years ago, several of us from work met at a restaurant, Roasted Peppers, for dinner.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to order when my friend, Donna, suggested the “really good” short ribs. Well, I trusted her tastebuds, and I got the payoff; these ribs were both tender and tasty! I was happy Donna convinced me to get them.  Ever since that night, short ribs has become my meal of choice whenever I go to Roasted Peppers because they are that good. 

When I enjoy a meal in a restaurant, I take on the challenge to recreate the dish at home.  It will just nag at me till I make it. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.  And then sometimes, I create a new recipe much to my delight – and others who are willing to taste what has emerged from the deep recesses of the cookbook section of my brain.

There is a method to my madness.  The process I use to create new recipes begins by exploring the many different recipes from my various cookbooks.  From there, I determine how I want to prepare a new dish as I consider what additional ingredient(s) might enhance the flavor.  It’s almost like a science experiment.   This short rib recipe was a success. Trust me, I’ve tried several variations on this theme, and this particular recipe rose above the rest.   

If you don’t want to cook short ribs at home, then visit Roasted Peppers, and try their version of short ribs.  You will be happy you did!

Roasted Peppers

320 Mamaroneck Avenue

Mamaroneck, NY  10543

(914) 341-1140  

 

TURKEY POT PIE

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4 pie crusts (2 top and 2 deep dish bottom)
1 1/ 2 cups turkey, cubed
1/ 2 cup cooked peas
1/ 2 cup cooked carrots
2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
1 onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/ 2 cup flour
1 cup turkey / chicken broth
1 cup half and half
Salt and pepper

1 egg yolk
2 tablespoon half and half

1. Prepare bottom pie crusts, place on a cookie sheet.
2. Oven to 450 degrees.
3. In a bowl add cooled carrots, peas and cubed turkey, sprinkle with salt and
pepper. Toss together till mixed well. Place into pie crusts, filling a
little more than half way. (Don’t over fill piecrusts.)
4. In a medium pot, melt butter, sauté chopped onions and celery, cook till
tender.
5. Add flour to sauté buttered onions. With a wooden spoon blend in flour
quickly. Pour in turkey or chicken broth slowly into the flour mixture under
a low/medium flame, constantly stirring. As the sauce thickens, slowly add
the half and half, continuously stirring. Continue stirring until the sauce
is well blended. The sauce will be smooth, but light. (It thickens as it
bakes, so don’t make the sauce too thick in the pot.)
6. Pour sauce over the turkey mixture in the piecrusts, filling almost to the rim
of the piecrust.
7. Place top piecrusts over the pies, pinching the dough around the edges. With
a knife, make slits over the top piecrusts. Take your egg yolk and half and
half, mix together and with a pastry brush, brush the top piecrusts.
8. Bake for 15 minutes on high oven temp. Lower oven to 350 degrees and continue
cooking for 30 to 35 minutes more. After removing pies from the oven, let
them sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.
9. ENJOY – Homemade Pot Pie, there is nothing better!

Thanksgiving has one turkey on one day, but that one turkey keeps on giving for many days more. There are so many ways to use up leftover turkey, besides the traditional turkey sandwich the next day. I always make my turkey pot pies after Thanksgiving. There is nothing like a piece of homemade turkey pot pie for dinner on a cold winter evening to warm one’s heart! What else warms one’s heart? How about heat for starters! I was out of power for almost two weeks and I really missed having heat in the house.

This Hurricane Sandy that hit us on the east coast gave us a run for our money; lives, homes and power were lost. I was one of the lucky ones; I only lost power. But others were not so lucky. Homes, cars and the possessions of one’s lifetime destroyed. Possessions such as videos of your children, your mother’s china, photos of your family, etc., the irreplaceable items of a person, all gone in an instant.

But here we are at Thanksgiving time, grateful and thankful for what we have. Our family tradition is that each person says what they are thankful for after we say grace. This year I think it may be more meaningful than ever. I know what I will be saying when my turn comes: I will start by saying how thankful I am for right here and now, this very moment. Every minute of every day is a gift and I try to always remember that. I am grateful for those still in our life and able to share our table. And to all my family and friends, I thank you for being a part of my life, my memories and my future to come. Happy Thanksgiving.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

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ROAST BEEF

3 to 4 pound boneless silver tip roast beef
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper

1. Oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place roast beef in baking dish, fat side up. Sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper over top.
3. Bake for 20 minutes per pound. After the time is up, leave oven on and check with meat thermometer by sticking it in the center top of the meat. It should be about 145 for medium rare. (Another way that I check the meat is to poke a small hole on top and if the juice comes out clear it is good, if the juice comes out bloody, the meat is still too rare and I continue to cook it.)
4. After removing meat from the oven, let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
5. ENJOY – Savory is the way for this roast beef!

YORKSHIRE PUDDING

3 Eggs
1 1/ 2 cups flour
1 1/ 2 cups milk
1/ 2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons drippings from roast beef
(substitutes can be vegetable or canola oil, or bacon grease)

1. Oven to 425 degrees.
2. Beat eggs and milk. Sift salt with flour. Gradually add the flour to the milk mixture and continue to beat until you have a smooth batter.
3. With a spoon, ladle roast beef drippings into 12 muffin cups. (Another option is to use a 9 x 13 baking pan.) Swirl to coat the bottom and sides of muffin cups. Pour batter into cups filling to 2/ 3 of the cup.
4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and center of Yorkshire pudding popovers.
5. After removing meat from the oven, remove from pan immediately. Serve warm. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
6. ENJOY – Bit o’ the English taste for ya!

Roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy — you can’t beat that for a Sunday diner! If you want to go that extra mile, then add Yorkshire pudding to the menu. The combination makes for a good hardy meal to serve family and friends. Honestly, roast beef is one of the easiest roasts to make; I just keep it simple and only lightly season it. Yorkshire pudding looks quite impressive, but the level of difficulty in preparing it is quite low.

Sunday is family day. This belief was instilled in me at an early age; Sunday dinner was sacred and missing dinner was a major crime in my house. Nearly every Sunday I make a huge dinner and try to invite someone over. Family or friends, it doesn’t matter because there’s always an abundance of food. When my mom was alive, I treasured her presence at our dinner table several times a month.

I will never forget a Sunday dinner that I missed when I was about 10 years old. My girlfriend, Joanne, asked me to go with her to see her dad, a conductor with the Long Island Railroad who was divorced from Joanne’s mom. This particular Sunday was Father’s Day and Joanne was excited about giving her dad a Father’s Day present. We went up to the train station about 8 blocks away and waited; unfortunately, the train was delayed. Finally, the train pulled in and her dad jumped off. Big hugs and kisses went around, and gifts were exchanged. Joanne’s dad gave us a wave goodbye, and their mini visit was over. We headed home feeling pretty good. When I walked into the house I was met by a wall of silence, totally abnormal for a Sunday at home. Seated at the head of the table was my dad, sitting all alone. There was a big bowl of raviolis in front of him, and he was clearly unhappy. I was late, my brother was late and my mom and dad must have had a fight because she wasn’t there either. I had to sit next to my dad and listen to him for the entire dinner describing how upset he was. Repeatedly he exclaimed, “Why were you with Joanne’s dad and not your dad on Father’s Day.” Trust me, I was never late for Sunday dinner again. I learned the importance of Sunday dinner that day and every Sunday thereafter. That is, until my dad died when I was 12 years old. Those sacred Sunday dinners with my entire family stopped.

Now, I carry on the tradition of the Sunday dinner because I realize that time passes quickly and my children will be gone or I will be gone. They need family traditions, holiday traditions and memories to carry with them. They need to pass these traditions on to their families. One day they will appreciate the significance of sitting down to a meal with your family — it is so much more than just a meal, it is a memory.