Friday, September 3, 2010

Kitchen Report

As promised I'm here to share my rookie jam making, the amazing beef cheek results and some blueberry corn muffins that that could've fooled you into thinking they were bakery bought.

So let's jump right into jam. That might actually be a bit hard to do, considering how hard the jam turned out in the end. My co-worker Stacey came over and we jammed together. At first we didn't believe that the peaches and raspberries and sugar were really going to form a thick enough consistency. We're still totally enjoying the results, just struggling with spreading the stuff a bit. I'll be adding in lemon juice next time to see if that helps with consistency, and if not then it's onto the packet of pectin. I'll hold off sharing a recipe till I get it right. It's certainly worth another try because it was easy enough to make, very pretty and is a delicious spread, if a little on the sweet side.

Here are the blueberry muffins we gobbled down last week with berries we'd picked ourselves - those always taste so much better. I loved the results of using buttermilk instead of the plain milk called for. You should totally try them out if you're a blueberry fan - I'm very into the corn, blueberry pairing lately, yellow and purple are beautiful colors to combine.

These ranunculus flowers were brightening up my kitchen after they were towed home from Campe and Amanda's beautiful wedding in VT.

I owe you a report of beef cheeks. Now if some of you recoiled from your screen when I wrote that a few weeks ago and are finding yourself having the same reaction now, I'm telling you to give me a third chance.

I finally got around to making the Mexican recipe I linked to two Parshas ago and oh boy was it good! The meat arrived in a nice package from Golden West and it looked like any other small sized meat cut- like a chuck steak. I defrosted it in the refrigerator and created a paste like marinade for it with all kinds of delicious ingredients like honey, cumin, cilantro and espresso!

As it was slowly roasting in chicken stock and lime juice I busied myself with making some great accompaniments- pickled onions and carrots, red cabbage slaw with basil, citrus and garlic. I even blended a melon agua fresca. Yum. The meat was so tender and richly flavorful that Sam and I agreed it needed to go onto our Rosh Hashana menu. Below are the way I adapted the recipes and some pictures.

Mexican Beef Cheeks
Adapted from this food 52 recipe

2 lbs beef cheek
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp of instant espresso like Via
2 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 more
handful of cilantro (fresh is preferable but frozen will work)
1 tsp salt
1 cup of chicken stock
1 lime

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Combine everything from the garlic to the salt in a blender. This will form a paste. Place the beef in a tupperware and spread the paste all over the meat. Let sit in the fridge for 10 minutes.

In a dutch oven warm up a 2 tsbps of oilive oil and brown the meat. Add in one cup of chicken stock. Cut the lime in half, add the juice to the dutch oven and then add in the shell of the squeezed lime. Cook in the oven for 2.5 -3.5 hours.

Remove from oven and shred with 2 forks. The meat will be very tender.

Serve in a warmed tortilla with pickled onions and carrots and red cabbage slaw. Enjoy while sipping a melon agua fresca.

Pickled Red Onions and Carrots

1 red onion, peeled
2 large carrots, scrubbed clean
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Thinly slice the red onion and carrots.

Add the vinegars, sugar, salt and oregano to a large stainless steel pan. Heat over a medium low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add in the onion and carrots and add to a 275 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool in the vinegar. Strain and serve.

Red Cabbage Slaw

I found this recipe by Bobby Flay and adapted it slightly

1 small head of red cabbage
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup canola oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of basil
2 garlic cloves

Slice the cabbage and put in a large bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a blender and toss with the cabbage.

Melon Agua Fresca

Adapted from Eating Local by Janet Fletcher and Sur La Table

1 melon, seeds and skin removed
1.5 tbsp fine sugar
1 cup of water
1 lime, juiced

Cut the melon into chunks and place in a blender with the other ingredients. Chill in the fridge and serve.

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