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You'll find over 335 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!

Corned Beef sans Cabbage

March 18, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Corned Beef is traditionally served in many American homes on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve thought about trying something else, like Irish stew or even salmon, to celebrate the feast but it just doesn’t seem right not to have Corned Beef.

I’ve always used my slow cooker to make it, but this year I made a wee change. I was intrigued by the recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition. I had always used just water, but they replaced half the water with chicken broth. I wondered if that could make a difference. Trusting all the research that ATK does I decided to try that this year.

I thought the difference was very subtle but positive. I think the added broth gave a bit more depth of flavor to the vegetables without tasting like chicken broth.

I also loved the idea of using whole small potatoes. (Why didn’t I think of that?) They used small red potatoes. I went with Yukon Gold because it is my favorite potato. Either way, the presentation is much better if you use small potatoes instead of cutting up larger ones.

There’s only one thing I might do differently. Next time I might cook the cabbage. It’s a last minute step that I completely forgot. But we nonetheless had a great St. Patrick’s Day feast complete with Southern Corn Bread (which turns out to be a great gluten/wheat-free alternative to Irish Soda Bread) served with Kerrygold butter and 3 kinds of local honey.

Who could blame me for forgetting the cabbage? We had the fun surprise of having an Irish American friend from the East Coast join us for dinner. And she brought her button accordion! It was incredibly fun to hear the accordion and to sing old Irish ballads with her. We were all so glad you could come, Mary Kate! :)

Truth be told, the cooked cabbage is my least favorite part of the dinner, and not one person said, “Where’s the cabbage?” Maybe we have a new tradition – Corned Beef sans Cabbage.

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Photo by Laura

Corned Beef

 

Corned Beef sans Cabbage

(Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8 (Serves up to 8 if you have a 4-pound corned beef)

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Note: You need a large slow cooker for this recipe. America’s Test Kitchen suggests a 6½ – 7 quart cooker. Mine is a 6 quart cooker and everything fit, but barely.

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1 (3 – 4 pound) corned beef brisket, fat trimmed to ¼ inch

1 can reduced sodium chicken broth (I used Swanson’s Natural Goodness)

About 2¼ cups of water

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1½ pounds small potatoes (cut in half if larger than 1 to 2 inches in diameter)

1½ pounds carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise if large, and cut into 3-inch lengths

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1. Place the corned beef with its pickling spices in the slow cooker.

Corned Beef and pickling spices

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2. Put the potatoes in.

 I cut the larger potatoes in half.

Potatoes added

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3. Add the carrots.

 Carrots added

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4. Pour the chicken broth into a 4 cup measuring cup. Add water to make 4 cups.

5. Sprinkle the thyme over the carrots, and then pour the broth over everything.

Corned beef ready to cook

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6. Cook on Low for 9 – 10 hours. (I cooked mine for 10 hours.)

10 hours set

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7. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Remove the corned beef and cover it with foil to keep it warm. Let the corned beef rest for 15 minutes. Return the vegetables to the slow cooker set on Warm.

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(This would be the time to remove some of the broth to a large skillet to braise cabbage wedges for 10 – 15 minutes if you want cabbage.)

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8. Slice the meat against the grain and serve with the potatoes and carrots.

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Photo by Laura, resized by Kath

Corned Beef 2

Pecan Pie for Two in honor of Pi Day

March 15, 2015

By Kath Dedon
 
Yesterday was the best “Pi Day” of the Century. It was 3/14/15 and the first five digits of Pi are 3.1415! The next 3.1415 Pi Day won’t happen until 2115. I had to make a pie!
 
Since it was just the two of us for dinner, I decided to make Pecan Pie for Two. I bought a 6-inch pie plate and Internet research proved that its 4-cup capacity is exactly half of the 8-cup capacity of a 9-inch pie plate. That means I can simply cut any pie recipe in half to make a small pie for two.
 
I turned to my trusty Pecan Pie recipe and went to work. It was actually pretty easy, but I did have to deal with using 1½ eggs. If you have a kitchen scale, you can measure ½ of an egg by weight. I put a bowl on the scale and set it to zero grams. Leaving the bowl on the scale, I broke an egg into the bowl. My large egg weighed 48 grams. Still leaving the bowl on the scale, I whisked the egg. I then used a spoon to remove spoonfuls of egg until I had 24 grams left in the bowl. Voila! I had ½ of an egg. If you don’t have a scale, you could just whisk the egg and eyeball it. Just spoon out what looks like about half of the egg. ;)
 
I was quite pleased with the way my Pecan Pie for Two turned out!  It was actually quite adorable. Bob thought it should literally be “for two”, as in cut the pie in two – half for me and half for you. I pointed out that that would be like eating ¼ of a 9-inch pecan pie. This cute pie serves four.
 
If you’re interested in baking smaller pies (or quiches?) to serve two people, I highly recommend getting a 6-inch pie plate. Maybe you’ll make my Pecan Pie for Two for yourself and your honey!
 
Pecan Pie cooling on rack
 

Pecan Pie for Two

 
(print the recipe)
 
Serves 4 (or 2 if you want really big pieces)
 

Olive Oil Pastry for a Single Crust Pie

 
(Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)  I used to use Gold Medal Flour, but found that King Arthur Flour gives much better results! It makes a difference.
 

3/4 cups (90 g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 

1/4 teaspoon salt

2.8 (almost three) tablespoons extra light (mild tasting) olive oil

2 tablespoons cold milk

½ teaspoon vinegar

Waxed paper for rolling the dough

A 6-inch pie plate is needed for this recipe
 
 
1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.

2. Put the olive oil in a 1 cup measuring cup.

3. Add the milk and the vinegar to the same cup with the oil.Add the oil mixture to the flour all at once and stir with a fork just until it can be formed into a ball.

4. Form the dough into a ball and put it on a 12-inch sheet of waxed paper.(If you put a little water under the bottom of the waxed paper, it won’t slide around when you roll out the dough.)Flatten it with your hand; put another sheet of waxed paper on top and roll the dough out until it’s large enough to fit in the pie plate. (You can put the pie plate over the dough to judge the size.)

5. Carefully remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Lift the bottom sheet and dough up and put it paper-side up over the pie plate. Carefully remove the waxed paper and fit the dough into the pie plate.

6. Finish the edge of the crust the way you like. I simply use a fork to press into the dough around the edge.
 
 

Pecan Pie Filling

 
1 1/2 eggs (See tips in blog post for measuring ½ of an egg)

1/4 cup honey

2.8 (almost 3) tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pinch of salt

2.8 (almost 3) tablespoons melted butter

¾ cup pecan halves (it’s OK if they’re broken)
 
 
1. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven andpreheat to 350˚. (Don’t skip the baking sheet. It catches spillovers.)

2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs slightly with a fork.

3. Add the honey, maple syrup, and salt and stir until well-blended.

4. While stirring constantly, pour in the melted butter; mix well.

5. Stir in the pecan halves. Pour the pecan filling into the prepared pie crust.

6. Place the pie on the baking sheet that has preheated in the oven (350˚). Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
 
6-inch Pecan Pie
 

My 6-inch Pecan Pie for Two sitting in my 9-inch pie plate

Pecan Pie sitting in a 9-inch plate
 

Two of the four servings of my 6-inch Pecan Pie for Two

Two servings of Pecan Pie

 
 
Petite Pecan Pie tall Read more…

Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake

March 5, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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I wanted a Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake.

You might remember when I made an Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake from Molly O’Neill’s One Big Table. It was so easy. It was fabulously chocolatey. And it was BIG. It’s supposed to serve 8 people, but it’s so rich I found that it could serve at least 12 people. I wanted that same great cake in a smaller version.

This very handy baking pan substitution chart shows that a 6-inch pan holds exactly half of the volume of the 9-inch pan I originally used. So I invested in the cutest little 6-inch cake pan.

The ingredients for the Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake were simple to cut in half. (I didn’t have to deal with things like 1½ eggs.) I was pretty sure it would work.

It worked beautifully! This Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake will definitely be one that I will make again when serving a small group of chocolate lovers! And I can’t wait to play around with other recipes to make other petite cakes in my new pan. Stay tuned…

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I used the same round serving platter for both cakes. You can see the difference in size.

My Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake

Tiny Chocolate Cake

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My original Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake

9-inch Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from a recipe in One Big Table)

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When I made the original Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake I used sugar. This time I substituted maple sugar and it worked just fine. You can use whichever granular sweetener you prefer.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6

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1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus a tablespoon more for buttering the pan

1 tablespoon cocoa powder (For the pan. You can also use 1 Tbsp. sugar as in the original recipe, if you don’t have cocoa powder.)

1/2 cup sugar (100g) (or 100 grams – 1/2 cup – maple sugar)

7 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao), broken into smaller pieces

large eggs

Parchment paper for the pan

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Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Chocolate is perfect in this cake!

Chocolate

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1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Use the extra tablespoon of butter to grease a 6-inch round cake pan. Use about 2 teaspoons of it to grease the pan. Then cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Put the paper in the pan and use the remaining teaspoon of butter to grease the paper. Sprinkle the cocoa powder (or a tablespoon of sugar) in the pan and shake it back and forth to cover the bottom. Pour out any excess.

Prepared 6-inch pan dusted with cocoa powder

Dusted with cocoa powder

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3. Melt the 1 stick of butter and the chocolate together in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Stir it constantly once it starts to melt. When it has all melted and blended together, remove from the heat and allow it to cool a bit.

4. Beat the eggs with a mixer until light. Add the sugar a bit at a time, mixing at medium speed for about 6 – 8 minutes. The mixture should be pale and fluffy.

5. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate and gently stir until well blended.

6. Pour into the prepared 6-inch cake pan.

7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Check the cake after 30 minutes. The top should be a bit crusty(kind of like brownie tops)and the cake should feel firm. You can test it with an instant read thermometer. Put it in the center of the cake without touching the bottom of the pan. If the temperature is at least 140˚ the cake is done.

8. Cool the cake on a cake rack. When cool, run a knife along the side of the pan and turn the cake out on a serving plate.

9. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired, or simply dust with a bit of powdered sugar.

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Tiny Chocolate Cake 2

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Apple Crisp (or any Fruit Crisp)

February 11, 2015

By Kath Dedon

Apple Crisp is one of the easiest desserts you can make. It’s perfect for entertaining. It can be made ahead of time and then reheated in the oven later. Leftovers can be eaten the next morning for a tasty breakfast treat. (I speak from experience.)

This particular recipe uses less sugar than many others and I love the way it turned out. It’s moderately sweet and the flavor of the apples is not overwhelmed by sugar.

Most recipes call for half flour and half rolled oats. I did not use flour. I used quick oats to make it wheat-free. Without any flour in the mix, I think the quick oats made the texture better than it would have been had I used regular rolled oats.

I made an Apple Crisp, but you can really use a variety of different fruits to make a Fruit Crisp. Laura recently used this recipe to make an Apple/Pear Crisp. She used four medium Granny Smith apples and four not-quite-ripe pears and it was delicious! Apple/Cranberry Crisp would be great when cranberries are available. In The Food Matters Cookbook, Mark Bittman suggests using peaches, pears, plums, or even mangoes in Fruit Crisp. So just get creative with it and use 6 cups of whatever fruit you’d like.

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Apple crisp

Apple Crisp

(Adapted from a recipe from Spud.com, contributed by Jen McColl)

(print the recipe)

Serves 6 – 8

Apples

3 pounds apples (6 large or 8 medium)

¼ cup packed brown sugar (I used maple sugar.)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Topping

1 cup quick oats

½ cup sliced almonds, chopped just a bit into smaller pieces

¼ cup packed brown sugar (I used maple sugar.)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

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 Almonds chopped just a bit into smaller pieces

Chopped, sliced almonds

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1. Heat oven to 375˚

2. Peel and core the apples. Chop them into ½ – ¾-inch chunks.

Apples

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3. Toss the apples with the ¼ cup of sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.

4. Put the apples in a 6-cup baking dish. (An 11 x 7 x 2 rectangular dish, or an 8 x 8 x 2 square dish, or a 9-inch pie plate would all work.)

Apples in the pan

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5. Cover the apples with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

6. While the apples are baking, make the topping. Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl. Stir with a fork until the butter is well-distributed.

Topping ingredients, ready to blend in the butter

Crisp topping ready for butter

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7. After the apples have baked for 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and distribute the topping mixture over the apples.

8. Put the pan, uncovered, back in the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the topping is browned a bit and the fruit is tender.

9. Best if cooled just a bit so it is still warm when served. (It can also be reheated in a 200˚ oven for about 30 minutes.) It’s delicious served with vanilla ice cream.

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Apple crisp 2

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Super Bowl Eats

January 27, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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It’s an exciting week to be in Seattle. The whole town is ecstatic about the Seahawks winning that crazy NFC Championship Game over Green Bay and now, for the second year in a row, our team is playing in the Super Bowl!

Watching the Super Bowl when your team is playing takes the experience to a whole new level. The game becomes much  more important than the commercials and half-time show! And it calls for some good eats.

So without further ado, here are a few suggestions for recipes that might work for your crowd.

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Go Hawks!!

Go Seahawks

Just click on the title of each dish to see the recipe.

Guacamole

From Gourmet magazine. Really good and really easy.

Gourmet's Guacamole

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Chinese Chicken Wings

This is what I took to last year’s Super Bowl party. (Seahawks 43 – Broncos 8)

 chinese chicken wings 2

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Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos

This may be my favorite crowd-pleasing main dish.

Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

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Emeril Lagasse’s Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas

This is my most re-pinned photo on Pinterest!

 Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas 3

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The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Make the cookie dough Thursday or Friday to bake on Saturday. It’s worth the extra time. The.Best.Chocolate.Chip.Cookies!

 Chocolate chip cookies!

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Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies

This is still my favorite brownie recipe.

 Katharine Hepburn's Brownies - square

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Mandarin Orange Cake

This cake will not win a beauty contest, but it is so easy and so good.  It’s always a party hit.

Mandarin Orange Cake 3

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Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions & Baharat

January 26, 2015

By Kath Dedon

When I tasted a friend’s Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions and Baharat, I knew I needed the recipe. The ribs were melt-in-your mouth tender and the sauce was incredible. I was already familiar with Amanda Bevill’s and Julie Kramis Hearne’s new book, World Spice at Home. Tasting these ribs made me positive that I would have to add the book to my library.

Amanda is the owner of a wonderful local spice shop near the Pike Place Market, World Spice Merchants. Julie is a professional chef who has coauthored three other cookbooks. Together, they created a book full of exciting recipes using exotic spices which may be new to you.

Our friend, Jill, who made the short ribs for us, just so happens to be Julie’s mother-in-law! She not only had the book, but also the World Spice at Home Flavor Companion. It’s a collection of 16 different spices and spice blends: Ras el Hanout, Harissa, Tikka Masala, Kashmiri Curry, Kashmiri Garam Masala, Israeli Za’atar, Syrian Za’atar, Poudre de Colombo, Berbere, Dukkah, Baharat, Besar, Chinese Five Spice, Urfa Biber, Aleppo, and Sumac. Each jar contains two tablespoons of spice, enough to try at least a couple of the recipes.

After Jill’s fabulous dinner, I not-so-subtly let it be known that I wanted World Spice at Home and the Flavor Companion. My sister gave me both for my birthday last month. (Thank you, Joan!)

The Flavor Companion makes it very easy for people unfamiliar with some of the spices to give them a try. However, with a well stocked spice pantry, you can make the spice blends yourself. Amanda and Julie give the recipes for all of the blends in the book.

I recently made the Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions and Baharat for Carrie’s birthday dinner. Because it’s a slow braise, it takes some time to make it but it is very easy. It’s a great dish for entertaining! Since it may be the BEST short ribs recipe I have ever tasted, I’m sure I’ll be making it again. Probably soon! I would definitely make this just for Bob and me and I’d be thrilled to have leftovers to enjoy!

I am really looking forward to exploring some of the other recipes in World Spice at Home!

I served the ribs and carrots over mashed potatoes.

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions & Baharat

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Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions and Baharat

(Adapted from a recipe in Amanda Bevill’s and Julie Kramis Hearne’s World Spice at Home)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6

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Because I had already used a lot of the Baharat in my Flavor Companion to season steaks, I blended up some more for this recipe. It was very easy to do. I use a Krups coffee grinder. To clean the grinder, grind raw white rice or bread crumbs.

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Baharat (makes 1/3 cup) 

½ teaspoon whole cloves

1 tablespoon allspice berries

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons coriander seed

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

½ teaspoon cardamom seed

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Put all of the ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder and grind together. Store in an airtight container.

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Spices for Baharat

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Baharat

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Short ribs

½ cup flour (I used brown rice flour to make it wheat free)

2 tablespoons baharat

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 – 5 pounds beef short ribs

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 sweet onions, cut into 1/2–inch slices

1 cup beef broth

½ cup ketchup

½ cup beer

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon dry mustard

6 medium carrots, peeled and cut at an angle into 2-inch pieces

1 dried bay leaf

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Beef short ribs

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1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and position a rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Mix the flour, baharat, salt and pepper together. Dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil.

4. Brown the ribs in batches (you don’t want to crowd the pan) for 3–4 minutes on each side.

5. Remove the ribs from the pan.

Browned ribs

browned short ribs

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6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until they are softened.

cooking onions

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7. Put the onions and the ribs in a large Dutch oven. Stir in the broth, ketchup, beer, brown sugar, vinegar, and mustard.

braising the ribs

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8. Cover the pot and braise in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

9. Add the carrots and bay leaf to the pot. Cover, and put the pot back in the oven to braise for another hour, or until the meat is fork-tender.

10. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta.

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Braised Beef Short Ribs tall

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World Spice Flavor Companion

World Spice Flavor Companion

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World Spice Baharat

World Spice Baharat

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Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

January 24, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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A few months ago when I noticed Kristan’s recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cake on her Confessions of a Cookbook Queen blog, I knew it would probably be the perfect birthday cake for Carrie. She has always been a huge chocolate/mint combo fan and confirmed that she would love to try the cake.

I made my favorite Hershey’s cocoa chocolate cake and frosted it with Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting. It was so easy to make and it tasted fantastic! It’s very “minty” which I loved. It was a huge hit at Carrie’s birthday dinner with all but one. Laura doesn’t like mint so she didn’t really care for it.

If you do like mint flavor that is as intense as Peppermint Patties, you will love this Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting!

Kristan used green food coloring, which I chose not to use. Do hop on over to her blog to see her gorgeous photos. Add the green food coloring, if you want.

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Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting_edited-1

 

Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

(Adapted from the recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cake on confessionsofacookbookqueen.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes enough to frost a two-layer cake or 24 cupcakes

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Kristan advises against using chocolate chips because they make the frosting difficult to spread. I used half of a 4-oz Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar.  

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2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, slightly softened

1/3 cup heavy cream (I used cream, but I’m sure you could use milk instead.)

2 teaspoons mint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

4 cups powdered sugar

2 ounces of a semi-sweet chocolate bar, finely chopped

 

1. Beat the butter, cream, the mint and vanilla extracts, and the salt together at medium speed until they are well-blended.

2. Turn the mixer speed down to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. When it is all mixed in, increase the speed to medium and beat for about a minute. If it seems a bit too thick, add in another tablespoon or two of the cream. (I did find I needed to add a bit more cream.)

3. Reduce the speed to low to mix in the chopped chocolate.

4. Frost your favorite chocolate cake which has been completely cooled after baking.

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cake with Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

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Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting tall

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