Thursday, September 16, 2010

Braised Lamb Shanks with Mirpoix Gravy and Apple-Pomme Puree

Lamb Shanks are a great hearty fall dish. When it comes to lamb, they are quite a bit cheaper then the rest of the cuts, but require slow cooking for a long period of time to soften them up. When they have been braised long enough, however, they are so tender that the meat will fall right off the bone, so plate carefully!
For the apple-pomme puree, simply add peeled diced apples to the pot along with your potatoes, cook until tender, and puree with a little cream, salt, and butter. Pears would also go really nicely with this dish.

Serves 4.


  • 4 Lamb Shanks, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 T. Canola Oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 T. Herbs De Provence(if you can't find these, just use thyme)
  • 2 T. Tomato Paste
  • 2 c. Dry Red Wine(Cabernet Savignion or Merlot are great for this dish)
  • 2 c. Chicken Stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cornstarch, to thicken
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Add the shanks to the pan and brown evenly on all sides. Remove shanks from the pan and place in a crock pot.

In the same pan used to brown the shanks, add the onion, carrot, and celery, adding a little more oil, if needed. Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs and saute for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste and saute until the vegetables are well coated.

Place the sauteed vegetables on top of the lamb in the crock pot. Pour the wine and chicken broth over the vegetables and lamb and cover with a lid. Cook on high for about 4 hours.

After the lamb has become tender enough to easily pull from the bone, check the seasonings in the gravy and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Mix cornstarch in a small amount of water and stir it into the gravy(stir well so there are no lumps!). Let cook for a few more minutes until thickened. Add more cornstarch mixture if needed until desired thickness is achieved.

Serve the shanks with potatoes and gravy.

Braised Lamb Shanks on FoodistaBraised Lamb Shanks

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

This frosting is so good! You get lots of sweet, strawberry flavor and such a pretty light pink color. I think this would be equally good, if not better made with cream cheese instead of butter. I will have to try it sometime and report back, but for now....this is going on top of every cupcake I make!

  • 1 c. Whole Frozen Strawberries, thawed
  • 1 c.(2 sticks) unsalted Butter, slightly cold but soft
  • 1/8 t. coarse Salt
  • 3 1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 t. Clear Vanilla Extract
Place the strawberries in a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain out the seeds and place the pureed strawberries in a small saucepan. Heat the strawberries on medium/high heat until simmering. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium/low heat, or until the strawberries have reduced by half. Let the strawberries cool and reserve 1/4 c. The remaining can be put away for another use.

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the salt until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Increase the speed and beat until the butter and sugar are well combined. Add the vanilla and 1/4 c. of the strawberry puree to the mixer and mix until just combined, so that the frosting is thick and dense.
Keep refrigerated after use.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Devils Food Cupcakes

I am on the hunt for a few good cupcake recipes for my daughters upcoming birthday, so I have been trying several recipes out. This one was very moist and had a great texture. I topped them with ganache, which was great, but I also made a fresh strawberry buttercream that was amazing on top of the chocolate cupcakes. I will post that recipe next! Meanwhile, give these babies a try.....

  • 3/4 c. unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 c. hot water
  • 3 c. Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/4 t. Coarse Salt
  • 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/8 c. Sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 t. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Sour Cream, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Whisk together the cocoa and water until smooth and set aside.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together, stirring until combined. Remove from the heat and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, mix on medium-high until the mixture has cooled down, 6-7 minutes. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar, one by one, beating well each time. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and the cocoa mixture to the eggs and butter and combine well.
Add the flour into the mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beating until just combined after each. Do not over mix or your cupcakes will be tough!

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling each liner 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, for about 17-20 minutes, or just until the tops are set.
Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
Frost with desired frosting and serve!

This recipe makes about 28 cupcakes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fresh Baby Caprese Spaghetti

This is just for my records =) When I find the energy(this pregnancy is sucking me dry!) I will post the recipe. But the dish consists of homemade spaghetti, orange cherry tomatoes(which taste like sunshine), mini balls of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. Amazingly simple and yummy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pan-seared Halibut with Sweet Corn Zabaglione

Now that Hell's Kitchen is over, Master Chef has taken over as my favorite cooking reality show. This dish was another challenge dish that I had to make myself, it looked so good. Cat Cora is the main creator of the dish, but here is my version, with my own preferences! I hope you like it!
*Try and use fresh, never frozen Halibut, if you can find it. The fish found in most grocery stores is previously frozen, although you would think it was fresh when laid out in the display case.

Serves 2.

  • 2 Halibut Fillets, skinned (about 6 oz. each)
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked, kernels cut off
  • 1/3 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 c. Baby Arugula, washed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 c. Heavy Cream
  • 1 Egg Yolk
For the Halibut: Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan until sizzling. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides, pressing the seasonings into the flesh. When the oil is hot, Lay the fillets presentation side down in the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Flip over. The fish should be golden on top. Sear on the other side for about 1 minute more and then turn of the heat, leaving the fish in the pan to continue cooking. Keep warm.

For the Salad: In a frying pan, saute 1/2 of the corn and the red onion in olive oil until soft, but not soggy. Place in a bowl and allow to cool. Add the cherry tomatoes and arugula and toss. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

For the Sweet Corn Zabaglione: In a large saucepan, saute the onion and remaining corn in a small amount of olive oil until tender. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and let simmer for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Place the corn/cream mixture in a blender. CAREFULLY puree until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk until broken up. Add a small amount of the strained sauce to the yolk, whisking well each time, until the yolk is warmed. Add the yolk to the sauce and whisk in well.
Cook the sauce in a double boiler until slightly thickened and hot. Season with salt to taste.

To serve: Pour about 1/2 c. of sauce onto the center of a plate. Place the halibut on top of the sauce, presentation side up. Top the fish with a portion of the salad. Eat Immediately!