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applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), ...

Monday, March 14, 2011

ropa vieja

I adhere pretty closely to the spirit of the original version of this recipe, which was passed down to me years ago.

2-1/2 - 3 pounds flank steak, skirt steak or chuck roast, cut into roughly 2" inch chunks
salt and pepper
3-4 bay leaves
water to cover by at least one inch

lightly salt and pepper the chunks of beef. place in a heavy dutch oven with the bay leaves and cover with water by about 1/2". bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 1-1/2 hours.

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed

add the garlic to the beef and continue to simmer for another hour, until beef is very tender. using a slotted spoon, remove chunks of beef to a plate and refrigerate for a bit until cool enough to handle.

1 - 2  cups dry sherry
20-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1-1/2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin

add sherry, tomatoes, paprika and cumin to the cooking liquid. raise the heat to high and reduce the cooking liquid by half, until the consistency is syrup-y. in the meantime, prepare the rajas:

3-4 large poblanos, peeled, roasted and cut into thin strips
2 white onions, cut into thin half-moon slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed
extra virgin olive oil to saute
a bit of sherry to deglaze

saute the poblanos over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes and add to the reduced cooking liquid. caramelize the onions for over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turn heat to low and add the garlic. continue to cook for a few minutes, then deglaze with a bit of sherry and add to the cooking liquid, which is now a sauce.

remove the cooked beef from the refrigerator and shred by hand, removing any fatty or gristle-y bits. add the shredded beef to the simmering sauce. after 10-15 minutes, you can start to skim off excess fat as it settles on top.

2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 clove garlic, chopped VERY finely or crushed
salt and pepper to taste

add sugar and garlic, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes. taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. serve over garlic mashed potatoes, rice, noodles or sourdough bread, with a green salad. unbelievably delicious.

Friday, March 04, 2011

rice pudding (made w/Japanese sweet rice)

I first posted this recipe in February of 2007. I've made it many times since then and still love it; I've adjusted the recipe ever-so-slightly in the interim. I usually use sweet brown rice (of the Japanese variety), but the white version is also great. it uses very little added sugar; the rice is truly what makes it sweet (not TOO sweet) and also thickens the milk nicely.

I use a neuro-fuzzy-logic rice cooker to make rice and rice pudding, so I’m afraid that my instructions are specific to this piece of kitchen equipment. you could probably cook the rice in water on top of the stove, then bake it in a covered casserole in the oven for about an hour to approximate the same thing, but I wouldn’t know for sure.

rice pudding

1 cup (8 ounces, not a smaller rice-cooker cup) uncooked Japanese sweet rice, either brown or white (sometimes called mochigome or sho-chiku-bai)
dash of salt
water to cook

combine the rice and salt in the rice cooker bowl, and add the amount of water called for by your rice cooker. cook on the appropriate cycle (brown or white, depending on what kind of rice you used), and when finished, take the cooking bowl out of the cooker and let it cool a bit.

2-1/2 cups whole milk (set 1/2 cup aside)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 cup currants
to serve: a bit of butter and extra brown sugar or maple syrup to taste

stir the milk, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar (or maple syrup) and currants in to the rice in the bowl. taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. pop the bowl back into the rice cooker and set it for the porridge cycle. mine’s done when the little song plays! add the reserved 1/2 cup of milk after the cooking's done and adjust for salt. serve with butter and brown sugar &/or maple syrup as desired.

note: any other dried fruit can substitute for the currants -- cherries are nice, and would make the pudding especially delicious if topped with toasted, slivered almonds at the end. if I wanted rice pudding with fresh fruit (like berries, bananas, etc.), I'd make a different version with vanilla, a bit of nutmeg and maybe an egg, minus cinnamon and currants, and serve the fruit over the pudding when it's done (rather than cooking it). I'll work on that recipe soon. ha! "work."