Friday, March 25, 2011

Short Ribs with Root Veggies

"Celeriac: the unsung frog prince of winter vegetables" - NPR
My brain is telling me it is officially Spring. Yet I had to use my scraper this morning to clear snow off my car before taking the boys to school this morning. Yes, I live in New England. "If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes." is said with as much frequency as "wicked awesome" around these parts. So I figured best to embrace these last whimpers of winter with a hearty stew before I start complaining about how hot and humid it is a few minutes later.

Colorful ingredients to brighten up a cold March day

This recipe for short ribs with root veggies come from our new favorite cookbook, Ming Tsai's Simply Ming One-Pot Meals. We've been cooking our way through this cookbook and have found a winning recipe on nearly every page. The extended forecast calls for cold weather through the rest of this month. So why not cook up this stew now 'cause its wicked awesome.

Short Ribs with Root Veggies
Inspired by Simply Ming One-Pot Meals

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
6 single-rib short ribs
3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 onions, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 lb carrots, cut into 1-inch rounds
6 celery stalks, split lengthwise and halved
1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
1 large sweet potato, 1-inch dice
1 large parsnip, cut into 1-inch rounds
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. In a large shallow plate, combine the flour and chili powder. Season the ribs with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour mixture.

2. Heat a stockpot or other tall wide pot over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, shake the excess flour mixture from ribs, add them to the pot, and cook, turning once, until browned about 8 minutes. Set the ribs aside.

3. Add the remaining oil to the pot, and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, celeriac, potato and parsnip. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ribs, soy sauce and enough water to almost cover the ingredients. Season to taste.

4. Cover and cook over medium heat until a paring knife passes through the meat easily, about 3 hours. Transfer the ribs and vegetables to a large bowl and serve.

The Good: Easy to make, full of nutritious veggies and short-ribs that melt in your mouth.

The Bad: Stew base was on the thin side. Not a quick weeknight meal (3 hours on the stove). Although boys ate some of it, they did not love it.

Grade: B. Will try making this in a crock pot as a weeknight meal.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Eye Candy

Or in this case Eye Produce. I took a photography class at the deCordova over the winter with hopes of becoming chummy and proficient with my DSLR. It was a great introductory class for anyone interested in going beyond the little green box, tulip or running man settings on your camera. One of my favorite homework assignments was to shoot color. What better place to do that than at one of my favorite places to shop for groceries: Russo's.

If you are interested in learning more about Russo's, check out my post: The insider's guide to shopping at Russo's. In the meantime, take a gander at my homework and get inspired to cook up a storm this weekend.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Restaurant "Review" by My Five-Year-Old

We knew life would be dramatically different once we had kids. We were prepared to give up sleep, exercise, reading, and pretty much anything else associated with our former pre-parenting lives. The one thing we were not willing to sacrifice was dining out. We brought the boys out to restaurants as soon as possible. I think we may have stopped for burritos on our way home from the hospital with our brand-new baby (you work up an appetite after giving birth you know).
    So it comes to no big surprise our boys know the drill when it comes to eating out - break out books/activities/toys reserved only for restaurants (and request a plastic cup of ice if youngest grows impatient). They are *pretty* well-behaved at this point. Sure they have their moments. And no, we are not so brave (or delusional) and try to take them to a place like Sorellina or other fine dining establishments. But we are not limited to kid-centric places like Rainforest Cafe either.

    One of the goals of starting this blog was to chronicle our attempts at raising adventurous eaters. And what better way to do that than to check out the myriad of cuisines the city has to offer. Our oldest son has grown to look forward to trying new restaurants. And thanks to a kids' digital camera my sister gave my oldest for Christmas, we now have budding food blogger on our hands :)

    So I've decided it would be fun to hand the reigns over to my 5-year-old occasionally and have him take some photos and explain what he liked (or didn't like) about some new restaurants we recently checked out.

    So without further adieu, dining at La Carreta Mexican (Manchester, NH) from the eyes of a five-year-old*.

    5-year-old: "The restaurant smelled new. Everything looked nice."
    5-year-old thought light fixture over our table was beautiful

    5-year-old: "I love to eat corn chips while I wait. I don't like salsa though. Too spicy."

    Hooray! Chips!
    5-year-old: "I LOVE fish tacos! It is too hot to eat right away though."

    Finally the food arrives. Fish Tacos - yum!

    5-year-old: "Here comes my brother's food. He loves rice."

    Baby brother's meal - rice & beans.
    5-year-old: "Mom's food is really hot."

    Don't touch! Mom's fajitas are hot!

    (umommy review)
    La Carreta Mexican is based in Southern New Hampshire and has quickly expanded with a total of five locations, including one in Framingham, MA. With a large and loyal following, La Carreta offers an extensive menu that include authentic Mexican cuisine ranging from the usual fajitas and quesadillas to house specialties such as Enchiladas Mole Poblano and Cazuelon.

    Bottom line: This is solid Mexican food. They have a kids menu too ($4.75 plates). A serious step up from other Mexican restaurants we've tried.

    La Carreta on Urbanspoon

    **Note: Energetic 5-year-old + 2 megapixel Vtech Kidizoom camera = blurry photos. We're working on "steady hands" and composition!


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