Red Wine Braised Flanken Ribs


I’m in freezer trouble again and it’s a lot more serious than when I’m in Sens.  In Sens I have an extra refrigerator with freezer in the garage for spillover.  Here I have a fairly large, but apparently not large enough, French door refrigerator with freezer.  It’s not enough.  I’m going to have to cook the freezer for weeks!  I hate that.  On the other hand, there are duck breasts in there somewhere and Australian lamb ribs.  Ha, ha, ha  :D


I bought several packages of Angus beef flanken ribs from the German butcher quite a while ago.  I don’t know what I was thinking, because just one package is adequate for our family plus guests.  The two remaining are starting to look weary and vaguely freezer burned.  I thawed one of the packages and seasoned it with smoked paprika to cheer the ribs up, then browned them in olive oil to give that “age is just a number” look.


I kept it simple with onions, garlic, beef broth, red wine and fresh oregano, that being the only fresh herb remaining except for parsley.


Fluffy, butter mashed, “Irish” potatoes were all these fall-off-the-bone, tender ribs needed :)



Red Wine Braised Flanken Ribs

4 slabs beef flanken ribs, cut into individual ribs

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika


2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, halved and sliced

6 garlic cloves, slivered

5 sprigs of fresh oregano

1 can beef broth

1 cup red wine

Season the ribs with salt, pepper and paprika, dredge the ribs in the flour then, in an oven proof pan (Emile Henry Flame Top tajine is good), brown in the olive oil.  Remove and set aside.  Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onion is just soft, then add the ribs with the oregano and stir.  Stir the wine into the pan and boil for about 2-3 minutes,  then stir in the broth, bring to a boil, cover and roast in a 375 F oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes, no milk.  Or milk if you want :)






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Snow Day


Bitter, cold weather has prompted my family to nag and drop hints about soup.  Potato soup was mentioned, as was the Haitian soup giraumon.  I thought we should have a sort of fish stew like cullen skink but couldn’t bring myself to buy the dried out, freezer burned fish on offer in the grocery stores.  Pistou was a passing thought but what really happened was that I looked in the fridge/freezer and pantry and, using what was on hand, made a Mexican-like soup.


If you start by sauteing onions, garlic, celery, leeks and carrots, after that you could add chopped up red squirrel, possum, dog and/or cat; they’ll still eat it.  I learned this from my mother :D


Lucky for them, the freezer is overflowing with normal meat ;)

Mexican-Like Soup

1 Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced

3 tbsp butter

1 each, small yellow onion and small purple onion, halved then sliced

3 large garlic cloves, slivered

2 celery stalks, sliced

1 large leek, halved vertically, then sliced

4 thin, whippy carrots, halved vertically, then sliced

1 tbsp Mexican chili powdeer

1 tbsp oregano

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp coriander

1 lb cooked ham, cubed

4 cans chicken broth

4 cups water

1 can pinto beans

2 cans white hominy

Cheddar cheese

Scallions, sliced

Brown the chorizo slices in a large skillet to remove some of the fat.  Place on paper towels to drain, then wipe the skillet out with more paper towels.

Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the onions, garlic, leek and carrots, then saute until the onions are soft; about 5 minutes.  Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander and continue to saute for about 2 minutes.

Place the vegetable mixture into a stock pot, then add the reserved chorizo, ham, chicken broth and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the pinto beans and hominy to the stock pot and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls, then top with the cheese and scallions.






Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Mexican, Recipes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Coals to Newcastle


Our family was invited by neighbors to share some New Year’s Eve appetizers and a glass or two of sparkling wine in celebration of the coming year.  Of course I wanted to bring something to share.


Caroline Romano and her husband Skip are long time residents of Honesdale and both friendly and interesting.  Skip works for the local newspaper, The Wayne Independent, and Caroline is a school librarian and first generation Italian American.  She has wonderful stories of her father’s journey from Italy to the U.S.


So why did I decide to make an Italian meatball appetizer?!  I don’t know.  I was embarrassed about it all evening because, of course, I didn’t go for authenticity but just did whatever I felt like.  I’m hoping that they didn’t realize they were supposed to be Italian :D


Well yes, they ate them and seemed to enjoy them because, authentic or not, I made a fabulous sauce using roasted peppers and Steve DeVeau’s garden tomato marinara sauce. Okay, I did buy seasoned and pre-rolled meatballs but sue me, I couldn’t be bothered :)


I used to think that blue was my favorite color but I think red is edging it out.  Purple is good too.


Sharp cheddar is one of the things I miss when in France.  You really can’t make “correct” Mexican food without it.  I have found a white cheddar in Sens at Leclerc but it’s not the same.


From time to time,  I crave a childhood favorite, pimento cheese spread.  This appetizer is the epitome of southern cuisine and easy to make.  I was a little conservative with the jalapeno pepper, afraid of alarming our hosts, but jalapeno peppers are for babies and I could have used a whole instead of a half.


Happy 2015 to everyone 🎊

Italian Meatball Appetizer

24 pre-seasoned and formed meatballs or homemade

2 roasted red bell peppers

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup Italian vinaigrette

1 1/2 -2 cups marinara sauce

Bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet in a 375F oven for 20-25 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

In a food processor, puree the bell peppers, then add the remaining ingredients and pulse blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve in small plates with garlic bread.


Pimento Cheese Spread

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

8 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp piment d’espelette

1/2  jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/2 cup pimento, diced

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, using the plastic dough blade.  Serve with assorted crackers.


Posted in American, Appetizer, Cooking, Food and Wine, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Lamb Shanks with Pappardelle Pasta


Some of the best lamb shanks I’ve ever eaten were at The Cathedral Restaurant in Sens, France.  Of course this was when the Cathedral was cooking everything fresh from the market.  Unfortunately, at least for the past 2 years, most of their ingredients come from a frozen restaurant supply company and you can taste it.  Now when in Sens, I buy my shanks in the market and prepare them at home and you can taste that too :)


Out of fresh eggs, on Saturday I went over to the Cooperage on Main Street.  The cooperage is a community center that houses a winter farmers market on Saturdays.  I knew that the Quails R Us Plus people would be in attendance and I could get eggs and whatever else caught my eye.  Like lovely Quails R Us lamb shanks.


Whenever I think about cooking lamb, I think about fresh herbs.  The cold weather has reduced my fresh herb supply to rosemary, oregano and an outrageous parsley plant that would require a shot of DDT just to thin it out!  Really.


A while back Steve DeVeau, the bathroom guy and retired professional chef, gifted me with some home made, herb flavored tomato sauce from his roma, Big Boy and Sun Sugar cherry garden tomatoes.  I decided to go with that and some applewood smoked tomato pappardelle from Northern Farmhouse Pasta.  Both the pasta and sauce were exceptional!


I sauteed up a fragrant mix of onion, garlic, shallots and herbs.  I love this!


Added wine, tomato sauce, chicken broth and some diced tomatoes, then poured all over the browned lamb shanks in a tajine.


Easy and delicious.

Lamb Shanks with Pappardelle Pasta

4 lamb shanks

Salt and pepper


2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 large shallot, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 fresh oregano sprigs leaves

1 rosemary sprig leaves

6 fresh parsley sprigs leaves

10 ounces red wine

2 cups tomato sauce with herbs

1 can diced tomatoes

12 ounces chicken broth

Pappardelle pasta, cooked

Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, then dust with flour and brown on all sides in a large skillet.  Remove and place in the bottom of a tajine.

Add the onion, shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook until the onion is soft.  Add the oregano, rosemary, parsley and cook for one minute.  Add the wine and boil for 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes.  Finally add the broth, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour the sauce over the top of the shanks in the tajine, cover and roast in a 400 F oven for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.  Serve with the pappardelle.




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Christmas in Staybridge Suites, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


Our son just started working in Harrisburg, Pa and didn’t have enough vacation time for Christmas.  Harrisburg is about 2 1/2 hours from Honesdale and so that he wouldn’t have to rush up and back, over the mountain in possibly inclement weather, we decided to take Christmas to him.  With this in mind,  I booked a room at the Staybridge Suites in Harrisburg for Christmas Eve and Christmas, about 6 minutes from his apartment.  The room had a 2 element stove top, a full sized refrigerator and a microwave.


Recently, I saw a blog that praised the merits of Colonel Bill Newsoms Aged Kentucky Country Ham.  Whichever blog that was, please raise your hand.  I’ve forgotten where I saw this but want to thank you.   After soaking the ham for 24 hours, I boiled it in a convenient West African market pot.  I knew I would need this one day :)  I glazed the ham with mustard and brown sugar and after it cooled, wrapped it in aluminum foil and enclosed it in a very large zip lock bag.  Boom!  In addition, I made a cranberry chutney and a macaroni and cheese casserole to be reheated in the suites’ microwave.  A quick shopping trip in Harrisburg provided me with brussel sprouts, shallots and pancetta lardons for the vegetable.


We also bought a full sized Christmas tree for the room, tied it to the luggage rack on top of the car and brought along lights, decorations and our wrapped Christmas presents. Unfortunately, Staybridge Suites refused to let us bring the tree to the room, citing possible health concerns about bugs or something.  Our dog, vigorously scratching and biting on her tail in front of the reception desk, was overlooked for the $75.00 non- refundable deposit.  We were forced to dispose of the very pretty tree in the large garbage bin outside  :(


Undaunted, my husband and son bought a potted Norfolk pine, sneaked it up the stairway and we were back in business.  I love these guys :D  Nothing against Staybridge.  It’s a very nice, clean hotel but could be a bit more flexible in determining the difference between a law and a guideline.  All their employees should spend a mandatory week in France :D


Nostalgic for France, I bought the only Camembert available, President, and made a Jamie Oliver recipe of warmed cheese with garlic and rosemary as an appetizer.  M. Parret would not approve but we’re in Pennsylvania now ;)


I forgot to get some lemon for the avocado in the salad but gave it a toss in balsamic vinegar and while not aesthetically pleasing, the salad was good.


We didn’t have a Christmas last year for the first time in our lives as a family but this year more than made up for it.  Hope all of yours was as good!

Friendly advice to Staybridge Suites:  Be sure to check your kitchen equipment after each occupant leaves to make sure that the pots and pans are clean (buy sponge/ scrubbers) and that important items haven’t gone missing.  Some people actually cook in the rooms.



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Seriously Spicy Aubergine and Veal with Pasta


There were two motivations behind the plate I made today.  The first was the wonderful spicy, garlic aubergine I had at the take-out Chinese in Hawley and the fact that when I went back a couple of days later it wasn’t as spicy and on the third visit they were completely out of aubergine.  This was not the tragedy it could have been because I make spicy aubergine all the time ;)


My second motivation was that I wanted to try some of the artisanal pasta produced by Northern Farmhouse Pasta in Sullivan County, Roscoe, New York.  We’re just across the Delaware river from Sullivan County, so I regard anything coming from there as “local”.


In the meantime, our son requested that I make Haitian chiquetaille from the Christmas holidays which I was happy to do.  And here are my ugly jar pictures that I have a tendency to take.  I repacked the jars with the intention of trying for better photos but by that time I had fallen out of love and couldn’t be bothered :(


Still, this was a good batch of chiquetaille and I’m sure our son will be pleased.


Anyway.  I wanted some of the pale green, Thai aubergine like they had at the Chinese restaurant but I couldn’t find any.  Shockingly the Wegmans in Scranton, the supposed end all, be all in supermarkets, had the ugliest aubergines that I have seen since West Africa with big unsightly, rotting splotches on the skin.  People please!  Of course I didn’t buy them but went back to the Super Duper in Honesdale; they’re not famous but they had decent aubergine.


Aubergine/eggplant is just good!  This time I made the recipe with a bit more sauce to soak into the pasta because normally I serve this as a self contained Asian lunch dish.


I ate some plain for lunch anyway :)  It was spicy and good!


Note:  If you’d prefer spicy aubergine for babies, half the amount of sriracha.

Spicy Aubergine with Pasta

2 large, regular aubergine


7 tbsp peanut oil

1/4 cup Sriracha chili garlic sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup sake

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp sugar

1 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp corn starch

1 lb ground veal

4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

1lb cooked pasta

Scallions, sliced

Cut the aubergines in half vertically, then cut the halves vertically again into 4 strips each. Chaos cut the strips into chunks, sprinkle with salt and set aside in a colander to drain. Pat dry with paper towels.

Mix together the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sake, sesame oil and sugar.  Set aside.  Mix together the chicken broth and cornstarch.  Set aside.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wok, add half the eggplant and cook until it begins to brown.  Remove. Add another 3 tbsp oil to the wok and cook the other half of the eggplant.  Remove.  Add the last tbsp of oil to the wok with the veal, garlic and ginger.  Stir fry for about 1-2 minutes or until the veal is no longer pink.

Return the eggplant to the wok along with the chilli mixture, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove the wok cover and stir in the cornstarch mixture and continue to cook until the sauce thickens.

Ladle the sauce over the cooked pasta, sprinkle the sliced scallions on top and eat immediately.


Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Rabbit Tajine


Super day today!  I had some lovely rabbit that I picked up from Quails R Us.  The weather was a little warmer also; 38F(3C).  Sultry :)


These are nice, meaty, perfectly cleaned rabbits, heads off.  The people at Quails know what they’re doing!


They even provide you with a little plastic pouch with the offal from the rabbit!  I’ve fallen in love with these people!  I thought I did an excellent job of cutting the rabbit into pieces. Look at that “rable”!


I like it that they do their own slaughtering, butchering and packaging of the rabbit and their labeling is reassuring.  I’m getting some guinea fowl when they have it :)


Serendipitously, my husband discovered a bottle of Pascal Bouchard Petit Chablis in an unpacked carton of our affairs today.  Hallelujah!  I was really going into a decline 😡


Lifted, I sliced the baby bellas for my rabbit tajine.  These were the closest to the Paris(crimini) mushrooms I could find, and they were good.  Earthy.


This is a ragout that tempts you to eat it even before the final cooking but, sipping my wine, I just put the cover on, put it into the oven and walked away.


Rabbit Tajine

1 normal sized rabbit, cut up

2 tbsp olive oil

6 bacon strips, sliced

1 tbsp of butter

2 onions, halved and sliced

4 celery branches, sliced

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

10 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped of leaves

2 tbsp fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 lb large crimini mushrooms cut in half

6 small potatoes, quartered

1 glass white wine

Brown the rabbit in the olive oil and put into a large bowl.   In the same pan, brown the bacon, remove from the pan and put in the bowl with the rabbit.  In the same pan, add the butter and saute the onions, celery and garlic.   Mix in the thyme and parsley, then pour all into the pan with the rabbit.  Add the mushrooms and potatoes, stirring to blend.

Put the rabbit mixture in a tajine and pour the wine over all.   Cover with the top and bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes.



Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 36 Comments