Friday, September 30, 2005

The Second Really Big Cook-Off

Braised Short Ribs With a Celery Duo

Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine With Celery Duo Posted by Picasa

Rachel at Fresh Approach is hosting the second edition of thie event. The object was to complete her selected recipe and post about your experience.

I found boneless short ribs at Costco for $2.99 lb. They weren't too fatty and looked pretty nice. The 4 pound package cost me about $12.00. I went to my local grocery store for the vegetables (celery, celery root, leeks, turnips and shallots). My garden provided the thyme, parsley and tomato to make tomato paste. For the red wine, I used Yellowtail Shiraz.

Though this recipe has many parts, it is basically easy to make though it takes quite a bit of time when you include vegetable prep, browning the meat, brasing the ribs, sauce reduction and straining and puree of the celery root and potatoes. I was on my feet for a few hours.

I chose not to use the carrots not because I thought they would or would not offer anything to the recipe, but simply because I forgot to buy them. What I found interesting is that the recipe suggested that the turnips and carrots should be discarded. I myself like turnips and in that they didn't get mushy, I chose to serve them with the short ribs. I added whole green onions to this prep also.

The highlight of this recipe was the pan juices reduced until thickened, then strained to make a very tasty, rich dark sauce.

My husband loved it but thought I spent too much time in the prep. I would make it again minus the celery duo. The braised short ribs could be made prior to a dinner party, warmed and served allowing the hostess to spend time with the guests. The celery root puree was nice, but plain mashed potatoes would have been fine. The sauce reduction flavors the puree and may overpower the celery root anyway..

I served my rendition with the short ribs placed on top of the celery root puree, sauce around the sides and including the turnips. This is a heavy meal so autumn and winter are great times to serve.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Johnny Reb's Southern Roadhouse

Every week G and I go out on a "date" together. It's a way to make sure we don't become housebound and gives us the opportunity to enjoy each others company outside of home. Saturday we decided on dinner and a movie. I had a taste for either BBQ or fried chicken. We recently dined at Aunt Kizzy's and didn't want to go back there so soon. We then decided that Johnny Reb's Roadhouse would suit our fancy.

It is located in what I call downtown Bellflower. A quaint street where over the weekends they may block off the street and hold street fairs, exhibits, harvest festivals and on and on. The Roadhouse is decorated with old license plates from southern states, country kitchen items, and a bathroom with the sounds of an outhouse and peanuts you eat and throw the shells on the floor.

The menu includes a number of BBQ items from sausage to chicken, beef or pork ribs, pulled pork and brisket. All smoked. You can also get hamburgers, chicken fried steak covered in gravy, fried catfish, fried chicken and even hamburgers. The fried chicken is cooked when you order it so they warn you the wait will be 20 minutes.

I was quite hungry when we arrived so I opted for the BBQ pork ribs with a side of both North Carolina style BBQ sauce and regular BBQ sauce. G went for the fried catfish. My sides included french fries and collard greens with a large biscuit. I could have had hush puppies or cornbread. G's sides were fried sweet potatoes and coleslaw with hush puppies.

A half rack of the ribs equals 6 ribs. They were very meaty and had a nice smoky flavor. I had to admit they were better than the ribs I had at Aunt Kizzy's but not as good as the ribs at JR's BBQ in Culver City. G's described his catfish as good but not necessarily the best he has had.

The waitress was very attentive and friendly. She received a very nice tip.

After dinner we went to a movie-my choice. I have been wanting to see the "40 Year Old Virgin" for a few weeks. Not G's first choice. It was hilarious. I laughed through the whole movie. I also noticed that G was also laughing pretty hard. This has got to be the funniest movie I have seen a number of years. I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

WDB #2- Ziggy's Favorite Toy

We are in again for this weekend's dog blogging event. Watch for the roundup at Sweetnicks.

Ziggy and his favorite toy, an "Empty Water Bottle". He can spend hours chasing that bottle all over the house. Cheap thrills.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills

Just imagine being able to go to an upscale restaurant and eat all you can eat of succulent, savory, perfectly seasoned rare, medium rare or done cuts of meat. Not just some rib roast, I'm talking filet mignon, top sirloin, lamb chops, roasted lamb, linguica, chicken wrapped in bacon, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, beef ribs, pork ribs, noble sirloin, bottom sirloin, pork loin and chicken drummettes. All seasoned with sea salt, some with garlic and roasted on a state of the art rotisserie.

Well let me tell you about Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills, California. Located on Restaurant Roll, that is La Cienega Blvd. Since their opening in March 2005, there has been nothing but great reviews. In the US there are locations in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago with one slated to open in Washington DC soon. Brazil is home to four other locations. Did I give something away?

Fogo de Chao is a Brazilian Churrascaria which translates to "All You Can Eat BBQ". This truly unique dining experience is touted to bring back the steakhouse experience of Southern Brazil.

I had read a number of positive reviews about this restaurant. In addition, some friends also told us about the adventure. So Saturday, G and I decided to make reservations. We were able to get one for 6:30pm. Fine with me. If I'm going to eat that much meat, I'd better allow time before going to bed. We drive up to Fogo de Chao which is next door to The Stinking Rose and across the street from Lawry's Prime Rib. What competition!

The building was renovated at a price of nearly 8 million dollars with 2 million of that invested in the kitchen alone. We valet park and walk in to be greeted by a very friendly young lady who verified our reservation. We are escorted to our table and the show begins.

The waiter comes to explain the dinning adventure we are about to embark. He describes the very well and diversely stocked salad bar, the prixe fixe price of the meal, the fact that gaucho dressed servers will be coming to our table to slice piece after piece of meat onto our plates until we tell them to stop by turning over a coaster sized disk to indicate stop/pause or go. Our dinner is served with mashed potatoes topped with cheese, whole fried bananas and fried polenta rectangles. We order a bottle wine which I found it to be quite expensive but that's ok. We opted for glasses of water versus bottled. Vegetarians do not be dismayed. You can select the vegetarian menu which is the sald bar and sides, no meat at a reduced prixe fixe price.

We headed for the salad bar. It was very hard to resist filling our plates with the many choices available. Smoked Salmon, proscuito, soft and hard cheese, dried tomatoes, large asparagus spears, hearts of palm, potato salad, mozzarella balls, spinach, romaine, croutons, select premium EVO, beets, fruits and on and on. All presented very well and never allowed to run out. I exerted will power and limited my choices so I could pig out on the meat- carnivore that I am.

G and I headed back to the table. Our wine was poured and we were ready. The mashed potatoes, polenta and fried bananas were delivered to the table. A basket of bread was also placed for our enjoyment. Airy, buttery with a strange consistency which I can't describe but tasty. After finishing our salads, we turn our coasters to "go".

Immediately a gaucho dressed server arrives with a skewer of meat. It's filet mignon and I select medium rare. G also goes for it. Next we are served top sirloin where the server slices the meat and we use tongs to assist placement on our plates. The servers were very attentive. If they didn't have the doneness you preferred, they immediately found a server who did. We pause and then go again. After tasting only half the selections, I slow down but I do not stop. This is pure gluttony but I'm loving it. I did taste nearly all the selections. G comments that it's amazing, we are turning down perfectly cooked slices of prime meat- filet mignon. G sees a platter displayed by a server at another table. He places his coaster on "go" and is presented with the most tender and tasty piece of beef ribs. He finds room to take on one more slice. I nibble a small piece of G's. We are both finished.

We did eat a limited amount of the fried bananas and polenta which was great. The mashed potatoes were ok. There was nothing that I didn't like. Will we go back again? Yes in deed. It can't be a weekly thing for at $48.50 per person it can get pretty steep when you also consider the wine. We were out of there including tip at $210.00 for two.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Weekend Dog Blogging Event (WDB)

Sweetnick is hosting the first "Weekend Dog Blogging" (WDB) event. This is a spin-off of the "Weekend Cat Blogging" (WCB)event sponsored by Clare at Eat Stuff.

I jump at any excuse to post pictures of my Ziggy. He is a 1.5 year old fiesty and very friendly male Yorkie. He loves taking morning walks with me, hates getting groomed, chews up anything left unattended (i.e. remote controls, shoes), loves cuddling with me in a chair, loves road trips and hates being alone. His next favorite spot to my lap is to lay on the pillows in the bedroom window seat where he can watch everthing going on outside. While acting as a guard dog, he barks to alert me that someone is walking down the street and he goes nuts when there is also another dog out there.

Needless to say, I love my Ziggy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Paper Chef #10 Roundup Is In- "At Last"

Owen of Tomatilla has been very busy doing good things for Hurricane Katrina victims. However, he did find time to get the roundup for the New Orleans Edition of Paper Chef.

Kevin at Seriously Good announces the winners of this paper chef.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Food 911 Dandy Doughnuts, Tyler and Me

If you happen to be free Thursday, September 15th at 3PM (ET/PT), check out the rerun of a Food 911 show I did with Tyler Florence, Dandy Doughnuts. I posted a lengthy blog on the experience at my other site, Food Got to love It.

It was taped in 2001, but seems timeless to me.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Return To Bayou Grill- Inglewood, CA

Fried Oysters and Shrimp with Hush Puppies and French Fries

New Orleans, the food, the people, the culture.

I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans a number of times with the most recent visit about 2 years ago. A number of these visits were to attend a major pharmacy association convention. I spent my days in the infamous convention center soaking in the latest information- continuing education, while my evenings and nights were spent somewhere in or near the French Quarter. I remember one night sitting at the oyster bar at Acme Oyster House. They had a video cam which I unknowingly sat in front of. One of the shuckers pointed to the camera and then to me as he expalined that I was being seen on the internet. I called G in L.A. and told him to sign on. As I spoke with him a less than perfect view of me eating raw oysters appeared. What a city.

Breakfast at Mother's, beignets at Cafe Du Monde, pralines, po'boys, bananas foster, gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, crawfish, etc.

A visit to Bayou Grill will have to satisfy my desire for authentic New Orleans cuisine.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Carnivore's Delight- Labor Day Party in Long Beach

Korean BBQ Short Ribs, Armenian Beef Kabobs and Chicken Kabobs and Carne Asada
No further detail is necessary than to say we all ate and ate and ate!

Carnivore's Delight Posted by Picasa

Carnivore's Delight Posted by Picasa

Paper Chef # 10- The New Orleans Edition

Owen at Tomatilla announced the New Orleans edition of Paper Chef as a tribute to its food. "A special culture and community and feeling. Unique food. Unique music. Unique experiences. But it is also celebrated for celebrating! Right now there isn't much time for that but you bet there will be as the water goes back down and rebuilding gets under way. And it is important not to forget what New Orleans was, so that in the serious rebuilding ahead those special things also get rebuilt. So in the spirit of a unique place with unique food and its own unique style, it is time for Paper Chef to give a little back …"

Required ingredients:Beer, Sausage, Shrimp and Tomatoes

My contribution to this Paper chef is a simple New Orleans style soup. I followed no recipe but instead relied on my instincts.

Paper Chef #10 New Orleans Edition Posted by Picasa

Tomatoes are still abundant in my garden along with green bell peppers and serrano chiles. To make the trinity, I cut up three stalks celery, one yellow onion and one large bell pepper. In addition I diced four green onions and the serrano chiles ( I used three but I like it hot) were added to the trinity. This was added to a stock pot with about a ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil and cooked until the vegetables were slightly limp.

For the sausage, I used 4 brats which I added to the vegetables in the stock pot whole to brown. I removed the brats and cut them into one inch pieces. This was added back to the stock pot. Previously I removed the skin from three very large tomatoes. These were cut into large chunks and added to the stock pot. For seasoning, I added salt and pepper to taste, a teaspoon of liquid crab boil, 2 garlic cloves finely minced and 2 bay leaves.

To continue to the Paper Chef theme, I added one bottle of beer (Corona) and one cup of chicken broth.

This was left to simmer about 15 minutes. I then added one pound of uncooked jumbo shrimp and continued to cook until the shrimp was opaque. I then added parsley and chives (both also from my garden) to the finished soup.

The resulting soup was light and the taste was extraordinary. It is a must make again.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Philadelphia Residents Attending New Orleans Colleges

Many college students who were to attend New Orleans colleges and universities are now in the position that they will be seeking alternative schools to attend with little time to organize. The University of Pennsylvania (PENN in Philadelphia) is offering up to 100 academically qualified Philadelphia residents enrolled in colleges and universities in the Hurricaine Katrina stricken areas a generous opportunity. I have taken the liberty to publish the email distributed by the university. I would hope that other colleges and universities throughout the country would offer similar opportunities to their state's residents who also were enrolled in hurricaine stricken areas schools.

From: Combined Faculty Staff Student Emails on behalf of University Notification
Sent: Thu 9/1/2005 5:31 PM

Subject: Penn Response to Hurricane Katrina
TO: The Penn Community
FROM: President, Dr. Amy Gutmann

The University of Pennsylvania stands with the nation in mourning thevictims of terrible tragedy in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.We are committed to finding solutions to help the survivors rediscoverhope and rebuild shattered lives. To that end, we will offeracademically-qualified Philadelphia-area undergraduates enrolled atcolleges and universities in hurricane stricken areas the opportunity totake fall semester classes at Penn on a space-available basis.

In addition, Penn faculty and staff interested in serving as volunteerswith the organizations involved in hurricane relief efforts may be givenup to three weeks of paid time off.We are driven by our belief that it is important to offer students fromthe Philadelphia area as much continuity as we can until they can resumestudies at their home institution. In addition, many of our faculty andstaff have expressed interest in volunteering their services in NewOrleans and other areas needing assistance.

We expect to be able to accommodate as many as 100 undergraduate students.In addition, graduate and professional students will be considered on anindividual basis, depending on available space.Penn will not be charging tuition to the displaced students, insteadallowing tuition dollars to continue to be directed towards the studentshome school. If students have already paid their fall semester tuitionto another college or university, Penn will provide available space inclasses at no additional cost and will work with students to assure theyremain eligible for federal financial aid.

Students seeking to enroll in the emergency program should contact theCollege of General Studies at 215-573-4338.Campus housing is already full and will not be available to the additionalstudents. The expectation is that the emergency program would serve students within commuting distance. At the end of the fall semester, Pennwill give students in the program transcripts for the courses theycomplete.As they become available, additional details will be posted at:

Dr. Amy Gutmann