Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category
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When I was a little girl growing up in Germany, when we had Oxen Shvantz Suppe it was always a real treat. Braised with wine for hours they are tender and juicy. They are wonderful on a cold, rainy winter day.
What are ox tails, you ask? Well, they are the tail of an ox or steer which is cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces. They are very meaty and make a nice gravy, all on their own. How do you eat ox tails? You get most of the meat out with your fork, then you pick the piece up and suck all the goodness out of the bone. A bone bowl is a good thing to have on the table when you are serving ox tails.
When you go to buy ox tails, be sure and get them from a reputable butcher. The bony part should be bright white, the sinew pink, and the meat should be nice and red. I was lucky, my butcher brought out a tail and cut it there in front of me with his incredibly sharp knife. You can’t get any fresher than that.
The past few days have been full of left overs. That’s a good thing, and a good way to save money, but you have to get creative.
When I made the Veal Marsala Meatballs, I made enough to freeze some for another time. Spane and I were at the market on Thursday, and I was thinking of making enchiladas, but Spane didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it, so I asked him if he wanted spaghetti and meatballs, and he said yes.
I had everything I needed to make it, the veal meatballs, a large can of diced tomatoes, basil and garlic. The only thing I needed to make a good meal was a baguette of French bread to make garlic bread to go with our pasta, so I bought a long baguette. It was large enough that I cut it in half and made my garlic butter, intending to make another half on Friday. I bought some large frozen shrimp to have on Friday.
I served the meatballs separately from the pasta, and we ate all of those, and the garlic bread. There was still spaghetti and sauce left over. I had made enough garlic butter for both halves of the bread, and had left the left over in the refrigerator.
I took some of the garlic butter, put it in a pan, and heated the shrimp in that garlic butter. By doing that, I didn’t have quite enough garlic butter for the other half of the baguette, so I added a little olive oil and balsamic butter, whirred it around, spread that on the bread, topped it with a little Parmesan cheese, and threw it in the oven for a few minutes.
We ate all the shrimp Scampi, and all the spaghetti and sauce, and were a little to stuffed to finish the garlic bread.
So, now I had left over balsamic garlic bread. Today, Saturday, was cold and rainy, so soup sounded like the perfect meal. Originally, I was going to make macaroni and cheese as an excuse to turn on Bertha, but grilled cheese sandwiches sounded like a better idea.
What kind of soup could I make and use up the left over garlic bread? Why French Onion, of course. That is such a simple soup to make, and is really fool-proof.
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I love to find things on sale, especially things that would usually be expensive, like ground veal.
I love cream. Why do I love cream? I love cream because you only need a little, and it stays fresh in the refrigerator for quite a long time. I also like it for those occasions when I have run out of milk for my coffee. I prefer milk.
That’s what happened to me this morning, I ran out of milk last night, and not wanting to the store unwashed, I used a little cream in my coffee. I’ve had that cream in my house for quite a while, and I knew today was the very last day to use it.
When we were at the supermarket today, someone was buying red sauce for spaghetti. That almost sounded good, but I wanted to use up what I had in my refrigerator. No problem, I thought, I can make spaghetti and meatballs, but use the veal, and make the sauce with the cream.
Veal has very little fat, so these meatballs are a good choice for those watching their weight. Omitting the cream makes the sauce another good low calorie choice. If you have vegetarian friends, serve the meatballs separately.
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Almost every year, I bake a ham for Christmas so that I can have the bone for New Year’s Day. Of course, this year I roasted a goose, so I had no ham bone. Luckily, my good friend Stevie Lewis, saved me the bone from his family’s Christmas ham. From this bone, I make Hoppin John, and old Southern dish of black-eyed peas, ham, and rice. With it I serve steamed Kale and cornbread.
There is quite the long tradition with this meal. The black-eyed peas are said to represent coins, the kale is green like money, and the cornbread is golden to represent gold. Eating this for New Year’s Day is supposed to bring good fortune for the New Year.
Well, it might not bring any more money into your purse, but it is very economical. It’s a break for all the heavy holiday foods. It’s also very good for you. Black-eyed peas are high in protein, iron, zinc and potassium. Kale has anti-cancer properties. Corn bread, if you don’t put tons on butter on it, is also good for you.
I have been making this meal for years, but alas, the only photo is the one at the top. But, I’ll take pictures when I make it, so if you’re here after January, 2012, there are probably more pictures.
Every year, I make a special New Year’s Day dish, but I’m going to hold that one for another post, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I think that you might find yourself making some of 2011′s most popular recipes for your own festivities.
Dickens’ Christmas Dinner Menu
- Christmas Salad
- Roast Goose with Sour Cherry Sauce
- Chestnut Stuffing
- Wild Rice
- Haricots Verts
- Christmas Pudding
I lucked out this year and got a free range goose! I was so happy when I found it that I was jumping up and down. It was going to be a Dickens’ Christmas after all!
There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness1, were the themes of universal admiration….
In half a minute Mrs Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.
`A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us.’
Which all the family re-echoed. `God bless us every one.’ said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 1843