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In The Kitchen: Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef) from Food Wishes (with video recipe)

February 22nd, 2018 No comments

This recipe, found on the Food Wishes YouTube Channel, is all about the WOW! You will definitely be surprised by the amount of black pepper it uses, but once it is braised for several hours it all mellows in a wonderful flavor with a little bit of heat on the finish.

I made mine with a simple pot roast from the grocery, instead of the short ribs used in the video, but it came out wonderfully. I just cut the roast into about 6 large chunks. I would made it with short ribs though for anyone who might specially like them.

While this certainly takes a lot of time to cook, it doesn’t require a lot of attention. I did strain the sauce at the end before cooking it down as the rosemary had disintegrated and I personally don’t like chunks of rosemary needles in my food.

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

My version, just getting started

I served mine over polenta, just like the video. I have been using this accompaniment for braised meats and such for a long time. It is a great way of capturing all the juices, and the flavor they bring to the dish.

This is a wonderful collection of flavors and while I don’t often eat large cuts of meat like this, it is definitely a recipe I will make again!

One tip: If you don’t have a tight fitting lid for your large skillet or dutch over, seal the top with aluminum foil and then cover with the existing lid and crimp the edges of the foil. This really helps keep all the moist, juicy, goodness inside over the long cooking time.

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

My largest skillet with foil seal. The foil covers the entire top and then is crimped at the edges.

Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

Food Wishes Finished Version

Some recipes have amusing, or romantic stories for how they came to be, but this peposo isn’t one of them, unless you consider making bad quality beef taste better by covering it in black pepper, amusing or romantic.

As the story goes, the workers who made terracotta tiles in the city of Impruneta, would place this stew into clay pots, and leave it their still-hot kilns overnight, where it would be ready the next morning. Since they were often stuck using less than fresh meat, copious amounts of black peppercorn was used to make the beef palatable.

Read this entire blog post – Peposo dell’Impruneta – Making Bad Beef Better Since Before Columbus on Food Wishes


Recipe: Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

Ingredients for 6 portions:

6 bone-in beef short ribs (about 8 to 10 ounces each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt to coat the beef
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, freshly crushed
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 sage leaves
3-4 small sprigs rosemary
2 cups red wine, preferably Chianti
2 bay leaves
salt to taste, to adjust sauce

Simmer on low, covered, about 3 1/2 hours, or until fork tender. Turn occasionally.


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* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!

Categories: Cooking, Food, In the kitchen, New Food, Video Tags:

Reading – Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura – 8 in a series

February 5th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura – 8 in a series

Reading - Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura - 8 in a series

Food waste is a huge issue in today’s world. Millions of people go hungry every day and yet thousands of tons of food goes into trash heaps at the same time. World famous chef, Massimo Bottura had a unique idea of how to address this issue and chose the Milan Expo of 2015 to create The Refettorio Ambrosiano. During the 6 months of the Expo, other famous chefs would cook lunch and dinner for school kids and the homeless using mainly the supplies donated to them from other events and restaurants in the city. Chefs didn’t know what supplies they might have available until they arrived and then strove to create something useful, simple and yet, special for those meals.

For me, I am often intimated by chef-level food in the real world. I have understand why people are attracted to the new, the special, the dangerous, but I prefer more down-to-earth fare. This is exactly what these chefs created during their meals. Sure, they dressed up the dishes, but at their heart these dishes were about constraints, simplicity and food as love. It is mainly the constraints that seem to drive the chefs to a higher level, as with many artistic forms. Having too much, too many, too special anything often leads us to be lazy and superficial in our art. Cooking (and painting writing and drawing) within constraints forces us to be creative, more thoughtful and more unique than we might think possible.

There are a host of amazing recipes here and just as many ideas on how to use kitchen scraps, leftovers, slightly damaged or out of date fruit and vegetables — just like what you might find in your own home. I know that there are nights when our own dinner is driven by what needs to be used or finished or saved so it doesn’t end up in the trash or the compost pile. I will need to check out his book from the library again so I can go back and collect all the recipes I want to try. There were simply too many to absorb on first reading. Along with the recipes are the excellent essays of each chef’s experience in the kitchen, what they made and how they made it.

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

Reading - Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura - 8 in a series

Reading - Bread Is Gold by Massimo Bottura - 8 in a series

From Amazon.com…

Massimo Bottura, the world’s best chef, prepares extraordinary meals from ordinary and sometimes ‘wasted’ ingredients inspiring home chefs to eat well while living well.

‘These dishes could change the way we feed the world, because they can be cooked by anyone, anywhere, on any budget. To feed the planet, first you have to fight the waste’, Massimo Bottura

Bread is Gold is the first book to take a holistic look at the subject of food waste, presenting recipes for three-course meals from 45 of the world’s top chefs, including Daniel Humm, Mario Batali, René Redzepi, Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca, Enrique Olvera, Ferran & Albert Adrià and Virgilio Martínez. These recipes, which number more than 150, turn everyday ingredients into inspiring dishes that are delicious, economical, and easy to make.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Baking, Books, Cooking, Food Tags:

Reading – Milk Street: The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimble – 6 in a series

January 25th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Milk Street: The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimble – 6 in a series

 

You may know Christopher Kimball from his time at America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. He brings his same precision and dedication to Milk Street, his new, individual, company and cooking school. For the most part, Milk Street is about simple, international foods, brought home to out American kitchens and done very, very well. In an effort to help the reader find success with these recipes, they are clearly laid out in great detail with hints and tips and times clearly shown. Kimball and his staff have obviously tested these recipes again and again and want to help you succeed in making them.

Scattered throughout are sections detailing tips like why oil us better for cooking omelets and scrambled eggs, why carbon steel pans might be a home cook’s best friend and how to steam cook with a foil-parchment packet.

Along with this are excellent recipes, many of which I have marked for future “testing” in my own kitchen. Some of my favorites include:

  • Curry Braised Eggs
  • Spanish Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin Bites (Pinchos Morunos)
  • Caramelized Pork with Orange and Sage
  • Cracked Potatoes with Vermouth, Coriander, Fennel
  • Whipped Cream Biscuits

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

From Amazon.com…

For more than twenty-five years, Christopher Kimball has promised home cooks that his recipes would work. Now, with his team of cooks and editors at Milk Street, he promises that a new approach in the kitchen can elevate the quality of your cooking far beyond anything you thought possible.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, the first cookbook connected to Milk Street’s public television show, delivers more than 125 new recipes arranged by type of dish: from grains and salads, to a new way to scramble eggs, to simple dinners and twenty-first-century desserts.

At Milk Street, there are no long lists of hard-to-find ingredients, strange cookware, or all-day methods. Skillet-charred Brussels sprouts, Japanese fried chicken, rum-soaked chocolate cake, Thai-style coleslaw, and Mexican chicken soup all deliver big flavors and textures without your having to learn a new culinary language.

These recipes are more than just good recipes. They teach a simpler, bolder, healthier way to cook that will change your cooking forever. And cooking will become an act of pure pleasure, not a chore.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Baking, Books, Cooking, Food, Recipe Tags:

Reading – The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos – 5 in a series

January 19th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos – 5 in a series

 Reading - The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos - 5 in a series

I know what you’re thinking…”Another cocktail book?!?!” Well, this is just the order I completed them in, not some evil scheme to get your drunk on a weeknight. (LAUGH)

The Wildcrafted Cocktail is certainly an extremely niche book. It is few people who go out into the woods and forage the ingredients for their cocktails, yet I still enjoyed the book greatly. It was wonderful to read about all the unique ingredients you might find in your own backyard. Still, I for myself I would be a bit leery gathering plants without a bit more knowledge, and confidence, that I wasn’t poisoning myself in the process. You might want to combine this book on a really good book on backyard foraging like Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat, to assist you in your search. Such detailed information is far beyond the scope of The Wildcrafted Cocktail, but very necessary to be successful.

That said, there was also some great, general information on cocktails including some history of cocktails,

“What is a cocktail? The first mention of a cocktail as an alcoholic beverage dates from 1806, when it was defined as a drink composed of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters.”

and the difference between the several types of simple syrup that are used behind a well-stocked bar, 

“The difference among these syrups is not only the degree of sweetness but also the mouthfeel. A rich syrup (twice as much sugar as water) is much silkier than a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water). A light syrup (twice as much water as sugar) is lighter and thinner on the tongue. Simple syrups are the most versatile and most commonly called for behind the bar.”

The Wildcrafted Cocktail is certainly worthwhile if only to expand your thinking about foraged ingredients and cocktails in general. Who knows? You might even have some ingredients in your very own garden that could find their way into your glass.

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

From Amazon.com…

Meet the natural lovechild of the popular local-foods movement and craft cocktail scene. It’s here to show you just how easy it is to make delicious, one-of-a-kind mixed drinks with common flowers, berries, roots, and leaves that you can find along roadsides or in your backyard. Foraging expert Ellen Zachos gets the party started with recipes for more than 50 garnishes, syrups, infusions, juices, and bitters, including Quick Pickled Daylily Buds, Rose Hip Syrup, and Chanterelle-infused Rum. You’ll then incorporate your handcrafted components into 45 surprising and delightful cocktails, such as Stinger in the Rye, Don’t Sass Me, and Tree-tini. 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Reading – Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry – 2 in a series

December 30th, 2017 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry – 2 in a series

Reading - Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry - 2 in a series

While there are a few familiar recipes from my own pasta repertoire here, there are also a host of new recipes that I have already added to my “To Try” list. We are a half-Italian family by both blood and culture, so pasta is an important part of our diet and something we enjoy immensely. While I have some go-to recipes we make every month or so, it is always great to add a few new ones to the rotation.

Here are some of my favorites from Back Pocket Pasta…

  • Buttery Basil Pesto with Linguine
  • Sicilian Escarole and Sausage
  • Creamy Zucchini and Sausage
  • Easter Ham Carbonara (Just like the author, we always have plenty of leftovers)
  • Pretty “Parslied” Spaghetti
  • Tuscan Kale “Caesar” Pasta
  • Fusilli Alfredo (with NO cream, as it should be (LAUGH))
  • ..and many more!

From Amazon.com…

As much a mindset as it is a cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta shows how a well-stocked kitchen and a few seasonal ingredients can be the driving force behind delicious, simply prepared meals. Pantry staples—a handful of items to help you up your dinner game—give you a head start come 6pm, so you can start cooking in your head on the way home from work. For instance, if you know that you have a tin of anchovies, a hunk of parmesan, and panko bread crumbs, you can pick up fresh kale to make Tuscan Kale “Caesar” Pasta. Or if you have capers, red pepper flakes, and a lemon, you can make Linguine with Quick Chili Oil. With genius flavor combinations, a gorgeous photograph for every recipe, and a smart guide to easy-drinking cocktails and wine, Back Pocket Pasta will inspire you to cook better meals faster. 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Cooking, Drinks, Food, Italy-Sicily Tags:

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies via Instagram

December 25th, 2017 Comments off

 

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies via Instagram

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

From our annual cookie party, now in It’s 25th year!

Recipe: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Instagram and Follow

Some of my favorite cookbooks

 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Bourbon Walnut Bars via Instagram

December 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Bourbon Walnut Bars via Instagram

Bourbon Walnut Bars

From our annual cookie party, now in It’s 25th year!

Recipe: Bourbon Delight Bars

Instagram and Follow

Some of my favorite cookbooks

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Pecan Snoballs/Pecan Puffs via Instagram

December 19th, 2017 Comments off

Pecan Snoballs/Pecan Puffs via Instagram

Pecan Snowballs/Pecan Puffs
Joy of Cooking Cookbook

From our annual cookie party, now in It’s 25th year!

Recipe: Pecan Snoballs/Pecan Puffs from Joy of Cooking

Instagram and Follow

Some of my favorite cookbooks

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

In the kitchen…the pots are waiting via Instagram

December 17th, 2017 Comments off

In the kitchen...the pots are waiting via Instagram

In the kitchen...the pots are waiting via Instagram

In the kitchen…the pots are waiting

Instagram and Follow

Some of my favorite cookbooks

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Angel Bars/Angel Slices from Joy of Cooking Cookbook via Instagram

December 17th, 2017 Comments off

Angel Bars/Angel Slices from Joy of Cooking Cookbook via Instagram

Angel Bars/Angel Slices
Joy of Cooking Cookbook

From our annual cookie party, now in It’s 25th year!

Recipe: Angel Bars from Joy of Cooking

Instagram and Follow

Some of my favorite cookbooks

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

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