Welcome Back!

I’m very pleased to have brought this site – my recipe/cooking blog – back to life after a couple of years of neglect!

The old standby recipes are still here in a freshened up wrapper with this new design and hosting setup. FYI, far and away the most popular recipe here over the years has been my ‘Lazy-S Tri-Tip‘ recipe. Another surprisingly popular article describes how to use the Williams-Sonoma Cooking Probe Thermometer. Finally, there’s the most recent recipe from 2018 about making delicious short ribs.

I’m looking forward to getting back into more posting here in 2020! Meanwhile, lots of holiday cooking ahead – enjoy yours!

Scott’s 2018 Short Ribs

This is a perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon – serving two or with guests serving four! The short ribs need about 3 hours to cook – so start around 2 PM and you’ll be ready for a great dinner about 5:30 or 6 PM.

The inspiration for this recipe came from chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Obama’s Short Ribs recipe as described in the New York Times – and it’s also in the chef’s Red Rooster Cookbook – The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem.

I’ve made several modifications – basically to make it simpler and easier. I usually try to rework recipes that use amounts of ingredients that result in wasting portions that you might buy in standard size packages. So, I adjusted – and simplified – and the result was great!

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 (6-ounce) bone-in short ribs (about 2.5 to 3.5 lbs)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 14.5 oz package of Mirepoix (Trader Joes or Whole Foods) – containing 1 onion (chopped), 1 carrot (trimmed and chopped), 2 celery ribs, (trimmed and chopped)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, smashed and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped – or about 1-1/2 tbs of already minced garlic
  • 1 Optional (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel)
  • 3 cups beef broth (2 cups if only 4 ribs)
  • ½ cup plum sauce (¼ cup if only 4 ribs)
  • ½ cup soy sauce (¼ cup if only 4 ribs)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Season ribs all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add short ribs and brown on all four sides, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
  3. Add mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery), lemongrass, garlic and ginger to the pot. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in wine, beef broth, plum sauce, soy sauce, thyme, parsley and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
  5. Return short ribs to pot, along with any juices, cover and slide pot into oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours.
  6. Transfer meat to a plate. Use a ladle to skim the fat off the top of the braising liquid. Discard bay leaves and thyme stems. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Add short ribs and turn to coat in the sauce; set aside until you’re ready to serve.
  8. Serve short ribs in shallow bowls and top with a spoonful of sauce. Put remaining sauce in a bowl for the table. Enjoy!
  9. Serve with the rest of the red wine – and, likely, a second bottle! If there are leftovers, congratulations – as the ribs are even better warmed up tomorrow!

[First posted: February 26, 2018]

Scott’s Easy Baked Onions

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Here’s a great side dish to accompany grilled or roasted tri-tip – baked onions. There are a couple of ways to make this dish – one in the oven ahead of grilling the tri-tips on the Weber BBQ, alongside the tri-tips if you roast them in the oven, or ahead of time by cooking the onions in the coals of the BBQ fire.

It couldn’t be simpler – just takes a bit of planning and a bit of time – but it can overlap with cooking the tri-tips if you first start by getting the onions going.

I like to use just plain yellow onions – available everywhere. A rule of thumb might be 1 medium onion per person – but we really like onions so we usually double up the recipe and keep any left over to warm up along with the left over tri-tip later in the week.

To roast the onions in the oven, begin by pre-heating the oven to 425º F. Then, take a baking sheet or glass baking dish with aluminum foil (to ease the cleanup chores) and simply place the onions on the sheet or into the dish. Put them into the oven and wait – about an hour or so. Test to see if they’re done with a knife which should go in easily and come out cleanly. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down so that you can handle them.

To serve, use a knife to cut off the top and, optionally, drop a pat of butter into the onion – seasoning with salt and pepper.

For an alternative technique – cooking the onions in the coals of the BBQ – see this Weber video about “Melted Onions“.

My Favorite Memorial Day BBQ Recipes

Hard to believe we’re into Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer! It’s a perfect weekend for firing up the BBQ and doing some grilling! Here are a couple of recipe ideas to tempt your appetite:

For a great side dish to go with the tri-tip, try my recipe for Scott’s Easy Baked Onions – or the Melted Onions actually cooked in the charcoal coals of the BBQ.

Fire up that grill – and have a great holiday weekend!

Scott’s Wintertime Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup

A favorite of mine this time of year is a hearty beef, mushroom and barley soup.

Some might call it a “beef stew” – and they’d be right. But it’s got a lot of liquid – assuming you use all of the liquids called for – yet has the great flavor of a beef stew. We made this for a second time today – using an amalgamation of one of Mark Bittman’s recipes along with a slow cooker recipe from Cooks Illustrated.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs beef chuck roast – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 oz fresh Cremini mushrooms
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz mini carrots
  • 3 yellow onions – chopped
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 8 oz mini carrots
  • 2 oz Penzey’s shallots
  • 2 oz Penzey’s garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Directions

  • Soak the dried Porcini mushrooms in a cup of hot water.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the beef – brown for 10-15 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon. Discard most of the fat remaining.
  • In a separate pan, brown the mushrooms – first dry and later adding a bit of olive oil.
  • In the Dutch oven, add the onions, salt and pepper. Add in the tomato paste, carrots, shallots, and garlic. Add in the mushrooms. Add in the porcini mushrooms – and the liquid while being careful to avoid any grit. Saute for 10 mins. Add the red wine. After 10 mins, add the tomatoes, beef broth and chicken broth.
  • Bring mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low – cover the Dutch oven and continue cooking for 1.5-2 hours. Taste the beef for tenderness to determine when ready to serve.Serve in large soup bowls – perhaps with crusty bread! Enjoy!

What’s for Christmas Dinner? Pork Loin w/Apples!

Tonight, we’re making a pork loin roast for Christmas dinner – using one of our old favorite recipes but tweaked just a bit for this year’s event. (Isn’t recipe tweaking what fun cooking is all about?)

We’re trying dry brining the pork loin for a few hours in advance of cooking. The advocates of dry brining suggest that a day or so is the ideal timing for it – but I didn’t decide to try it until just a few hours before we need to serve dinner! So, it will be an abbreviated version.

To do the dry brining, I covered the pork loin (a 3.3 lb roast this year) with salt and put it into the refrigerator uncovered. When it’s time to cook, I’ll rinse the salt off the roast and then season it with salt, pepper and Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning. From there, it’s back to our original recipe!

This pork loin roast turned out REALLY GREAT! Even though the dry brining was abbreviated, the roast came out great – moist, not dry at all – and a perfect compliment to the apple/cream/mustard topping. To add a bit more complexity to the topping, I also included a couple of rosemary springs and a layer of sliced red onion. This combination added beautiful flavor and complexity to the topping.

We’ve cooked this recipe many times over the years – although not much if ever during 2012. Today’s treatment makes us want to come back to it again soon. Try it for your family – it’s a huge favorite with ours!

A Perfect July 4th Tri-Tip BBQ

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Are you planning a July 4th BBQ get together with family and friends this year? If so, the perfect BBQ treat is a tasty, well seasoned tri-tip roast – and you’ll find the preparation and cooking to be super easy:

Either way, you’ll end up with a perfect BBQ treat that your friends and family will really enjoy. Be sure to season the tri-tip well an hour or so in advance. I prefer just kosher salt, coarse ground pepper and a bit of Montreal steak seasoning.

Mix in a few burgers, sausages and hot dogs on the grill for the kids and you’ve got everybody covered!

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

How to Cook: Easy Tri-Tip Roast on the Gas Grill

Here’s last night’s Tri-Tip finishing grilling on the gas grill. So simple to do!

This was a 2 lb tri-tip roast (smallish as they go) that we cooked on a gas grill last night.

Seasoned ahead of time with lots of kosher salt, lots of ground pepper, and a touch of Montreal steak seasoning

Fired up the grill to preheat for 15 minutes, then 7 minutes per side over the direct burners followed by 20 minutes with the fatty side up.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes wrapped in foil before slicing against the grain Turned out perfect!

This would be perfect for your 4th of July BBQ!

Easy Oven Roasted Tri-Tips for Super Bowl Sunday

Easy Oven Roasted Tri-TipsLooking for a super easy but delicious treat for your Super Bowl Sunday get together? One of my all-time favorites is my ‘Lazy-S’ Easy Oven-Roasted Tri-Tips recipe first posted here back in 2005.

Whenever we’re having a group get together, this is one of my favorite meats to serve. It’s easy to prepare and cook – less than an hour – and tastes great warm and cool. It’s perfect to put out on a buffet table where guests can come back for me – and they will!

The recipe includes a seasoning step the day before – but that’s optional. If you don’t have that much advance time, just season the tri-tip when you bring it home from the store on Super Bowl Sunday and you’ll be good to go.

Enjoy your Super Bowl – and I hope you share a great tri-tip this year to go along with it!

What’s for Dinner this Christmas Eve?

This afternoon, we’re hosting our extended family for Christmas Eve. We’ll be serving a Niman Ranch uncured smoked ham along with broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, and other goodies.

For wine, we’ll be trying a couple of whites that come highly recommended: Eroica’s 2010 Riesling from Washington state and a Sauvignon Blanc from J. For the red wine, we’ve got a couple of great Pinot Noirs from the Duckhorn Wine Company – a Migration Anderson Valley and Decoy Sonoma County.

Hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas weekend 2011 wherever you may be!