Freezer Friendly Archive

Monday, March 23, 2009

beef empanadas

beef empanadas

I am a master of finding reasons not to do things. Why I shouldn’t make a new pound cake, when I already have recipes I like. Why there’s no reason to ever roast a chicken another way. And in this case, why I shouldn’t bother making empanadas when I already have the most delicious, flawless empanada recipe ever made. (And, apparently, the moxy to boast about it.)

browning the meatempanada filling, coolingbeef empanadas, in the makingempanadas, ready to bake

This is why on the topic of empanadas, the discussion has been closed for nearly two years. Even though there are more types of empanadas in the world than chicken and olives. Even though I had only made that one recipe, ever. Even though a friend would occasionally pick up these awesome beef ones in Queens before a party, and I thought they wouldn’t be that hard to make at home.

Obviously, I could not hold off forever and that is why you see here some long overdue Beef Empanadas and you know what? They were a great dinner. They’re also great party food, if you make them a little smaller. And they’re equally good to stash in the freezer, baking them off as the empanada craving hits, or for a light dinner. Like Hot Pockets, but you know, full of awesome, healthy stuff.

beef empanadas

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

red kidney bean curry

rajmah

I have a confession to make: For years, I have been cooking a dish that I love very very much but I haven’t told you about it because it comes from two words that I cannot bring myself to publicly own up to.* Especially on a site where if you suggested I use one, I’d suggest you haven’t been paying attention.

It’s a box mix, people. And it makes the most fantastic rajmah, or kidney bean curry. Wait! Let me explain. Long before I had cooked a single Indian dish, I was overwhelmed at the thought of it. I didn’t have the spices. I didn’t know which spices I’d want. I was sure I’d use them all wrong. There’s like an art and a science to this and I am a dilettante in the world of Indian cooking.

kidney beans

And one day we were at Whole Foods, and they of course had some cooking samples out, these provided from a company that was packaging Indian spice mixes for classic dishes, for which they helpfully provided recipes on the back. The aloo gobi was okay. The chicken tikka masala was, you know, not bad either. But the kidney bean curry? Swoon. We took it home with us that very night.

In the years since, I have found Indian recipes I can’t get enough of. There are Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes, Tangy Cabbage Salads and an Everyday Yellow Dal, Red Split Lentils with Cabbage, Indian-Spiced Vegetable Fritters and my favorite, the one that we make many times a year, Indian-Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes.

indian spiced cauliflower and potatoes

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

alex’s mom’s stuffed cabbage

stuffed cabbage (golubtsy)

I have been promising you my mother-in-law’s recipe for stuffed cabbage or “golubtsy”, which was her mother’s recipe for stuffed cabbage, for ages but do you know what is even sadder about how long it has taken me to get to this? That if I remember correctly, I jotted this recipe down on a page from my planner (a planner! with pages in it! many moons ago, my friends.) while sitting in the back seat as we drove to check out some wedding locations. Alex and I got married in 2005.

steeping the cabbagesauteing the fillingmixing the fillingcabbage rolls, ready to be cooked

And really, I have all sorts of places to blame for how long it has taken me to actually make the recipe at home. The first is Neptune on 1st Avenue, only my favorite place to sit outside for beers in the summertime and if you think that stuffed cabbage can’t taste good after a few Polish beers on a warm night, you obviously haven’t tried it yet. (With a side of kielbasa and pierogis, thank you.) The second is Veselka, also in the East Village — this is where I go for my winter stuffed cabbage fix. (Also cabbage soup. Small hands… smell like cabbage. Nobody else gets that, do they?) And the third is Alex’s mom herself, who often brings us extra that she has made, rendering it completely unnecessary for me to make any effort whatsoever to decipher my four year-old notes.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

mushroom bourguignon

mushroom bourguignon

When it is as cruelly cold out as it has been this week, beef bourguignon is one of my favorite things. If there is anything better than a symphony of onions, carrots, red wine, broth and a scoop of tomato paste simmered for hours, I haven’t met it. I don’t want to meet it. I already know my favorite.

big grimy portobellosbig fat mushroom slices

Julia Child’s recipe was always my mother’s go-to dish for company and back in the day, the smell of it braising in the oven was enough to get me to reconsider my vegetarianism. I cheated more than once, ladling the braise broth over egg noodles, and never felt that I wasn’t missing a thing. In fact, I always argued that most of the things people thought they liked about meat they actually liked about the sauces and braises and spices they were cooked in, which is why I have been dreaming up a vegetable based bourguignon for ages.

reducing the winethickened up

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

braised beef short ribs

braised short ribs

[Braised Beef Short Ribs with Potato Purée, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream]

The first time I made short ribs, I freaked out. Lifting their lid after a multi-hour braise just as our guests arrived for dinner, I discovered a mess. “The bones fell out! Help! Did I ruin them?” I cried just as my mother walked into the kitchen, and because she’d never made short ribs before said “I don’t know, maybe?” But then Alex’s mother swooped in and said “That’s a good thing!”

thyme-d and black peppered ribs

And so it was, so much so that going forward, short ribs instantly became my favorite dinner party meal. They require very little effort, they’re fairly inexpensive and it is really hard to mess them up. You can doctor up the braise with one or a dozen herbs or spices, you can simmer them in almost anything, from wine or beer to stock to hoisin or tomato sauce or any combination thereof but the real magic is this: you can make them in advance. Short ribs are astoundingly flexible in their cooking time and taste even better the next day. (And if all this doesn’t sell you on their genius, this article will.)

browning the ribs

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