Friday, August 5, 2016

Chocolate Chipped Chocolate Dipped Madeleines

½ cup butter  (1 stick)
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup ripe mashed bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon cinnamon

For the chocolate “dip:”
Half and half or heavy cream
1 tablespoon baking cocoa

Equipment: mini-muffin tin or madeleine pan


Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and the mashed bananas.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Add to the banana mixture and stir until just blended. Add the chocolate chips and mix through. Pour into greased muffin tins or 

shell pan (pre-greased and preheated) and dust the top of each muffin lightly with a little extra cinnamon. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes. Turn out on a kitchen towel to cool.

Set a small pan of water to a light simmer, and put a larger mixing bowl over it (or use a double-boiler.) Use the rest of the bag of chocolate chips, and add the tablespoon of baking cocoa and enough cream or ½ and ½ to make the chocolate thick enough to coat the muffins. Stir until dipping sauce is glossy. Line your plate or tray with wax or parchment paper to fit. Then one at a time, dip one end of the muffin into the chocolate. Let excess drain off, then lay down on the paper. If there is not enough chocolate to coat all the muffins, do alternating rows of chocolate and plain. Refrigerate long enough to harden the chocolate, then serve.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Creamsicle Jello Salad

4 packages (3 oz.) orange jello
2 packages (3 oz.) vanilla pudding   (not instant)
2 tablespoons instant tapioca
1 - 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 - 8 oz. container Cool Whip
3 - 11 oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained

In a bowl combine two packages of orange jello with 2 cups boiling water. Stir until dissolved, about a minute or so. Add 2 cups cold water, and stir. Pour into a large glass bowl, such as a trifle bowl, and place in the refrigerator. When jello is about 75% solid, add one can of drained mandarin oranges, poking them one at a time until they are suspended all throughout the jello layer. Especially try to get the mandarin oranges around the edge of the glass so they are visible.

In a large saucepan, bring 3 ½ cups of water to a boil. Add the 2 remaining packets of jello, both packages vanilla pudding, and the tapioca. Stir and bring to a boil again. Continue to stir until mixture is thickened, then remove from the heat.

Cool mixture thoroughly. At this point, fold in about 5 ounces of the Cool Whip. Reserve the remaining Cool Whip in the freezer. Gently fold in the crushed pineapple and one can of drained mandarin oranges. Refrigerate the pudding mixture or layer it on top of the jello in the glass bowl if the jello is completely set. Chill overnight.

Before serving, top with the remaining Cool Whip (thawed if needed) and decorate with the final can of drained mandarin oranges on top.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sensational Short Ribs

Want a simple, succulent beef short ribs recipe, but not sure how to go about it? No worries, here are easy step by step instructions.


5 lbs. meaty short ribs
Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
Canola or vegetable oil, for searing ribs
Onions, carrots, celery
12 – 14 oz. can tomato paste
Bottle Cabernet Sauvignon, or your favorite dry red wine
Good quality beef base, made into stock

Rinsing the ribs

First give those lovely ribs a good rinsing.
Pat dry with a kitchen towel and dredge
each rib in the seasoned flour.

      Dredging in seasoned flour

In a large saute pan, begin searing the ribs. Do this in several small batches so the pan isn't crowded. Put each batch into a large pan until all the ribs are nicely browned on all sides.

Pan-searing the ribs

The mirepoix

Now for the mirepoix: peel several onions and carrots, and along with the celery stalks, cut up into large diced pieces. In the same pan your ribs were in, begin sautéing the onions. 

Pourin' in the wine...

As soon as they are translucent,
add the carrots and the celery. 
Season with salt and pepper and 
sauté for a few minutes. 

At this point, add your can of tomato paste. Stir that in and let it get incorporated into the mirepoix. 

Then deglaze your pan with 12 oz. 
or more of your dry red wine. 
Cook off the alcohol for a 
few minutes.

Close-up of ribs in beef broth and mirepoix

Pour the contents of the mirepoix pan over your ribs. Then add just enough beef stock to barely cover the ribs. This may be a few cups
 to a quart, depending on your pan
 and the amount of ribs you have. 

Foiled again...

Now, cover your pan with tin foil 
and carefully place in a heated 325˚ oven. You’ll want to cook 
the ribs low and slow. This takes between 2 – 3 hours. You’ll know the ribs are done if you can twist the bone around inside a rib. This means that the meat is nice and tender. If you try this technique 
be very, very careful not to burn yourself in the process!

At this point, take your ribs and set them aside on a clean plate. In a colander over a saucepan, drain off the braising liquid. You can either toss the veggies or keep them as part of the plating, as you wish. As for the liquid, add a little cornstarch slurry (a few tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with cold water) and bring it to a boil while whisking to make a fantastically flavored gravy.

Then simply serve your short ribs alongside whatever sides you like. This succulent entree pairs quite well with either polenta or mashed potatoes and your favorite green veggie. 

Some nice crunchy rolls help to sop up the lovely gravy.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but it is well worth the time and effort to make. Especially if you can find the ribs on sale! Bon appetite!