Sunday, October 12, 2014

Korean Short Ribs with Celeraic Puree

On a recent stay at Sanctuary in Scottsdale, my associate and I had the pleasure of dining at Elements.  I don't normally order red meat, but for some reason the Korean Style Short Ribs with Celeraic Puree and Chinese Broccoli compelled me. The experience was beyond. The flavors were numerous yet harmonized perfectly. I determined that evening that I must try this at home. I researched all the flavors that go into Korean style short ribs and went for it. In the end, the flavors were virtually identical to what I remembered at Elements.  I hosted a dinner party for 6 and was thrilled by my guests' reaction to the meal and the presentation. What follows is the result of my efforts.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Korean pear or Asian pear, grated with juices
1/2 small white onion, sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or hot chile sauce)
1 12-ounce can lemon-lime soda 
4 to 5 pounds short ribs, cut into thirds
Cilantro chopped and spiral sliced raw beet for garnish
Celeraic Puree (Recipe follows)
Chinese Broccoli (Recipe follows)
Picked Peppers and Onions (Recipe follows)

In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients and whisk to combine into a marinade. Place the ribs with sauce in a large Zip-Loc. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Place ribs and marinade in a 5-quart slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. May be cooked in a cast iron large dutch oven. Or cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 2-3 hours.

Once tender, remove the ribs from the marinade and skim off the fat.  Remove to a sauce pan and simmer to about 1 1/2 cups of sauce.  Add in 2 tbs of Hoisin and a simmer until thickened.

Plate the ribs over a serving of celeriac puree and Chinese broccoli. Top the ribs with the sauce and place a spoon full of the pickled peppers/onions in the center and garnish with fresh topped cilantro and a beet spiral for color.

Celeraic Puree
2 heads celery root
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cut off the top and bottom of the roots and cut into chunks. Place in a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Drain in a colander and return to the pot. add the butter, cream and garlic. Using an inversion blender, puree to a fine consistency with no lumps. Keep warm.

Chinese Broccoli
1 bunch Chinese Broccoli
Kosher Salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Place the broccoli in the boiling water and braise for about 5 minutes until the thickest part of the stems are fork tender. Drain in a colander. 

Pickled Peppers and Onions
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
5 sweet peppers seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sugar

In a small bowl, mix the sugar with vinegar and mirin until dissolved. Place the thinly sliced onions and peppers in a sealable container and pour in the vinegar/sugar mixture. Let sit in the refrigerator for an hour or more until softened slightly. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bar

For the chocolate chip cookie layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. Salt
1 tbs. Cider vinegar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cups all purpose flour
2 cups dark chocolate chips

For the cheesecake layer
1 pkg. cream cheese (8oz) at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, shortening, sugars, salt, vanilla and vinegar. Beat in the egg followed by bang soda and flour. Mix in the chocolate chips. Separate the dough into equal halves and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl and an electric beater, cream the cream cheese and sugar until combined then add the egg and vanilla.

In a 9 x 13 pan, that has been lined with parchment paper on the bottom, spread 1/2 of the cookie dough mixture on the bottom of the pan using your hands to press down evenly. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the bottom cookie layer in spoonfuls first followed by a rubber spatula. With the remaining cookie dough, flatten balls of dough between your hands into rounds and place on the cheese mixture until the surface is covered.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden. Cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This is one of my all time favorite desserts.  I came across the recipe on the cover of Delicious Magazine a couple of years ago.  I was extremely intimidated at first and held off making it for a while as a result.  Eventually I worked up enough courage to give it a try and couldn't believe how amazing the result was.  So light, creamy and fresh while being packed with flavor.  The recipe calls for a raspberry sauce drizzled over each slice which really enhances the flavor of the mango.  To die for!

2 pkg. 8 oz cream cheese softened
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
Juice of 5 oranges
2 pkg. lady fingers (sponge finger biscuits)
4 Mangoes ripened (Champaign variety preferred) fresh sliced 1/8 inch thick

Raspberry Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg. 12 oz frozen raspberries
Juice of 1 lemon

Line the base of a 9 inch springform cake pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place the cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until thick and well combined.

Place orange juice in a separate shallow bowl. Dip half the lady fingers into the juice and layer in the base of the cake pan. Spread with one-third of the cream cheese mixture, and top with one-third of the sliced mangoes. Repeat the process, then top with the remaining cream cheese, reserving the remaining mango slices to serve. Cover the cake and chill for 2 hours or until firm.

Meanwhile for the raspberry sauce, place the sugar and 2 tbs water in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool slightly, then add the berries and lemon juice. Whiz in a food processor until smooth, then pass through a strainer to remove the seeds. Chill until ready to serve. (You can store the sauce covered in the fridge for 3-4 days).

To serve, carefully remove the sides and base of the cake pan and transfer to the Mangomisu to a platter. Decorate the top with curls of the reserved mango, then slice and serve with the raspberry sauce drizzled on each piece.

Note: Lady fingers are typically found in the freezer section of supermarkets.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Caramelized Onion and Ricotta Tart with Heirloom Tomatoes

After being on hiatus for several months, due to the wedding of my daughter, I have regrouped and am back with new inspiration and motivation to continue my work with the blog.  My primary inspiration for this new appetizer is my neighbor who has been dropping off a bag of fresh picked tomatoes from his garden each week for the past month. I really wanted to find a way to use fresh tomatoes in a more interesting way than my typical BLT. I came across this recipe in the March 2013 issue of Delicious and thought I would give it a try.  I served it as an appetizer for Sunday dinner to the delight of all. So fresh and so summery!

1 sheet prepared pie crust at room temperature
3 tbsp butter
6 Scallions thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 oz. ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
5 small to medium sized heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors
Bunch of Basil leaves
Olive oil to serve
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Cover a loose-bottomed tart pan with one sheet of a prepared pie crust and gently press along the edges trimming any excess.  Prick base with a fork and chill for 30 minutes to firm up.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dry and golden then remove from the oven and cool.  

Meanwhile, melt butter in a frypan over medium heat, add scallions and cook for 5-6 minutes until soft and golden. Add balsamic and sugar, then cook stirring for a further 1 minute until sugar has dissolved and balsamic has reduced.

Transfer onion mixture to the cooled tart shell and top with evenly spaced small dollops of ricotta. Whisk eggs, cream and pecorino, then season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the baked tart shell over the ricotta dollops. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is just set. Let cool for 10 minutes. 

Thinly slice the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar then season with salt and pepper. Transfer tart to a plate. Arrange the tomato slices on top and sprinkle with finely grated pecorino cheese. Sprinkle with basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil. Slice and serve immediately. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies

My life changed the day I experienced my first bite of these salted caramel brownies. If you like extremely rich, dense and chewy brownies, you will not find a more satisfying version than these.  For me making dessert is always a challenge and one that I shy away from most of the time.  However, this recipe is very easy, uses a few short cuts to save time and in the end is so impressive it makes the effort all worth it. Given how these turned out, I am becoming more open to the idea of trying more dessert least for today.


1 pkg Chocolate Cake Mix
3/4 cup Butter melted
2/3 cup Evaporated milk
1 pkg (14 oz) Caramels
1 pkg (12 oz) Semisweet chocolate chips 
1 tsp Kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mix, melted butter and 1/3 cup evaporated milk, mix well – the batter will be thick. Layer half of the mixture in a greased 9x13 pan. The batter should be a thin layer spread over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 6 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the hot brownies. 

Meanwhile, unwrap caramels and place in microwave safe bowl with remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Heat and stir in one minute increments until smooth and melted. Pour melted caramel over the chocolate chips and sprinkle with kosher salt. Drop small crumbles of the remaining batter by hand over the top of caramel layer, dispersing evenly. Bake for an additional 15 – 18 minutes, or until top looks set.  Cool completely before serving.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shortbread Lemon Bars

Lemon bars have always been a perennial favorite. Unfortunately it has taken me forever to find the perfect recipe that is the perfect ratio of filling to crust without the eggy aftertaste of traditional recipes. If you are looking for a lemon bar that is packed with flavor and has plenty of filling, this is it.  The flavor is enhanced with a hint of orange essence, which makes for a unique and interesting bite. These bars are also refrigerated which makes the texture of them simply amazing.


1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
1 tsp Grated lemon peel
1 tsp Grated orange peel
3/4 cup Cold butter

4 Eggs
2 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Lemon juice
1/4 cup All-purpose
2 tsp Grated lemon peel
2 tsp Grated orange peel
1 tsp Baking powder

2 cups (16 oz.) Sour cream
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract


In a food processor, combine flour, powdered sugar, and lemon and orange peel. Cut in butter until crumbly; process until mixture forms a ball. Pat into a 13 x 9-in baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degree for 12-14 minutes or until set and the edges are lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients; mix well. Pour over hot crust. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine topping ingredients. Spread over filling. Bake 7-9 minutes longer or until topping is set. Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into bars just before serving. Yield: 3 dozen.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Braised Short Ribs with Winter Vegetable Gratin

Last year I received a William Sonoma seasonal entertaining cookbook from a friend.  It is great book with a lot of good recipe ideas. After a particularly long and dreary winter week, the family was in need of a little relief from the bitter cold.  This dish was simple, fresh, delicious and easy to prepare.  I adapted the William Sonoma recipe and modified the preparation to make it a little more convenient for my busy schedule by using a slow cooker instead of the oven. The short ribs were fall apart tender and the creamy winter vegetable dish was divine. The meal was completed with steamed asparagus and a fennel and mandarin orange salad. Enjoy!

Serves 6

4 lbs Short ribs
4 tsp Kosher salt
4 tsp Freshly cracker pepper
1 tbs Paprika
1 tbs Fresh Thyme plus a few sprigs
1 Carrot peeled and sliced on the diagonal
2 Yellow onions chopped
1 Celery stalk thinly sliced
2 tbs minced garlic
3 tbs All purpose flour
2 cups Beef broth
1 1/2 cup Red wine
1 1/2 cup Water
1 1/2 tbs Tomato paste
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Bay leaf
3 tbs Olive oil
Fresh Italian parsley sprigs for garnish (optional)


Place the spare ribs in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, paprika and thyme. Set aside for two hours. If longer than two hours, place in the refrigerator. Peel and slice the carrots on the diagonal, slice the celery and dice the onion. Set aside.

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy sauce pan until smoking. Sear the spare ribs on each side until browned about 3 to 4 minutes. Complete the searing in batches and set the browned ribs aside in a bowl.  Reduce the heat to medium. Pour off all the fat except two tablespoons and saute the onions, carrots and celery until tender. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour and stir until lightly browned. Pour in the red wine and scrape up any browned bits. Continue to stir and add in the water. Remove from heat. 

In a slow cooker, combine the beef broth, vinegar, tomato paste, bay leaf together and stir in the vegetable mixture. Place the spare ribs into the liquid and the sprigs of fresh thyme.  Slow cook on high for about 3-3 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Once tender, place the spare ribs on a large serving platter and top with the vegetables and fresh Italian parsley sprigs. This can be made a day in advance.  Simply cool, cover the pot and refrigerate. The next day remove from the refrigerator, remove any fat that has solidified on the top and heat for about 30 minutes on the stove top over low heat stirring occasionally. Serve with Creamy Winter Vegetable Gratin on the side. (Recipe follows)

Winter Vegetable Gratin

Serves 8 - 10

3 Yukon gold potatoes
3 lg. Parsnips
2 sm. Rutabaga
1 med. Turnip
1 tbs Kosher salt
2 tsp Fine sea salt
1 tsp Fresh cracked pepper
4 Tbs Butter
1 cup Half and Half
4 tsp Italian parsley minced
3 tbs Grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbs Grated Gruyere cheese


Set a stock pot filled with water and the sea salt to boil and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Peel and cut into one inch cubes the potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga and turnips and boil until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Once tender, drain the vegetables well and place in a large bowl.  Mix in the butter, parsley, 1/2 cup of the half and half salt and pepper and roughly mash with a potato masher until the half and half is absorbed. Add the remaining half and half. Mash coarsely again until well blended.  I prefer a somewhat chunky texture to the mash.  Add a little more half and half, if needed, to arrive at the desired consistency and adjust seasonings to taste with the salt and pepper.

Spoon the mashed vegetables in a buttered 12 inch gratin dish and sprinkle the top with the cheeses.  Bake until bubbles form around the edges, about 20 minutes. Preheat the broiler and broil until the top is golden, 3-4 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and serve.