Archive for January, 2014

January 14, 2014

Chipotle-Espresso Braised Rib-Eye Roast

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(Blogger’s note – my job has called me down to the state capital for the legislative session. For the next few months I’ll be working longer and more irregular hours, but I’ll do my best to keep the new recipes coming!)

Are you in a post-holiday slump? Are you beset on all sides by the doldrums of winter?

Well if you are (heck, even if you aren’t) this recipe is the perfect remedy. On one hand it’s bold and upbeat, combining spicy chipotle with rich and dark espresso flavors to create a robust forefront of tastes. At the same time, it pulls in the classic winter flavors of slow roasted beef that will fill your stomach and warm your heart. The wonderful contrast between the outer char and the pull-apart interior is icing on the metaphorical cake.

But arguably the best part about this dish is that it’s as simple as it is mind-bogglingly delicious. If you can mix spices in a bowl, rub them on a chunk of beef, and put that beef in an enclosed container, then you can make this dish. I used a dutch oven for mine, but even that’s not really necessary. Any oven-safe vessel that can be covered will work to slow cook the rib-eye to sweet, fork-tender oblivion.

I served this with the Wild Mushroom and Spinach Gnocchi that I just posted and not a soul was left unhappy. Give it a try the next time you’re looking to cook up an impressive meal!

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January 1, 2014

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Gnocchi

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Happy 2014 everyone! In the spirit of new year’s resolutions and self improvement, this recipe is the story of a culinary challenge that I finally overcame last year.

Ever since I started cooking, homemade gnocchi has been my Everest. I looked at countless recipes and tried multiple times to make it, but I could never get it quite right. It was always wound up a sloppy mess or an over-floured taste-dud.

This Christmas though, I finally figured it out.

The trick, at least for me, was to give up on the idea that the dough should feel like pasta dough. With pasta, the dough tends to be pretty tough and not sticky at all. But if you try to get gnocchi dough to that consistency you’ll wind up adding so much flour that it ruins the flavor. Instead, the trick is to flour the outside of the dough just enough to roll it out. It’ll still be a little sticky and hard to work with, but the result is delicious.

And this recipe is the perfect way to dress a well-made gnocchi! All the ingredients are delicate and inviting, and together they form a rich yet sublime palette of flavors. The leeks impart a subtle onion flavor, while the mushrooms and parmesan provide notes of umami. And while you may be tempted to skip the sherry in this recipe, you shouldn’t. It adds a fantastic extra dimension to the already wonderful thyme-cream sauce.

Best wishes (and dishes) for the new year!

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