Monday, December 13, 2010

Spaghetti w/ Beef Ragu

It's the morning of my Torts final. And instead of freaking out I decided to post this delicious dinner that I made last night. I made lemon roasted chicken the night before my Elements final and that worked out pretty well. So I figured I would stick with a winning game plan. :o)

This is a great dinner that just does its thing in the slow cooker all day. Or, if you have a free afternoon (after you've put the books away), you can cook it for 4 hours on the high setting. It's the perfect meal for a cold night; hearty and comforting. Which is exactly what you need when you have a scary final the next morning.

Spaghetti w/Beef Ragu inspired by theKitchn

1 1/2 pounds stew beef, in chunks
salt & ground pepper
olive oil
1 large onion
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
1 carrot, peeled
3 shakes of crushed red pepper flakes

1. Add a little oil to a large skillet over high heat. Salt and pepper the beef and put the first batch into the pan. Brown each batch for about 4 minutes; b
e careful not to overcrowd the pan.

2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the carrot into thin rounds.

3. Lower the heat and add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is golden.

4. Put the meat, onions, carrot, garlic, can of tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

5. When ready to serve, use a fork to shred the meat. Serve over spaghetti with fresh parmesan cheese.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pistachio Brittle

I was looking for something sweet, but not a cookie. And this is what I found. It is definitely sweet and definitely not a cookie. But it also has more complexity than that statement gives it credit for. This brittle has salted pistachios on the inside and a light dusting of sea salt on the outside. Which combines into salty & sweet deliciousness that transcends what sweet or salty is ever able to accomplish on it own. Know what I mean?

Fair warning: this is NOT for people who are trying to avoid putting on holiday weight (as you'll see the main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, and butter). Nor is it a recipe that you can make and then just put away somewhere until your husband eats it. Because, I had to hide the salty/sweet pieces from myself. Yes - they are currently in a container that is on a shelf I would need a step stool to reach and that's a little too embarrassing even for me.

But if you're looking for a gorgeous and super tasty treat that travels really well to bring to a loved one's house (and then leave there for everyone else to eat to keep yourself from eating it all) - this recipe is done super quickly and doesn't even really require a candy thermometer (you can eyeball it). Enjoy!

Pistachio Brittle from Kristin Silverman

1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 stick butter, in chunks
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces shelled, salted, roasted pistachios
sea salt flakes

1. Combine the water, sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a large saucepan with tall sides. Turn the heat to medium-high; the mixture will start to boil pretty quickly. Stirring occasionally, let boil for about 20 minutes (or until it gets a dark amber color and starts to smell a little like burnt caramel) (or until your candy thermometer reads 300 F).

2. Remove the mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda (the mixture will bubble/foam a bit - just stir).

3. Add in the pistachios and stir until well incorporated, but work quickly.

4. Pour the whole thing onto a large baking sheet with high sides and spread with a spatula until evenly distributed. Evenly sprinkle sea salt on top.

5. Let cool for 30 minutes and then break apart into chunks (I used a clean hammer). Yum!