Braised Short Ribs Cooked in Spices with Wine Reduction

I stumbled upon this wonderful short rib recipe and made few adaptations by add more spices and few substitutions. My bf loves anything stew-based so I can see myself using my Le Creuset 6-quart dutch oven pretty often. It’s high-quality enameled cast iron cookware is designed for ease and versatility of use. Just put everything in and let it roast it in the oven. They normally go for $275 but I got mine for a stellar deal at T.J Maxx Home Goods for $139.99 few years ago. It’s a great investment, their durability and high qualify craftsmanship is worth every penny.

These short ribs are obscenely good. It requires little hands on when cooking and impossible to screw up. Halfway into braising, I took a quick peek and found the vegetables are roasting nicely and the short ribs have a deep burgundy color. The aroma of the spices and vegetables perfumes the whole kitchen. As the liquid is braising, the short ribs sucks in all the juices and tenderizes the meat. By the time it’s done cooking, the short ribs literally falls off the bones and with each bite, the meat melts in your mouth. Dinner was a great success. I will definitely make this rustic, comfort meal again. My bf raved how delicious it is, especially the sauce. :)

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 lbs bone-in beef short ribs

salt

pepper

flour

3 Tbs canola oil

4 carrots, coarsely chopped

2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

3  handfuls of sweet grape tomatoes

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

12 peeled garlic cloves, cut in halves

2 sprigs of rosemary, fresh

5-6 sprigs of thyme, fresh

20 peppercorns

1/2 bottle of red wine (I used Syrah)

3 cups of beef or chicken stock

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp red chili flakes

Side dishes: cooked broccoli, mash potatoes or brown rice

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, put together the coarsely chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet grape tomatoes, onions, garlic) and set aside.

3. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then toss in flour to coat. Shake off the excess flour. In a 5-6 quart dutch oven, heat oil on high. Once oil is very hot, sear the short ribs on all sides to brown. Set aside the seared short ribs on a plate.

4. In the same pot, add chopped vegetables, herbs and peppercorns. Pour in a small amount of wine to deglazed the pot, scraping the bottom (use wood or plastic spoon, do not use metal as it will stretch the pot). Add the remaining wine and beef or chicken stock. Stir in brown sugar, cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika, red chili flakes. Place short ribs back into the pot and nestle the meat in the vegetable mixture. The short ribs should be almost completely covered with liquid. If necessary, add more beef or chicken stock and/or wine until almost covered but not completely covered.

5. Bring the mixture to a boil on the stove stop, then cover and transfer the dutch oven in the oven and cook for exactly 3 hours long.

6. Remove the pot from the oven and place it on the stove top. Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Spoon the short ribs and cooked vegetables on a plate and serve with a side of cooked broccoli for a healthy meal or you can serve with mash potatoes or brown rice for a comfort meal. Pour enough sauce over the plate, it’s very delicious!

Tomato Basil Angel Hair Pasta with Italian Sausages

This is a simple pasta recipe I created that doesn’t required too much time in the kitchen. I love cooking Italian food because it’s so easy and versatile. The dish is bursting with flavors. When you take a bite, you get this garlicky basil taste with a little spice from the italian sausages and the warm burst of cherry tomatoes. Bon Appétit!

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 Italian Sausages (Spicy)

1 package Angel Hair Pasta

1 jar Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

8 Cherry Tomatoes, cut in halve

Fresh basil, stems removed

3 large garlic cloves, minced

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Salt

Pepper

Trader Joe’s small mozzarella balls (optional)

Directions

1. In a small pan, add the italian sausages and add 1 cup of water. Cook on med-high heat for about 15 mins. If the water runs low, add a little more so the steam cooks the sausages evenly. Take the sausages out and cut in thin slices.

2. In a large sauce pan, add 2 Tbs EVOO, minced garlic, cherry tomatoes and sliced sausages. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant and the sausages are golden brown. Add the whole jar of tomato basil marinara sauce, pinch of salt & pepper and a handful of fresh basil leaves. Let it simmer on low for a few minutes.

3. Cook the angel hair pasta according to the package.

4. Add cooked pasta to the tomato basil sauce and gently stir until well incorporated. Garnish with fresh basil and small mozzarella balls (optional).

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese

These salty nibbles or savory canapes are great appetizers for any parties. I was never a really big fan of Fig Newtons but fresh figs? That’s a whole different story. Fresh figs grown in California are in season and will be plentiful until mid-December. There are many varieties of figs to try and are a great source of dietary fiber: Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Calimyma, Kadota and Sierra. Figs are rich in antioxidants and are fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free. Did you know three to five figs can provide 5 grams of fiber and count as one serving of fruit?

California Fresh Figs Association offers the following tips as a reminder when purchasing figs, including:

  • Look for the softest figs; a soft texture indicates the fruit is ready to consume immediately.
  • Don’t be concerned about small slits or tears in the skin as long as the fig has a fresh aroma.
  • Fresh figs are delicate. Handle gently.
  • Keep figs in the refrigerator for as long as five to seven days.
  • Too many to eat right away? Just rinse and freeze. Simply arrange in a single layer on a pan and put in the freezer. Transfer frozen figs to a sealed plastic bag, where they can be kept in the freezer for up to six months.
  • Avoid figs with a fermentation odor; it indicates that the fruit is overripe.
Serves 4

Ingredients:
12 California Figs
Small package Goat Cheese
One package Prosciutto
Honey
White Pepper

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash figs and gently pat them dry. Cut off the stems and cut in halves.
3. Spoon small pieces of Goat Cheese on top of the halve figs.
4. Carefully pull Prosciutto and cut in half, long ways.
5. Gently wrap the Prosciutto around the figs and place them in a sheet pan. Make sure the pan is covered in foil or parchment paper.
6. Lightly drizzle honey over each Prosciutto wrapped figs and put them in the oven.
7. Bake for 8 mins and drizzle a little more honey over each Prosciutto wrapped figs and sprinkle white pepper over the warm baked figs. Serve immediately.

Spicy Italian Sausage with Creamy Sauce

Today was an EXHAUSTING day. I was on the Metro Red Line train trying to get to the Union Station and for some reason the train stalled just a stop away from my exit. After 15 minutes of waiting, the conductor announced all trains are suspended. Great…just great. I walked out confused where to go so I just followed the crowd. I am not familiar with Civic Center area in Downtown LA. Union Station is about a mile away. Normally wear flats to work and of all days, I happened to wear heels. So I’m stuck waiting for the bus along with a mass of people. No luck. After 8 buses have passed by and an hour of my time wasted, I tried to call my girlfriend who lives nearby if she can give me a ride. No avail, it went straight to her voicemail. At that point, I felt like the universe was conspiring against me. Last resort, I called the taxi to pick me up at the corner of the street. A block away, I saw 2 people who were trying to hail a taxi. Kindness that I am, I told the taxi to see if they are going to Union Station. They are so I told them to jump right in. The guy offered to pay for my taxi. Now that’s good karma and I took the late train back home.

By the time I got home, I was too tired to cook and didn’t want to slave away in the kitchen. I tried to grab what ever I had in hand. So here is my recipe I made in 30 minutes. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I do. I love the smell and taste of white truffle oil. The spicy italian sausage with the creamy sauce and chili pepper flakes gives you jammed pack flavors. Excuse the dark picture, it was taken at night and there’s no natural lighting to capture the perfect shot.

Servings 8

Ingredients:

4 cups whole wheat pasta

6 italian sausages, hot/spicy (or you can opt for non-spicy)

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 tbs butter

3 tbs flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black or white pepper

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 tsp white truffle oil

chili pepper flakes

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to directions on the package until al dente and drain the pasta in the strainer.

2. While the pasta cooks, cook the italian sausages according to directions on the package in a saute pan. When done, cut in slices and set aside.

2. In a large sauce pan, add heavy cream, butter, flour, salt, pepper, shredded cheese & white truffle oil. Stir until the sauce thickens.

3. Add the cooked pasta into the sauce. Mix until incorporated and then add the sun-dried tomatoes and the cooked sausages. Mix again and serve immediately. Garnish with chili pepper flakes to spice up the dish.

Banana Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is an absolutely incredible comfort dessert. I savor every bite of this ooey gooey goodness. The warm smell of vanilla and cinnamon perfumes the whole kitchen. To me, it feels nostalgia especially I love to bake during the holidays. Bread pudding is a perfect dessert to usher into the Fall season. There are many versions of bread pudding recipes. This recipe is from my cousin who got it from her friend so I’m not sure where the origins are from. Bread pudding is a popular dessert in Great Britain, France, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Argentina, Louisiana Creole, and the southern States. Usually it is serve with a sweet sauce but this recipe calls for none. The texture is custard-like and the edges are deliciously crunchy.

My relatives came over unannounced today to visit my dad who is still recovering from his Appendicitis surgery. Luckily, the banana bread pudding just finished baking and they enjoyed the dessert very much. My Aunt who isn’t big on desserts had 2nd servings! The verdict: this recipe is a keeper and I would make it again. Next time, I would find a vanilla sauce to accompany this dessert.

Servings 8

Ingredients:

1 Pack Hawaiian Rolls (12 pieces), shred to small pieces

4 Whole eggs, beaten

1 1/2 Cups heavy cream

1 Cup sugar

1 Tsp Vanilla

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Stick unsalted butter, melted

2 Cups Heath Bar toffee crumbles

4 Bananas, sliced

1/2 Cup coconut flakes

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix together

3. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and pout the mixture in the pan.

4. Cover the pan with foil and put it in the oven. Bake for an hour.

5. Take off the foil and bake for additional 15 mins or until golden brown.

6. Take out the pan and let it cool for another 15 mins. Cut and serve immediately.

Road To Seoul Korean BBQ {Koreatown}

I’ve been to many all-you-can-eat (AYCE) Korean BBQ establishments and I will have to say Road to Seoul is the best so far. The restaurant is clean and has two connecting rooms. My friends and I decided on $17.99 AYCE option. I was blown away from the quality of meats. Their banchan is the same like other places but I was not impressed with their kim chee! It was bland. My favorite side dish is the seafood pancake. Eating Korean BBQ is never complete without drinking soju. Soju is a rice wine alcohol where you drink out of a shot glass. If you don’t like drinking it straight up (like me), ask for lemon slices and squeeze the lemon juice in your soju. Something I learned from my friend. You can’t even taste the harsh rice wine and it is very citrusy. I’m not a big fan of soju unless they add yogurt juice flavors or lemon juice. Come early or else you would be waiting for a long time. When we were leaving, there were so many people waiting outside.

Soju time!

Quality of the meats are superb! The Beef Brisket is my favorite.

More meats grilling…

Seafood Pancake!

Egg soup is a must!

It’s very crowded here at Road to Seoul.

When the grill gets dirty, they will replace with a clean one.

Yikes! We had a group of 9 people.

Restaurant Information:

Road to Seoul
1230 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 731-9292

Asian-style Pork Spare Ribs

I was looking forward for my dad to come back home from the hospital today but the doctor ordered him to stay one more night. My dad was admitted to the emergency hospital Tuesday night and had an Appendicitis surgery Wednesday afternoon. Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires prompt surgery to remove the appendix. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually burst and toxins will spread throughout the body. It can be fatal if not treated quickly. My mom, sister and I took turns to care for my dad. He’s not fluent in English so we also helped translate when needed.

Being the good daughter I am, I wanted to cook dinner to help out my family. I got this recipe from my cousin last night and I love Pork Spareribs. This dish is a different from my infamous recipe (I use black bean sauce). This version is an Americanized recipe and although it’s delicious, my version has an authentic taste. (Click on pictures for full view)

Ingredients:

2 lbs pork spareribs

3 Tbs soy sauce

3 Tbs hoisin sauce

3 Tbs ketchup

2 Tbs rice wine

1 Tb brown sugar

10 garlic cloves, chopped

2 Tbs honey

1/4 cup boiling water

1. You can buy pork spareribs in any Asian market. Cut them into pieces and place them in a heatproof bowl.

2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour it into the bowl with the spareribs.

3. Use a large spoon or tongs to mix it evenly.

4. In a large pan, put the bowl (cover it with plastic wrap) inside and fill it half way with water. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours. Make sure you re-plenish the water as needed.

Mmmm mmmm good…

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