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Rico's Tacos
march 18, 2014

Another one from The Commonsense Kitchen, p 327. How can anyone resist a meal with a name as fun to say as "Rico's Tacos?" It rhymes. And rings of a party with warm sea air  where fairy lights hover over tables lit by flickering colored votives. The 1970's version of these candles, that I remember from my toddler-hood on the island paradise of Aruba. 

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Buy the bookCorned Beef & Cabbage
march 17, 2014

Yes, of course, from this book. It is where 75% of my spring dinners come from. And it's green, perfect for the holiday! In my kitchen the color is more of a pleasant chartreuse than comes across here on the web. 

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Grilled Steak, Potato Salad & Dressed Lettuce
march 16, 2014

Funny that almost exactly a year ago I was using this same cookbook. The Commonsense Kitchen must have some sort of connection to the Spring for me. Yesterday the weather was a beautiful mid-70s and sunny. This morning started out foggy, cleared to an even better day, but now at 4pm the fog has come back and I'm left contemplating grilling steak out in the cold.

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Flatiron Steak, Risotto, Spinach & Beets
march 14, 2014

There is a frozen  flatiorn steak in my freezer. Bruce Aidell's The Complete Meat Cookbook explains that a flatiron steak, aka blade steak, is a top blade chuck steak, and can be quite tender. Fine, that's all good and well. But what should I do with it? 

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A Chance of Meatballs
october 9, 2013

A few years ago we received this cookbook for a gift and my kids and I have loved it ever since. This was the birthday present we gave to all our friends that year. On p. 20, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is named after one of my (and my kids') all time favorite books. This is a nice recipe for a simple, family made dinner.


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Slow Cooker Short Ribs
august 23, 2013

This is a family favorite that we haven't eaten in a while. I have found, however, that it really does require sautéed greens on the side. So, when for the first time in about ten years our produce box didn't contain any, I actually bought some kale from the grocery store. Not something I usually do.

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Crockpot Roast over Polenta
august 18, 2013

Luckily my husband manned the stove while I headed out for Sunday morning book club to discuss Michael Pollan's Cooked. His chapter on braising, and our special guest Samin Nosrat, had me all in a tizzy about slow cooking dinner.

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Roast Beast - august 25, 2011

Well, here it is again, nearly the end of Summer. Our vacations are over, the kids are back in school, I'm expecting the fog to lift any day now, and, as usual, my tomato plants have died. This time I blame it on not hiring an expensive service to water them while out of town: relying on my babysitter for one week and my husband for the next was, clearly, not the right decision. But Summer here extends through late October and really doesn't arrive until sometime in September anyway, so I've started fresh with two new seedlings. I'll let you know how that goes.

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More Pasta and Veg - may 3, 2010

We had a busy weekend, as usual, with one of the highlights being Urban Sprouts' Greens, Eggs & Jam brunch on Saturday. My husband, kids and I rode our bikes along Golden Gate Park's panhandle bike path over to Ida B. Wells High School in the Western Addition for the party. The greens and eggs were fabulous - lots of yummy food from NOPA, Radio Africa & Kitchen and Contigo Restaurants, and the bluegrass band was fun. My daughter was stumped when asked to identify their instruments - "a violin and three guitars" she told me. But it was actually a fiddle, mandolin, banjo and one guitar.

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 Break out the crock pot baby, cause Mama's coming home late!  

Well, actually, we come home after five twice a week because of my four year old daughter's rigorous ballet schedule, but I can still claim it as a need for ready to serve dinner.  Back in January I stocked up on new slow cooker books and tried all sorts of things, some good, many wretched.  This was one of my favorites and my husband Jason liked it too. It is adapted from Cuisine at Home's Slow Cooker Menus.

There's quite a bit of prep - so I do it in the morning after breakfast while the kids wreak havoc and I yell at them.  You could probably prep the night before (brown ribs & make sauce) and it would turn out fine if you add an hour or so more cooking time to warm up it after all that time in the fridge (ribs and sauce would have to spend the night in there).  

Serve it with rice from your rice cooker and sauteed stir-fry greens or kale.  If you don't have a rice cooker, go buy one.  There is no easier way to make rice.  Even boil-in-bag varieties look like work compared to plugging in my rice cooker (and the bag grosses me out, but thats not important right now). Cook the greens right before you plan to eat, you can wash and dry them the night before,  wrap in a paper towel and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge for safekeeping.

Like at least half the dinners we eat in our house, my kids aren't sold on spare ribs yet.  But after we've eaten them 100 times I bet they will be.  For now, I just put a quarter of a pb&j on each plate, and let them eat that if they're still hungry after rejecting my food.  Lucky for me, they enjoy rice almost as much as they enjoy pasta.


Slow Cooker Short Ribs:

3 lb beef short ribs

1 T canola (or vegetable) oil

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup chopped green garlic

1/4 cup minced ginger

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

juice of 1 lime

1 t fennel seed

1/2 t red pepper flakes

For starters, cut the ribs into pieces so that each one has only one bony bit.  Then salt and pepper them. Next, brown the ribs on all sides in a big pot with a tablespoon of canola oil, over medium heat. You want them to get nice and brown and crunchy, but don't let them burn.  On all sides means all six sides of each rib piece, thats a lot of turning every five minutes or so.  Just stack them all in really close if you have trouble standing them on end.

When all sides are browned, move the ribs to your crock pot. 

Combine the scallions, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, hoisin, lime juice, fennel seed and pepper flakes in something with a pour spout.  Stir it up, and pour it over the ribs.  

Put the top on your crock pot and cook it on low heat for 7-9 hours or high heat for 4-6 hours.  Serve the ribs with rice and greens.



Sauteed Stir Fry Greens:

1 big bunch stir fry greens (or kale)

2 T olive oil

1 clove garlic

1/2 t red pepper flakes


Heat the olive oil in a pan big enough to hold your greens, over medium heat.  The oil is hot enough when it begins to shimmer, but you don't want it to smoke - turn the heat down if it does. Put the garlic through a press into the pan (or you can mince it), stir it around. Add the greens, red pepper flakes and about 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir some more.  Watch to make sure the greens don't start to smoke or burn.  In four or five minutes add about 1/4 cup of water to the pan and stir.  Cook for five or so minutes more, and they're ready to eat.