42/52: Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies

Quite possibly my favorite thing about fall is comfort food. I love slow cooking a meal all day, and then digging in all cozied up inside when it’s chilly outside! This meal encompasses all that and more! It really reminds me of my trip to London. My favorite pub meal was steak & ale pie… ohhhh man. What I wouldn’t give for a steak & ale pie from The Eagle and Child in Oxford, England again! {If my laptop hadn’t crashed I would show you a lovely picture of said delicious steak & ale pie!} It was this neat little pub our professor told us about. It is only a few blocks from Oxford University. It is acclaimed for housing famous literary geniuses such as J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis… such a fun little place! Anyway… this recipe is delicious and definitely a keeper for the winter.

**Quick substitution note… the recipe calls for boneless short ribs. We couldn’t find any nearby so we opted for stew meat which worked wonderfully. The key is having a cut of meat with some marbelization, you need the fat to make this recipe everything it is! We also couldn’t find cipollini onions, so we substituted shallots. Also — the recipe calls for 6 medium potatoes. I would hesitate slicing all of these until you need them. The amount you need will depend on the serving dishes you use.

Yumm! Serve with peas and dinner rolls for a yummy english inspired dinner!

Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies

Ingredients:

For the filling:

4 lbs boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
Course salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 T safflower oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
5 garlic gloves, thinly sliced
2 bottles {2 ounces} stout, preferably Guinness {3 cups}
2 rosemary sprigs
1 lb cipollini onions, peeled

For the topping:

6 medium russet potatoes {3 1/2 lbs}
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Course salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Make the filling: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge the short ribs in flour, coating all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Heat oil in a large dutch oven in batches, brown short ribs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate using kitchen tongs.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add yellow onion to dutch oven and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Return meat to dutch oven. Add stout and rosemary. Bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

3. Remove dutch oven from oven and add cipollini onions. Braise until meat is tender and onions are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Shred meat using 2 forks. Season with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eight mini {1 cup} pie plates, or transfer to a 12 inch {8 cup} gratin dish.

4. Make the topping: Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes, and very thinly slice each {preferably on a mandolin}. Arrange potatoes over meat to form tight concentric circles, working around the edge and overlapping each potato by three-quarters. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes for mini potpies {1 hour for large potpie}.

Source & Recipe: Martha Stewart Living – October 2011 Issue

I also made some yummy dinner rolls to go with the potpies. I absolutely love dinner rolls and feel that there are some meals that are incomplete without them! Since I was running short on time when I decided to make them, I opted to go for my fall back recipe — the Kitchenaid Sixty-Minute rolls! Yes. They really only take 60 minutes from the time you combine ingredients until they’re coming out of the oven. Including rise time! Love, love, love this recipe.

Kitchenaid Sixty-Minute Rolls

Ingredients:

4-5 cups flour
3 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 – 1/4 ounce packages quick rising yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
*optional: additional melted butter for brushing on top of baked rolls

Directions:

1. Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast in bowl.

2. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and mix for 1 minute.

3. Combine milk, water and margarine in a saucepan. Heat over low heat, until liquids are very warm (120 to 130). Margarine does not need to melt.

4. Turn to speed 2 and gradually add liquid to flour mixture, about 30 seconds. Mix 1 minute longer. Continue on speed 2, adding remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, as needed. Mix until dough clings to hook, about 5 minutes.

5. Knead dough on speed 2 for 7-10 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Stop.

6. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, let rise in a warm place 15 minutes.

7. Turn dough out onto floured board. Divide in half and shape as desired. Cover; let rise in slightly warm oven {about 90 degrees} for 15 minutes or until doubled in bulk {usually 15 minutes works just fine!}. **My note: I usually make “clover leaf” dinner rolls. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough in half. Cut one half of dough into 6 pieces. Cut each of the 6 pieces into 3 more pieces. Form the 3 pieces into balls and place all 3 balls in one cup in your muffin tin. Repeat until you have 24 dinner rolls.**

8. Bake at 425, for 12 minutes, or until nice and brown. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

Source & Recipe: Food.com

Enjoy!

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34/52: Friday and cool gadgets.

Happy Friday all!

Thank goodness it is Friday…

Haha. Sorry. I had to go there. It’s an inside joke between one of my girlfriends and I! Happy Friday girl!  Anyway…The beginning of this week seemed long and the last two days have flown by! Of course, the two days I have free to get things done. The beginning of this week was great. I spent the first three days of this week with my mentor teacher. We started getting our classroom together for next week and organizing things for the kiddos. I am so blessed, she is such a wonderful, up-beat teacher. I just know this is going to be a great year! Everything started sinking in when she would talk about different options for set-ups and teaching units… she started referring to the classroom as ‘ours’ or saying, ‘when we do this’, ‘when you take the classroom over in the spring’… seriously, so cool. Fun, fun. I can’t wait until Thursday to meet our kiddos!

I am working up some super awesome posts for you guys, but I want to make sure they are perfected… so I will start posting them next week most likely. Some really cool ideas. I can’t wait!

Yesterday and this morning I have been online searching here and there for a yummy dessert recipe. We are going to a friend’s house for dinner tomorrow evening and I of course wanted to bring a yummy dessert! I wanted to bring something full of summer inspiration. However, for some reason the ‘in season’ fruits always slip my mind! I think the seasons blend together more or less for me. I never know when its rhubarb season, strawberry season, etc. I seem to always miss those transitions. Maybe it’s because I always had an abundance of both rhubarb, strawberries and other goodies like special apples and berries from either my grandparent’s house or our own field when I was growing up. So I decided to do some research! And of course, I had a little helper…

Yeah. You try telling him he isn’t an itty bitty puppy and really can’t fit on my lap anymore. He was such the helper, kept trying to attack the keyboard. LOL. On Monday he turned 10 months. Man, I can’t believe he is this big! When we first met Mr. Winston, he fit into the palm of our hand. Literally… he was only 2 weeks old!

“Hi! This was taken on my 10 month birthday. I’m so super cute!”…Awh, happy 10 months little dude! {Seriously… I feel so sorry for my future children… I’m overly annoying with my dog and I don’t imagine it will be any better with my future kids… sorry future children!}

Anyway… after much searching I found a super yummy looking recipe. I am anxious to make it and share it with you all, but you will just have to wait! I’ll be sure to give y’all a review of what everyone thinks of it tomorrow night. 🙂 While I was searching I found a really neat resource I wanted to share with you guys. It’s a search box to help you locate ‘in season’ produce! I think this will be really helpful for me in the winter. I always wonder what is the cheapest ‘in season’ fruit, etc. And since I never quite know, I always plan menus with items that aren’t in season and therefore way over priced. Since I was so excited about this, I wanted to share it with you! Hopefully it will help everyone cut costs a little on their grocery bills!

Check out… Seasonal Cornucopia! This gem will show you produce that is in season for the Pacific Northwest.

I also found a really cool gadget I wanted to post on here, but it is not compatible with WordPress blogs. So be sure to check this Seasonal Foods Google gadget out too! This gadget is really cool because you can select any state within the US and they will list all in season foods!

In other news… I need some help. Our first wedding anniversary is almost here! Less than a month. We have reserved a sweet little suite {haha} over on Orcas Island for the weekend of our anniversary. But I want to make it as special as possible. I already have ordered a replica of the top-tier of our wedding cake… hello moist chocolate cake with Valhalla espresso buttercream! And I think I am going to put together a play list of our wedding day songs for the drive up to the ferry. Does anyone else have fun first wedding anniversary ideas? I would love to hear them! I am lacking a little creativity in this department. Seriously… post your ideas people! 🙂

Well, I hope everyone has a great weekend. And if you don’t have anything planned, come hang out with us at IPA Fest on Saturday!

Ciao!

28/52: Braised Carnitas Tacos

Man, I think my brain needs a break. I have this tendency to get completely engrossed in a topic that is bothering me, to the point where I physically get upset {stomach hurts, lose appetite, etc}. And that was my problem last night. We are currently taking a course about child abuse and neglect, and what you need to report, how to report, etc. It is completely beyond me how someone could do such horrible things to their child. I of course want to be an advocate for children and help them get help when they need it. But I just don’t want to have to experience a situation where I need to report. I’m not sure if that makes any sense… But, I guess this is all a part of being a teacher. I knew I would have to deal with this, but it is one of those situations that until the reality of it hits you it’s hard to conceptualize. Sigh. At least the course is almost over so I won’t have to be thinking about things in extreme detail for a bit.

Anyway… on to something more uplifting. I am taking a break from it all and bringing some delicious food straight to you! Voila! 🙂

I was sitting here yesterday trying to figure out what I am going to post this week – {Since I have been pre-occupied with school and not cooking or baking much of anything that is blog worthy} – when it hit me. Gasp. I realized I never shared with you my delicious recipe for slow cooked, braised carnitas!! Slow cooked pork shoulder in a flavorful sauce, wrapped up in a warm tortilla with cilantro lime rice, black beans and homemade salsa?! Oh yes.

Until recently I had never had braised carnitas but once I did it was life changing! The cliff’s note version of the story is… One afternoon the hubby and I decided to pop down to The Matador and grab some lunch, we both settled on the braised carnitas and were instantly in Mexican food heaven {which for me, Mexican food is heaven, I could eat it everyday!}. The meat just melted in your mouth and was popping with insane flavor. After that, I decided it was time to track down a similar recipe and introduce this into our menu… after much searching I found a recipe that had similar spices, but I wasn’t crazy about the overall recipe. So I found yet another, added a few spices to that one and a more flavorful beer and was totally pleased.

I always know when I have a good recipe because Johnny walks in the door from work and tells me how good dinner smells… that’s the true test for a winning recipe! My one regret — the recipe smelled so good, and I was so anxious to try it that I only got a few pics. It didn’t do justice… you simply just have to try this recipe!

Oh yeah. The meat just falls apart once its done, so good. Serve it up with a warmed tortilla, cilantro-lime rice {cook up rice, add juice of 1 lime, and a bunch of chopped cilantro, stir and you’re in business}, black beans, avocado… basically the works}. This is one of those meals that just warms your soul, it is mucho delicioso!

Braised Carnitas Tacos

Ingredients:
5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5 inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
2 T sea salt
2 T vegetable oil
1 cup white onion, diced
1-2 T fresh garlic minced
2 bottles {12 oz.} Rogue Amber Ale **This is my substitution, the recipe originally called for Fat Tire, but I love Rogue’s Amber – you could use anything you like
1 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 whole bay leaves
Tortillas
Garnish — lime wedges and salsa

Directions:
Using paper towels, dry off the pork and generously season with salt.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the pieces of pork in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches. Be sure to take your time to get a deep brown color as it enhances the flavor. It usually takes me about 30 minutes to properly brown all the meat.

Once all the pork is browned, remove them from the pot and blot away any excess fat with a paper towel. Discard all but one tablespoon of the grease that remains in the pot. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pot and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional one to two minutes. Then pour in the beer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits.

Heat the oven to 350ºF.

Add the pork back to the pot and add the remaining of the seasonings and spices. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3 to 3½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter.

Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces, discarding any big chunks of fat. Return the pork pieces back to the roasting pan and cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized.

Serve with tortillas and your choice of salsas and toppings.

Source & Recipe: Slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen

17/52: Slow-cooker Coconut Chicken Curry

Whew! What a great start to my Monday. It could be for one of two reasons… 1) It’s not really Monday or 2) I started the morning off with a bright and early 5k run. Or maybe both reasons? 🙂 I had to take yesterday off work to take my little puppers to the doggie eye specialist. He’s only 6 months and already has a prolapse of the nictitan gland, aka cherry eye. Poor Winston is only 6 1/2 months old! Well it looks like he’ll be going in for surgery sometime soon. Speaking of, look how cute my little guy is getting…

Awh! We don’t keep his hair in a top knot, but every once in a while its nice to see his eyes… he has crazy hair otherwise!

The other night I planned a fun slow cooker meal – Coconut Chicken Curry. I love slow cooker meals, there is nothing better than coming home to a house full of that home cooked food smell. I got this great recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Iowa Girl Eats. I adapted it slightly to accommodate my work day, and the meal was a huge success! The only trouble I had was finding one of the spices – Garam Masala. I ended up giving in and buying it online because I wanted to be sure and have that authentic flavor. You can make Garam Masala yourself as it’s an Indian spice blend (just Google recipes). This was so easy and so delicious… it definitely satisfied my craving for Indian food! And it crossed another item off my Kitchen Bucket List! Double win.

Ingredients:

1/2 large onion

1 small green bell pepper, seeded & quartered

3 garlic cloves

1 small can tomato paste

1 can lite coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon curry powder

1 Tablespoon Garam Masala

1lb chicken breasts, cut into big chunks

Salt & pepper

Directions

1. Place onion and bell pepper into a food processor. Process until finely chopped.

2. Add in garlic cloves, tomato paste, coconut milk, salt, curry powder and garam masala, then process until semi-smooth (may need to separate into 2 batches to fit in a smaller sized food processor.)

3. Cut chicken into generous chunks, season with salt and pepper.

4. Transport the curry sauce into the slow cooker, add the chicken on top. Set your timer, cover and you’re all done! I set my timer for 1 1/2 hours on low heat. But my slow cooker is more like a fast cooker. If your slow cooker normally is right on schedule for slow cooker recipes – cook this on low for 4 hours. If your slow cooker is like mine, you might need to adjust the time depending on your day (and how long it will be sitting on warm while you’re at work).

5. Enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from: Iowa Girl Eats and Salt and Paprika

We served ours up over basmati rice with a side of garlic naan from Trader Joes. Basmati is the traditional indian rice you would get at a restaurant. You could also serve this with Jasmine rice too. And, if you haven’t had naan – you must try it with this! Naan is the traditional indian bread and is so good.

Oh and we also had a side of some nice cold home-brew! Yumm. I believe this was a Kolsch that Johnny and his dad brewed. Delish. Relax – have a home-brew! Haha, that’s what the home brewers mantra is! 😉

All-in-all so delicious and so little effort. Give it a try people! You won’t regret it… 🙂

16/52: Weekend getaway – Port Townsend, WA

This past weekend we were planning on taking John’s dad out to Port Townsend for his early birthday present {today is his actual birthday — happy birthday Senior!}. One of our favorite breweries is in Port Townsend, and considering John and his dad love brewing beer, we thought it would be fun to take him up there. Last minute we decided it would be fun to turn it into a weekend getaway. It was nice to get out of ‘dodge’ for the night!

It was also Winston’s first ‘big’ road/overnight trip! Less than an hour in, he was already knocked out.

Sleepy boy! 🙂

We got into town and decided to grab some lunch – I had one of the best burgers of my life at Sirens Pub! Oh my gosh – to die for… then we headed to Port Townsend Brewery! Yeah!

A few quick photos – then down to business! I found a new PT {Port Townsend} favorite… I normally love their Scotch Ale. But it doesn’t compare to…

Their Brown Porter!!! YUM!

The other fun part is they have peanuts! It’s the kind of place you just throw the shells on the ground… 🙂

While I was enjoying my brown porter, John was enjoying a Barley Wine and lotsa peanuts. 🙂 We had a lot of fun at the brewery and tasted a few more brews, then headed to a nice dinner to cap off the night. All in the middle of this were my ‘baby’ updates about my sister and nephew. After dinner, John and I went for a little walk around town to enjoy the crisp, spring air and take advantage of the sun! {We’ve been having rain e-v-e-r-y day for I don’t know how long!}

Smile! 🙂

I’m unsure why I always feel compelled to take photos of ferries… we have a trillion of them in Washington. There’s just something about them!

There is also just something about being by the water… John and I love the water. I doubt we could ever move away from it. It’s so soothing and peaceful.

It was a beautiful end to our evening! We had a great time and really enjoyed being out-of-town. Sometimes its good to get away even if you’re only a few hours from home.

Oh hi little friend. 😉 This is one thing I could stand missing. Sea gulls are so obnoxious. But this little guy wanted to pose for me.

Oh yeah, and we stopped by the Bayview for some breakfast the next morning. The restaurant isn’t anything super special, but it is right on the water and it’s where we ate breakfast after John proposed to me! We had to go back… Awh. 😉 Oh, and another reason I couldn’t leave the Pacific Northwest? Check this out… Awh. Beautiful.

Can’t beat that.

See what I mean? Peaceful. Love it.

Thats all folks…Until next time… {I have some super yummy recipes coming up!}

9/52: The Santies

…So, this blog is called “The Santies”… yet I haven’t said much about us. So here is a post (although it is slightly random) about what this blog is named after… (drum roll….) The Santies!

You know what I think is great? Marriage. Its cool, isn’t it? I realize not all marriages are the same, but mine is wonderful and I would want everyone to have a marriage that is based like mine. Johnny and I are literally best friends. We do everything together, we find new hobbies together, relax together… and the best part? We don’t get tired of each other (which is saying a lot because we live in a one bedroom condo – hehe). I am grateful for my best friend, he is so supportive and so loving – I think I’ll keep him for a while. 😉 No matter what it is, he supports me 100% and that means the world to me. No matter what, we are each other’s number 1 fans. (Awwwh – I know…. keep reading though, this isn’t going to be a super mushy blog entry.)

Recently, one of the things we have been really into is beer tasting. There are so many different types of beer out there (YES there is a world beyond Bud & Coors Light) that it is honestly mind-boggling! I am so grateful that we both share this passion – it is a lot of fun! Our favorite local tavern, The Parkway always has a great selection of craft beers on tap and the best part is that they have beer tasting events! The breweries come on down to good old T-Town and share their yummy beers with the customers and generally bring a limited release or special brew for the night! We got to enjoy some awesome brews the other night…

YUM!

There they are! A nice schooner of each beer they brought in… I even found an IPA I like. Which means a lot. I don’t like IPAs!

The Santies!

Cheese! Smile for the camera. My husband rocks!

Yum!

Another picture of the brews from the fabulous folks at Silver City! I especially liked their Idianola IPA and Johnny loved their IPA they brewed just for the event. The name escapes me right now but it was actually pretty good! Just a little too hoppy for my tastes… it was like a hef meets an IPA. Totally interesting! And I completely just showed my geekyness about beer right now. 🙂

The point is – I love my hubby. And I love that we have something special that we both enjoy and can do together. I hope we have more opportunities to explore more possible hobbies in the near future. Until then… we are so looking forward to my upcoming (the big 25 – a quarter of a century!) birthday. We are headed down to Portland for…. you guessed it… beer tasting! We are headed to a few craft breweries and I couldn’t be more excited to spend some time out of T-Town and some time with my hubby doing something we both love. Awesomeness.

So answer me two questions on this fabulous Friday… (leave the answers on the comments section – or shoot me a FB for those who are my FB friends)

1. What hobbies do you enjoy with your spouse, love or  significant other?
2. Do you know the difference between domestic, craft and micro brews?!

Thats it for this week. I am slammed getting ready for my baby sister’s baby shower (wow that was weird to say – I guess she isn’t a baby anymore!) which is on Sunday! I will be taking a ton of pictures of the goods. Enjoy your weekend!

xoxo, ss