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Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken

Chicken marinated in a mixture of Vietnamese sauce, sugar. herbs and spices and then oven-baked to create a dish infused with flavor and browned to perfection.

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Vanilla and Turmeric Pannacotta with Hibiscus Syrup

Vanilla and turmeric-flavored pannacotta with hibiscus syrup. A) A rich, creamy, colorful dessert, or B) a murder victim on a teaplate? You be the judge!

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French Onion Strata – a savory bread pudding

The flavors of French onion soup transported into a hearty, cheesy strata. The heart of bread pudding paired with the soul of a classic soup – synergy on a plate.

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Braised Short Ribs with Beer and Hoisin

Braised Short Ribs with Beer and Hoisin

Braised Short Ribs with Beer and Hoisin

Served with boiled fingerling potatoes and Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad.

One of the few benefits of living in an area where terms like “polar vortex” and “snow-mageddon” are bandied about is that you have the right, nay, the duty, to pull out the crockpot or dutch oven and put something yummy in it.

(Nerdy Game of Thrones warning ahead) Seriously, it’s so cold right now, all I want to do is curl up by my squid-themed fireplace, grab my adorable direwolf puppy, and eat something delicious.

Unfortunately I don’t have a fireplace, squid-themed or regular, and my direwolf hates the cold even more than I do. But I can definitely manage the delicious part.

Braised Short Ribs with Beer and Hoisin

Short ribs are great because they’re not terribly expensive, taste amazing and are incredibly easy. The only things you need to remember are to use the right cut for the recipe you’re making and leave yourself enough time to cook them low and slow.

In fact, I’m a huge fan of making them a day ahead. They actually taste better when they’re reheated, plus it’s so much easier to de-fat the sauce when it’s cold. Win-win. The only problem with making them in advance is that on the day you cook them, your house will smell like delicious short ribs that you will have to wait to devour. Lose-lose!

Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad

Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad

Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad

I’m calling this a salad even though it’s technically more of a “slaw”. Unfortunately, Matt despises that word and I don’t want him to make that “Um…ew” face that I find hilarious except when it’s directed at my beautiful Asian slaw. Excuse me… salad.

What words do you inexplicably hate? My sister-in-law, Kathy, hates the word “moist” (so I try to use it as often and as awkwardly as I can). “Boy, those (meat)balls sure look moist!”

I can’t stand the word “meal”.  As in (bored diner waitress plops down plate) “Enjoy your meal.”  (I convulse and try to picture my happy place).

Well, this slaw is very moist and would make a great addition to any meal.  (I think I just died).

Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad

Caramelized Onion, Olive and Goat Cheese Tart

Caramelized Onion, Olive and Goat Cheese Tart

Caramelized Onion, Olive and Goat Cheese Tart This tart is the delightful bastard child of the classic french Pissaladière which is a deceptively simple combination of sweet onions, briny olives and salty anchovies. Now, most people would scoff at the hubris required to take an elegant, timeless recipe and besmirch it with additions like goat cheese, sherry and thyme but, like a certain movie villain Matt is getting very tired of me mentioning, I regret nothing. Caramelized Onion, Olive and Goat Cheese Tart It’s possible that you’re thinking “Hey wait just a minute here! Didn’t Emily already blog a very similar, though delicious, recipe for a tart a few months ago? She hasn’t even been doing NwK for a full year and she’s already recycling ideas!” To which I would reply, “Mean!” and also “While there are certainly similarities between the two tarts, this one is more intensely flavored, with the addition of cured black olives and anchovies, and also has a few advanced techniques in working with puff pastry. So neeeeh!”

Our winter warmer — Maple-syrup Old Fashioned

Our winter warmer — Maple-syrup Old Fashioned

Maple-syrup Old FashionedWhen it’s dark at 4.30pm, your drafty home refuses to get above 55F, and there’s ice on the INSIDE of the windows, what do you do to warm up in the evening?

You could make a big fort in the middle of your living room with every blanket you have in the house. You could rub two kittens together and bathe in the glow of their static electricity (DISCLAIMER: DOES NOT WORK WITH CHICKENS).

Or you could make these Old Fashioneds with maple syrup.

Maple-syrup Old FashionedMaple-syrup Old Fashioned

Mixologists will tell you that these are not real Old Fashioned cocktails, since they aren’t strictly made with plain sugar or simple syrup. While they’re explaining that to you, nod sagely and drink up and then demand another glass of “whatever the hell you want to call it, Poindexter”.

Emily bought me the PDT Cocktail Book and a fine Boston cocktail shaker set for Christmas (do you think she was trying to tell me something? Should I be making more cocktails? Is the answer to that question ever “no”?) which I needed to test out, and their “Benton’s Old Fashioned” was a great starting point. Now they use bacon-infused bourbon, which, delicious as it sounds, I just couldn’t put my hand on.

So use whatever whisky or bourbon you have – we’ve tried both Jack Daniels and the local Hudson Whiskey pictured in these shots. Feel free to adjust the amount of maple syrup or bitters; these are just general suggestions that work for us.

Crispy Risotto Cakes with Taleggio Cheese

Crispy Risotto Cakes with Taleggio Cheese

 

What can you do with leftover risotto? Risotto cakes can be put together without a lot of bother, just add stinky cheese and breadcrumbs and fry them up! A perfect lunch with a side salad.

Crispy Risotto Cakes
There are a few things I make almost exclusively because I want to do something with the leftovers (I’m looking at you Pork Belly Bánh mì sliders). And while risotto on its own is delicious, I love the gooey, crunchy cakes you can make with the leftovers even more. That’s why when Matt and I decided to make Shrimp and Lobster Risotto with Peas the other evening, I made quite a bit more than I knew we would need, with the devious (brilliant?) intention of making risotto cakes with the rest.

These things are insanely versatile. First of all, you can use pretty much any kind of leftover risotto you have. I can’t think of a version that wouldn’t work with a crunchy exterior, can you? Secondly, with a crisp salad and a glass of wine, they make an excellent lunch or light dinner on their own. Pair them with a roast beast of some sort and they become an incomparable side dish. I’m starting to feel like an informercial (But wait, there’s more!). Want an unbelievably delicious appetizer or party snack? Just make smaller patties. Oh, and I almost forgot. Risotto Cake + roasted tomato + poached egg = best brunch dish ever. That’s the official definition of a “super-food”, right? I’m pretty sure I’m right about this.

If you don’t happen to have leftover risotto in your fridge, don’t panic! Just make this Basic Risotto and chill it overnight. This works especially well if you’re making these for a party. That way you can get the risotto out of the way 2 days ahead, form the cakes the day before and fry them up before your guests arrive, keeping them warm in the oven. Easy peasy.

Crispy Risotto Cakes with Taleggio Cheese

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