Lamb Shank Braised in Stout Gravy

By Chef Tyler Florence

Serves 8
2 tablespoons coriander seeds or 1 tablespoon ground
2 tablespoons fennel seeds or 1 tablespoon ground
1 tablespoon black peppercorns or 1 tablespoon ground
4 large lamb shanks (1 to 1-1/2 pounds each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 small leek, halved, sliced crosswise, and washed well
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 (16-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juices or other canned whole tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 cups dry red wine
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
4 (12-ounce) bottles Guinness stout
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
5 fresh marjoram sprigs
1 bunch baby carrots

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns in a small, heavy skillet. Toast over medium-high heat until the seeds are aromatic and slightly darker, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle to grind to a fine powder. Alternatively, just mix the ground spices together. Rub each shank with a generous teaspoon of the spice blend and sprinkle with salt.
Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, wide, heavy pot over high heat. Add the shanks and brown on all sides, turning often, about 15 minutes. Remove the shanks from the pan. Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the same pot, then add the onions, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, and bay leaves. Saute over high heat until the vegetables start to soften and take on some color, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, (crushing them by hand), tomato paste, and red wine. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes over high heat. Add the beef broth and Guinness, then return the seared lamb shanks to the pot, nestling them into the liquid. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer, then cover the pot and slide it into the oven.
Braise the shanks for 2 1/2 hours total, adding the thyme and marjoram to the pot after 2 hours. The lamb should be tender and falling away from the bone.
While the shanks braise, place the carrots on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until nearly tender.
Transfer the shanks to a plate, then strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve (optional) . Return the sauce and shanks to the pot to combine. Serve with the gravy and the carrots.

Easy Ratatouille

Easy

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large eggplant (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into small dice (about 3 cups)
1 medium onion, cut into small dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves minced garlic (about 2 teaspoons)
2 medium zucchini (1 pound total), trimmed, cut into small dice (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon each dried rosemary and dried marjoram)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until eggplant has softened but not completely lost its shape, about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant from skillet. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and zucchini to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft, about 6 to 7 minutes. Return eggplant to pan and add tomatoes, herbs de Provence, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer approximately 10 minutes. Season with additional salt, to taste. Stir in basil and remove from heat.

Amaretto Cake

Easy

Serves 12

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (do not prepare)
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup vodka
¼ cup amaretto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Slowly add eggs, orange juice, vodka, oil, and amaretto. Spray a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in batter and bake for 55 minutes.

Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon vodka
1 tablespoon amaretto

Combine ingredients with a fork and mix until there are no lumps. Thin with water if necessary. Drizzle on cake.

Mesclun Salad with Apples and Esrog Vinaigrette

Still have your estrog? Try this.

Ingredients
6 cups Mesclun Lettuce
1 apple, sliced thin
¼ cup toasted almonds or pine nuts
¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
Estrog rind

Dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons or more Estrog juice (or lemon juice)
kosher salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ - 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix dressing ingredients together. Toss into salad and serve.

London Broil with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts

Serves 8
4 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds London Broil or skirt steak

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 cup teriyaki sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced
Soak the London Broil in cold water to clean and to remove excess salt that is soaked in the meat. Soak it for 15 minutes, pat dry.
 Spread garlic and Dijon mustard on the meat and then add the teriyaki sauce. Marinate for 6 hours. Either broil the meat for 8 minutes each side, checking often to make sure it is not too overcooked or grill the meat until medium rare on a prepared barbeque or grill pan. Serve with Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts

Caramelized Shallots and Walnuts
¼ cup margarine
2 pounds shallots, peeled
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup vin santo or other Italian or dessert wine such as port
5 thyme sprigs

Melt margarine in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and sprinkle with salt. Cook shallots until well browned all over, about 20 minutes.
Add walnuts, vin santo, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered until shallots are tender about 5 minutes.

Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Serve warm.

Pareve Chocolate Nutella Cookies


Makes 5 dozen
INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 cup of pareve Nutella spread (chocolate hazelnut cream spread)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts (optional)

METHOD
1 Preheat oven to 350F. Cream margarine in an electric mixer for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and pareve Nutella and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
2 Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each. Add the vanilla and mix for 10 seconds.
3 Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda (do not skip this step as sifting eliminates clumps of cocoa). Mix into the margarine mixture on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bottom and sides at least once to ensure even mixing. Fold in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and refrigerate the dough for ten minutes.
4 Spoon tablespoon-sized drops of dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheets for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Gingered Pumpkin Pear Soup

2 sweet onions, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons margarine
5 pears, sliced
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
3 cups pareve chicken broth
2 cups nondairy creamer
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium stockpot, sauté onion and ginger in margarine until soft. Stir in pears and sauté for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Purée mixture with hand immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fall Stew

This stew has everything in it so you need very little in the way of side dishes.

1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 (29 ounce) can whole tomatoes
½ cup red wine
¼ cup soy sauce
6 large parsnips, chopped
2 leeks, sliced
4 carrots, chopped
2 turnips, chopped
2 (8 ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
4 potatoes, chopped

In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion, garlic and beef in the olive oil until browned. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 2 hours – the longer the better.

Mixed Nuts Tart

1-1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup cold margarine, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water
1 cup dried pears, chopped
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup pear nectar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup margarine
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup cashews
2 tablespoons pareve whip

In a food processor, combine flour and sugar and mix. Add the margarine and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Add water until soft dough forms. Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for ½ hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rough dough into an 11-inch circle and transfer to 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom (can make in pie pan if stuck). Press into bottom and up sides of pan. Line pastry with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine pears, dates, nectar and ¼ cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and purée with hand immersion blender until thick paste forms. Set side.

In a small sauce pan, combine the margarine, ¼ cup brown sugar and corn syrup. Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat. Stir in nuts and pareve whip.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Spread fruit filling over bottom of crust. Pour nut topping evenly over filling. Place tart pan on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Extra delicious served with pareve whipped cream or pareve vanilla ice cream.

Roasted Beets

Easy

This is my new favorite side dish. The only problem is making sure I don’t eat them all before getting it to the table.

4 large beets, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss beets with olive oil and salt. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Remove cover, stir and cook an additional ½ hour. Remove from oven and immediately stir in Balsamic vinegar. Serve at room temperature.

Almond Biscotti

1 (8 ounce) container almond paste
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold margarine
1-3/4 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup slivered almonds
4 egg whites
½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate almond paste and margarine in a food processor.

Add flour, sugar and baking powder and mix. Add slivered almonds, egg whites and vanilla and process until dough forms. Roll into log and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. Cut into slices and return to oven for 10 minutes more.

Schick Challah

challah
I confess that I have not made this recipe (although I thank the Schicks anyway!) but my daughter who is a very careful cook, promises it’s delicious. Read the instructions carefully; one whole hour of rising time is skipped!

6 packages of yeast (3 ounces of fresh yeast)
Dissolve yeast in 4 cups of warm water and 2 cups of sugar – let proof.
Whisk in: 6 eggs
1½ cups of oil (maybe a drop less)
2 tablespoons salt
Knead until elastic: 5 pounds of flour.
Place in oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth.

Let rise for 2 hours, punch down, and then braid. Cook it for 15 minutes at 250 and for 45 minutes at 400.

Chicken Breasts in Wine

Easy
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup red wine (can be something old or inexpensive that you have lying around)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup oil
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon oregano

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix together all the ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional half hour.

Greek Spinach

greek-spinach
2 pounds fresh spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
Dash of nutmeg

Tear spinach into small/medium pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté nuts briefly. Add remaining ingredients and cover for an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel with White Beans

roasted-tomatoes
This is adapted from a recent Bon Appétit recipe. It is really good. It can be served hot or at room temperature. I personally prefer it a room temperature but my family was split…

6 large fennel bulbs, cut into wedges
⅓ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans white kidney beans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet and sauté fennel until browned, sprinkling with 1 teaspoon salt as you cook. Add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, pepper, red pepper and remaining teaspoon salt. Stir together. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 30 minutes. Mix in beans and heat briefly.

Last Minute Banana Cake

bananacake
Easy

This cake is perfect for that Erev Shabbos when you don’t want to make a mess, you need something quick, and you have some rotten bananas to use up!

1 Duncan Hines Classic Yellow cake mix
1⅓ cups water
3 eggs
⅓ cup oil
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 container Duncan Hines Whipped Chocolate Frosting (which is pareve – hooray!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except icing in mixer and beat on medium speed until lumps disappear. Pour into two greased round cake pans. Bake for about ½ hour. Cool in pans 15 minutes; then remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Spread frosting on top of first cake. Top with second layer and cover top and sides with remaining frosting.

Dried Cherry Chicken Salad

chickensalad
1 cup tart dried cherries
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and torn into pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, chopped
1 cup chopped toasted pecans (candied if you like extra sweetness)
1¼ cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the cherries, chicken, celery, apples and pecans in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss gently with other ingredients. Chill. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Macaroni Salad with Roasted Red Peppers

macarony-salad
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed with cold water, and drained
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon granulated garlic
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ cups mayonnaise

Stir celery, peppers, capers, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and cayenne into macaroni. Add mayonnaise and mix well. Chill.

Sweet Potato Pudding

sweet-potato-pudding
2½ cups nondairy creamer
6 cups grated raw sweet potatoes
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons margarine
½ cup bourbon or rum, if desired

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour nondairy creamer into a large bowl. Add sweet potatoes. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs and sugar. Add cinnamon and almonds and then mix with sweet potato mixture. Pour into greased 2-quart casserole and dot with margarine. Bake for 45 minutes. Just before serving, pour bourbon or rum over top – or not.

“Oreo” Truffles

oreo-truffles
I made this for a community Shalosh Seudah last Shabbos and they were a big hit!

1 (12 ounce) package chocolate sandwich cookies
1 (8 ounce) package tofutti cream cheese, softened
2 cups white chocolate chips, melted

Place cookies and tofutti cream cheese in a mixer bowl. Turn on medium-high and mix until cookies are crushed and mixture sticks together. Chill briefly. Melt white chocolate and stir until smooth. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Wet your hands with cold water and form cookie mixture into balls. Dip into melted chocolate and place on cookie sheet. Chill until firm and store, covered, in the refrigerator.