Crockpot Wednesday – Oxtail Over Thai Noodles

On Monday’s food challenge, Joe gave me a choice between ribs and oxtail. I chose to make ribs and cabbage slaw. I decided to save the oxtail for Crockpot Wednesday. I’ve never cooked with oxtail before, so I did a little research and I learned two things. First, they aren’t even oxtails! Second, they need to cook for a long time to get tender, so saving them for the crockpot was a great decision.

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This is a very simple recipe. I added a bag of frozen mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots). Otherwise known as the “holy trinity” of cooking. I heard that in a cooking class I took, but now I can’t remember which one it was. I chopped a fresh shallot, green pepper, and minced two cloves of garlic.

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Finally, I covered the mixture with water and added a splash of red wine (about 1/4 a cup).

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I cooked it on low for 10 hours. I served it over thai rice noodles (Joe helped with the noodles). The tail was surprisingly tender and tasty.

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There are many other recipes I’d like to try with oxtail:

African Oxtail Stew

Jamaican Stew

Country Oxtail

Curry Oxtail

Oxtail Dumplings

Which one would you like me to try next?

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Baby Back Ribs and Cabbage Slaw

Joe brought home several ingredients today and even gave me a choice in the main protein in the dish! Below, you will see lemongrass, greek yogurt, a habanero cheese, a creamy mushroom cheese, and baby back ribs. I chose the ribs over ox tail. I’m saving that for another post this week.

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I coated the ribs in olive oil. And look! Joe took an action shot. I didn’t really notice while cooking, but you can see me biting my lip in the picture. Apparently, it requires serious concentration to slather olive oil on ribs… P.S. Please ignore the coffee mug that looks like a toilet in the background…

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I realize that the obvious choice for ribs is barbecue sauce. However, I did not have the ingredients to make a sauce. Besides, who wants to do the obvious? Instead, I mixed 5 spices together (1 teaspoon of each): cumin, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper. I stirred the spices into about a cup and a half of greek yogurt to make a paste.

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I spread this over the ribs and topped it with chopped jalapenos. I baked it at about 350 degrees for 2 and a half hours.

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Next, I used leftover cabbage from my sausage and cabbage rolls. I chopped it to about the consistency of a rough coleslaw. I finely chopped 4 sprigs of lemongrass into the cabbage.

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Next, I added one chopped and deseeded tomato, one mashed avocado, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice. I remembered making a similar coleslaw in the past, but this was a different twist on it.

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I grated the habanero cheese and put it on the salad to chill while the ribs cooked.

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The ribs turned out very juicy but also nicely browned. They were spicy, but not too spicy. My thought was the greek yogurt would help tone down the spice level and it did.

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I also really liked the addition of the lemongrass to the coleslaw. The flavor really set off the dish. Overall, we were both very happy with the dinner!

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Snazzy Sausage Supper

I’m back from spring break and read to get back to my normal life, schedule, and passions. I ate out WAY too much over the break, so cooking my own meal was a nice change of pace. Joe helped me to get creative by bringing me some new ingredients, andouille sausage, red pepper sausage, cabbage, and mini sweet peppers, and challenged me to make two different dishes.

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For what I had in mind, almost everything I needed was on this plate. The only things I added from our refrigerator were onion, mustard, and a sweet potato.

First, I popped the sweet potato into water and began boiling it.

While the sweet potato boiled, I squeezed all of the andouille sausage out of the casing (this was messy work!) into a pan with olive oil, 1/2 chopped onion, and 4 of the mini sweet peppers sliced into rings. I’ll try this method for removing the casing next time. I was a little nervous about trying andouille sausage again. We tried it while in France and it kind of made us gag. Ok, not kind of, we did gag. As I did a little research for this post, I found out why. The ingredients used in French andouille are a little different than those in American andouille.

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Next, I started browning sliced red pepper sausage. I only used half of the link and froze the rest. I knew there would be a lot of food and wanted to think of another way to experiment with it later. Maybe I’ll try this paleo recipe from one of my favorite recipe websites: PaleOMG.

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Next, I added our French mustard called Maille to the andouille, pepper, and onion mixture. This gave it a nice spicy flavor and made a light sauce for the mixture.

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I pulled the outer large leaves from the cabbage. I don’t know why, but I had the lettuce wraps from PF Changs on my mind and I’ve never even eaten them.

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I used the mix and chop to mash the sweet potatoes and added 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

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I used the andouille mixture for the cabbage wraps. I actually liked using cabbage as the wraps better than lettuce because it is a little sturdier for eating. This was my favorite of the two dishes. We also had leftovers to pack an easy and somewhat healthy lunch for tomorrow.

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I paired the red pepper sausage on top of the sweet potato mash. This was not visually appealing because the colors were too close, but the mix of spicy and sweet was perfect. This one was Joe’s favorite.

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Although not intentional, this is my second post in a row involving sausage recipes. My last recipe was my own version of jambalaya.

One Skillet Jambalaya

The last time we went to the grocery, I pulled out my list to make sure we had everything we wanted. I’m a planner and I like lists. I rarely divert from my list. And on this particular shopping day, my list was complete: chicken, bread, eggs, almond milk, bananas, apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes. But then I saw smoked sausage, and I can’t explain it, but I had to have it. I also had to have the Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream…

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I wasn’t sure what I planned to do with it. Should I throw it in the crockpot one day? Nope. Should I use it for a big weekend breakfast? Tempting but nope. I settled on making an easy jambalaya that would only require one knife, one cutting board, and one skillet. The fewer dishes we can dirty, the better.

First I chopped the smoked sausage, one yellow onion, one green pepper, 3/4 of a container of grape tomatoes, and one can of green chile peppers. I sauteed this in 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 minced cloves of garlic until the sausage was brown.

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I added 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of rice. The seasoning is a little tricker because we like it quite spicy and I didn’t exactly measure the spices. I used 4-5 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, 2-3 tablespoons of paprika, a few shakes of oregano, and a few shakes of dried bay leaves.

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To give it a little extra kick, I added Sriracha.

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I let the dish simmer for about 25 minutes to get the rice tender.

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It was so good and definitely warming on a cold winter day. I couldn’t stop eating it. Luckily, I have a little leftover for lunch tomorrow. I learned a few things about Jambalaya after cooking. My jambalaya was the creole style as opposed to cajun style because I included tomatoes. Also, jambalaya typically includes the “holy trinity” of vegetables (onion, celery, bell pepper). However, I did not have celery and I only included one type of meat. With a few changes based on what I had available, I’m still really happy with how it tasted.

I bet it would be fun to go to the annual Jambalaya Festival. Road trip, anyone?

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Wild Thyme

I love supporting local business and I love learning new things. Tonight was a great opportunity to do both. Thanks to the invitation from friends, we visited Wild Thyme. This is a local cooking school and they do great cooking lessons, cooking competitions, dinner mysteries, and other fun events focused on food. I had heard great things, but this was our first chance to go.

The atmosphere is amazing. It is small, state of the art, and intimate. There were only about 10-12 of us there and the chef was great at fielding questions, inviting us to the front of the kitchen to observe, and bring things out for us to see and smell.

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We started with a salad, and then we got to the good stuff. Tonight’s main entree was steak au poivre, brussel sprouts, and gourmet mashed potatoes.

The steak was cooked so perfectly. It was pepper coated, seared, and finished in the stove (similar to what I tried to do in my surf and turf challenge). However, this was perfectly cooked (check out that photo!), while my previous attempt was slightly overdone. Also it is best to sear steak in grapeseed, flax, or coconut oil because of the smoking point of various oils. I had been trying to sear steak using olive oil. To make brussel sprouts better, you should remove the bitter triangular core. They blanched, roasted, and then sauteed them and they were pretty tasty. Finally, the mashed potatoes were made using white truffle oil to give it the best flavor.

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We finished the night with a cranberry-cherry bourbon bread pudding. Our chef/instructor used french bread soaked in egg, sugar, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice that had been baked, tossed with dried fruits, and then topped with a buttery bourbon sauce. It was delicious and not heavy like other bread puddings I’ve had.

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What a fun night! I can’t wait to go back for another cooking event! Interested in other cooking events I’ve been to? Check out my Sushi Rolling Class or my Soups On events.

Kohlrabi Curry

Have you ever heard of Kohlrabi? Yeah, me neither. Until today. I do nearly all of our grocery shopping. How do I miss all of these things that Joe brings home for me to cook with?? For my challenge tonight, Joe brought a unique vegetable, kohlrabi, to be my challenge. He already had a recipe in mind because he was in the mood for curry. I was able to use the internet, but had to make at least one change to the recipe I used.

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I found the recipe for Kohlrabi Curry at Tasty Kitchen.

First, I diced and roasted the kohlrabi in olive oil and minced garlic.

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While it roasted, I wanted to know a little more about kohlrabi. It is a German vegetable that supposedly tastes like broccoli stems. I should have read this first, apparently you are supposed to peel it. It turned out fine unpeeled though. I was not looking forward to the dish when I read the description. You may remember from my last cooking challenge – Chicken Broccoli Casserole – that I don’t really like the taste of broccoli. I think this is a poor description – it tasted nothing like broccoli to either of us.

My secret ingredient for this recipe was finely chopped home grown and preserved peppers (thanks, Nancy and Troy!). This is the second post that included ingredients from our friends. Nancy and Troy also contributed to my Southern Surf and Turf.

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I sauteed onions, the peppers, mustard seeds, lemon juice, curry powder, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and tomatoes. I made two other small changes. I added green chiles and tripled the curry powder required in the recipe. We REALLY like curry. After everything was tender, it simmered for another 10 minutes.

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I served the final dish over rice. It was very tasty. We both agreed that it needed more spice and that we’d like a little more curry sauce to pour over it. We really liked the kohlrabi and plan to eat it a lot more. It is cheap and nutritious!

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I found a few other ideas for cooking with it.

Roasted Kohlrabi

German Stuffed Kohlrabi