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Good morning, esteemed readers. Today we have a question that leads, as do most queries, to more questions. It all begins with the subject of short ribs. This week's correspondent is Reginald Wexler, whose wife, Tena, is a sometimes contributor. This week, however, it is Mr. W who wants to replicate a meal sampled at the Biltmore Inn in Asheville, N.C. The Wexlers were taken with the inn's braised short ribs cooked with vegetables.
Here are his questions: "What are short ribs? How are they cooked, bone-in or boneless? What is braising? I would like a recipe that includes vegetables, particularly the one served at Biltmore Inn. There were 4-inch squares of meat and no bones in the presentation. That dish was all the meal required."
So then: short ribs, braising, cooked with vegetables. There are other similar cuts of meat, ones that need long, slow cooking and derive flavor from both fat and bone. Those recipes would be welcome, too.
He also asks: "What is a paleo bowl as advertised at Elemental Restaurant, and how can you prepare them at home?" And finally, Wexler asks for information about brining meats.
Green isn't just for St. Patrick's Day, and kale is the greenest green trend of late. You will find below three kale salads from two readers. Our friend Tricia says her favorite meal in town is a kale salad she shares with her husband, along with a pizza, at Community Pie.
Not so at our home, where a gigantic bag of organic kale received a less-than-enthusiastic welcome from the man of the house. Kale chips, yes, said he; kale salads, no. Perhaps we'll try the three that follow just to make sure he won't change his mind.
Lynn Carroll has a neighbor she praises as "a marvelous scratch cook who makes quick terrific kale salads." That friend, Uma Potdar, shared one version.
4 cups kale, torn in bite-size pieces
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 mango, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup of 1 of the following: sunflower seeds, chopped pecans or pine nuts
Place kale and carrots in a large bowl. Sauté cumin seeds in canola oil and drizzle over kale to wilt. Stir well. Stir in remaining ingredients, salting to taste. Chill and serve. This side livens up casseroles and rice main dishes.
Rose Secrest, who has produced a vegetarian cookbook quoted numerous times in this column, offered the next two versions. As I read the ingredients I wonder when a stack of ruby radishes and a bouquet of green watercress appeared in the produce sections around here. Are they available? If so, where?
2 cups baby kale
1 cup baby arugula
1 cup watercress
1 cup cucumber, sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup beets, grated
1 cup radishes, sliced
1 cup cilantro, minced
1 cup mint, minced
1 cup basil, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 red jalapeno, sliced
1/4 cup lime juice
Combine ingredients. Serve.
2 cups baby kale
2 carrots, sliced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Juice of 1/4 orange
2 tablespoons vinegar
Dash Aleppo pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put the first five ingredients into a salad bowl. Combine the last seven ingredients to make the dressing. Pour the dressing onto the salad and stir well.
Here's an unusual twist on a breakfast casserole, courtesy of Bright School's recent cookbook.
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
2 cups chopped Andouille sausage
5 cups French or Italian bread cubes (slightly stale works best)
2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (smoked cheddar is delicious)
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook and stir 3 minutes or until softened. Add sausage; cook and stir 1 minute.
Spread half of the bread cubes in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer with half each of the sausage mixture and cheeses. Repeat with remaining cubes, sausage mixture and cheeses. Mix eggs, milk and Creole seasoning in medium bowl until well blended. Pour evenly over bread mixture. Press bread cubes lightly into egg mixture until completely covered. Let stand 10 minutes.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Last year, a sheaf of quiche recipes came from Hixson and the kitchen of Sue Mickel. We printed a good many of them, but not this one with a Texas twist - broccoli, basil, turkey breast and Swiss cheese are among the unusual ingredients.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups half and half
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-1/4 cups chopped broccoli, blanched and well-drained
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried fines herbes
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (9-inch) baked deep-dish pie shell
1-1/2cups cooked turkey breast, cut into1/2-inch cubes
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
Position rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Melt ¼ cup butter in a small skillet over low heat. Add onion; cook until soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.
Beat eggs on high speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and blend in half and half, 1/4 cup Parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Combine broccoli, 2 tablespoons melted butter, basil, Worcestershire sauce, fines herbes, tarragon, coriander, cinnamon, garlic salt, cumin, paprika and salt in medium bowl and toss lightly until thoroughly mixed.
Sprinkle pie shell with remaining Parmesan. Add sautéed onion, spreading evenly. Arrange broccoli mixture over onion. Top with turkey. Cover completely with Swiss cheese. Pour in egg mixture to just below rim of pie shell.
Bake until quiche is set, about 50 minutes (filling will be slightly sticky). Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
- Embree's Old Town Restaurant in Garland, Texas
We are short of shortcuts this week, so please send us yours.