Tasty recipes and more

Ossobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit Penso
Ossobuco, a wonderful braised veal stew, is one of the best dishes for festive entertaining. It is easy to make and tastes even better after a day in the fridge.

The name, Ossobuco, means “bone with hole” in Italian, and the origins of the dish are from Milan.
Upon researching a bit more about the dish origins’, I’ve learned that the older version was made with white wine only, and without tomatoes, which most of the versions known these days contain.
I can see why the original recipe used white wine – it suits the delicate veal meat much better than red wine. Yet, with the addition of tomatoes, I find that red wine goes better with the sauce than the original white wine. However, it’s totally up to you and you can switch it back to the more traditional version of using white wine.

Another change I’ve made to the traditional recipe was to add orange juice, zest and orange blossom honey to the sauce. I find it mellows the sauce, enhances the aroma and gives the sauce a nice finish.
To enhance the orange flavor even more, I also added orange zest to the Gremolata, which traditionally is made with lemon zest only.

The last minute addition of fresh bold flavors of the Gremolata to the stew is such a brilliant idea! I highly recommend not skipping this step.
The Gremolata is also wonderful on any other stews, roasted chicken, fried fish or seafood dishes.

Ossobuco is traditionally served with risotto, but is also great with polenta, gnocchi or with plain pasta.

Makes: 4-6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 2 ½ hours
Chilling time (optional): overnight

Ingredients:
For the Citrus Gremolata

½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped orange zest
¼ cup chopped lemon zest
2 chopped garlic cloves
For the meat:
¼ cup oil
4-5 large veal ossobuco cut (cross cut shanks), 5 cm thick
½ cup flour mixed with a bit of salt and freshly ground 4 pepper mix
For the sauce:
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
½ cup diced celery
1 medium carrot, diced
3-4 Bay leaves
Strips of orange peel, from ½ large orange
1 Tbs Salt
¼ tsp freshly ground 4 pepper mix
2 cups good quality crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs tomato paste
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine (preferably Barolo)
1 Tbs orange blossom honey

1. The Gremolata: mix the chopped parsley, lemon and orange zest and garlic.
Ossobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit Penso
2. The meat: heat the oil in a large pot. Coat the meat with the flour mix and fry gently on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep in a warm plate.
Ossobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit Penso
3. The sauce: heat the olive oil in a large shallow pot. Add the onion, shallot and garlic. Mix and fry for 1-2 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the celery, carrots, bay leaves, orange strips, salt and pepper. Mix and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the crushed tomatoes, orange juice, beef stock, red wine and honey. Mix well, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes.
Ossobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit Penso
5. Add the meat, in one layer, with the narrower part of the bone facing the bottom. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes.
Ossobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit Penso
6. Preheat the oven to 200F (95C). Transfer the covered pot to the oven and braise for 2 hours. Uncover the pot and braise for 30 minutes longer, until the meat almost falls off the bones and the sauce thickens and caramelizes on top.
7. At this point you can serve the dish, with the Gremolata on top.
Another option is to let the dish cool and keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Reheat gently and serve with the Gremolata.
For a leaner version, remove the fat from the top before reheating.
Ossobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit PensoOssobuco with Red Wine and Citrus Gremolata Ronit Penso

Sour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit Penso

Few ingredients in a cake don’t mean lack of flavor – and these tasty little cakes are the proof of that. They are also very quick and easy to prepare – all that’s needed are a bowl and a whisk.

You’ll probably notice that the batter doesn’t contain butter or oil, or any liquids. This is not a mistake – if you’ll make these cakes you’ll see that the sour cream, eggs and hazelnuts are sufficient for creating moist and flavorful cakes.

The cakes will keep, in an airtight container, for up to a week. They are wonderful for brunch or as a light dessert. Serve them as is, or with extra sour cream and cherry comfiture.

Makes: 8 mini-cakes 4.8″ (12cm) x W: 2.8″ (7cm)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
For the pan:
Melted butter or oil
¼ cup hazelnuts flour
For the cakes:
1 cup sugar
2 XL eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup hazelnut flour
1 cup flour
1 Tbs baking powder
Dash salt
24 pitted cherries comfiture

1. Preheat the oven to 3705F (185C). Butter or oil the pans and dust with hazelnuts flour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs and sour cream and mix well with a whisk. Add the vanilla, espresso powder and cinnamon and mix again.
P1100544Sour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit PensoSour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit PensoSour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit Penso
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the hazelnut flour with the white flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the bowl with the sour cream mixture and mix to an even batter. Do not over-mix.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the mini pans. Place 3 cherries on each cake.
Sour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit PensoSour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit PensoSour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit PensoSour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit Penso
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake (not near the cherries) comes out almost dry.
6. Let cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes before carefully removing the cakes to a rack to cool completely.
Sour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit PensoSour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit Penso Sour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit Penso
Sour Cream, Hazelnuts and Cherries Mini-Cakes Ronit Penso

Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso

This “all in one pot” colorful and tasty dish is easy to prepare and great to have on a cold winter’s day. It’s hearty, warm and satisfying, yet not too heavy.

I’ve used colorful Israeli couscous, but any type will do. Just don’t be tempted to switch the Israeli couscous with similar shaped pasta, as regular pasta will not be fully cooked with this small amount of liquids, nor will it keep its shape the way the Israeli couscous does.

Makes: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Ingredients:
2 Tbs olive oil
4 chicken thighs
1 Tbs salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 medium size onion, diced
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 scallions, chopped
2 cups roughly chopped mini peppers (from 8-10)
1 cup chicken stock

1. Heat the oil in a medium flat pot, over medium-high heat. Pat dry the thighs with paper towels and season with some of the salt and pepper. Add to the pot, skin side down, and fry for 4-5 minutes, until the skin is golden. Gently turn and fry for 2-3 minutes longer.
Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit PensoChicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso
2. Transfer the thighs to a plate and keep in a warm place. Add the onion and a bit more of the salt and pepper and mix well. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until the onions soften a bit. Place the thighs back in the pot, skin side up. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.
Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit PensoChicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso
3. Transfer the thighs again to a plate and keep in a warm place. Place a paper towel sheet over the onions, to absorb access fat and oil. Discard the paper.
Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit PensoChicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso
4. Add the Israeli couscous to the pot, mix well and add the scallions and peppers. Add the rest of the salt and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit PensoChicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso
5. Add the chicken stock, mix well and place the thighs on top, skin side up. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot.
Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit PensoChicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso
6. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the couscous is cooked and the liquids absorbed. Turn off the heat. Keep covered for 10 minutes before serving.
Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit PensoChicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Peppers Ronit Penso

Anise-Orange Cookies Ronit Penso

These old fashioned yet very tasty cookies are so perfect on a cold winter’s day; they are not too sweet and the anise-orange flavors combination goes great with warm drinks.
The dough is easy to prepare and can be either rolled and cut, or shaped in a variety of ways, as shown here, or in any other way you prefer.

The cookies can keep, in an airtight container, for about 2 weeks, and they make a great holiday gift. So don’t hesitate to prepare the seemingly large batch, as they will disappear quickly…

Makes: 35 cut square/diamond shapes + 22 hand shaped
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 15 minutes
Baking time: flat cut: 15 minutes; hand shaped: 20-25 minutes
Ingredients:
1 stick (115 grams) butter, soft
½ cup sugar (and up to 1 cup)
3 XL eggs
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 heaped tsp anise seeds
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Dash salt

1. Mix the butter and sugar in a mixer bowl fitted with the mixing hook, on medium-high speed. Add the eggs and mix for 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides once or twice. Add the orange juice and zest and mix again.
Anise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit Penso
2. Add the anise seeds, the flour, baking powder and salt and mix on medium-low speed, scraping the sides a few times. Don’t over mix.
Anise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit Penso
3. Transfer to a work space and divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes. Work with one part of dough at a time, and keep the rest in the fridge until ready to use.
4. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
5. For the hand shaped cookies: take a piece of dough about the size of a ping-pong ball. Roll it and form shapes according to your liking. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. The cookies will only brown lightly on top, so gently lift one and check the bottom side. Transfer to a cookie rack and cool to room temperature.
Anise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit Penso
6. For the cut cookies: on a lightly floured work space, roll the dough to a ¼ inch (0.6cm) thickness. Cut into shapes with a sharp knife, or with cookie cutters. Place in the pan and prick with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes. The cookies will only brown lightly on top, so gently lift one and check the bottom side. Transfer to a cookie rack and cool to room temperature.
Anise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit PensoAnise-Orange Cookies Ronit Penso Anise-Orange Cookies Ronit Penso

Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit Penso

Baked mushrooms casserole is a favorite of mine, and as Thanksgiving dinner is approaching rapidly, I’ve decided to experiment with my original recipe, to make it more suitable for the holiday. So I’ve added some cubed sweet potatoes to the mixture and also decided to bake the mixture in muffin pans instead of in a large casserole pan. I was happy with the results: the combination of mushrooms and sweet potatoes brings out the best of the flavors, textures and colors of both. I’ve also liked how the individual bakes are so much easier to serve. I will definitely make these again very soon.

The bakes are not only tasty, but also very versatile. They are perfect as a side dish for meat or poultry, as a light lunch or dinner when served with a small green salad, or as part of a weekend brunch buffet.

If you want to serve these bakes at their best, bake them as close to serving time as possible. To make this easier, the mixture can be made in advance (up to a day) and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature and mix well before baking.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Makes: 16
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
1 cup small diced red and white onions
1 Tbs oil + 2 oz (60 grams) soft butter
1 Tbs salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 package (8oz, 225 grams) white mushrooms, legs removed and sliced
1 package (8oz, 225 grams) Baby Bella mushrooms, legs removed and sliced
¼ cup flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 cups sweet potato medium cubes (from 1 large)
½ cup coarsely grated white aged cheddar
½ cup coarsely grated yellow aged cheddar
½ cup thick yogurt or sour cream
3 XL eggs
½ cup bread crumbs
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
Dash of Cayenne pepper

1. Place the onions, oil, butter, salt and pepper in a large pan. Mix and sauté on medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms, mix and sauté until they soften.
Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit Penso
2. Add the flours mix well and cook for a minute, to let the flour absorb the liquids. Gradually add the stock while whisking, to avoid lumps. Bring to an almost boil, reduce the heat and cook for a minute. Add the mustard and mix.
Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit Penso
3. Add the sweet potato cubes and the grated cheeses. Mix well and cook for a minute, until the cheeses melt. Turn off the heat and add the yogurt or sour cream. Mix well and let cool to warm temperature. Add the eggs and mix. Add the bread crumbs, rosemary and Cayenne and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit Penso
4. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Place 16 baking paper cups in muffin pans.
5. Fill the paper cups with the mixture and bake for 30 minutes, or until the bakes are puffed and golden.
6. Transfer to a rack and let cool a bit before serving.
Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit PensoMushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit Penso Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Mini-Bakes Ronit Penso

Lemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit Penso

This tasty and light cake is very easy to make – it doesn’t even require a mixer. Just make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature and mixing will be a breeze. It is a great cake to have on hand, served as a snack or a light dessert.

The cake doesn’t contain any dairy products, thus making it perfect for lactose-intolerant guests. If you don’t have this problem and you prefer a richer, buttery flavor, substitute the ½ cup applesauce with ½ cup melted butter.

Other variations: substitute the lemon juice and zest with orange juice and zest. For a sweeter cake, or in case you choose not to add the glaze, increase the amount of sugar to 1½ cups.

Makes: 16
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30-35 Minutes

Ingredients:
1 large very ripe banana
1 cup sugar
2 XL eggs
1/3 cup oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbs lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup roughly chopped pecans
½ cup dried cranberries
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line a 9” (23cm) square cake pan with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the banana, sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, lemon zest and juice, and mix well to an even mixture.
Lemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit PensoLemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit Penso
3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to a thick batter. Add the pecans and cranberries and mix lightly. Transfer the mixture into the pan.
Lemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit PensoLemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit Penso
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out almost dry.
5. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool to room temperature.
Lemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit PensoLemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit Penso
6. The glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until you reach a thick yet runny consistency. Pour over the cake and let set before cutting.
Lemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit PensoLemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit PensoLemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit PensoLemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit PensoLemon, Banana, Pecan and Dried Cranberries Cake Ronit Penso

Tasty Eats Ronit Penso:

Coming back from a vacation is harder than I thought… So I will once again use the option of re-blogging a post from the beginning of the blog. See you next week with new posts. :)

Originally posted on Tasty Eats:

Salmon with dill mustard topping Ronit Penso

I have created this dish for my book, which is all about quick and easy meals. The dish here has an added bonus – you can prepare it in advance and bake just before serving.
In the topping, I’ve mixed the classic honey-mustard combination with dill – a traditional Scandinavian addition to salmon (as demonstrated in the famous “Gravelax”- cured salmon with dill.) The addition of butter helps keep the fish moist, the breadcrumbs add a nice crunch and the wine adds the acidity needed to balance it all.
I’m sure this dish will become a classic in your kitchen just as it is in mine.

* The portion size in the photos is small, as I was preparing the dish for a buffet dinner. You can do the same, or use 5 larger portions to serve as a main course.

* To prepare in advance: spread the fish with…

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