Friday, September 26, 2008

Wine Braised Oxtails

Oxtails are made from time to time here in this household due to my significant other bringing these meaty morsels into my world some years ago. I had been trying to come up with different recipes using the Oxtail for some time. As usual, I find something I like, change it a bit, and throw some stuff together and then turn out with something that tastes wonderful. So here we have succulent:
Wine Braised Oxtails with Parsnips and Asparagus

11 Oxtails of varying sizes ( I had 6 large ones and 5 smaller)
2 large carrots (peeled)
5 stalks of celery with leaves
3 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 medium bunch parsley
4 bay leaves
1 1/2 bottles dry red wine
2-4 cups water depending
Pour wine into pot and boil to reduce by about half.
Add bay leaves and coarsely chopped parsley. Clean Oxtails, season with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides in deep pot.

Remove and set aside.
Coarsely chop all vegetables and in separate pan cook on low heat with a bit of butter and olive oil until softened.
Pour some of wine into Oxtail pot to de glaze the bottom.
Arrange Oxtails in pot in one layer and cover with vegetables.
Pour wine mixture over top and then fill with hot water until just covering the vegetables. Add more pepper and pinch salt.
Cover pot and place in 325 degree oven for at least 2 1/2 hours if not 3 hours.

Oxtails should be very tender and just about falling off of the bone.
When finished braising, pour over cheesecloth and strain out vegetables and set Oxtails aside. Reserve liquid and place over med/high heat to reduce. Whisk in pieces (2-4 Tbsp) of cold butter to thicken and silken sauce.

8 Parsnips (peeled)
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
(salt and pepper)
Boil Parsnips until soft, and then mash adding butter, milk, and salt and pepper.
Trim ends and saute with butter, olive oil, and garlic. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Arrange items accordingly and pour sauce over Oxtails.

The Oxtails, Parsnips, and Asparagus made a perfect meal.
The tender and fatty oxtails, the sweet and creamy Parsnips, and the crisp and garlicky Asparagus, not to mention the rich and silky wine sauce ended up just being perfectly delicious.

Friday, September 19, 2008

White Chocolate and Espresso Pot de Creme

Ok, I have been out of the loop for a bit, the cooking just hasn't been happening around here lately. I had been wondering why something felt amiss, and that explains it...
I have been contemplating what my next sweet experiment would be, and this won. Previously, I experimented with the Pot de Creme, using a Belgium Bittersweet Chocolate, but this time we are going with Ghirardelli White Chocolate and some brewed espresso (no instant stuff around here).
My first attempt at the Pot de Creme was not as creamy as I would have liked, so I made sure these beauties did not fall to the same tragedy..Here we have:
White Chocolate and Espresso Pot de Creme

3 cups heavy cream (1 cup for whipping at the end)
1/2 cup whole milk
5 ounces White Chocolate
6 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup freshly brewed Espresso

Chop chocolate into somewhat even pieces.
Combine 2 cups cream and milk in saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate pieces and stir until thoroughly melted. Set aside and let cool a few minutes.
In separate bowl whisk together eggs and sugar.
Slowly pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture stirring constantly.
Strain mixture into separate bowl and let cool another ten minutes or so.
In this recipe I filled six ramekins with the mixture that I have so far. I then stirred in the Espresso. The new mixture was then poured into the rest of the ramekins. So I ended up with the two different types.
Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or less, I like to take a peek around 30 minutes.
When finished, centers of custard should still jiggle a bit. Remove from oven and let cool.
Whip remaining cream until stiff and add a few Tbsps of confectioners sugar.
Top Pot de Creme accordingly.

As I mentioned above I was very careful on the cooking time, because I didn't want to end up with the consistency I got the first go around. And I have to be honest, that some of the Pot de Creme this time around fell to the same tragedy, but fortunately not all of them did!

The Espresso babies came out perfectly.

So creamy, and the flavor of the Espresso was bursting with the sweetness of the White Chocolate. But...a few of the White Chocolate, not so lucky. Don't get me wrong, the flavor was there, but they just weren't that perfect creaminess I am looking for.
There is always next time, and there will be, I promise!