During recovery from hip surgery, my neighbor very kindly prepared several dinners for my husband and I. To show our gratitude, I made dinner for she and her husband Sunday evening. Thank goodness the weather has cooled down as this played into my menu selection. I also wanted to have most of my dinner done before my guests arrived. After a bit of internet research, I found the perfect recipe at Williams-Sonoma, braised short ribs with creamy polenta.
Now that my entree was selected it was time to round out the menu with a few appetizers and salad. For appetizers, I selected two and kept them simple. I made basil pesto cream cheese filled tomatoes. While the recipe called cherry tomatoes, I opted for grape tomatoes. The cream cheese filling was a nice foil to the tartness of the tomato. My other go to easy appetizer is crab spread from Mr. Shrimp in Belmar. I serve the crab spread on Keebler Club crackers.
I always like to start dinner with a salad. For Sunday’s dinner I made Royal Riviera Rouge Valley Salad a recipe from Harry & David’s. The salad starts with butter lettuce, topped with sliced comice pears, blue cheese and roasted walnuts. The dressing is divine as it’s made with walnut oil, a bit of Dijon mustard and honey and champagne vinegar. It was sublime.
Although the short rib recipe called for bone in short ribs, I opted for boneless. Wegmans carries boneless short ribs for $10.99/lb. However, I ran into a former colleague and her husband who informed me that Costco carries boneless short ribs. There’s not much of price difference between Wegmans and Costco, Costco’s cost $9.99/lb. I made my purchase at Costco’s as I was able to purchase one large package.
The Williams-Sonoma recipe contained an onion, garlic and a couple of carrots to flavor the sauce which was made with beef stock, red wine and a bit tomato paste. To further enhance the flavor profile fresh rosemary and a bay leaf (from my garden) are added. It took me about 15 minutes to prep the vegetables, sauté the aromatics and brown the short ribs. I cooked the ribs in my Le Crueset braiser in the oven for 2-1/2 hours making them fork tender. Overall, my dinner was a success. The braised short ribs were tender and delicious. The sauce was velvety and rich. I ditched the creamy polenta and decided on mashed potatoes. I used Williams-Sonoma Parmesan Parmesan, Garlic and Herb mashed potato seasoning to up the flavor. Steamed green beans rounded out the dinner.
For dessert, I made the Delicious Orchards recipe for apple bread, but this time I topped it with a scoop of apple cider ice cream made with Delicious Orchards apple cider (The ice cream was created and made by Nicholas Creamery). The ice cream was heavenly, rich, creamy and redolent with the DO apple cider. Not only is the ice cream flavored with the cider, but it seems Nicholas Creamery reduced the cider to a glaze and laced it through the ice cream, yum! The ice cream is available both at Delicious Orchards Nicholas Creamery.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.