baking while baked, bon appetit, braising, fattening up, quitting smoking sucks

How to Quit Smoking and Gain 300 lbs.

A few months ago I wrote about having to quit smoking because flavored cigarettes, including Cloves, were being banned in the US. Seven cartons,$560, and 4 months later I have officially smoked my last cigarette. For the most part it’s been manageable and I have yet to punch anyone in the throat, so that’s a good thing. Overall, I just feel a bit like a junkie–scratching at my skin when the creepy crawlies of of withdrawal kick in…thinking about wanting a smoke so bad when I’m not doing anything else. So, my goal has been to just keep busy and, for me, that means spending 90% of my free time in the kitchen.
And this past week it was Bon Appetit’s latest issue that kept me occupied. I needed time consuming, so I chose their Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwiches with Pickled Caramelized Onions and Milk Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Hazelnuts and Espresso. Decadent, gooey and comforting they were truly a deterrent to me becoming a full blown bitch.

Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwiches with Pickled Caramelized Onions and Arugula

Short Ribs

* 5 pounds beef short ribs
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
* 3 celery stalks, chopped
* 2 large carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
* 1/2 cup low-salt beef broth
* 1/3 cup medium-dry Sherry
* 2 garlic cloves, peeled
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 large fresh thyme sprig

Pickled Caramelized Onions

* 1 tablespoon butter
* 2 large red onions, halved, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)
* 4 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Assembly

* Butter, room temperature
* 16 slices country-style crusty white bread
* 12 ounces Petit Basque or Monterey
* Jack cheese, sliced
* 4 cups baby arugula

Preparation
short ribs


Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook beef until browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Add celery, carrots, and onion to pot and sauté until beginning to soften and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add wine, broth, Sherry, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprig; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Season with salt and pepper. Return ribs to pot, propping up on sides and arranging in single layer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour.

Using tongs, turn ribs over in pot. Cover and simmer until ribs are tender and sauce is very thick, occasionally rearranging ribs in pot to prevent sticking, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Uncover and cool 30 minutes.

Transfer ribs to work surface. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprig. Spoon off fat from sauce in pot. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces, trimming any fat. Return meat to pot. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm just until lukewarm before using.

pickled Caramelized Onions


Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar and cook until almost all vinegar is absorbed, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl; cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Microwave in 15-second intervals until lukewarm before using.

Assembly


Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with waxed paper. Butter 8 bread slices; place 4 slices, buttered side down, on each prepared sheet. Divide short rib mixture among bread slices, about 1/2 cup for each. Divide cheese among sandwiches. Spoon about 1/4 cup onions over each sandwich. Place large handful of arugula atop onions. Top with remaining 8 bread slices. Spread bread with butter. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Heat griddle or 2 large skillets over medium heat. Working in batches, cook sandwiches until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface. Cut each in half on diagonal. Transfer to plates and serve.

****I omitted the Arugula and used Red Dragon(an Ale and Mustard seed) for my cheese.

Milk Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Hazelnuts and Espresso

Ingredients
Crust

* 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
* 1/3 cup powdered sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 tablespoon (or more) ice water

Filling

* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped

Topping

* 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
* 4 ounces high-quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt, Perugina, or Valrhona), chopped
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

Special Equipment

* 1 13 3/4×4 1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom

Preparation
Crust

*
Blend flour, powdered sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter; using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 tablespoon ice water; process just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Transfer dough to 13 3/4×4 1/2-inch rectangular tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze crust 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake crust until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan on rack.

Filling

Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is medium amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble up). Place saucepan over medium heat; stir until caramel bits dissolve. Add butter, vinegar, and salt; stir until butter melts. Stir in hazelnuts. Spoon filling into crust. Chill until cold and set, about 30 minutes.

Topping

Combine cream and espresso powder in small saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until espresso powder is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over caramel. Sprinkle with cacao nibs. Chill tart until topping is set, about 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.


Remove tart pan sides. Place tart on platter; cut crosswise into 8 bars and serve.

***I used Pecans instead of Hazelnuts, a round springform pan instead of the one suggested and used 33% Sirius Icelandic Milk Chocolate.

I know the next few weeks and months are going to suck with this quitting thing but, apparently, it will not suck food wise. And I think I can deal with that.

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