Category Archives: Recipes

On the Biscuit Front + Knitting

Another knitting project finished, the oh so sweet Bunny Beanie!   It flew off the needles on Saturday, nice to have a project that’s done in a day and darling to boot!

The pattern calls for a picot cast on and I didn’t bother— not that it isn’t a great idea but the likelihood that the brim of this beanie will be rolled tight enough to obliterate that little detail is fairly high. Plain cast on, plain edge.

I used an aran weight yarn from stash in off white, the ears are lighter weight in a rosy pink and I think it’s a chunky cotton but I’m not sure as the ball band had disappeared. Once again, the pattern calls for a pink (inner ear) angora but since I had none I swapped it out. I think the inside of the ears would be adorable in an eyelash yarn.

Here she is with the beanie body completed and waiting for ears.

One ear above…. seamed along one edge so it makes an ear, folded on the bottom so it has (and holds) it’s shape but also it gives the ears something to “sit” on as it perches on the beanie. I left a bit of goosey loopy-ness inside the ears which is actually the first and last stitch of the pink yarn. You could stitch it so it’s completely smooth as the ear sits….. I liked a bit of texture.

**STINKIN’ CUTE!!!**

I know I’ll knit this again as a bunny for a baby gift in the future, I’ll also use the beanie base for other cute baby toques! It hasn’t been washed with a gentle blocking pat down yet, sure to make it even cuter!

On the biscuit front (because biscuits make the world go round), my ‘daily’ biscuit recipe is Crisco based—– my last batch was butter based.

The biscuits were amazing! Layers and layers of flakyness, super delicious.

But I asked myself, how can you incorporate a little bit of softness?

Is that possible?

And I made a sheet of biscuits using half butter and half butter Crisco. Both pans of biscuits were cut using a sharp knife into 6 portions, no round cutter used, both had the same treatment. Exactly half ice cold butter and half butter Crisco. Non self rising flour and the same amount of leavening.

‘cuse the horrible photo.

You can see that there ARE layers, but not as many. The flavor was divine divine divine! The crumb was tender and quite soft. These biscuits even at half and half favored their Crisco Mama more than their Butter Daddy.  I was expecting flakier I think….. but they were only slightly more flaky than a traditional Crisco biscuit. But good, believe me when I say that!

My favorite? I surprise myself when I say that those butter beauties are currently enchanting me…. calling me…… the siren song of their buttery layers telling me that we are meant for one another. Damn. They’re good.

The recipe is my riff on the Epicurious classic using buttermilk instead of cream and salted butter.

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter (I used salted)
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used buttermilk)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F. and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut 5 tablespoons butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream, stirring with a fork until just combined. Transfer mixture to a lightly floured surface and gently knead about 3 times until it just forms a dough. Pat dough into a 6 1/2-inch round (about 1/2 inch thick).  I cut mine with a knife into 6 biscuits with one sharp quick stroke of the knife.

Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter cut out biscuits and arrange about 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Gather and pat out scraps and cut out more biscuits. (I patted out the biscuits and cut into 6 biscuits using a sharp knife and carefully placed them on a baking sheet)

Melt remaining tablespoon butter and lightly brush onto biscuits. Bake biscuits in middle of oven until pale golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes. (I didn’t butter the tops).

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The Ordering of the Parts & Coconut Pineapple Bread Pudding

I used to gather inspiration for a lot of projects, make a big ole’ list of necessary supplies and shop for it in one fell swoop. I’d bring it all home and arrange it into it’s little project families and be so smug and satisfied with knowing I had lots and lots of things to work on. I haven’t done that in awhile.

Until today.

Craft stores are not like they used to be are they? Or is it just that we expect more? Or have such different bits and pieces we require? Maybe all of the above. I left the house (happily in the 70′s so sorry those in the icebox) headed to lay in supplies. And I came up really short. The paper mache mannequins I needed had JUST been clearanced at Michael’s (good) and they only had one of the three I needed (bad). They had NO leatherworking supplies, No other necessities for the Santos Dolls either.

And at least daily I say, “what did we do before the internet”?????   I placed an order from THAILAND for really groovy brass hootie moo’s to fasten leather bracelets yet to be born (Thailand, can you dig it?) and from Crafts for Less for paper mache bits, and some leather supplies.  {That makes me giggle, ….. leather supplies. It sounds risque!}

While I wait for everything to roll in I’ll get the studio cleaned and organized and ready to roll. I’ll knit some more on the afghan that shall live forever and I’ll wait to hear if Baby T is going to be pink or blue so I can order yarn for that fabulous cabled sweater.

I’ve been working on perfecting the reworked recipe for Bread Pudding. It’s dynamite what can I tell you!  :)

The recipe is one from my truly vintage wooden recipe box. I made the box in 6th grade home ec class for Miss Berquist and used THIS particular recipe. The title is “Pioneer Bread Pudding”, I have no idea who the pioneers were but I’m pretty sure they’d be enchanted with this rendition of an oldie but a goodie.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

•    3 cups of stale Hawaiian Bread/Rolls, cut into 2 inch dice
•    2 cups milk (you can use skim but the higher the fat version the less likely the custard is to weep)
•    ¾ cup evaporated milk

2 Tbs. Cornstarch

•    ½ cup sugar
•    3 tbs. butter, melted
•    3 eggs
•    ½ tsp. salt
•    2 tsp. vanilla
•    1 cup coconut, reserve ¼ cup
•    ½ cup dried pineapple, chopped finely

Cut the bread/rolls into cubes, not too finely- about 2 inches or so. Place in a greased 8×8 pan. Combine the milks, sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt and vanilla and whisk to mix thoroughly. Whisk in the cornstarch—– it seems an odd addition but it keeps the custard silky and from breaking Evenly spread coconut and finely chopped pineapple over bread,  Pour liquid over bread cubes and push all of the bread into the mixture, allow to sit about ten minutes. Top with reserved coconut.
Place the baking pan into another pan large enough to nestle the bread pan inside. Pour boiling water into the outer pan carefully so as not to get water inside the custard  and bread mixture, the level of the water should come about halfway up the sides of the bread pudding.
Bake at 350 for an hour or until a knife inserted comes out cleanly.
Serve warm plain or with your choice of sauce (caramel is particularly wonderful!)

Serve in a beautiful martini glass with a dollop of whipped cream and a chunk of dried pineapple. Miss Berquist would be so pleased!

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Summer Vinegars: No Knitting Content Whatsoever!

I’ve been experimenting with flavored vinegars. Infused with delights that will complement summer cooking.

The bottles are small only holding about a cup of vinegar.

Perfect.

& Great for hostess gifts!

Rosemary, lemongrass, shallots and thyme (oh my)

Gently steeped, not boiled. Then poured into sterilized bottles and corked.

So pretty.

& So good!

There really are no recipes as long as you remember the sliding scale of vinegar.  The ‘lightest’ base would be rice wine, the heaviest a cider. Don’t start with already flavored versions but use a variety of white, cider, rice wine, etc. Choose your favorite herbs, shallots are nice with almost everything. Mustard seeds, peppercorns, celery seeds, etc. are great to round out the flavors.

Starting Point?

  • Rice wine with shallots, lemongrass and thyme
  • Cider with shallots, rosemary and mustard seed
  • White vinegar with rosemary, thyme, shallots, mustard seed and a pinch of hot peppers or flakes

Great in salad dressings, marinades, sauces….. whatever!

Do as I say and not as I do and finish with a wrap of twine and a cute label.

I really need to knit…..

 

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Blueberries & Muffins

One of my favorite recipes is for English Muffin Bread. It’s an old recipe from Fleishmann’s yeast, still in my files on the original torn out magazine page. So easy, so delicious. I’ve been making this recipe for 15 years or so and this batch, I IMPROVED IT!!!

Not just with the topping either, although that was beyond magnificent. Ten Minute Georgia Blueberry Jam. OMG.

English Muffin Bread

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 3/4 cups milk

1/4 cup buttermilk *My tweak. You can make it with 2 cups of milk if you like* The buttermilk gives a higher rise and softer texture.

Combine the liquids and heat to about 120-130 degrees on your handy dandy thermometer

2 packages Fleischmann’s Fast Rising Active Dry Yeast
2 teaspoons salt
rounded 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 cups all-purpose flour

cornmeal for dusting the pans and the top before baking

combine the dry ingredients well and add the warm liquids. Stir vigorously until mixed well.

Divide the dough into two greased and cornmeal dusted loaf pans and cover with a towel. Let rise 45 minutes and then bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes or so. Remove to a wire rack after ten minutes of cooling.  ALLOW TO COOL BEFORE SLICING. Slice into  delicious English Muffiny goodness…. not too thick not too thin, and toast. So good good good.

Freezes well.

Ten Minute Georgia Blueberry Jam (with tiny tweak)

2 Cups Georgia Blueberries washed and picked through
3 Tbsp sugar is called for, I (no surprise) added more
1/2 Cup water + 1 tsp. lemon juice
3 tbs. cornstarch

Pour blueberries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring fruit to a boil.  Taste for sweetness.  If you prefer it sweeter, add more sugar.

Let the blueberries boil for a few minutes, 5 or so. The juice will be deep bluish purple and the berries will have popped and have begun to soften. You can mush up the blueberries further or leave them like they are. (I left them).

Mix the cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water and mix until smooth. Pour this mixture into the blueberries and stir while the jam thickens.

Pour into jelly jars and pop the lid on. Let it cool a bit to serve immediately or let it cool and refrigerate. If you like a really ‘loose’ jam, use half the cornstarch.

SO GOOD.

REALLY!

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Muffin Love

I go through phases on Planet Carbohydrate. Sourdough, popping in a frozen roll for dinner on the quick…. maybe even a good ole’ biscuit. What’s not to love with a biscuit? Really.  But a muffin. A great muffin recipe that goes together fast, can become a million different delicious bready goodness items…. can’t beat it.  I’ve been on a muffin kick lately. I love the basic muffin recipe with a big handful of cheddar and green chili’s tossed in, or cheese and garlic or even a spoonful of yummy jelly buried in the soft warm center. But plain, yes plain— they came unadorned to my table and I was smitten by their simple goodness. A pat of butter and a sigh.

Everytime I bake a muffin I hear my high school Home Ec teachers admonition to stir gently so it almost looks unmixed. Otherwise you get a pointy cone-head muffin with tunnels. Can’t have that!

Go on, make some. You know you want to!

Basic Muffin Goodness

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( I love White Lily flour)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder, rounded (that is a nice generous spoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk  (or milk you’ve ‘soured’ with vinegar)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 1/4 butter, melted

In whatever method suits you, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Mix up the milk and eggs with the melted butter, give it a nice stir because it won’t get a huge mix up later. Now add the dry ingredients at one time. Using a folding motion, mix the wet and dry ingredients. DO NOT OVERMIX.There are lumps and bumps galore, ignore them. Grease muffin tins or give a light spray to pretty muffin papers. Fill the muffin batter about 2/3 full and bake in a preheated 425 oven for about 22-25 minutes. They should be a soft golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 12 (ish).

Find other goodies to add and make yummy muffin lovely combinations.

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Most Delicious Curried Root Veggie Soup

I’m not a vegetarian although I was many years ago. I have no doubt that I would have been a better vegetarian if the fantastic foods that are available now were also available then. Not so much. Regardless, I do try to go meatless several times a week and having a big pot of vegetable soup is a favorite standby. Recently I found a recipe from Lisa Lillien for a root vegetable soup and it was pretty good. I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to mess with it a little bit and add curry, a much loved flavor profile.

Give it a try, you’ll love it!

Curried Root Vegetable Soup

  • 4 cups of butternut squash soup, organic/natural
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. curry powder (or to taste)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 cup of carrots chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup of turnip, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbs. olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pan and tumble in the onion. Cook on medium, giving a stir to get the onion into the oil. Let it cook away for ten minutes or so until it begins to get nice and caramelized and stir often. Add the carrots and cook another 5 minutes then add the cauliflower and the turnip and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, they will just begin to soften up.

Add the butternut squash soup, the water, the beans, curry powder, cayenne and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer together about 15-20 minutes until everything is tender and mellow. Taste and adjust the curry and heat to your taste.

Delicious! It reheats beautifully and is actually even more yummy the second day.

Serves 4-6

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Swedish Pancakes- Contessa Style

When I was in Minneapolis-St. Paul last Sunday my dear friend Mickey picked me up  and we went out for brunch. The best thing was catching up and laughing but a close second was Jensen’s. What a great day to remember my love of many things Swedish (I was in Minnesota after all)— and especially Swedish Pancakes. Jensen’s serves ‘em up by the gazillion and they come with a side of their syrup which is a mapley buttery sugary confection of supreme delight. I knew that it was imperative to polish up my Swedish pancake skills.

Right now I’m sick to bits of Swedish pancakes, now called Swedish Contessacakes because I can. I made them and made them and made them and think that I can safely pass along a recipe to die for. Really.

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To replicate my recipe you will need:

  • a large cast iron skillet, well seasoned
  • paper towel and oil to gently wipe the skillet
  • and 24 hours to make the batter.

Swedish Contessacake Batter:

Beat 4 eggs oh so gently in a medium bowl with a whisk. Add 4 cups of milk (I used 2%) and whisk together. In a separate bowl sift together 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour 1/2 cup of sugar as well as 1/4 tsp. of salt and add that into your wet ingredients whisking all the time until you’ve made a smooth batter. Melt 1 stick of butter and whisk that in at the end. Cover this and refrigerate 24 hours (overnight is fine). The batter can last 2 days refrigerated— it makes quite a bit!

When you’re ready to make these super thin pancakes (after they’ve rested) ADD 3 tablespoons of flour to the batter. Sounds weird but trust me it makes a difference. Whisk that “fresh flour” into the batter.

Heat your cast iron pan SCREAMIN’ hot. Wipe the skillet with a little bit of canola oil. Add 1/4 cup of the batter to the center and “swirl” a bit (you may need hot pads for your hands) to make a thin pancake. Thin is the deal for this recipe. You might want to make a few 6 inch (or so) diameter pancakes until you’re sure that the pan is ready to go and you’ve got the method down. I don’t know why it is but the first few just aren’t quite perfect. You want to flip the pancakes when the underneath is beginning to brown and the edges are dry and beginning to crisp. Flipping them is an art form but you’ll get it. Get the spatula into the center of the pancake and flip carefully, I use my fingers to get it going. When you  get it down, you may want to make skillet sized pancakes, it takes about 1/2 cup of the batter and you swirl the pan to get a thin pancake that is spread evenly over the surface. A larger or smaller skillet will require different amounts of batter.

Serve them immediately or keep in a low oven to wait for you to cook more.  Traditionally they’re served with lingonberries and sour cream, I like them that way but prefer my take on Jensens syrup.

Like Jensen’s Maple Butter Syrup

in a saucepan combine

  • 3/4 cups of loosely packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Get it all loosey goosey in the pan, bring it to a gentle bubble but don’t boil it hard. When it has combined and the sugar has dissolved nicely you can take it off the heat and keep warm until serving.

It’s common for those that fancy these pancakes to have lingonberries and syrup, I call that gilding the lily!

Give these super delicious pancakes a try, if you’re made to feel particularly Minnesotan you might just say Uff Da!

 

 

 

 

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Pickled Happiness

When I wished fellow knitter Silvana a happy birthday on Wednesday via email as I was unable to knit with the group, she mentioned that she was laying in some things that made her happy. (All birthday peeps should do this of course!!!) One of the things she mentioned that she was unable to find was Beet Pickled Eggs. Really I thought, beet picked eggs. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that a. I must make her some and b. these damn things must be pretty good! To be included on a must have to properly celebrate my birthday list—- well that is beyond high praise.

So I made some. Easy enough with ingredients on hand. *Yes, I do keep a jar of beets on hand*. The color of the eggs is GORGEOUS, even if you didn’t eat them they’d be a happy inclusion to any table. But the taste? Well, they are pretty outrageously good if I do say so and I’m happy to have “found” them. They’re so good and so pretty, I will be putting some out beside the traditional deviled eggs this Easter Sunday!!! I’ve given the recipe below should you be so inclined (and you should be!)

Beet pickled eggs

• 8 eggs
• 1 (15 ounce) can sliced beets with liquid– not the kind that say “pickled”
• 1/2 cup white vinegar
• 1/2 cup superfine sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional) (I used a bare pinch)

Hard Boil the eggs using your preferred method. The argument about how to cook a hard boiled egg rages on. I don’t mean to get involved but I place eggs in a pan with enough water to cover. Bring ‘em to a boil and reduce to simmer, cover the pan. After 12 minutes, pour off the boiling water and run cold water over for a fair bit. Then peel the eggs and put them in a glass or plastic container.
Then, in a smallish saucepan, combine  the beets and all of the liquid in the jar (or can), the  vinegar, superfine sugar (which dissolves faster. If you have regular, so be it) the water and cinnamon if you’re using it.Boil it up and give it a go until the sugar dissolves, which really doesn’t take very long. Pour over the eggs and roll ‘em around a little bit so the color is more even. When not crazy hot, place in the fridge. They need at least four hours but I think overnight is fabulous.  Slice and serve—

This whole beet pickled egg thing caused me to wonder if they might be a nice addition to my version of “the best salad I’ve ever had in my entire life”, which I make often. The short answer is yes. HEAVEN.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good, and PRETTY too! Lettuce, dried cranberries, golden raisins, a little bit of cheese, blue cheese dressing, croutons (home made is best but I resorted to bagged today), and sliced beet pickled eggs. Top that with a nice handful of some brown sugared (with a pinch of cayenne) pecans and it is about as good as it gets. I love to add chopped dates too but upon inspection mine had become mummified blobs and I had to soldier on without them!

So—- it wasn’t even my birthday and I got the present of discovery. Beet Pickled Eggs—- you’re mine forever!

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Chocolate Heaven Fluff Pie

Since my knitting seems to be, well– a bit “off” these days, maybe I’ll cook. I’ve been cooking a lot lately, I do work out a lot of stuff in the kitchen. One of the things that seems to have really peaked is my pie crust, good news/bad news. Good news in that I finally GOT it, bad news in that I’m afraid there will be more pies coming out of the kitchen. Last night this pie made its debut along with a giant wok full of fried rice with bok choy, tofu and radishes. The radishes sound like an odd addition but they were pretty darned good.

I FINALLY made knitting with the group last night—- which was lovely. And since all knitting is made of frustrating stuff what else to do but start a new project which is frought with frustrating elements of its own. The Magnified Lace Scarf from Lion Brand, a free pattern. I saw this simple piece styled with a pair of jeggings, a white shirt and wide belt and it looked fabulous. I immediately thought of my oldest daughter and what a great gift it would make. Mind you, while I played with gauge and resulting fabric from the heavily acrylic yarn (my daughter doesn’t care well for garments), those at knit group reminded me that the fabulous Emily just completed a gorgeous shawl knit from high quality spiderweb and teensy needles in a complex lace pattern. In a foreign language. Ahem. This is a simple lace, knit on needles so large they’re like broomsticks (which do have their own inherent problems) and tripled bulky yarn. We shall see. Two repeats in I’m not sure, just not sure. My yarn is a rich jewel toned teal.

Well it is a long weekend coming up, right? What better way to enjoy a long weekend with something from the kitchen that shouts to the world what a great catch you are! Pie! Pie? Not just any pie mind you but a rich yet fluffy slice of chocolate heaven. Pair it with takeout pizza or bbq if you must but let there be the labor of pie. Personally I believe that if you make something fabulous they’ll leave you alone to be creative for a bit……. I could be wrong.


Chocolate Heaven Fluff Pie



1 baked pie shell (from scratch is lovely, I mean don’t be lazy!)

¾ cup sugar + 2 Tbs.

¼ cup cornstarch

½ cup heavy cream

2 cups milk (you can use any kind but you’ve gone this far, use whole)

¼ cup dark cocoa

2 Tbs. butter

4 egg yolks, beaten gently

2 Tsp. good quality vanilla

1 cup mini marshmallows

With the pie shell cooling (because you did make it from scratch, right?) prepare the filling. Tumble together all of the dry ingredients and whisk up. Slowly add the cream and stir, add the milk and heat over a medium heat. You can use a double boiler if you like but whatever you do stir constantly. When the liquid begins to steam, add a bit slowly to the beaten yolks and stir up, then remove them back to the mixture on the stove. Continue stirring, add the butter. The filling will go to a stage where it looks kind of lumpy or grainy, keep stirring. When the mixture reaches a bubble, turn off the heat, add the vanilla and the marshmallows and stir off the heat. When the filling has incorporated all of the marshmallows, take a taste. (You know you want to!)

Place the chocolate fluff filling into a totally cooled pie shell and place a sheet of plastic cling over the top to keep a skin from forming.

In the “old days” I’d make a nice meringue for the top but the state of chickens and raw eggy-ness has made me either leave things plain, or add a whipped cream topping if necessary. Luckily this pie is creamy and dreamy enough to need neither unless you just want to take it entirely over the top. It is of course up to you!



Cool the pie at least 4 hours.



Enjoy——-


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Slow Cooker Short Ribs

I love to cook, really and truly. Right now life is beyond madness with a move in a couple of weeks and a business to run. (And chickens to knit). I can get by on fast food, ordered in food, or always the oh so delightful food from the yummy case at W*hole F*oods but for just so long. When I need real food, home cookin’, and a little on the plate love I turn to my slow cooker. That and my pressure cooker are my go to’s when it comes to great food fast.

So………….. I was in the mood for comfort food, short ribs were going to fill the bill.


Slow Cooker Short Ribs

  • “Long” short ribs, boneless (I get mine at C*ostco where they are gorgeous, almost looking like strip steaks) I used 3 big ones to serve 2 (twice). The leftovers are awesome.

  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bottle of beer (I happened to have Fat Tire)
  • 1 cup white wine (I had an open bottle of a nice Pinot Grigio)

  • 1 tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs. Maille Mustard (or any coarse grainy mustard)

  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire
  • 1 tbs. dark brown sugar

Dredge in seasoned flour (flour, salt, pepper, a bit of garlic powder) and brown all sides for a couple of minutes.



Lay the sliced onions on the bottom of the crock pot and place the browned ribs on top.



Deglaze the pan with the wine, add beer, mustard and brown sugar



Pour over the short ribs.



Cover and slow cook for 8-10 hours on low. (low on some crock pots is somehow different than low on others. Do not ask me why this is, I just know it is true!) It seems as a rule of thumb if you have a large crock pot where the short ribs can be in a single layer that less time is required. Also, the more ribs you have the longer it takes.

The browned short ribs sitting on top of the onion bed with the liquid poured over.

And the finished product, sliced and topped with the oniony sauce, sitting next to a serving of scalloped potatoes. Served with a nice green salad it is indeed comfort food heaven!

Knitly, the chicken is progressing happily. The base is done and an inch or so is traveling up her little chicken sides. The cabled cardi is not. ’nuff said.

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