Short Ribs with Barbecue Gravy


Lots of people find January a big disappointment. It can be cold and dreary and sometimes seems like a letdown after months of holidays and celebrating.

But the food is good.

I like to call January cuisine. Filling, nourishing, comforting stuff.

Like short ribs.


Short Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

  • 5-6 pounds beef short ribs 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chile pepper
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks celery, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup ketchup 
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup beer or ale
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 2-3 thyme sprigs (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dry the surface of the meat with paper towels. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the meat, turning the pieces to brown them, for 4-5 minutes or until lightly browned. (If the oil seems too dark, discard it, wipe the pan and add 2 fresh tablespoons vegetable oil.) Remove the meat and set it aside. Add the onions, garlic, chili pepper, carrots and celery to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the ketchup. Pour in the stock, beer, cider vinegar and soy sauce and stir the ingredients. Stir in the brown sugar. Return the meat to the pan and spoon some of the sauce over them. Place the thyme sprigs and bay leaf in the liquid. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook at a bare simmer for about 4 hours or until the meat is fork tender (or place in the oven at 225 degrees).

Makes 6-8 servings


Plain Old Meatloaf


Everyone piles on poor January like it's some cranky old disciplinarian. Like it's January's fault for being on the calendar when it's often cold and gloomy. Like it's January's fault that  after months of indulgence in food, gifts and various and sundry celebrations, we have to get back to some sort of normal.

But we must get back to some sort of normal of course, and we do. In January we face, recognize and take responsibility for our gluttony. It's like some mid-winter al cheyt.

So, on January's menu: simple, easy, homey, plain-old food. 

Frankly, after the Hallowe'en candy and Thanksgiving turkey with stuffing and Hanukkah latkes and doughnuts and New Year's brunch I am ready to make a fresh start. Ready for food like meatloaf.

Actually, that doesn't seem like punishment to me. Just a bit of down home, back-to-basics. I like that.

Here's my simple go-to version.

Plain Old Meatloaf

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup soft fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the meats in a bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup of the chili sauce, soy sauce, eggs, onion, garlic, thyme and some salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and place the mixture into a lightly oiled 9”x5” loaf pan. Spread the remaining chili sauce over the surface. Bake for about one hour or until the sides of the meat come away from the pan. 

Makes 6-8 servings

Veal Shoulder Roast with Shiitake Mushrooms, Rosemary and Thyme


As usual we bought too much smoked fish for our New Year's weekend. So, thanks to bagels, we've been slowly using up the salmon, whitefish, sablefish and herrings every day since. Thank goodness also that my husband doesn't complain about leftovers.

Besides, it was delicious and we don't often have smoked fish in the house.

But it's time to move on.

Need meat.

This veal shoulder roast is easy, nourishing and flavorful. A good cold weather dish too. And perfect for Shabbat.

It's nice with cooked egg noodles and roasted carrots.



  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 veal shoulder, about 3 pounds
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (about 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Soak the dried mushrooms, rinse them and cut them into shreds. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heatproof, ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side). Remove the meat to a dish and set aside. Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until lightly golden. Return the meat to the pan. Season with the rosemary, thyme and pepper. Pour in the wine. Cover the pan and place in the oven. Bake for about 1-1/2 hours or until tender.


Makes 4 servings

Barbecue Meatloaf

Daylight savings time ends this weekend and I always have mixed feelings about that.

I hate that it gets dark so early and that there are so few hours of actual daylight. On the other hand, I like the crisp autumn weather -- not too hot, not too cold.

I hate that it's too cold outside for me to cook something on the outdoor grill. On the other hand, I love the comforting, warmth-giving dishes I make in the crockpot and the oven.

So I've been thinking about meatloaf.

It's a winter-sort-of-dish.

But because of the barbecue sauce, this one lingers with memories of the summer gone by.

A perfect dish for transitioning to days without daylight savings time.


BBQ Meatloaf

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground veal or turkey (or use more beef)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup beef or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, cook briefly and set aside in a bowl to cool. Add the beef and veal and mix gently to combine ingredients. Add the eggs, stock, breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper and mix gently to combine ingredients. Place the mixture into a 9”x5” loaf pan. Spoon the barbecue sauce on top. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until the meat has come away from the sides of the pan (thermometer should read 160 degrees). 

Makes 6-8 servings

Chicken Fried Steak


Several years ago my daughter Gillian and I drove from Chicago through some of the border states on our way back home to Connecticut.

We had a grand old time that included a (tasting) tour of the Jack Daniel's distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

We also heard Grandpa Jones sing at the Grand Ole' Opry in Nashville.

One of the most astonishing things we witnessed were the thousands of people Christmas shopping in July in the malls in Gatlinburg (with motel accommodations priced at $39/night so you could shop till you dropped for more than one day).

Slowly we made our way through the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains. That was truly glorious.

And, last but not least, we saw -- everywhere we looked -- a lot of people eating chicken fried steak.

For breakfast!

Chicken fried steak for breakfast!

I love understanding local cuisine and sometimes even trying it. Somehow chicken fried steak smothered with gravy and accompanied by mashed potatoes and biscuits for breakfast seemed a bit much.

But that didn't stop me from trying it at home.

For dinner, of course.

Chicken fried steak, made properly (in the border states), is made with round steak. I substituted skirt steak. Anyone who has eaten skirt steak understands it can be tough, but you can pound it to make it more tender.

Or, you can use rib steak, but I think that's a waste for this particular recipe because, really, this kind of dish is about the fried, not the fabulous beef. If you do use rib steak though, be sure to slice it thin.

We didn't mind the chewiness of the skirt steak. Like fried veal or chicken cutlet, the outside is crispy and the inside moist and flavorful. The gravy is an indulgence.

Glad I tried it, but I wouldn't serve this for breakfast!

Chicken Fried Steak

  • 2 pounds skirt steak, approximately
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 teaspoons water, beaten together
  • vegetable oil
  • use 2 tablespoons of the seasoned flour for gravy
  • 1-1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup soy or rice milk (or more chicken stock)

Preheat the oven to warm. Cut the meat into smaller portions and set aside. In a dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper and salt and whisk the ingredients to blend them thoroughly. In a bowl, beat the egg and water together until well combined. Remove 3 tablespoons of the seasoned flour and set it aside separately. Press each portion of meat in the seasoned flour, coating the surface completely. Coat the meat portions with the egg, then coat again with more of the seasoned flour. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot enough to make a bread crumb sizzle immediately. Fry the meat portions a few at a time, leaving plenty of space in the pan, for about 3 minutes per side or until crispy. Drain on paper towels and continue with the remaining meat. As the portions are cooked, place them on a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. When all the meat is cooked, discard all but 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the reserved seasoned flour and whisk into the fat, cooking over low-medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the stock and whisk until a smooth, thickened sauce has formed. Pour in the milk and whisk into the sauce. Remove the steaks to plates and serve covered with some of the gravy.

Makes 4 servings

Breast of Veal for Passover


In my world, Passover is not usually the brisket fest that is typical for so many of the other families I know.

Our usual is turkey. Second night veal.

That's because, growing up, when the Seders were at my grandma's house, and the crowd could be as many as 24 people, she always served a big turkey the first night. The second night, when we were a much smaller group, she would cook a batch of veal cutlets with a crunchy matzo meal crust.

Frankly, I don't feel like frying up a whole mess of cutlets, so my Passover veal dinner will likely be breast of veal, one of my favorites meats to eat. I realize a lot of people think breast of veal is too down home for a festive occasion such as Passover.

I don't agree. Look how beautiful this roast is! Golden brown skin, meaty bones, moist meat, savory vegetables to accompany. Looks impressive to me! And also quite good to eat, for Passover or otherwise.

Roast Breast of Veal with Mushrooms, Onions and White Wine

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 10 ounces fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 breast of veal, about 3-4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup white wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, to soften slightly. Add the mushrooms, garlic and parsley, stir and cook for another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the vegetables into a roasting pan. Place the veal breast on top. Brush the top surface of the meat with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes. Pour the wine over the meat. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Roast for another 45-50 minutes, basting occasionally, or until the surface is crispy.

Makes 4 servings

Breast of Veal with Mushroom "Dust"


Breast of Veal is either "peasant food" or "holiday festive food" depending on who you ask.

I don't care about such things. If I like how it tastes I want to eat it.

Like Breast of Veal. The meat is sweet and soft. The bones are gnaw-worthy.

I usually braise or stew this portion. But I decided to roast one, inspired by a recipe I saw in Bon Appetit Magazine for Grilled Porcini Rubbed Rack of Veal

Okay, theirs was rack, mine breast. Theirs was grilled, mine roasted. The ingredients are different, except for the dried mushrooms (they called for mushroom powder, I crushed my own dried mushrooms) and crushed red pepper.

But I do have to credit them for the inspiration. Dried mushrooms and veal -- perfecto!


Breast of Veal with Mushroom Dust

  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 3-4 pound breast of veal
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crush the mushrooms using a rolling pin (or use a food processor) until they are ground to "dust." Place the mushroom dust in a bowl. Add the olive oil, chives, red pepper, garlic and lemon juice. Stir to blend the ingredients. Place the veal breast in a roasting pan. Brush the mushroom mixture over the top surface of the meat. Sprinkle with salt. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast for one hour. Remove the cover and raise the oven heat to 425 degrees. Roast for another 15-20 minutes or until the surface is crispy.

Makes 4 servings

Ouch! It's So Cold

It's like 9 degrees outside.

And there's something wrong with our furnace so it's not exactly warm enough in the house either.

Fortunately, there's a serviceman here.

Plus a slow-cook dish in the oven.

Both, I trust, will get life warm soon enough.

Lamb Shanks with White Wine and Rosemary

  • 4 lamb shanks, about 1 pound each
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 leek, washed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 habanero chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Trim any excess fat from the shanks. Pour the olive oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shanks and cook them for 8-10 minutes, turning them occasionally, to brown all sides. Remove them from the pan and set them aside. Pour out all but about a tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the tomatoes, carrots, onion, leek, garlic and chili pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften the vegetables slightly. Pour in the stock and wine, mix the ingredients and bring to a boil. Place the shanks into the vegetable mixture and baste a few times. Place the rosemary sprigs and parsley in the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper and cover the pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until the meat is soft. Discard the rosemary sprigs. Serve the lamb as is, with the vegetables and pan fluids OR, puree the pan fluids with the vegetables and serve it as gravy with the meat.

Makes 4 servings.