Saturday, January 10, 2015

Low Carb Treat - a drink concoction I invented and LOVE

Into a quart jar goes
1-1/2 c.  almond milk
1 c. cold coffee - the strong stuff!
1/2 c. heavy cream
2-3 tsp. Splenda
1-2 T. cocoa powder
4 T sugar-free peanut butter - I make huge spoonfuls

Stick the immersion blender in and mix on high speed to blend completely. Share some with your sweetie. I like to drink mine from a straw, over ice.

Beef Shank and Eggplant - A fabulous one-pot meal.

Beef Shank with Onion, Mushroom and Eggplant

I started with two bone-in beef shanks that I bought because, well, I had never bought these before and a lady kept rhapsodising about using them in a recipe called Osso Buco. I planned on a two hour cast iron pot in oven cookathon, but I worked late and didn't get home until almost 6PM and we were pretty hungry, so following a recipe wasn't in my last minute plan.  I still haven't looked up Osso Buco.
Beef Shank is a slice of cow leg. It's tough. It's tasty.
Here's what I chose to make this meal: one big purple eggplant, a box of whole white mushrooms, a glass of dry champagne that had lost it's bubbles, one honking big sweet onion, some garlic, a can of chopped tomatoes, and a box of beef broth.  I could make that work!

Into the big frying pan/pot went a couple of swirls of olive oil and a pat of butter to get hot.  Added both beef shanks to sizzle and braise. I shook on my favorite spice on earth, Spike Original Seasoning. And because I like it so much, I added a half teaspoon of pepper too.  I also added more salt because I knew it would be spread amongst a host of vegetables once the meal was done.

While the meat was browning, I sliced up a huge sweet onion in big chunks (you know it will be sweet if the onion is flat instead of round) and chopped three garlic cloves. Once seared, I moved the meat to a plate and started the onion and garlic to cook on medium/high while I peeled and chopped the eggplant and sliced it into 1" cubes.  Add that to the pan, let it get a little suntan in the pot for a few minutes and then slosh in a couple of cups of beef broth and a regular sized can of petite chopped tomatoes in sauce. I poured myself the last glass of New Year's champagne, realized it was flat and tossed that into the pot too. Wine always makes stewy type food better. Give it all a good stir, nestle meat in, quarter and drop in about ten mushrooms, lower temp to med/med-low and put the lid on the pan.  I set my timer for a half hour, checked the pot to make sure it wasn't drying up (it wasn't) and then set it again for another half hour. Lord knows, those leg muscles would be tough as shoe leather if it didn't get some pot cooking time in.

With about 15 minutes prep time and an hour cook time, we were washing the ONE pot by 7:30. There was enough for another meal, but my husband is a big hungry boy, and devoured what was left in the pot because he couldn't stop himself.  It was heavenly!  The meat was tender. The vegetables and broth came together and became thick, delicious and savory. It was thick, as if I had used flour in the recipe, but I didn't. And I loved the occasional seed crunch in eggplant. It wasn't overwhelming (I prefer my eggplant sliced thin, breaded, fried and covered in spaghetti sauce). The marrow in the shank bone was heavenly, creamy, and delicious.  One we were finished, our little yorkie dog was so excited to get the bone. Bigger dogs could choke on a bone this size, but it was bigger than Juliet's tiny little mouth.

Mark asks to have this again, please.  Next time I'll put the extra aside before he starts serving himself a ridiculous, gut busting amount of food.  Did I mention low carb?  Yes. We are on a low carb diet and my Big Sweetie loves that he can eat until the cows come home as long as it isn't loaded in carbohydrates.

Dessert was sugar free strawberry Jello, buried in a blinding snowstorm of real whipped cream and topped with three big Plant City, FL strawberries, sliced.

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