Cranberry Sauce with Pears and Cardamom

1 cup frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups chopped peeled firm but ripe Bartlett pears (1/3-inch pieces)
1 12-ounce package cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

Combine cranberry juice concentrate and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil. Mix in remaining ingredients. Simmer until pears are tender and cranberries burst, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool completely. Chill thoroughly. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

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My birthday is the day after our anniversary. So it makes both occasions a bigger deal, if that’s possible!

For our first anniversary and my 35th birthday my sweet hubby took me to Gulf Shores, Alabama. A week at The Beach Club courtesy of Dempsey Film Group, Brian’s long-time employer, was planned and the full kitchen we’ve played in all week a great bonus!

It took a few days but we found the best shrimp. Here’s a clue, seafood markets should NOT smell like hand sanitizer. However, we had more trouble finding live crabs. After 3 days of calling around we found Safe Harbor Seafood. It was up by Oyster Bay but well worth the drive for 6 large and 2 medium sized ones.

Get the crabs to the cooler

So after reading some interesting method on how to humanely boil them. We ran across one opinion that suggested screaming, “Die pinchers! Die!” and doing a little dance. This person worked on a fishing boat and had a whole other reason for killing and eating crabs.

We decided to go with putting a cold towel with some ice on top. This apparently makes them sleepy and sedated and ready to get into the hot crab bath.

One at a time, please.

It worked pretty well, the ones on the bottom weren’t as chilled out but Brian wrangled them all in the pot that contained all these things, except the hot dogs (there was already kielbasa.) Of course since there were only two of us, we only used 1/3 of the ingredients.

The table is set

We found a “Mullet Wrapper” newspaper to make clean up a cinch. I kept thinking of a rhyming hairdo each time I saw it even though I know mullet is a fish.

Crabs and Sides

That is mud all over them. Every crevice. But the meat was clean and yummy. I ate my four and finished at the same time as Brian.

Brian has crabs

Yeah! Go crabs this was the best time we had. It also included the last Red Sox spring training game and Mojitos. I’ll let those shots finish up the post.

the juice of two limes

6 oz light rum, 6 sprigs of mint, 2 splendas and 6oz club soda

And Brian in Red Sox Approval Pose:

The Pitch

The Run

The Win

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Happy Saint Paddy’s Day

From what I have read, nobody really knows much about the life of Saint Patrick and most of the traditional stories about him are false. This mirrored our experience with NYC Corned Beef and Cabbage this year exactly.

I found this recipe and due to it’s humorous hubris (and strange Catholic lore, who knew it was offensive to put carrots on an Irish Catholic’s plate?) I decided to start with it.

I selected a corned beef from “The Fresh Market” (which we are convinced it must have sat in brine already it turned out so well) and the rest of the items from the regular grocery store chain in our neighborhood.

I am a big recipe follower, especially the first time. My husband is fearless in the kitchen and changes each recipe on the principal alone of, “I’m cooking it.” But when he suggested we might roast it once we finished with the boil, I was immediately on board. So at the end of the instructions, we put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, basting with the beer/chicken soup/water mixture it had been boiling in for the previous three hours.

Thar's the Beef

Thar's the Beef









Irish Wine

Irish Wine — You need the Harps anyway...

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Corned Beef and Cabbage













This meal was the single best thing I have eaten this year and we intend to make it again very very soon (as soon as we run out of leftovers.)

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Sunday BBQ Chicken with Grilled Corn and Wasabi Cole Slaw

Sundays I have band practice, so the cooking falls to the husband on that night. We got in the habit of making something that could be quick and easy to ramp up our week. Lots of fun TV shows come on Sundays too and standing in the kitchen all night doesn’t make anyone feel like work the next day.

So we grill BBQ chicken and corn on the cob. Seems pretty normal until you add the Wasabi Cole Slaw. If you are into the cheap eats and have the know-how buy a whole chicken and cut it up. It’s less expensive and you have the back parts to make homemade chicken stock.

Sunday BBQ

My favorite thing to eat

Wasabi Cole Slaw
servings 4
serving size 1 cup

1/2 head of red cabbage chopped to bite size pieces
2 carrots shredded
1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion
enough Mayo to stir it together
1/2 tube of wasabi paste (found by the sushi at your grocery store, in a green tube. you may add or subtract from this amount to taste)

salt and pepper everything cause it makes it taste better.
refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
serve with a Riesling, it goes well with the spicy!

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I made you steak and clams!

In Arkansas, the weather is always up and down. One day tornadoes rip through the next day it snows. When the weather is in a constant state of extremes you have to be quick on your feet when it turns nice.

We had a 60 degree weekend Feb 26 and we knew it was time to fire up the grill.

Later on that night when I was default-nagging my husband, he said, “Leave me alone! I made you steak and clams!” =)

Steaks were New York strips and clams were from the Fresh Market, the clams had a red chili sauce drizzled over them and we grilled baby artichokes for the side. The leftover artichokes made great appetizers for the next night.

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Scallops on the Half Shell

Believe it or not, we had extra Sea Scallops when we prepared the seafood feast at the beach on December 28, so we froze them.  We never tried freezing them before, but it worked out very well.  Gloria made the following recipe verbatim, except that she used sea scallops instead of bay scallops.  She served them with a grilled fennel and orange salad, roasted broccoli, and chardonnay.

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Roasted Leg of Lamb with North African Spices, Lemon and Onions

Roasted Leg of Lamb with North African Spices

Looks like we cooked this on November 6th, 2010. It’s always weird when the piece of meat looks so much like what you would imagine it originally coming from.

Recipe is here.

APPETIZER:  Brie with crackers and boiled Shrimp with homemade Cocktail Sauce.

Rosemary Pierced Steamed Red Potatoes

SIDES: were steamed Red Potatoes Pierced with Rosemary Sprigs, steamed Green Beans.

Irish Dessert

DESSERT: Mango Sorbet with homemade Ginger Snaps and an Irish Whiskey night cap.

Brian Prepping

Brian Preps in casual clothes

Liz waits crazily

Liz waits crazily

Brian enjoys the cooking part.


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Season up the World!

This blog is for the Johnson and Reagan families to post quick and healthy recipes. And ones that just taste good too.

When you post, be sure to tag it as Quick, Healthy or Yummy and if it’s all three, tag all three!

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We cook Short-Ribs with Garbanzo Beans by Tom Coliccho

Short-Ribs with Garbanzo Beans

Short-Ribs with Garbanzo Beans

Braised Short Ribs with Garbanzo Beans and Raisins
Garbanzo beans
1 1/2 cups dried garbanzo beans

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, halved
1 medium carrot, halved
4 large fresh rosemary sprigs
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins

Short ribs
8 3- to 4-inch-long meaty short ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
5 large fresh thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup Sherry wine vinegar
2 fresh tarragon sprigs

8 hot cherry peppers from jar, drained, left whole

For garbanzo beans:
Place beans in large saucepan. Add cold water to cover by 2 inches and bring to boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.

Drain beans. Heat oil in same pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot; saut? until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add rosemary and thyme. Return beans to pan. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer beans uncovered until almost tender, about 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Continue to simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more water to keep covered if necessary, about 45 minutes longer. Add raisins; season beans with pepper. Cool. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For short ribs:
Preheat oven to 350?F. Sprinkle short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large wide ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add short ribs in single layer and brown on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer ribs to plate. Add onion, carrot, celery, 2 thyme sprigs, and garlic to pot. Saut? until vegetables brown, about 10 minutes. Return ribs to pot in single layer, meat side down. Add broth, vinegar, tarragon sprigs, and remaining 3 thyme sprigs and bring to simmer (broth will not cover ribs). Bake uncovered until ribs are tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

Using oven mitts, transfer short ribs to stove top. Tilt pot; spoon off fat from surface. Drain bean-raisin mixture. Add cherry peppers and drained bean-raisin mixture. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

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