Monthly Archives: March 2009

Asian Braised Short Ribs

Braised Short RibsSo, somehow this week has become braised week…but hey, braising leads to some really delicious food, so why not go with it?  Tonight you can make…

Asian Braised Short Ribs

Okay Cara…this one is for you!

Short ribs are some of the most flavorful pieces of meat that you can get your hand on.  They are thick, meaty, but they can be a little tough.  Of course, that just makes them excellent candidates for braising, which will break apart those tough meat fibers and add some awesome flavor at the same time.

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Chicken Taco Filling

Looking for something to do with your chicken?

How about making

Chicken Taco Filling

This recipe restored my faith in slow cooked chicken.  It uses dark meat, in this case thighs, because they are juicer and they have better flavor than white meat.  As it turns out, this is one of my family’s favorite taco fillings, though because it is stewed, it takes a while to prepare.

The good news is that making Mexican chicken is something that can be done the night before.  Simply prepare the liquid, add the chicken, and let it simmer for about two hours. If it is not going to be eaten immediately, remove the chicken and put it into a storage bag with about half a cup of the juice to keep the chicken moist in the refrigerator.  Save the rest of the liquid in a second plastic storage bag.  Continue where noted in the recipe for an amazing Tex Mex meal.

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How to Braise

Stew BraiseBraising is two-step cooking process in which meat or vegetables are first cooked in a skillet to promote browning and then cooked in a flavorful liquid over a long period of time.  However, unlike stewing or poaching, the food is not totally submerged in the liquid.

Cooks braise when they want to soften tougher cuts of meat and very hard root vegetables as the combination of time, liquid, and heat will loosen meat fibers and add flavor.

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Asian Braised Tofu

Braised tofu.  For some reason, the very concept terrified me.  In fact, despite doing some very good braised dishes in my life (if I do say so myself), the whole technique seems exoAsian Braised Tofutic and difficult.

Then again, sometimes you have a meal (like the Fire Bird from Blue Koi made with braised tofu instead of duck) that forces your hand and suddenly you find yourself trying a dish you never thought you would.  Like

Asian Braised Tofu

… and finding it’s actually really easy.


For those who are not familiar with braising, it’s a wet cooking method (meaning there’s a lot of liquid).  The most often used wet cooking method is boiling where food is completely submerged in liquid.  This tends to be a harsh cooking method and is good for leeching starches and flavor compounds out of the food.

On the other hand, when braising, the food is usually browned first and then covered halfway in a flavorful cooking liquid.  Having one half of the food (usually meat) uncovered allows for different flavors to develop while the food absorbs flavors from the cooking liquid.

It’s a great technique for tougher cuts of meat or for slow cooking dark meat chicken.

Braising Tofu

However, in this case, I decided I was going to braise tofu.  Because tofu is essentially a soft protein, I knew that cooking it for a long time was going to result in a big soy mess.  So I did three things:

  • Used firm or exra firm tofu
  • Precooked the tofu
  • Cut down the cooking time for the tofu

Ready for the recipe?

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Filed under Kansas City Cuisine, recipes, techniques, vegan

An Evening At Aixois

Going to order Ruby Trout at AixoisRecently I was honored to sit down with Chef Emmanual Langlade, head chef at Aixois French Bistro, near the Brookside area in Kanas City, MO.  For those who live outside Kansas City or have just not been, Aixois is an experience. It’s elegant, yet not ostentatious.  I could take my wife on a romantic date there or I could just drop in for a relaxing bite to eat.  Plus, I really enjoyed talking with Chef Langlade.

During our chat, he shared his passion for food, his knowledge of the restaurant business, and his love for his restaurant.  He also shared with me his recipe for

Ruby Trout with Shallots and Lemon Sauce

Now, I know what your thinking.  French food = butter and cream.  French food is heavy and rich.  Not so my friend, not so!

Read on and you’ll see…

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Virtual Great American Bake Sale – Help Share our Strength

@ShellyKramer sent me a great idea going down on the Cooking During Stolen Moments blog.

From Kate’s blog:

About The Virtual Great American Bake Sale:

I have partnered with Share Our Strength to hold a virtual version of their yearly Great American Bake Sales held across the U.S. Every year people can sign up to host a Great American Bake Sale in their community with the proceeds going to Share Our Strength. And now, we’re making it virtual!

The Basics:

On April 13th, I will be hosting the Virtual GABS here at Cooking During Stolen Moments. I will write up a post that includes a link to each participants blog and their bake sale recipe. Readers can go from blog to blog and look over all the yummy selections, just like you would at a real bake sale.

Also on that date, the sale of  an ebook (or ebooks) will launch. The ebook(s) will be filled with recipes from the Virtual GABS participants, and anyone else who would like to contribute a recipe. The books will be available for a donation of the purchasers choosing and all of the proceeds will go to Share Our Strength.

How To Participate:

You can participate in one or all of the following ways:

  • Submit a baking recipe to be included in the ebook(s). Submit a recipe before April 5th. The recipes will be compiled, and the ebook(s) will be available for purchase on April 13th. You can submit a recipe here or via email –
  • Spread the word! If you have a blog, ask your readers to submit a recipe for the ebook. The deadline for ebook recipe submissions is April 5th. Feel free to copy and paste any information in this post when you spread the word. Make sure you offer your readers either a link to this post or the email address,, so they can submit their recipes.
  • Tweet! Spread the word about ebook(s) and the Virtual Great American Bake Sale through twitter. Please use hashtag #vgabs.
  • Participate in the Virtual Great American Bake Sale. If you have a recipe you’d like to share, write up a post, include a link to the ebook purchase page (the link will be available the 12th), and then send me the URL to your post by April 12th. I’ll post a master list of all the VGABS participants on April 13th.
  • Add a button in your sidebar that links to the ebook purchase page.
  • Spread the word about the ebook.

Timeline Synopsis

  • April 5th – Deadline to submit recipes
  • April 13th – Kick off of the Virtual Great American Bake Sale and launch of the ebook(s) sales.

I hope you’ll join me in my vision to make the Virtual Great American Bake Sale a success. Let’s support Share Our Strength’s work to make sure that no child goes hungry!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send an email to

So basically, to recap: you can help out one of my absolute favorite charities AND get your recipe in an eBook.  Is there ANY reason not to do this??? 🙂

I mean even me, the uber-non baker is going to get into the kitchen and figure out something.  (Or more likely I’ll steal a recipe from Mrs. WellDone!)

But get out there!  Tweet about it!!  Do it!


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Making Simple Syrup

I learned something important tonight.

The ratio for making simple syrup is 2 to 1.  HOWEVER, it’s not 2 parts water to 1 part sugar.  Rather, it’s 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.

Bring to a boil and then let cool.

It was that kind of night! 🙂


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Madness, March and Matt’s Munchies

Mango Matt's MunchiesIf you’re looking for the giveaway, scroll down! 🙂

Okay, tomorrow starts perhaps the most impressive spectacle in sports: 64 teams, 1 goal.  That’s right, it’s college basketball championship time.  The Big Dance.  The Big Show.  The brackets.  The munchies.

So while I’ve noted that basketball doesn’t really have it’s quintessential meal, it does have snacking!  Lots of snacking on chips, wings, nachos, dips, and all the usual suspects.   So yes, lots of snacking and lots of sitting to boot!

While I would never hope to end snacking and basketball, I do have a thought.  Instead of gorging on chili cheese fries and hot dogs, why not snack on

Matt’s Munchies

Matt’s Munchies, made by Chef Robert’s, are “fruit leathers”, which I think is code for fruit rollup, but instead of being made with dyes and corn syrups and junk, they are made from things you want to eat like mango, bananas, real chocolate, and ginger.  They are also all-natural and gluten, nut, egg, and dairy free.

And oh yeah, they’re AWESOME.

They sent me six flavors:

  • Choco Nana
  • Apple Pie
  • Island Mango
  • Ginger Zest
  • Mango
  • Banana

In packs that were basically about 70 calories each.  I dutifully tried each one and they were great.  If Matt tasted as good as his munchies, I’d eat him.

I think my favorite was the Island Mango.  It was a blend of mango and coconut and had a great texture I wouldn’t expect in a fruit leather.  In close second, though, was the Apple Pie because it tasted like apple pie.  I’ve had a lot of gluten free, all-natural, dairy free snacks that claim to taste like something and they end up tasting kinda like what they’re supposed to.  Not the Apple Pie.  It tasted like honest to goodness cinnamony apple pie.

I think my least favorite was the Ginger Zest, but that’s because I am just not a huge ginger fan.  Nothing against Matt and his munchies, but the Ginger Zest were REALLY gingery.  They weren’t bad, I think they just require someone who likes that flavor.

Matt’s Munchies and Basketball

So I’m absolutely serious.  If you can find them in your local store, when you sit down to watch some hoops, tear into Matt’s Munchies instead of fried hot wings.  Well maybe try Matt’s Munchies instead of only hot wings?  I promise your tastebuds and your waist won’t regret it.

And…I’m Giving Some Away

Chef Robert’s was nice enough to send me a second pack that I can give away to one lucky reader.  All I want you to do is leave me a comment and tell me your favorite healthy snack or a snack you want me to make healthy by March 25th and I’ll draw for a winner.  That person will have a full set of Matt’s Munchies to snack on by the championship game.

Now, get to commenting and enjoy!

(Image from


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Creamy Tofu-Enhanced Tomato Sauce

Creamy Tofu-Enhanced Tomato SauceSo my friend @Nightblooms and I got on the subject of tofu one fine night on Twitter when she told me about this amazing tofu/tomato sauce she made for her family.

Never one to pass down the opportunity to let others do my work for me, I begged her to do a guest post on  She graciously accepted with the vaguest promise of a post from me in the near future (more on that later.)  But without further ado…

Creamy Tofu-Enhanced Tomato Sauce

Contributed by Marie Oliver

Food as medicine is a practice that is easily taken for granted growing up with restaurateur parents.  Living away from home for the first time as a young adult was when the ingrained habit revealed itself. I found myself grocery shopping for sometimes obscure foods and spices that supposedly improved health when consumed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in foods.

There is nothing obscure about the tomato, but did you know it was once considered poisonous?  The tomato is among a wide range of plants that are a part of the deadly nightshade family, avoided due to their toxicity.  Eggplant, peppers and potatoes are among the nightshade plants we relish as dietary staples.

The health  benefits of tomatoes are numerous, whether eaten raw or cooked.  There was a fascinating study initiated by a couple of Harvard scientists over 20 years ago that examined the effects of tomato products on prostate cancer in about 48,000 participants. Data was gathered and reviewed over a 12 year timeframe.  Although they claimed the study to be inconclusive, in the same breath it was asserted that there was a definitive reduction in the risk of prostate cancer in men who consumed tomatoes – about 45%.

The red pigment found in tomatoes is lycopene, an antioxidant or cell damage neutralizer.   Lycopene has also been said to inhibit growth of breast, lung and endometrial cancer cells.  However, for some who are allergic, tomatoes may be a health hazard.  If you suffer from hives, headaches or asthma symptoms after consuming tomato products, then step away from the fruit. Tomatoes also contain the chemical salicylate, which is an active ingredient in aspirin. So, if you have an aspirin allergy, talk with your physician about whether you should avoid food salicylates as well.

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It’s Sushi Time!

SushiJust wanted to give everyone the head’s up…

Over on, I recently had an article published on

How to Make Your Own Sushi

Everyone check it out and then getting to sushi making!

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