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And So It Ends. (Or Does It Begin?)

Last night the Washington Capitals were eliminated from the post-season for the first time since 2007.

Major Drama with the coach taking things that should stay private, to the media.  But this is nothing new for the Caps Organization.  For some reason players and front office staff like to run their mouths in the press.

So start popping the popcorn.  Off-season could be fun.

Osso Buco with Fennel, Capers, Lime

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Ingredients:

1 medium-size yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped fennel, about 1 bulb

2 veal shanks (about 1 lb) sawed crosswise into thick hunks  *Note – I used beef short ribs

2 tblsp all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

3 tblsp olive oil

2/3 cup Chardonnay

1 small lime, thinly sliced

2 tsp drained nonpareil capers

3 to 4 tblsp coarsely chopped pitted nicoise or Gaeta olives

Directions:

Setting – Low for 7 to 8 hours, lime, capers, and olives added after 5 1/2 to 6 hours.

1. Spray the inside of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray and place half of the onion and fennel in the crock

2. Pat the veal dry, with paper towels and coat with the flour, salt, and pepper.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until very hot.  Add the veal, and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker, positioning the shanks side by side if possible.

3. Add the remaining onion and fennel on top of the shanks. Add the wine.  Cover and cook on low for 5 1/2 to 6 hours.

4. Arrange the lime slices over the top and sprinkle with the capers and olives.  Cover and cook another 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Adapted from “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two“.

Foil-Baked Salmon with Corn & Lime

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup corn kernels

1/4 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small neat dice

2 tblsp chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded and cut into small neat dice

salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tsp unsalted butter, cut into bits

1 lime wedge, plus 3 thin lime slices

1 skinless salmon fillet — 1/2 lb

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F.

Put the corn kernels in a bowl.  Add the bell pepper, cilantro, chile, salt, and pepper and mix well.

Put a 12-by-18 inch sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface.  Top with corn mixture and dot with 1 tsp of the butter.

Bring the long edges of the foil together and fold over to form a tight seal.  Fold and seal the ends as well.  Bake until the salmon is opaque throughout and just flakes with a fork, 15-20 minutes.  The timing will depend upon the thickness of the fillet.

Transfer the packet to a work surface.  Open the foil carefully and the ends first, allowing the hot steam to escape, then unwrap the top. Transfer to a warmed dinner plate.

From Williams-Sonoma – Cooking for Yourself.

Pearl Jam Radio

When I took my car into a new dealer that recently opened in the area for routine maintenance I had a great experience, and it was even better when they hooked me up with a free two month trial for SiriusXM radio.  PJ Radio here I come! I wish I spent more time in my car, but since I spend maybe 3 hours a week driving its just not worth it for me to renew for $15 a month for 1 station.  (Though I would totally consider it if I could a la carte one station for $5 a month).

I did get to hear a bunch of live Pearl Jam from the most recent tour, plus classic tunes from 1992 shows, which is always a treat.

Plus the best thing it introduced me to is this demo version of Nothing As It Seems.

Recipe: Polenta with Spinach and Peas

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Ingredients:

1/3 Cup coarse grain polenta

1 1/2 Cup water

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup cooked spinach, broccoli, or chard

1/4 cup fresh or thawed English frozen peas

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1 to 2 tblsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Combine the polenta and water in a small saucepan.  Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking from time to time, to break up any lumps.  Add the tablespoon of salt, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thick, pulls away from the sides of the pan, and is no longer grainy.  20-30 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, peas (which I omitted) mascarpone, and Parmesan.  Taste and adjust with more salt.  Eat with a spoon.

Adapted from Solo Suppers. This makes enough for 2 servings.

Recipe: Cream of Tomato Soup with a Pesto Swirl

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 tomatoes peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped.  (or one 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice)

2 tblsp shopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tsp sugar

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup whole milk

salt and white pepper

4-6 tblsp basil pesto – optional

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the carrot and celery and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 5minutes longer.  Add the garlic and saute for a minute longer.

Reduce the heat to low.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is incorporated and the mixture is thickened, 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, basil, tomato paste, sugar, and stock and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until all of the vegetables are tender and the flavors are well blended.  About 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Using a handheld or standing blender, coarsely puree the soup, making sure to leave some texture.  Stir in the milk and reheat gently over medium low-heat.  Do not allow the soup to boil or it may separate.  Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and swirl in 1 tablespoon of pesto.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma “Soup & Stew”