Dinner with Analiza

HS classmates
While I went flying and ate corn bread and barbecue my cousin La slaved at home preparing dinner for our get together with our high school classmate, Analiza and her hubby and daughter.

My only contribution to dinner was opening a bag of mixed greens, rinsing them and adding cubes of Mexican mangoes on top.
salad greens

La tried to recreate the fabulous squash we had at Eataly and it was pretty close. All the recipes are at the end of the post.
roasted squash with balsamic reduction
roasted squash with balsamic reduction

She also bought this huge bluefish and baked it in the oven. It was my first time to taste bluefish and I really liked the meaty texture.
baked fish
Baked Whole Bluefish with Bacon

I cooked this braised beef shank dish in Manila although it didn’t quite look like this. My sauce was too thick. This was the biggest hit at dinner. Either eaten with salad, mashed potatoes or white rice it was yummy.
braised beef shanks w/ caramelized onions & shallots
braised beef shanks w/ caramelized onions & shallots

La sneaked in healthier root veggies into the potatoes and no one noticed!
mashed potatoes & turnips
mashed potatoes & root vegetables

Good food and old friends made for an enjoyable dinner at home.
HS classmates
Analiza, me and La

Desserts were store bought. Sha bought this cranberry orange tart from Wegman’s supermarket. I liked the sweet and tart combination of this pie.
cranberry orange tart
cranberry orange tart from Wegman’s

Analiza brought a box of cupcakes from Cupcakes Actually.
Cupcakes Actually
Cupcakes Actually

Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Reduction
1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Cut butternut squash in half. Remove seeds and strings.

3. Slice the squash in horizontal pieces and transfer into a big bowl. Do not remove skin.

4. In a separate bowl, mix extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg, dash of cayenne pepper, and stems of fresh thyme. Pour this mixture on the squash and mix thoroughly.

5. Arrange the butternut squash on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
6.  Bake in the oven for approx 15 mins or till brown. Then flip each piece to brown the other side for another 15 mins or until tender.

7. Transfer squash pieces into a serving tray and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

To reduce balsamic vinegar:
Pour a whole bottle of regular (cheap) balsamic vinegar into a heavy bottomed pan and let it simmer until the volume was reduced to 1/3 of the original. It should also be slightly thick and sweet. This took more than 30 minutes to accomplish.

Baked Whole Bluefish with Bacon Recipe (source)
Serves: 8 – 10
1 (5 to 8 pounds) whole bluefish, cleaned
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
1 small bunch fresh parsley, stems trimmed
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound sliced bacon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
How to cook Baked Whole Bluefish with Bacon:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Finely dice 6 thick slices of bacon and thinly slice two lemons set both aside.
Lay a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, 6 inches longer than the whole bluefish, on a work surface.
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of coarse salt down the center of the foil, then lay half the lemon slices on the salt.
Scatter a handful of parsley and thyme sprigs and 1 sliced, peeled yellow onion on the herbs.
Cover the whole bluefish with the remaining bacon, then lemon slices. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons coarse salt.
Cover with foil, rolling and crimping edges to seal.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Braised Beef Shanks with Caramelized Onions and Shallots
(based on a recipe from Epicurious)

4 tablespoons oil
1 pound onions, sliced
5 large shallots, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

6 pcs. 3/4- to 1-pound beef shanks
all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
4 cups canned beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and shallots and sauté until brown, about 20 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary. Remove from heat. (Be careful not to burn the onions.)

2. Sprinkle beef shanks with salt and pepper and coat with flour.

3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add beef shanks to skillet and cook until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer beef shanks to a plate.

4. Add 1 cup dry red wine to same skillet and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour into Dutch oven with onion mixture.

5. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups red wine, canned beef broth, tomato paste and 2 bay leaves to dutch oven. Bring to boil, stirring until tomato paste dissolves. Add more beef broth if necessary.

6. Add beef shanks, turning to coat with liquid. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beef is almost tender, turning beef shanks occasionally, about 1 1/2 to 3 hours. Or cook the pot in an oven heated to 350F.

7. If needed boil until liquid is reduced to sauce consistency, stirring and turning beef shanks occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (I didn’t need to do this step. The sauce was thick and the taste was perfect.)

Potato and Root vegetable mash (Epicurious)
3 large russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 rutabagas (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled, halved, thinly sliced
6 small parsnips (about 14 ounces), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add potatoes, rutabagas and parsnips. Boil until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well.

2. Return vegetables to same pot. Mash until coarse puree forms. Mix in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season vegetables to taste with salt and pepper. (Vegetable mash can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat, stirring frequently.) Transfer vegetables to bowl and serve.

3. Spoon Potato and Root Vegetable Mash onto plates. Top vegetables with beef shanks and sauce. Sprinkle beef shanks with additional chopped fresh rosemary and serve.

4 thoughts on “Dinner with Analiza

  1. Leslie, your cousin is such a great cook.  Wonder if she ever made biscuits and cornbread?  In Hawaii  we like the moist and kind of sweet type of cornbread not the one serve in the mainland.  There a bakery owned by Filipino called Kamahameha Bakery on School St. in Honolulu and they make sweet cornbread.


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