Storm the Cassoulet

Dark Beer and Pepper Short Ribs

Recipe by Fabio Viviani

Yields: 3-4 servings


1 ½ pounds boneless beef short ribs

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. butter

2 ea. onions, sliced

5 ea. garlic cloves, smashed with a knife

6 fl. oz (about ½ of one bottle or can) stout beer

1 quart beef stock

1 sprig rosemary


Reduce the quart of beef stock to one cup in a shallow sauce pan or deep sauté pan and set aside.

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour until well coated.

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Cook the dredged ribs until browned on each side, about 5 minutes per side.

When browned on both sides, remove the ribs from the skillet and set aside. Reserve pan drippings for later.

To a slow cooker, add the onion as a bed, then add seared short ribs. Add as well any juice or drippings reserved from the pan.

Cover the ribs with smashed garlic cloves, fresh herbs, butter, salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Add the stout beer and reduced beef stock.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and set to high.

Cook for approximately 6 hours or until tender.

Top short ribs with sauce made from cooking them.



When slow cooking, always use meats that have some fat or will be a dry disaster.

Always brown the meat first to seal the juice in. This caramelization is key to making flavor-packed short ribs!

Don’t place cold meat in the slow cooker, use it to keep food warm.

Dark beer and cracked pepper bring out the caramels and deep flavors in short ribs.

Reducing beef stock helps concentrate the flavors in your slow cooker. A little goes a long way.

Leave a comment »

Italian Wedding Soup

Recipe by Fabio Viviani

Yields 6-8 servings of soup


1 lb. ground beef (80/20)

2 eggs

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

3 quarts chicken broth

3 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

2 cups orzo pasta

½ cup (to taste) extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


Saute carrots, onion and celery in oil until soft and starting to brown.

While veggies sauté, make the meatballs: mix beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper in a separate mixing bowl. Form into ½ inch balls, and set on a baking sheet.

Cook meatballs on the baking sheet in 375F degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

Stir in the spinach to the sautéing veggies and let it wilt.

Add chicken stock to veggies.

Let the mixture reduce on high heat.

Add pasta to soup to cook.

When meatballs are cooked, add them to the soup.

Boil 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.


Leave a comment »

Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style


4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 onions, quartered

2 (4 pound) whole chickens


In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving.

Leave a comment »

Sticky Chicken (Chutney)



10 chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded

salt to taste

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup peach chutney

1 (1.25 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

1 ¼ cups hot water

Optional:  serve with bleu cheese dressing


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place the chicken wings in a roasting pan. Season with salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, peach chutney, onion soup mix and hot water. Pour this over the chicken wings.

Bake in the preheated oven until the sauce is brown and sticky, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Leave a comment »

Martha Stewart’s Perfect Macaroni & Cheese

Adapted slightly from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics (Clarkson Potter, 2007)

Serves 12, but easily halved


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn or diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
1 pound elbow macaroni (or other small pasta shape)


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter (alternately, melt butter in the microwave). Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside. Pull out 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and reserve.

Fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. In the same pot you used for boiling the pasta, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.

Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano. Stir reserved macaroni into the cheese sauce.

Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, it’s not browned to your liking, broil the topping rather than leaving it in the oven, which may cause the pasta to overcook and sauce to dry out. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

Leave a comment »

Broccoli Rice Casserole


2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli

3 cups instant rice

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

1 1/4 cups water

1 (16 ounce) package processed American cheese, cubed

1 tablespoon butter

1 bunch celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

salt and pepper to taste


Cook broccoli and rice according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium saucepan over low heat, mix cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and 1 1/4 cups water. Gradually stir in cheese until melted. Be careful that the cheese doesn’t burn.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and saute celery and onion until soft.

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, rice, soup and cheese mixture, celery and onion.

Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, until bubbly and lightly brown.

Leave a comment »

Honey Glazed Carrots


2-3 cups peeled, sliced carrots
1/2 cup butter
tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
fresh minced parsley and/or chives

Optional:  add pecans


In a medium skillet, melt butter. Add brown sugar, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon; mix together. Add carrots. Cover; cook on medium low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished cooking, the carrots should be firm, not mushy.

Remove from skillet and sprinkle with fresh parsley and/or chives. Serve.

Leave a comment »

Tree House Tavern Crab Cakes


 1 pound lump crabmeat
2 scallions
1 red pepper
2 stalks celery
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Panko breadcrumbs
Canola oil
Creole remoulade (see note)


Dice scallions, red peppers and celery or use a food processor until they are in small chunks, Beat egg and mix with crabmeat, spices and mayonnaise. Mix well and add just enough breadcrumbs (you can start with 1/4 cup) until you can form tight cakes sized to your preference. Coat each formed crab cake in breadcrumbs. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons canola in a frying pan. Once it’s glistening and hot, fry the crab cakes until golden brown on one side. Flip to finish the other side until crab cakes are heated through.

Note: To make the Creole remoulade, you need just three ingredients: Blend 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon Cajun spice blend and 1 teaspoon Frank’s RedHot Sauce. Serves 4.

Leave a comment »

Pineapple Sour Cream Pie

from Auntie Julie



 3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (16 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 eggs


 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup white sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Separate the eggs.

In a saucepan over medium heat mix 3/4 cups of the white sugar, the flour, salt, crushed pineapple, sour cream and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Stir a small amount of the cooked mixture into the beaten egg yolks then stir egg yolks into the cooked mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let cool.

Beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually stir in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat egg whites until stiff and glossy.

Spoon cooled filling into pie crust and top with the meringue. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 12 minutes or until golden. Let pie cool and serve.  DELICIOUS!

Leave a comment »

Green Beans with Bacon and Almonds


 1 ½ lbs. green beans, washed & cut

3 tbsps. Olive oil

½ lb. bacon, cut into pieces

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ cup slivered almonds

 Optional:  add diced red pepper, onions, Worcestershire, brown sugar


 In a stock pot bring enough salted water to cover the green beans to a boil.

 Par boil the green beans for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the green beans under cold water to stop the cooking.

 In a frying pan heat the oil over medium heat. Fry the bacon until brown.

 Remove the bacon to a plate covered with paper towels to drain.

 Add the green beans to the frying pan and sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

 Remove the frying pan from the heat and add the chopped bacon, slivered almonds, and salt and pepper to taste.

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: