Make, Jane, make!: October 2011


Small Share

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What to do with used bonito? Homemade Furikake!

I know I seem like a glutton for punishment at times - the things I make at home which could be easily bought at the store... But I have my reasons, usually.

I make my own dashi at home (check out Just Hungry for an explanation of what that is and how it is made) because I have not been able to find dashi granules that do not contain MSG. I have nothing against instant dashi, a little high in sodium maybe... but I do react to MSG (hives, eczema, etc.), so instant dashi has always been a no-no for me.

The by-product of homemade dashi is lots and lots of used bonito. It's been boiled once and twice, but I know it still contains a lot of goodness in it. Up until recently, I had no idea what to do with it and it always seemed such a waste to throw it away. Luckily, a fountain of knowledge in all things food (especially Japanese cuisine), my friend Chiho (check out her cake/pastry skills!) told me it could be dried and made into furikake.

Here is the strained bonito leftover from dashi making. I've sprinkled some sesame seeds on top, since I figure I may as well toast them at the same time.

I threw them into a 350F oven and just tossed them about and checked on them regularly until they seemed almost dry. When it looked as if they had only about 5 minutes to go, I added some nori (seaweed) to the tray and let that toast for the last few minutes as well.

When it was all dry, I crumbled everything up a bit and threw it into my food processor with some sugar and salt. Pulsed until the ingredients were finely chopped.

Then I taste tested, added a bit more salt and popped it into an old furikake bottle that I had cleaned and saved for just such an occasion. Hubby had a taste and approved. Now to start making stock from all the frozen chicken carcasses I have... before baby #3 arrives!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Covert Recipes: Chocolate Cupcakes & Leftover Pumpkin Pie Filling

I had just over a cup of leftover pumpkin pie filling the other day. There are many different ways to use up this extra filling, really depends how much you have left. If I had more filling then I would probably have mixed it with some cream cheese and swirled it into some brownies or made little chocolate cupcakes with a surprise middle. Or I could have also coated some small ramekins with butter and sprinkled the insides with cookie/graham crumbs and made a pumpkin pie "souffle". Or there's always pumpkin pancakes... anything with eggs, liquid and a little more flour can be turned into a pancake on the griddle!

Having only a small bit left, I decided that I would add it to one of my favourite covert recipes. It's basically Martha's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes made with whole wheat flour and wheat germ instead of white flour.

The pumpkin pie filling mixed into the batter beautifully and made the cupcakes even more moist than they are usually. Actually they may have been too moist... they were delicious but very delicate to hold! So if you are stuck with a little extra filling just toss it into your favourite recipe that contains more or less the same ingredients.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DIY Hallowe'en: Dragon Costume/Hoodie

Hallowe'en is a cold time of year where we live. So costume choices always need to take into account the need for a jacket (or other warm clothing) underneath. A while back, I bought some clearance fleece from Fabricland for a project that I have long forgotten about now - which turns out great for the boys, because the fleeces were the perfect colours for their requested "Fire-Breathing Dragon" costumes.

I posted about the wings and a link to the tutorial from I'm Feeling Crafty are here.

For the hoodie, I used a pattern that I had on hand already: Burda 9716. Though you could easily use a sweatshirt/t-shirt pattern as well. The only modification that had to be made was the hoodie back. Instead of cutting the back on the fold, I added a seam allowance to the centre back and cut it out as two pieces, so that I would have a seam down the back to which I could add some scales/back ridges.

I cut a spiky spine out of fleece be the ridges along my baby dragon's back. Sandwiched some fusible interfacing between two layers and used a zig zag stitch to seal the layers together. Fleece doesn't really fray that much, so I didn't finish the raw edges any further than that.

Don't worry about messy edges, a little trimming fixes everything.
Then I sandwiched the spine and the hoodie-back pieces together, pinned and sewed them up, right sides facing.

Just about the flip the other hoodie-back piece on top.
To reinforce the seam and to ensure that the spines stood up as straight as possible, I ironed open the seam and then stitched down both sides of the seam to tack down the seam allowance and keep the spine from falling to one side or the other.

Don't know why I'm not using my walking foot here, remembered it
and switched for the rest of the construction.

For the hood, I also sandwiched some ridges in the centre seam so that the baby dragons would have spikes on their heads too. I cut these spikes out individually since they had to fit along the curve of the hood.

Same drill, with fusible interfacing in between, and a zig zag stitch along the edges. I basted the hood spikes in place before sandwiching the hood pieces together. This was because I had to ease the spikes in around the curved seam and with the amount of pinning required for all the thick layers of fleece, I thought it was much easier to baste the spikes on instead.

Spikes basted in place and waiting to be sandwiched with the other
side of the hood.
I didn't reinforce the hood seam the same way as the spine. Partly because the hood spikes won't take as much stress as the back spikes, which will have the wings crushing them down and the boys leaning on them every time they lean back (or roll on the ground). And partly because the curved seam required quite a lot of clipping with the pinking shears to get the seam to turn out nicely, so there really wouldn't have been much to stitch down anyway :)

Other than these modifications, the hoodies were finished as per the instructions. (Note: the Burda pattern is a lined hoodie... I really didn't need such a nice finish, so mine are unlined and hemmed as I saw fit).

Here's the hoodie and the wings in their full fire-breathing glory :)

I like the costumes because the hoodie and wings are separate pieces, meaning that the kids can use them as all-purpose, dress-up clothing afterward. Also with the dragon suit being a modified fleece hoodie, it's soft, warm, comfortable, very versatile in terms of layering and the older boy can easily dress and undress himself at school. Fairly quick to put together and the boys seemed pleased with the end result.

p.s. In fact, every time someone noticed his costume, my eldest son would stop his running around and pose a bit for some admiration. lol. Vanity at its best.

Monday, October 17, 2011

DIY Hallowe'en: Dragon Wings

It's been forever since I've posted about anything other than the kitchen and food. The summer bounty from our first ever CSA experience has definitely kept me busy. But with a major sewing holiday coming up, I knew I had to get my pins and needles ready.

I asked my son what he wanted to be for Hallowe'en this year and, without hesitation, he replied, "A fire-breathing dragon!" I then asked my younger son what he would like to be and, being only 19 months, his older brother readily answered for him, "He wants to be a a fire-breathing dragon too!"

Not that I was surprised that I would be making two identical costumes this year - in fact I kind of expected it. Especially since we can't go clothes shopping without my eldest son picking out matching clothing for his brother and himself. I've got a feeling that it's only a matter of time before, "Here comes double trouble..." becomes the catch-phrase for our house.

Luckily, I remembered seeing this super great Dragon Wing tutorial from I'm Feeling Crafty. Her instructions and pictures are super clear, making this a great project even just for the dress-up chest. I love that she found a way to efficiently cut two wire coat hangers into the best wing shape ever!

I didn't use the template provided since I wanted to customise the wings to fit each of my two boys. So I bent the spine of the wings, tried them on for size and then drew the wing shape around my wires. Word to the wise: If you can get cheap, thin dry-cleaner hangers, they'll be a lot easier to cut and bend. I went to Dollarama and their wire hangers are amazingly quality hangers. They were pretty difficult to cut through and quite stiff to bend.

I differed a bit in my execution simply because I didn't have some of the materials at hand. Instead of fusible bonding, I used some white glue to hold the wires in place until I could sew them in permanently. On the second pair, I found that I didn't even need the glue... I just pinned the wires into place by sliding some pins down either side of the wire, which held everything together well enough until I could get them to the machine.

Used the zipper foot to got around both edges of the wire to hold everything firmly into place.

And yes, it was a little awkward going around some of those super curvy parts. I found I had the wings jutting out all over the place and much bending of the wires had to be done to get them to fit between the arms of the sewing machine.

If you do need to bend your wings a lot - don't worry. The abuse they take from you is nothing compared to what will happen to them after your kids have them on :)

I made my elastic armbands really loose because there's a good chance that my kids will have to wear puffy coats under their dragon costumes (those will be seen in a later post!).

My son does complain that his armbands are prone to slipping down his arms because they are loose when worn with only a t-shirt underneath. So I think I will add a couple of pieces of velcro to the straps to act like a chest strap. You can see the makeshift chest strap I tied on, so that he would stop complaining about the straps.

Ecstatic about the wings!
Update: The armbands actually fit very well when worn with the amount of underclothing needed in our fall climate. However, I added a chest strap anyway so that the wings could be worn indoors as well. Here is the velcro chest strap:

Just a piece of hook tape sewn onto one band and loop tape
sewn onto the other.

And here they are being enjoyed:

Stay tuned and I'll show you what the rest of the costume will look like :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage Brown Butter

We've been receiving some winter squash in our farm share box - kinda sad because it means that our CSA season is almost over. I've learned a lot this past summer and will be even better equipped next year to freeze and preserve our summer bounty.

So back to the squash. So far, we've received a spaghetti squash that I have yet to use (just bought some ricotta for it though... I'm thinking of a layered gratin of sorts). We had a previous butternut squash that I cut up for some butternut squash risotto. The sugar pumpkin was made into pie. I bought a kabocha squash for some Korean-style roasted squash. (Can you grow kabocha squash, Zephyr Organics? hint hint).

And here's the meal that came from our recent butternut squash:

I've never had store bought gnocchi that has tasted as good as homemade. Something is always off about the texture of the store stuff. It's usually kind of starchy and not very toothsome. It must have something to do with the process of mixing and forming the gnocchi - since the ingredients should be the same. I'm sure that commercially made gnocchi must be over-mixed and extruded, that would explain their gummy and heavy texture.

That being said, making gnocchi is definitely a labour of love. It's not that it is difficult to make, because it can be as simple or as fancy as you like it to be. It's just that it's the type of dish that you lovingly shape by hand for those that you love, or make it together with the ones you love. For me, it's like making large batches of Chinese dumplings, Vietnamese spring rolls or banana leaf-wrapped rice - you wouldn't go to the trouble of homemaking it for a bunch of strangers who would devour your efforts without so much as an "mmm - that's good!" On the other hand, when your audience is appreciative or even better, helping out, then the whole process becomes part of the enjoyment.

Here are some tips I've picked up over time in my quest for the perfect homemade gnocchi:

Don't overwork the dough. I usually mix it like pasta dough - on my countertop, with a well in the centre of the flour, gradually incorporating the flour into my wet mixture. I'll usually switch over to a bench scraper once the wet and dry are starting to hold together and gently fold the contents over and over again until it forms a soft ball.

Don't add too much flour at the beginning. You will probably eventually add all or even more flour than you originally anticipated, just don't add it all at the beginning. Always dust just enough flour over the piece of dough that you're working with to keep it from getting super sticky, this way you'll only incorporate as much flour as is needed and not any more.

When shaping the dough into logs/snakes, don't hesitate. This is a weird one to explain. When you make your snake, roll it quickly and efficiently, pretending like your a pro. I've found that when I try to stretch the dough out slowly or cautiously, it always ends up like some kind of flattened, irregularly shaped tapeworm. Whereas, if I stretch the dough out with fewer than five or six quick backward and forward rolls, it always works out. (Remember to add some flour before rolling if your dough is super sticky).

Size matters. There's a perfect size - where the gnocchi cook quickly enough to avoid being over-watery dumplings, but are large enough to give you a perfect bite. For me, that's when the snake is about the diameter of my thumb and cut into inch long pieces.

Those little ridges you get from a fork or gnocchi board make a difference. I used to think that shaping the gnocchi was just a decorative step. I would sometimes even just pinch the dough into pieces and try boiling them without rolling and cutting first. The resulting gnocchi never had the right toothsomeness. They always ended up tasting and feeling like over-boiled dumplings or soggy matzoh balls.

Their ostensible shape is deceiving. They look like solid footballs, but are in reality they are more like a ridged, thick shell. Shaping them makes them less dense (since the round shape comes from the dough curling up, as opposed to being a solid ball) and the ridges add little places for your sauce to stick. (Remember again to flour the snake/log before you cut and shape if they are getting sticky). Here are two good videos on how to shape gnocchi using a fork:

Have I inundated you with enough info yet? Still wanna give them a try? Here's how I made mine...


Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Sage Brown Butter

For the gnocchi:
1 butternut squash, roasted and pureed (1-1/2 lb squash, yielded about 3 cups puree)
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting *you need to have approximately equal amounts of puree and flour
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (or similar)
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg *you may need an additional egg if you have 4+ cups squash and 4 cups+ flour

For the sauce (yield: 4 servings):
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, minced
2 tbsp butter
fresh or dried sage to taste
pecorino romano (or similar) for serving

For the gnocchi:
  1. Roast the squash, scoop out flesh, puree and cool.
  2. Place flour on a clean countertop (generally I start with as much flour as I have squash). Season flour with nutmeg and salt. 
  3. Make a well in the centre and place squash, grated cheese and egg in the well. Mix the wet ingredients together with a fork.
  4. Gradually incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients. If you're squash was really wet, this step may be messy and you'll need to add more flour. Your dough is ready once it forms a nice ball. You may need to periodically dust the dough with flour to keep it from sticking to the counter as you keep on working.
  5. Cut a thin chunk off the edge of the dough, dust very lightly with flour, and roll quickly into a log that is about the thickness of your thumb.
  6. Roll the log lightly in flour and cut the log/snake into inch long pieces.
  7. Shape each of your dough bits by rolling it over the tines of a fork.
  8. Place onto a lined/floured baking sheet while you work on the rest. You an either cook or freeze them at this point. I cooked about 1/3 of my gnocchi for my young family of four and froze the rest.

March, my little gnocchi soliders, march.

For the pasta and sauce:

  1. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the top, continue boiling for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  2. Drain and reserve some pasta water (if you like your gnocchi saucy).
  3. Heat some olive oil over medium heat and saute your onions and mushrooms. Salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Once the veggies are ready and the liquid has started to evaporate, add the butter and sage. Cook until butter starts to brown.
  5. Add in your drained gnocchi. Toss. Add some reserved pasta water if you want a saucier dish. Or skip the water and fry a bit longer if you like your gnocchi crisp.
  6. Top with some grated cheese and enjoy.

My kids love gnocchi. To them, it's a super yummy, chewy form of pasta. For mommy, it's a way to incorporate a larger variety of veggies into their diet (i.e. squash gnocchi, pumpkin gnocchi, spinach gnocchi, chard gnocchi, etc.) I love gnocchi  - it's the ultimate carb loader before any long run! And hubby, wisely, loves to eat anything I make ;) A winner on all counts.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

I was abnormally excited to spy what looked like a sugar pumpkin in our farm share this week. I can't help it... I love pumpkin pie. I think it's because we only have it once, maybe twice, a year and it's so different from the other more common pies.

So despite the terribly abnormal heatwave we're having around here, I bit the bullet and turned on the oven so that we could have some pumpkin pie with our stuffed turkey thigh for Thanksgiving. (No parents or in-laws here this year - an unusual and happy coincidence, considering that it would have been suicide to prepare my usual Thanksgiving spread in this heat!)

Making pie with fresh pumpkin is so much better than with the canned. I find the texture of the filling more smooth and less pasty. I also find that the resulting taste is closer to sweet roasted squash than the cloying sweetness of canned pumpkin. Don't get me wrong, during harvest time I love all things pumpkin and will use canned pumpkin for lots of stuff since I'm not always in the mood for roasting... but there's something about things made from scratch... call me an elitist :)

So first step is to cook the pumpkin. There are many ways to do this: steaming/boiling, roasting, nuking. You can take your pick. I like roasting because I find the pumpkin is less watery and more caramelised this way. It's easy enough: just cut in half, remove the seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until it's soft.  I like using my melon baller to scoop pits out of hard fruits and veggies, because it's the sharpest edge that you'll find on any scoop-like implement in the kitchen. I couldn't find my larger melon baller, but the small one worked just fine.

While the pumpkin is roasting away, you can prepare your pie crust. I used my standard pate brisee crust which you can find on my kielbasa quiche post. When the crust is prepped and in the pie plate, place it into the freezer until the pumpkin is done roasting.

Once you can easily pierce into the flesh with a fork, remove from the oven, scoop the flesh into a food processor and whir until smooth. You can also use a blender or mash it with a potato masher (which I used to do before I got a blender or processor, it just makes for a less smooth finished product... kinda like potatoes mashed by hand versus the processor. Although you may want to steam/boil the pumpkin instead to make sure it's nice and soft).

Let the pumpkin cool down and lower the oven temp so that you can blind bake your pie crust. You could skip this step if you wanted to, but be forewarned - you will have a soggy bottom crust. So much so that you may be spooning your pie out of the plate... it's not inedible, just really, really messy.

mmmm - bean and ceramic pie weight pie ;)
Let the crust cool down after it's pre-bake and mix together the filling ingredients. I like to have the filling premixed and room temperature before I pour it into the pie. I find that sometimes when you pour it in right after whisking, the air bubbles still present in the filling cause the pie to puff up unevenly and crack a lot.  Ditto for when the filling has cold eggs in it -  it must have something to do with some of the eggs not cooking at the same time as the rest of the pie.

Pour the filling in and wonder again, where my other pie plates have gone. I had about a cup of filling leftover which would have fit perfectly if I'd had my deep dish pie plate! Stay tuned for a later post on what I decide to do with the leftover filling :)

Carefully transfer the filled pie to the oven and bake until the filling is a little wobbly, but set.

Does anyone else use one of these silicone pie rings? So often, with these pies that require a pre-bake and then a long baking time, I'll get super brown crusts.  And unless it's a really special occasion and I want a super pretty pie, I hardly ever brush my crusts with anything (i.e. egg wash) to offset this over-brownness. This silicone ring has been the best addition to my pie-making arsenal because it protects my crusts from over-browning without the hassle of trying to tent just the crust with thin strips of foil!

Here's the finished pie! Not shown in the picture: family anxiously and impatiently waiting for it to cool down enough to eat.


Pumpkin Pie from Scratch Yield: one 9 inch deep dish pie
Adapted from: Pumpkin Pie, Martha

1 sugar pumpkin (about 2 lbs) *you can use jack-o-lanterns, but I find it's really not worth the trouble. Check out this link for more info.
1 single crust pie crust    *recipe here
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
pinch salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and place cut side down onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the flesh is easily pierced by a fork.
  3. Remove from oven, scoop out flesh and process with a food processor until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. Lower oven temperature to 375F.
  5. Fill prepared and frozen pie crust with parchment paper and pie weights/beans and bake for for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is very lightly golden and set. Remove from oven and cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F. (Unless like myself you've had it on the whole time because it's Thanksgiving and since when does the oven turn off on Thanksgiving? :)
  7. Mix your pumpkin puree and the remaining ingredients together. Pour into your cooled crust.
  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the middle is just a little wobbly, but set.
  9. Cool completely before serving.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soft Goat Cheese Polenta

Here's how I made the goat cheese polenta that went with yesterday's post about short ribs.

Soft Goat Cheese Polenta Yield: approximately 3 cups

2 cups water
1 cup cornmeal/polenta
3 oz goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Season water with salt.
  2. Whisk in cornmeal slowly. The mixture will start to cook and thicken immediately.
  3. As the polenta thickens, reduce the heat so that the polenta is slowly and gently bubbling. You'll need to keep reducing the temperature as the polenta continues thickening.
  4. Once the polenta resembles a thin porridge, remove it from the heat. Stir in goat cheese.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.

Polenta is fairly forgiving, but it will thicken as it cools. So you may want to err on the side of a slightly thin polenta. If you think you've made it too thick, you can always add some liquid (water, milk, stock) until it is at the texture you like.  Of course, if it gets too thick to save, then you can always pour it into a greased pan and put it in the fridge to set. Once it firms up, you can pop out your polenta loaf, slice it into pieces and fry them to rewarm them. Equally yummy :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Braised Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Polenta

Fall is definitely here and the cool weather is perfect for meals that need prolonged oven time. Our butcher ordered too many short ribs a while back and I was lucky to find them at a discounted price in their freezer. Sometimes I like my short ribs with a bit of asian flair (i.e. soy sauce, garlic, ginger) but today I wanted something simple that was just about the beef...

...So I made an oven braised short rib with goat cheese polenta and some roasted rainbow carrots. Hubby was ecstatic when he came home because, as he put it, he was feeling "the bloodlust".

Here is my ghetto mise en place (yes, I have the veggies in my microwave cover) with the classic mirepoix triad of carrots, onions and celery. I cut the veggies on the large side because most will of them will cook down to a mush and lose their flavour to the sauce during the long braise time. I usually strain out most of the veggies and discard them, though I like to save a few of the larger pieces of carrot that still have some taste to them.

I cut my short ribs into small sections and dredged them in some flour which was seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper.

And that was basically all the preparation needed for the meat. Next step was the brown the ribs on all sides. This was done in a few batches since I had four pounds of short ribs and they can only be browned a few at a time. If you put too many in there, too much steam builds up in the pot and the ribs start to cook rather than fry. Set all the browned short ribs aside in a bowl or plate.

Toss in all your veggies with a bit of salt. The bottom of your pan may be a mess at this point, but don't worry - the magical deglazing step will come later. (Note: I found some sliced leeks in the fridge and decided to throw those in too, just to use them up).

Cook the veggies until they start to soften and brown slightly, then add some red wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape, scrape, scrape up that yummy brown beef and partially caramelised veggie goodness.

Once the pan is deglazed, add your short ribs and any juices that may have accumulated on your plate. Pour in a healthy amount of beef broth and then top it up with water until the ribs are mostly submerged. Season with pepper, some thyme and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Once you've got it boiling, cover it and pop it into a preheated 375F oven for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone.

Remove all the meat and any veggies you want to save from the pot and keep these covered and warm somewhere (I usually use a pyrex dish, since I'll need one later for the leftovers anyway!) Strain and separate the oil and mushy veggie bits from the remaining sauce and return the sauce to the pan. Turn up the heat and simmer away until the sauce has reduced down by at least one half and it is the thickness you like.

I like my sauce reduced to something that is thin enough to pour but thick enough to glaze a spoon. Taste it and re-season if necessary. It's doubtful you'll need it seasoned anymore because the beef and veggies were seasoned already and the sauce's flavours were concentrated during the reduction process.

Serve it all up! (Bed of polenta, side of oven roasted carrots, sauce ladled over the top - mmm)


Braised Short Ribs     Serves: 4 plus some leftovers

4 lbs short ribs, cut into serving sized sections
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup red wine
500ml beef broth
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dredging beef

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Dredge short ribs in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat your preferred oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Brown short ribs on all sides, in batches. Reserve brown short ribs on a plate.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add onions, carrots and celery to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and just starting to colour, 5-7 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to  medium-high, add red wine to vegetables, and deglaze pot. 
  6. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Add in beef broth and top up with water until the ribs are submerged.
  7. Add thyme, bay leaves and additional ground black pepper if desired. 
  8. Bring pot to a boil. Cover and place into oven. Braise for 2 hours or until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bone. (Check at the 1 hour point, if your short ribs are cut very thinly, they may already be done!)
  9. Remove ribs and any vegetables that you want to include in the final dish from the pot. Cover and set aside. (You may want to ladle some cooking liquid over the top to keep the ribs moist).
  10. Strain the cooking liquid, discard mushy vegetables and separate as much oil as possible from the liquid.
  11. Return the strained sauce to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Boil until the sauce has reduced by at least one-half. How much you want to reduce it is purely preference. I like mine thick enough to coat the meat, but not so thick as to be a gravy.

Hope you enjoy! Hubby and my meat-loving second son did! (Eldest, carb-loving son begrudgingly admitted it was good after trying some :)