I have this friend. I’ve never met her, but I used to spend every Sunday morning sipping coffee with her. I’ve never met her husband either, nor their daughter. But I’ve broken bread with them countless times.
Virtually, of course.
Christiane (aka The Mom Chef) has this nifty website called Taking On Magazines, on which she features her home-concocted versions of those beautiful magazine cover recipes we see in the supermarket checkout lines. Often, she gives them a thumb’s up. But other times, she provides readers her opinion on what should be changed.
So, why am I telling all 19 of you about Christiane’s project? Because, you should get to know her. Perhaps she’ll inspire you just as she did me recently.
I’m not sure how or why, but the fine folks at Better Homes & Gardens magazine decided to start sending issues to the Jimmy Rockford. The featured recipes are actually pretty good, but also worthy of being taken on.
My recipe overhaul for Mondo Short Rib Sandwiches comes from a page I’d ripped from a 2016 BH&G issue. In addition to the odd name (Mondo? What does that mean? And how does it apply here?), the original recipe calls for dried tomatoes and smoked black pepper. It also requires bone-in beef short ribs, which are fatty. No wonder it’s not popular on the web — and the only reviewer had nothing polite to say about the dish.
In all likelihood, she didn’t have the proper ingredients. I live in the shadows of the nation’s fourth largest city and smoked black pepper was not easily found. As for the dried tomatoes, I happen to have some in my freezer from the 2016 crop, but it’s not always easy finding them in supermarkets.
I’ve made some major adjustments to this recipe – not only to expand the flavor contrasts, but to make it doable by the majority of us. I’ve also changed the confusing name of this dish to something more reasonable. Call them what you want, but make these just once and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll keep the recipe on file.
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Beefy Balsamic Sliders w/ Caramelized Onions
- 2½ lbs – Chuck tender roast, trimmed of fat then cubed into 3-inch pieces
- 5 TB – Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TB – Finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 1 TB – Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 TB – Kosher salt
- ½ tsp – Garlic powder
- ½ tsp – Dried oregano
- ½ tsp – Dried dill weed
- ½ tsp – Dried rosemary
- 1½ cup – Beef stock
- ¼ cup – Balsamic vinegar
- 1 – Large yellow onion, sliced into rings
- 2 – Garlic Cloves
- Fresh Basil leaves (about 6-8)
- Goat cheese crumbles (about ¾ cup)
- 6 – Medium round rolls
- Combine tomatoes, pepper, salt, garlic powder, oregano, dill weed and rosemary; rub all over the cubed beef.
- Heat 2 TB of the olive oil over a high setting in a skillet; brown beef on all sides (in batches – using more oil if necessary); set aside.
- In a slow cooker, place beef stock and Balsamic vinegar; add browned beef and any pan drippings.
- Cook on low setting for 8 hours.
- When meat has cooked, remove pieces and shred with a fork; cover and set aside.
- Skim the liquid of fat, if necessary, and reserve as a dip for sandwiches.
- While beef is cooking, slice off top of garlic bulbs so that all cloves are exposed.
- Place on a piece of foil, then drizzle with remaining 2 TB of olive oil.
- Seal foil and cook in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly for safe handling, then squeeze roasted garlic into a small bowl. (It should resemble a caramel-colored paste at this point.)
- In 1 TB olive oil over medium-high heat, cook onions until they are browned around the edges and limp – stirring regularly – about 10 minutes.
- Spread a generous teaspoonful of roasted garlic on the bottom bun.
- Top with meat, a few onions, a basil leaf or two, and a pinch of crumbled goat cheese.
- Dip in cooking liquid, if desired.