Sharon’s Fabulous Beef Short-Ribs

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Beef ribs. Juicy, succulent, melt-in-your mouth beef ribs. I had never made beef ribs before. I devised this recipe based on two fabulous recipes: my grandmother's delicious brisket recipe and another recipe that also calls for meat to be braised slowly. The first time I made them, I had just moved into a new home and I made them late at night. I was searing the ribs on top of the stove, and the smoke detectors went off. I used all of my usual "tricks" to de-activate the smoke detectors: waving a magazine in front of them, trying to pull it off the ceiling, opening the door. The alarm just grew louder and louder. Then my phone rang. It was my alarm company telling me that my fire alarm was going off and the fire department was on their way - at midnight. I had no idea that the smoke alarm was connected to the fire department. I opened the door and saw five huge fire trucks outside and before I knew it, I had the most drop-dead gorgeous firemen traipsing through my house: all because I was searing beef short-ribs. Lesson learned: From now on, I sear my beef ribs outside on the grill. These ribs are a huge hit! People talk about them for WEEKS after they eat them. Even the firemen wanted to come for dinner! I like to serve these with rosemary/garlic mashed Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Basil-Garlic Grape Tomatoes, Lemon-Scented Green Beans and a Fresh Salad (perhaps a Kale Salad) to start.

Middle-Eastern Scented Vegetable Stew

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In the middle of a New England snow storm that was threatening to shut down New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New England for up to three days, I was craving something warm, comforting and sustaining - that wasn't going to take all day to cook. I've been trying to eat healthier as well. So I look for ways to pack those vegetables into my meals: green smoothies loaded with vegetables (and very little fruit so as not to up the glycemic index), turkey meat-loaf "muffins" stuffed with shredded broccoli, carrots and zucchini, "zoodles" - zucchini noodles made with a nifty gadget called a "spiralizer." Anyway, last Monday, I developed this delicious and hearty vegetable stew. Caramelizing the onions and roasting the grape tomatoes is key to adding lots of full-bodied, rich flavour to the stew. It's well worth the time and effort. The Middle Eastern spices waft through the house as it cooks. And you can make it as "hot and spicy" or mild as you like.

Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup

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I set out to create a soup full of tomato flavour, perfect for a wintery day. By combining lots of ripe Roma tomatoes, rich sundried Italian tomatoes and a can of organic fire-roasted whole tomatoes, I was able to ramp-up the flavour and create a full-bodied and delicious soup. I have two secret ingredients that always add that little extra touch to my soups: some lemon juice to add a little brightness, and a touch of maple syrup to round out the flavours and add a little more body and richness. (Just be careful to add both in small amounts at a time and: taste, taste, taste!)