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Best of the Blogs: Stir It Up!
By Kitchen Report and Stir It Up! editor 

Stir It Up! features daily recipes, cookbook reviews, and culinary trends written by 17 contributing food bloggers. From easy-to-make dinner recipes to delicious desserts; from party spreads to Meatless Monday ideas, there is something here to inspire every type of cook.

Here are three sample recipes. 

Korean Oven-Braised Short Ribs (top)
By 
Blue Kitchen 

Serves 4
2-1/2 pounds Korean style short ribs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Asian or Bosc pear, peeled and grated on box grater
3/4-cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup dry white wine (may substitute cooking wine)
2 cups water
4 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
freshly ground black pepper
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into a large dice
1/2 pound piece of daikon (Japanese radish), peeled and cut into large dice
1/2 cup chopped scallions
salt
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted
cooked white rice
special equipment: parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Score ribs on the meaty side with 1/2-inch slices across the grain; this will allow the meat to absorb more flavor from the braising liquid. Put short ribs in a large pot and cover with lots of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can spoon off the scum that forms or not – you’re going to discard this water anyway. Remove the ribs with tongs and rinse under cold running water. This step gets rid of some of the blood and excess fat.

While the meat is simmering, combine ginger, garlic, pear, soy sauce, wine, water, sesame oil and sugar in a large bowl. Season with a generous grind of black pepper.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium flame and sweat the onion until translucent and softening, three to five minutes. Add the braising liquid mixture to the Dutch oven and nestle the ribs, meaty side down, into the sauce. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Press a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside the Dutch oven down on top of the ribs. Cover the Dutch oven with lid and transfer to oven.

Braise ribs for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and add carrots, daikon and scallions, pressing down into the braising liquid. Replace the parchment paper and lid and return to oven. Braise for another 30 minutes.

Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer ribs and vegetables to a large bowl and tent with foil. Bring braising liquid to a boil over medium high flame and reduce slightly to a sauce, about five minutes.

Plate cooked rice in individual shallow bowls or rimmed plates. Top with ribs and vegetables and spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Roasted Squash and Quinoa Salad
By Beyond The Peel 

2 cups roasted squash
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups baby kale and baby chard (or greens of choice)
1/2 cup dried cranberries ( or raisins)
1/2 crushed pistachios (or nuts of choice)
crumbled feta to garnish (optional)
Cumin Dressing (below) or dressing of choice

In a large bowl, add the cooked squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add the quinoa, greens, cranberries and pistachios. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately.

Note: This salad will hold up nicely to the dressing, minus the greens. You can always add the salad greens at a later time if you’d like to add the dressing now and allow the flavors to marry. Also a good idea if you’re bringing this to someone’s house for dinner.

Cumin Dressing
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon honey (vegans use agave or sweetener of choice)

In a small frying pan over high heat, add the cumin seeds and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds. Combine the lemon juice, oil, cumin and honey. Whisk until well combined.

Note: If the salad won’t be eaten all at once, add the dressing to each serving individually to preserve the freshness of the greens.

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting
By Kitchen Report

Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 sticks butter
1
-1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9- x 13-inch pan or two 9-inch round cake pans. If you are using round pans, it is recommend that you cut out a piece of parchment paper and line each pan, since this cake tends to stick.

Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add boiling water and stir until the butter and sugar are dissolved.

Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and combine. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake about 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: Homecooks who have used this recipe find that the cake rises higher in the middle.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter until fluffy, gradually add powdered sugar. Stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you achieve the consistency you want. Add vanilla. This is a thick, rich icing.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, soda, salt) into the batter. Mix well. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing
1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 egg yolks, unbeaten
6 1-ounce squares unsweetened baker’s chocolate

In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate completely. Remove from heat, allow to cool.

Cream butter until fluffy, gradually add powdered sugar. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Add in chocolate, beat until desired consistency.

Can’t get enough Stir It Up!? Click here for more recipes.

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All Football All Weekend: Get pumped for the Super Bowl with football trivia, the best-ever Superbowl halftime shows, and ideas for game-day food.

Super Bowl XLVII: Test your 49ers and Ravens knowledge

Super Bowl 2013: the 7 best halftime shows of all time

Fantastic and simple Super Bowl recipes

Photos: (Top) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) goes in for a touchdown run. Photo by: Matt Slocum/AP

(Center left) Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed (20) greets teammates. Photo by: Sean Gardner/Reuters

(Center right) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh directs his players into position for a team picture. Photo by: Joe Skipper/Reuters

(Bottom) San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (7) celebrates with Leonard Davis and Daniel Kilgore (67) after the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons Jan. 20. Photo by: Dave Martin 

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Mexican corn and bean soup flavored with chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Photo by: In Praise of Leftovers/Guest Blogger/The Christian Science Monitor
Feeling Freezing? Winter has arrived in earnest; it’s the long, bitter, double-up-on-socks cold of January and February. It’s time for a little perspective, a bowl of soup, and tips on cheap ways to stay warm.
The five coldest places on Earth
Stay warm this winter with some of Stir It Up’s! favorite soup, chowder, and stew recipes
Cheapest way to heat your home? Four fuels compared.
Mexican corn and bean soup:
Frozen corn and canned beans work just fine for this recipe.
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 large yellow or white onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoon chili powder (ancho is my favorite)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
Coarse salt
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 14-ounce can kidney beans
1 14-ounce can pinto beans
2 cups frozen corn
Water
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
sour cream, diced avocado, crushed tortilla chips, and more cilantro for garnish
In a large stockpot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and sugar with a couple tablespoons of water to form a paste.
Add paste to onions along with tomatoes, beans, and corn. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about 20 minutes, until flavors meld. Taste and add more salt if you want. Add chopped cilantro at the end and serve with garnishes.

Mexican corn and bean soup flavored with chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Photo by: In Praise of Leftovers/Guest Blogger/The Christian Science Monitor

Feeling Freezing? Winter has arrived in earnest; it’s the long, bitter, double-up-on-socks cold of January and February. It’s time for a little perspective, a bowl of soup, and tips on cheap ways to stay warm.

The five coldest places on Earth

Stay warm this winter with some of Stir It Up’s! favorite soup, chowder, and stew recipes

Cheapest way to heat your home? Four fuels compared.

Mexican corn and bean soup:

Frozen corn and canned beans work just fine for this recipe.

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 large yellow or white onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoon chili powder (ancho is my favorite)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

Coarse salt

2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 14-ounce can kidney beans

1 14-ounce can pinto beans

2 cups frozen corn

Water

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

sour cream, diced avocado, crushed tortilla chips, and more cilantro for garnish

In a large stockpot, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and sugar with a couple tablespoons of water to form a paste.

Add paste to onions along with tomatoes, beans, and corn. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about 20 minutes, until flavors meld. Taste and add more salt if you want. Add chopped cilantro at the end and serve with garnishes.

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PHOTO: Ceviche made in the Monitor kitchens with a recipe from Three Many Cooks. (Joanne Ciccarello/The Christian Science Monitor).
It’s too hot to cook. So walk away from the oven, drop the frying pan and make yourself some ceviche. The Stir It Up! blog shares a recipe for ceviche (seafood “cooked” in citrus juices) from contributing blog Three Many Cooks. Easy prep, 30 minutes to let it stand, serves 6 appetizer portions.

PHOTO: Ceviche made in the Monitor kitchens with a recipe from Three Many Cooks. (Joanne Ciccarello/The Christian Science Monitor).

It’s too hot to cook. So walk away from the oven, drop the frying pan and make yourself some ceviche. The Stir It Up! blog shares a recipe for ceviche (seafood “cooked” in citrus juices) from contributing blog Three Many Cooks. Easy prep, 30 minutes to let it stand, serves 6 appetizer portions.


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Photo: Garlic noodles with prawn topped with green onions. Courtesy of The Ravenous Couple.
To celebrate the arrival of the weekend, here’s the latest from Stir It Up!, a recipe for garlic noodles with prawns from the kitchen of Hong Pham and Kim Dao, writers of The Ravenous Couple.

Photo: Garlic noodles with prawn topped with green onions. Courtesy of The Ravenous Couple.

To celebrate the arrival of the weekend, here’s the latest from Stir It Up!, a recipe for garlic noodles with prawns from the kitchen of Hong Pham and Kim Dao, writers of The Ravenous Couple.

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Photo courtesy of Kendra Nordin, editor of the Monitor’s weekly edition and Stir it Up blog, and the author of the Kitchen Report.

If you are in the US & plan on getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the royal wedding, you might as well prepare a proper cuppa and English breakfast. Kendra Nordin outlines the perfect ingredients for a traditional English breakfast and shares the backstory of her childhood love affair with the royal nuptials.

Photo courtesy of Kendra Nordin, editor of the Monitor’s weekly edition and Stir it Up blog, and the author of the Kitchen Report.

If you are in the US & plan on getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the royal wedding, you might as well prepare a proper cuppa and English breakfast. Kendra Nordin outlines the perfect ingredients for a traditional English breakfast and shares the backstory of her childhood love affair with the royal nuptials.

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Photo: Gruyere and Gorgonzola grilled with hazelnut butter from “Grilled Cheese, Please!” by Laura Werlin.

Blogger Shane Kearns from Grilled Shane provided the Monitor’s Stir It Up! blog with a tasty review of of the new cookbook “Grilled Cheese Please!” Thanks Shane for making us WAY too hungry for lunch at 9:30 in the morning.

Photo: Gruyere and Gorgonzola grilled with hazelnut butter from “Grilled Cheese, Please!” by Laura Werlin.

Blogger Shane Kearns from Grilled Shane provided the Monitor’s Stir It Up! blog with a tasty review of of the new cookbook “Grilled Cheese Please!” Thanks Shane for making us WAY too hungry for lunch at 9:30 in the morning.

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It’s Fat Tuesday, so will include an extra helping of Stir It Up coverage today. Blog editor Kendra Nordin writes about Paczkis - the Polish treat that gives all other Shrove Tuesday baked goods a run for their money.

It’s Fat Tuesday, so will include an extra helping of Stir It Up coverage today. Blog editor Kendra Nordin writes about Paczkis - the Polish treat that gives all other Shrove Tuesday baked goods a run for their money.

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Stir it Up contributor Karen Hammonds offers a beautiful story and recipe for Fastnacht donuts to make for Shrove Tuesday. Find the recipe here.

Plus, you can find a link to Karen’s post on the New York Times Diner’s Journal blog. Yum!

Stir it Up contributor Karen Hammonds offers a beautiful story and recipe for Fastnacht donuts to make for Shrove Tuesday. Find the recipe here.

Plus, you can find a link to Karen’s post on the New York Times Diner’s Journal blog. Yum!

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We feature a rustic-looking Irish lamb stew on the Stir It Up blog this afternoon from Terry Boyd, author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. Find the full recipe here.

What are you cooking this weekend?

We feature a rustic-looking Irish lamb stew on the Stir It Up blog this afternoon from Terry Boyd, author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. Find the full recipe here.

What are you cooking this weekend?