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Archive for February, 2010

Short Ribs

Great meal for your hungry snow-throwing man.

Gas up the snow thrower! We had our third major snowstorm in as many weeks here in New Jersey.

My amiable taster has been putting in the overtime dealing with our slippery slope of a driveway. Knowing we’d be shut in this weekend, I stocked up on some manly-man food. After he’d fed that beast of a machine, I knew that I would have to do likewise.

Great short ribs–like great sex–requires a good deal of preparation. You can’t hurry these babies up. But then: Oh baby oh!

Braised Short Ribs

The day before (just as it starts to snow):
Red Wine Reduction
3 cups red wine
1/2 yellow sweet onion, rough dice
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts)
6 cloves garlic, smashed
small bunch thyme
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. peppercorns

Place all in enameled cast iron pot and bring to boil. Simmer uncovered until wine is reduced at least two-thirds. This will take 60-90 minutes. Strain mixture and reserve.

While the wine is reducing…
The Ribs

Take a dozen beef short ribs and sprinkle them with salt, pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Sear the ribs until browned. This should take about 2-3 minutes on each side. Set aside.

Heat oven to 325-degrees. Return the wine reduction to the original cast iron pot. Add the following:
1/2 large sweet yellow onion, cut into wedges
2 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch slice
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced into 2-inch (can also save time a use a bag of baby carrots)
2 cloves garlic, smashed

Place the seared ribs on top of the vegetables. Add 1 quart of beef stock (not broth) Cover and place in preheated oven for 2 hours. When cooking time is done, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. (Your house will smell divine and you will be sorely tempted to eat these ribs but trust me, these bad boys taste better the second day).

Day 2:
Drag the pot out of the refrigerator and to the stove. Remove the fat that has hardened on the top of your ribs. Heat the ribs thoroughly. With your kitchen tongs, place the ribs on a heated platter and shove them in a warm (not hot) oven). Strain the cooking mixture. Save the veggies for dinner and the stock for gravy-land.

Place the stock back in the cast-iron pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce again until you have 1 cup stock. Whisk in 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Heat thoroughly. Serve to hungry snow-remover types.

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I work at a private school. Yesterday, I helped out our college guidance department by proctoring national examinations. You know the ones… We’ve all taken them. Four hours of sheer torture–reading, writing, mathematics and science. So imagine what it is like to supervise a room full of young exam takers. That was my day:¬†Handing out booklets, sternly barking out the directions and sitting like a sphinx for the remainder of the test. That is, until you gently utter that ubiquitous
Proctor Pick Me Up ¬© 2010 thepluckygastronome.wordpress.comproctor refrain, “You have five minutes remaining on this test.”

So as I sat through this soul-sucking activity, I daydreamed about getting home and back to the kitchen. I was starving and by the time we got to the fourth test, the carb laden Dunkin Donut I had wolfed down at 6:55 am in the faculty break room had me bottomed out. I was dragging tail but probably not half as bad as the kids were. It was time for a pick me up.

Here’s my homage to all the students (and their proctors) who took exams yesterday. I’m calling it the Proctor Pick-Me-Up.

I had a couple of ripe mangos on the kitchen counter as well as a fresh pineapple. I had a couple of Meyer lemons and Cara-Cara oranges left over from my recent adventures in making Orange Marmalade.

Proctor Pick Me Up

1 ripe mango, large dice
1 cup fresh pineapple, large dice
1/2 cup coconut milk
juice of one lemon
juice of one orange
2 cups crushed ice
1 tsp. vanilla

Whirl all in your blender. Add about 2 tablespoons of sugar (optional). Garnish with mango or pineapple.

Tropical Fruits

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After months of thinking about it, I have finally created this blog. I assisted a lunch buddy (who happens to be a professional chef) in creating two blogs today and figured, “What am I waiting for?!!”

Stay tuned as I figure out how to navigate on the blogosphere…

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