Friday, December 31, 2010

Coffee-Beer-Braised Short Ribs

Gentle reader, read this recipe quickly, as it might soon be illegal. Since NYC has banned sales of Four Loko, that can of pure vile that equates to the alcohol of three beers and the caffeine of three cups of coffee, there could be trouble if the authorities get wind of this short-rib braise consisting of near-equal parts—you guessed it—beer and coffee.

Short ribs are a wonderfully rich and flavorful cut of beef; they’re inexpensive, though there is a fair amount of bone and fat going on in the cut, so I recommend buying a bit more weightwise per person than you would of a steak-type cut of beef. This is a great comforting winter dish to feed (and impress) a crowd, for waaay less money than a tenderloin or rack of what-have-you.

Although short ribs do need to be slow-cooked for a long time, they need no maintenance while they’re in the oven. I recommend cooking them a night or two in advance (I often multitask by browning and braising the ribs while I whip up a quick meal for that night). Another advantage of advance cooking is that once you put the dish in the fridge, the fat from the short ribs forms a solid layer on top of the liquid, which you can then skim off before reheating and serving.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Saturday night comfort food: Lentil Soup

Hello Holiday Hobgoblins

It was another Saturday night, and while I was feeling a bit better than the week before, I think I am in the midst of some winter doldrums. I won't lie, I'm very much looking forward to the completion of today, December 21st- I always feel better when the shortest day of the year is behind us. It may be imperceptible at first, but at least you know in your head, that the days are starting to get longer again. In the meantime, of course, I am doing what I can (and I hope you are as well) to stave off the winter downs... a lot of my weapons are food.

So bring out the weapons! I took some time on Saturday (curled up in a nice blanket) to page through the latest Bon Appetit. There were lots of lovely recipes for Christmas day- lamb, ham, spam. No, just kidding about spam. I'm a sucker for a rhyme. There was ALSO a recipe for a lentil soup. Being a sucker for a soup, a legume, and a new recipe, it won't surprise you to hear that I was completely taken in- What's better than hot lentil soup on a cold Saturday night? ok ok, a lot of things. but bear with me, this is a food blog.

I took a look at this recipe, and realized I had just about everything I needed for it in the kitchen, except for the "special" french lentils. It was Saturday. I decided to brave Fairway. I found the special lentils. I was good to go.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Saturday night comfort food: Aglia e Olio

Dear Readers,

I was feeling kind of down. In truth, I was feeling really down. I was kind of at a variety of loose ends, unsure of what to do to cheer myself up. Luckily, I live right near the Red Hook Fairway, and decided to treat myself. I headed over, and decided I would impulse grocery shop. I put only things that really appealed to me in my grocery basket. Here's what I ended up with (in the order I picked it up):

* a pomegranate
* a bag of clementines
* a bunch of parsley
* baby spinach
* celery (see: bloody mary)
* head of garlic
* sweet onion
* fresh salsa
* good bleu cheese (see how i emphasized the "good" by spelling it "bleu"?)
* spicy V8 (see: bloody mary)
* barilla thin spaghetti
* tortilla chips

I had decided that I would indulge on snacks (chips and salsa, bleu cheese and crackers) while making myself my most favorite, most comforting dish ever: Aglia e Olio. If you're new here- guess what, I love garlic. I also love the simplicity of aglia e olio. pasta, garlic, parsley, olive oil, red pepper flakes, topped with parmesan. there is nothing better. I was going to feel better. I won't lie, I have eaten my feelings before, I figured I would try to make it a productive exercise for myself and you, dear readers, by chronicling a simple, straightforward, immensely appealing recipe.