For those of you out there who follow my blog regularly, first of all, thank you; I am flattered you have chosen to spend some of your time reading about what I have been up to in the kitchen! But you also may remember a blog from a few posts back about a wish list of sorts that I have been keeping (and for those of you who are behind in their Peach&Kiwi reading, this list can be found here .) This blog is one of many that are to come in the future in an effort to conquer this list. Life is short, the culinary world is gigantic, and I want to taste every bit of it!
I thought it would be fun to use the upcoming holidays to scour the groceries, markets, and hopefully stocking stuffers (if Santa thinks I have been good enough to stuff my stocking with the spices I have asked for) to cross some items off this list and to try some ingredients (and cuisines) that I have never had the pleasure of try before. Call it a Christmas present to myself. First off the list: short ribs.
Over the past Thanksgiving break, not only did my family indulge in our delicious Thanksgiving feast, but they also partook in my venture into "obscure-cuts-of-meat" land. Short ribs are not the craziest cut there is, but they are hardy a mainstay on American dinner tables. Which is a shame, because with the stereotypical beautifully marblized fat paired with a low and slow braising method of cooking, short ribs could quickly become addicting. By putting a nice sear on the outsides in a screaming hot stock pot (heat the olive oil until it just starts to give off wisps of smoke, then stand back when carefully lowering the ribs into the pot) you are developing the sugars on the outside of the meat, searing in the juices from escaping during the braise, and building that crust that we all know, love, and expect from a nice piece of beef.
|Lavishing the sunshine - and hoping there is an olive oil decanter in my stocking this Christmas!|
|Searing the short ribs to caramelize the natural sugars in the meat.|
|Beautifully developed sear.|
|Finished short ribs after braising for two hours.|
|Almost too pretty to eat... almost.|
|And now to start on the Kale - on of my Dad's (and now my) favorite dark greens!|
|Looks like a lot, but this entire pan will cook down to a decent portion for three people.|
Think Italian oatmeal when you think of polenta - it is just as simple, heart-warmingly hearty, and versatile. It is a blank slate that you can flavor with any number of ingredients and mix-in, and served as a great vessel for sopping up all the juices from the short ribs (and for pan searing and serving with maple syrup for breakfast the next day!)
|Polenta! Made creamy (and distinctly Italian) with olive oil, sage, and a little sprinkling of Parmesan.|
|My favorite part of my job! Quality control.|
|Final plated short rib, nestled on a bed of Italian polenta, braised kale, and demi glas.|
All of this is very fool-proof and I can't wait to hear about some of your all's ventures into uncharted territory. Try using this holiday season to cross something off your "I really want to make that" list. Short ribs, check. And every bit was delicious. And a big thanks to my sister for again taking these breathtaking photographs.