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Food Envy

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                This past Saturday night was the kind of spring evening that made you crave outdoor drinks and dining, so when my husband and I found ourselves unexpectedly without kids, we knew we had to seize the opportunity and treat ourselves to a date night out. We knew we wanted to eat outside, but figured reservations at our favorite spots would be tough to snag on such late notice. With a little creative thinking, I called a cute little BYOB that we pass often, but have never tried. Luckily, they had a table, so I grabbed a bottle of red and off we went.

At this point, I need to provide a little background before I go any further. My husband and I are a bit competitive. We often find ourselves exchanging a little healthy competition over silly little things in life. We always have to play “guess the bill” at the end of each meal out, and many of the major decisions in our marriage have been settled with rock, paper, scissors because, let’s face it, that is a game of chance…or fate. Little did I know, that we also had a silent food competition going, too.

It all started in the car. I Googled the menu, to see what seasonal selections they had to offer. At that point, I decided on braised short ribs, but once we got to the restaurant, I heard the specials and decided on pork with a citrus pestoey kind of sauce. My husband ordered the short ribs. Well, the first course came out, and it was excellent. I loved my salad, and Brandon liked his grilled shrimp appetizer. Everything was in balance, and our date was everything I wanted. Then our main course arrived.

The server came out holding two plates. Mistakenly, he placed the short ribs in front of me. That is when the sinking feeling started to creep in. Then, when he corrected his error, and gave me my meal, my heart started to sink. I felt like a 5 year old who was just given a plate piled high with Brussels sprouts. My dinner did not look as yummy as Brandon’s, but I convinced myself that I DID have the better dish. I took a bite. It was good, but I found myself longingly gazing at his balsamic glazed goodness. Then, he delivered a final blow to my pathetic looking, green glazed, pork chop; he offered me a bite. Well, that was it. Food envy enveloped me, and all I could think about with each mediocre bite of my own meal, was that Brandon was the menu master of the night. He had chosen the winning ticket from the menu and had won this restaurant challenge. Who knew date night dinner could be so passively competitive. I was reminded once again that I do not like to lose. At this point, there was only one thing left to do, I ordered the Bourbon Pecan Crème Brule and finished my bottle of wine.

The moral of this story is to always go with your gut, literally, when ordering dinner out!

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Braised Short Ribs (That will cause you to lose your manners)

This was good. This was so good that I wanted to abandon all the manners that I have taught my children and lick the plate! And then, when dinner was over, and we were doing the dishes, I yearned for lunch the next day so that I could have leftovers. This is just one of those meals.

Don’t save this for company. Make this for yourself. It is perfect for a lazy Sunday. Oh, and put your pajamas on before you eat, because when you are done, all you will want to do is lay on the couch and not move your overstuffed belly.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless short ribs
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper
  • 1 cup of flour
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 shallots, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 750mL bottle of Cabernet, or dry red wine
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme & rosemary, tied with kitchen string
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of beef broth

Directions

Sprinkle each short rib generously with salt & pepper.

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Then coat each rib in flour, shaking off any excess.

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Coat a large dutch oven or stock pot with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the short ribs are browning, chop all the vegetables coarsely in the food processor.

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Don’t forget the shallots & garlic!

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When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan.

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In the same pan, and remaining oil, saute the vegetables until soft.

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Use a wooden spoon to scrape the schmuge* off the bottom of the pan. Once the vegetables are soft, transfer them to a food processor and puree.

* Schmuge– n. 1. The very browned bits at the bottom of a pan that contain all the good flavor for your dish. 2. n. The gross, grayish gook that collects at the corners of your child’s mouth, usually when your mother-in-law is about to come over, or when you are walking into a fancy function with your children in tow.

Return the pureed vegetables to the pot and add the tomato sauce and add the wine. Heat until it starts to boil.

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Return the short ribs to the pan and add the thyme/rosemary bundle and bay leaves.

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Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add beef broth, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. The meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve over mashed potatoes with the braising sauce.

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Now, this is where the sweat pants come in handy. Just look at how yummy!

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And then…you get this!

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…which is where it all gets awkward, because you will want to lick your plate, in front of your children, and husband. Plus, you may find yourself “stealing” bites from the pan, or your family member’s plates. But it is all good! You can now retire to the couch with a full belly, and a happy heart knowing that you produced something so fantastic!

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Braised Short Rib & Guinness Potpie

By The Fabulous Food Fairy  in The Fabulous Food Fairy

Guinness Braised Short Ribs

Ingredients

  • For the Filling
  • 4 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves of minced
  • 2 bottles (12 ounces) stout, preferably Guinness (3 cups)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of soy sauce
  • 2 cups of chopped carrots
  • For the Topping
    • 6 medium russet potatoes (3 1/2 pounds)
    • Olive oil, for brushing
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    • ½ cup of chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Make the filling: Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge short ribs in flour, coating all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate using kitchen tongs.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add yellow onion to Dutch oven, and cook until golden. Add garlic & sautee for 2 minutes. Return meat to Dutch oven. Add beer and rosemary. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the pot from oven, and add the carrots, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Braise until meat is tender and the carrots are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Shred meat using 2 forks. Season with salt & pepper. Transfer to a 12-inch gratin dish.
  4. Make the topping: Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes, and very thinly slice each (preferably on a mandolin). Arrange potatoes over meat to form tight concentric circles, working around the edge and overlapping each potato by three-quarters. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45-60 min. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.