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31 August 2010

Eating on the Cheap

I love short ribs. Several years ago, the year before Steven and I moved to Texas, I was working as a consultant for a restaurant owner. I was making just enough money to pay the bills with little left over. My best friend had just moved out of the too big house we had rented and Steven moved in. He is awesome at being frugal. Because of Steven is why we still have a savings account. (albeit dwindling) Anyhow, he is an excellent grocery shopper too. We used to comb the aisles at WinCo late at night for deals. We'd buy the meat that had one day left and veggies that were packed in the $1 for 5# area. During this very trying time together, just learning to live together and how to adjust...we created some great dishes. One of them was Braised Short Ribs.
I had cooked short ribs before this, but always at a restaurant. Always with a bevy of ingredients on hand. That time I had a cheap bottle of red, a little soy sauce and some limp ass carrots... By far the best short rib recipe I had ever made. So, tonight, I will be making my cheap ass short ribs. Going back to a time in our relationship when all that mattered is that we had each other, I had a job making ends meet and we had a roof over our head. Which is more than I can say for now...altho' now we have a saving account, I have unemployment and we are living with family.

Cheap Ass Short Ribs:

salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh garlic
6 carrots, rough chopped, do not peel
5 stalks celery, rough chopped
1 yellow onion, med or 4 shallots, large dice
3/4 c. soy sauce
3 cup bold red wine
8 meaty beef short ribs
any herbs you have, thyme, basil, Italian seasoning, bay leaves
Oven @ 350

Dredge the short ribs in flour, season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in heavy dutch oven, brown short ribs all the way around. Remove and hold on plate. Add a little more oil to pan and sweat the veggies til onions are just transleucent. Try not to brown. Pour in soy sauce and red wine. Allow to deglaze the pan just slightly, scrape all the the goodness from bottom of pan. Place short ribs and any herbs you have on top and cover. Place pan in oven and allow to cook for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat separates from the bone. You can then strain the liquid, but it on to boil, reduce it by 3/4 and you have this luscious sauce that is very concentrated.

Serve with a big ass green salad and some bread. Or mashed potatoes...like I did here.

20 August 2010

Still messing

I feel like I am still searching for my voice. I haven't really cooked a lot this week and mostly it has been stuff that is fairly easy and not too photogenic: mahi with peach-avocado salsa, pan roasted chicken with cauliflower and thyme potatoes. I made peach cobbler with peaches from the corner stand.. but haven't really been in the mood. I plan on doing some menu planning and getting this all going next week...yea, we'll see.

13 August 2010

finding my voice

It has been Mexican week this week;  I made fajitas and Chili Verde and hubby and I ate at our favorite little taco shop too. I love Mexican food. Well, let me break it down even further... I love California-Mexican food. Spending 2 years in Texas made me really appreciate the difference in Tex-Mex and Cali-Mex. To my taste buds, Cali-Mex is far superior.
Fajitas are a Tex-Mex creation too.. however, I make my own seasoning, grill the meat quick over a hot flame, slice it and finish it in cast iron. The veggies are sprinkled with the seasoning stir fried in the cast iron before the meat... the meat will pick up all the love that the veggies leave in the pan. Honestly I do it this way because the electric stove just doesn't have the flame power the grill does..may take an extra step, but so worth it.

Fajita Seasoning:

1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup coriander
1 tbsp smoke/mesquite seasoning powder (pick any brand of rub, Weber, Schilling etc)
1/4 cup kosher salt
mix together and keep in airtight container
just rub whatever meat you are going to use (appx 1 tbsp per piece) with the seasoning and allow to sit 20 minutes before grilling. Grill quickly and squeeze limes over meat while grilling. Slice thinly (no more than 1/4in) on the bias and transfer to hot cast iron skillet. Toss with fajita veggies (zucchini, red and green bell peppers and onions thinly sliced) while finishing and serve with warmed flour tortillas. Cooking is not rocket science.. it is fun! you just have to find your own voice.