short ribs « blogging for burgers

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Stuff I like right now.

I thought I would take this opportunity to write about a few things that I like right now.  This post is totally selfish, but what the hell, it’s my blog.

The first thing I like is Ronnybrook Farm’s Greek Yogurt.

I picked up a tub of this stuff a couple of weeks ago at the midtown farmer’s market.  Based on its less-than-perfect logo and label, I knew it was fresh from the farm and was in trial runs.  We all know that I’m a fan of RB Farms anyway, so I knew that this would be pretty good stuff.  But would it be as good as siggi’s?  More importantly, would it be more creamy (and less liquidy) than the regular creamline yogurts?

The short answer is yes.  This stuff was thick and creamy like Greek yogurt should be, but it still had that silkiness indicative of the RB farms.  True to form, the honey and vanilla were top-notch quality.  It was not quite as dry as a mass-produced Greek yogurt, but it was definitely a strained yogurt, with good density.  Speaking with my girl at the market this past week, she let me know that they are making a few other flavors in the Greek Style, so I’m looking forward to that.

I like sandwiches.

You know when you make something in your kitchen and right after you taste it, you say to yourself, “I am the man”?  I recently experienced this.  I had some random things lying around from which I was going to construct a weeknight dinner: some fresh rosemary from the awesome short ribs that burgergal made, some Ardith Mae doolan soft-ripened goat cheese, a couple of thin slices of pancetta, an end piece from a not just rugelach seven grain loaf, some red russian kale, a few past-their-prime cherry tomatoes, and some eggs.  I figured I could make something happen there.

My original plan was to crisp up the pancetta, sauté the kale, add the tomatoes and cook until they burst, then throw the egg on top and cover, letting the whole thing come together (I often make this type of thing during the week, having been inspired by some shakshuka I had with burgergal at Hummus Place back in the day before she was burgergal, which was really a sad time).  I figured on the side I would make a little grilled cheese sandwich with the doolan and a touch of rosemary for extra earthiness and a little bit of woody flavor.  Then a funny thing happened: I decided to kick it up a notch.

To the sandwich, I added some of the sautéed kale and a few morsels of the crispy pancetta.  Instead of just crisping the outside of the sandwich in a pan, I infused some olive oil with rosemary by adding fresh leaves as the oil heated in a non-stick pan.  After they had imparted some flavor into the oil, I took the leaves out of the oil and added them to the inside of the sandwich, which was already oozing with goat-cheesy goodness because of the hot kale.  I browned up the outside and set it aside for a second while I finished up the egg/kale/tomato thing.

While this sandwich stuff was going on, a mere inches away on the front burner was my egg concoction.  Although I wasn’t sure how all of the flavors were going to work together, they looked pretty, so I figured half of the battle was won.  The white of the egg looked set, and the yolk was looking nice and oozy.  I grabbed the widest spatula I own and transferred the whole thing to a plate, being careful to not break the yolk prematurely.   The last thing I wanted to do was lose this masterpiece to a last second flub.

At this stage, I had two separate items.  In a moment of brilliance, I decided that I could combine and make them one.  What could be better than a sandwich of fat dipped into a substance that is entirely fat?  I went for the money shot.  Being a complete nerd, I dipped with my left hand and photographed with my right.

Wait, what was that?  You couldn’t see the goodness?  No problem!

When I put the combination in my mouth, the heavens opened and I realized I had created something truly magnificent.  I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I just wanted more.  I finished the sandwich in .3 seconds.  I needed more.  I needed to re-create this, and soon.  I made sure to take mental note of what was going on.  I took pictures of it just to remember how spectacular it was.

Now that that’s done…

I thought a better sandwich wouldn’t be possible.  Until it was.

About a month ago, Bon Appétit featured a short rib and arugula sandwich on its cover.  It looked pretty good, but I didn’t bother clipping the recipe or anything.  It was just a sandwich, after all.  Little did I know that a single ingredient contained in that recipe would change my life forever (yes, forever).

The recipe called for pretty “basic” stuff (especially if you happen to have some delicious short ribs in the freezer): short ribs, good white bread, monterey jack cheese, arugula, butter, pickled caramelized onions…  umm, what?  Pickled caramelized onions??

Yes.  Pickled caramelized onions.

Step 1: Caramelize onions in butter.

Step 2: Add red wine vinegar and sugar.

Step 3: Cook that down until the liquid is gone.

Step 4: Change your life forever.

The pickled caramelized onions were a game-changer.  I cannot imagine eating any savory sandwich without them again.  Burger?  Pickled caramelized onions (like they had at Dumont).  Ham and cheese?  And pickled caramelized onions, please.  Hot dog?  Hot is gettin’ me some pickled caramelized onions on that, dog.  You get the point.

We combined all of those ingredients on some freshly baked artisanal bread we picked up at Zabar’s.  A quick lather of butter on the outside (not a healthy recipe) and we were in business.

Like french toast but better.

Get me a picture with some softer lighting.  Some of that lighting like all the food-porn sites have!

Thank you!

Seared duck is something I like, too.  But much more tersely.

See?  Easy.

A (burger) lady in the kitchen.

Burgergal is an avid food blog reader.  She logs a lot of hours on Smitten Kitchen, Pioneer Woman, Eater, Serious Eats, so on and so forth.  It works out really well for me because then I can lay back and let the links come through to me.  It’s like an all-encompassing food edition of The Week magazine.  It’s a huge time saver for me 🙂

Anyway, BG stumbled upon this post which put her in the mood for short ribs.  After she sent me the link, I was in the mood for them, too.  However, being a Thursday during Lent, I knew that I was going to have to wait until Saturday to dive into a plate of beefy goodness.  Uncle G invited us over to hang out for the evening with my six-month old cousin, so we figured that it would be a perfect opportunity for burgergal to show off some of her skills in the kitchen.

And short ribs are tender enough for a six-month old, right?

Burgergal wanted to take care of the meal herself, so I was playing the role of assistant.  It’s tough for me to not jump into food preparation, but I had to force myself to be a (somewhat) passive bystander.

The menu:

– Short Ribs Braised in Carménère

– Parmesan Polenta

BG picked up a couple of pounds of short ribs, and I seasoned them up while she got her mise en place going.

A little onion…

And some shallots…

And a carrot (forgot to take a picture).  That was pretty much it.  The rest was all about the meat and the wine.  A very simple braising recipe by braising’s standards.

First, she rendered the fat from some pancetta and removed it from the dutch oven.  A little glug of olive oil added to the fat from the pancetta and it was time to brown the meat.  Easy stuff.  Burgergal handled this like a champ, with me only providing a watchful eye as she stole the show.

After removing the meat, she added the onions, shallots, and carrot and softened them up.  A nice amount of Carmenere and an equal amount of beef stock later, we were off to the races!  She added the short ribs back in and popped the whole thing into the oven for about three hours.  They emerged from the oven looking deep brown and succulent, with the meat falling off of the bone (as it should have).  Being Friday, I was gonna have to wait until Saturday to dig in.  I did, however, get to sing the McDonald’s “Give me back that filet-o-fish” song a few times.

For serving, we whipped up some polenta with parmesan, to use as the base for the braised goodness.  The recipe was very low fat, so it did not get as creamy as polenta is in restaurants, but the flavor was great and it made for a very photogenic presentation.

Burgergal’s short ribs: a million out of 7 cows!