Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alone time

Sometimes, you just have to pamper yourself. For some, that means massages or pedicures, for me, it means cooking for three hours so that I can eat fancy food while I watch old MGM musicals by myself. Potato, potah-to.

I got this recipe from The Amateur Gourmet, who got it from Mario Batali, so you know it's good. Dad, try to avert your eyes from the pictures of meat simmering on the stove.

Braised Short Ribs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
a few beef short ribs - one big one or two small ones per person, I made extra for leftovers
Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chop[ed
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups Barolo or other full-bodied red wine (I used Shiraz because I had it in my kitchen already)
1 28 oz can peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, tomato juice discarded
1 cup brown chicken stock [I used boxed chicken stock and it was fine]
thyme, rosemary, oregano - You could use fresh if you have it. I didn't.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Get an oven proof skillet and heat the oil in it until it's really hot and smoking. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown them really well in the oil. Browning the meat is super important. Mario and Adam say that you should brown it for 15 minutes on all sides. This gives it a nice crust and makes more flavor later.

3. Remove the meat to a plate and set it aside. Now, remember your vegetables?

They are very important. Add them to the pan that you cooked the meat in and soften them for a few minutes. Add some salt and pepper, the red wine, chicken stock and herbs. Bring it to a boil and add the short ribs back to the pan.

4. That was easy, right? Cover with foil, and put in the oven for two hours, or until the meat falls off the bone. Yum.

You can make some orzo now! (and by now, I mean while the meat cooks, not when it's all done like in the picture above)

Butternut Squash Orzo

1/2 lb butternut squash, seeded and peeled
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs honey
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1.5 cups orzo
1.5 cups brown chicken stock

Once again, I just roasted a whole squash and saved some. Did you know I love butternut squash? I may have mentioned it before.

1. Roast your squash. I chopped it into little squares, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and stuck it in the oven with the meat for about 45 minutes, or until it was tender.

2. Then I put as much squash as I thought the orzo could handle into the food processor along with honey and balsamic vinegar and some more salt and pepper. Yum! Ok, leave that alone for a while.

3. Here comes the annoying part. Bring some water to boil and add some salt. Use a big pot. You don't want to crowd the orzo. Cook the orzo for three minutes (you're "blanching" it, not cooking it. Whatever the hell that means). Strain it.

Ooh! You need to make an "ice bath." That means you get a big bowl of ice water that you could fit a strainer full of orzo in.

Okay, put the strainer in the ice water - this way the orzo will stop cooking and the orzo won't get lost in the ice water. This is confusing. It looks like this.

Now take it out of the water and spread it out on a baking sheet to dry.

3. Bring your chicken stock to boil in a saute pan. Add the squash puree and the orzo and cook until the orzo absorbs the stock.

Stir it a lot so that it doesn't stick. It'll take about 10 minutes or so.

It looks good, right? Serve it up to yourself and watch Funny Face. Meat, squash, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire....ah, bliss.


Meredith said...

Yum yum. I bet that is absolutely fabulous.

David Borgen said...

oy vey