Archive for October 4th, 2010

October 4, 2010

Dinner, Day Three: Braised Short Ribs from Flying J Farm

I can’t tell you how much I love short ribs.  They’re cheap, they’re easy to prepare, and with a little forward planning, they’ll give you more flavor than cuts that are five times the price.  Unfortunately, they’re also terribly underutilized in the home kitchen.  Even if you aren’t that comfy in the kitchen, they are very forgiving.  So go ahead and keep your filets – this unsung cut is the one for me.

For this dish I used grass-fed short ribs from Flying J Farm, which were second to none.  They were dense and meaty, with just the right amount of fat for succulence.  And marvelously bordering on just a bit wild tasting because of the grass diet.  Just remember: low heat, long time, and you’ll have a smile on your face at the dinner table.

Braised Short Ribs with Red Pepper Gravy and Sweet Potato Mash

3 pounds of grass-fed, Flying J short ribs, or grass-fed if you’re not from Ohio

1 T of bacon fat (Curly Tail Farm)

2 green onions, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, diced

2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 medium red bell peppers

1 small, red, spicy chili

2 T of flour

3 cups of stock, 3 cups of water

Salt/pepper

To get started add a thwack (that would be a heaping tablespoon, more or less) of bacon fat to a large, heavy-lidded roasting pan.  Turn up the heat pretty high.  Generously salt and pepper the ribs, then add them to the pan, searing on both sides.  I must emphasize two points here: 1.  Sear them until they begin to brown, and 2.  Do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan.  I will repeat:  do not crowd the pan.  Stack your ribs on a plate and set them aside.

Turn the heat way down, and add the onion, the chili, and the garlic.  Scrape the bottom of the pan somewhat obsessively to release all that goodness.  When soft, then add the peppers and tomatoes, and soften them somewhat.  Then put the ribs back in, along with any juices on the plate.  With flair, sprinkle everything with the flour, then add the liquid.

PK Tip:  After last night’s Chicken dish, we had leftover bones.  While cleaning up, I put them in a pasta pot, filled it with water along with some vegetable trimmings (like leek tops, carrot tops, radish tops, the odd tomato), bay, thyme and peppercorns, brought it to a boil, and simmered over low heat for 45 minutes.  Voila…stock.  In all honesty, if at this stage you don’t have stock made this way (or something similar), I would say just use all water and not a boxed stock.

Back to the show:  Place the lid on the pot and place in the oven at 300˚.  Two and a half hours is an absolute minimum.  Three is better, Four better still.  When it’s done, pull out the bones (won’t be hard – and save them!  That’s beef stock!), skim/remove any fat, and pull the meat apart with two forks.  Lovely.

Meanwhile, you’ll have plenty of time to make the sweet potato mash.  That’s one mammoth Beauregard sweet potato (thank you Northridge Organics), cubed, boiled, drained and mashed.  Add heavy cream, milk, salt and pepper to taste.  At the risk of repeating myself, lovely.  If you’ve got some fresh corriander (that’s cilantro), chop it and sprinkle it over the top, it’s fantastic.

According to James Beard, short ribs are best served with beer.  As a rule, you should never, ever disagree with James Beard.  So Columbus Brewing Company’s Scottish Ale it was.

Playlist included Bloodbuzz Ohio, by The National.  God, I love his voice.

Complete sourcing for local produce used in this meal can be found on the Farms and Producers page.

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October 4, 2010

Weekday Apple Salad

I couldn’t help myself.  In light of Saturday’s article in the WSJ, saying bacon is singing its swan song, I defiantly made a tasty fall salad with bacon ends from Curly Tail Farm.  I can’t help it if it goes so well with fall apples from Gillogly Orchards and sharp cheddar from Ohio Farm Direct and a few spicy mustard greens from Honeyrun Farm.  I. just. can’t. help it.

Combine those ingredients in the quantities you like (I like lots of greens, lots of apples, a little bit of cheddar and a little bit more bacon).  Then dress it in a vinaigrette made from apple cider vinegar, Hays apple cider, olive oil, salt, pepper, and just a drop or two of sriracha.

Cherub ate a local version of mac and cheese: some of the leftover Mrs. Miller’s Homemade noodles from last night’s chicken, along with a quick bechamel (equal parts flour and butter in a small saucepan, heated until bubbly for a minute or two, then whisk in Snowville milk to make a sauce) then add in a few ounces of cheese mixing to melt.  Add noodles to sauce and voila!  Scratch mac and cheese in under ten minutes.

See the Farms and Producers page for complete sourcing.

October 4, 2010

Apple-licious Breakfast

Cherub likes a good breakfast. 

This morning, since it’s gotten a little chilly, I served her some hot cereal.  I couldn’t find local oatmeal, so rolled spelt, from Stutzman Farm made an even exchange.   You can find Stutzman products at the Greener Grocer.  It cooks pretty much like oatmeal, two parts liquid (milk, local apple cider, water, etc.) to one part spelt.  I topped it with carmelized apples (sliced apple from Gillogly Orchard, sautéed in butter from Snowville, with a drizzle of local honey from John E. Egleston and a sprinkling of non-local cinnamon) and a further drizzle of honey. 

The great thing about it, too, is that there’s enough for leftovers.  So before school tomorrow, her healthy local breakfast  is already made.

October 4, 2010

Dinner, Day Two: Needmore Chicken

Sunday dinner with the family is important to me.  It’s a time when the extended family  is invited (tonight it was Cronus and Rhea) and everyone partakes of a leisurely meal.  It’s a great thing for Cherub, who is three: she gets to practice her table manners and eat something the whole family is enjoying.    

For Local Foods Week, I thought chicken would make for a good Sunday dinner.  As it turns out, Hill Family Farm is in Xenia, about an hour away.  We bought a whole bird and decided to take it the French country route, a riff on a Coq au Vin.  Anthony Bourdain’s recipe in the les Halles Cookbook was a jumping off point.  I used Ohio wines for marinating and for the table.  Since we purchased our bird at Dorothy Lane Market, what better musical inspiration than Dayton’s Guided by Voices.   

Hades has hung with Franz Liszt; gave the odd tip to Stravinsky.  He’s held his own with Shane MacGowan, and there’s a rumor that he wrote the bassline to “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”  In short, he knows music.  He cannot impress upon me the greatness of Guided by Voices often enough.  Its time to rock.  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Ohio’s own, Needmore Chicken!    

Needmore Chicken    

1 whole roasting chicken, giblets removed and reserved for another use    

2 parsnips, sliced (ours were from the backyard)    

4 green onions, white parts only, sliced in two lengthwise (we were late to the farmer’s market, feel free to use a whole diced onion)    

Bouquet Garni – cheesecloth wrapped bay leaf, 10 peppercorns, small sprig of fresh thyme, two sprigs of parsley)    

1 bottle of red wine (we used Firelands Cab Sauv)   

  

    

In a large bowl that will hold the chicken comfortably, combine all ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight to 24 hours.    

Notice the lighter parts where a parsnip or chicken wing stuck close to the breast skin during marinating.

 

    

2 T butter    

1 T flour    

Salt and pepper    

After marinating, remove chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Season inside and out with salt and pepper.    

Remove the bouquet garni, and strain the solids out of the marinade, reserving each seperately.  In a large, heavy lidded pot, add 2T of butter and heat over medium high heat until almost smoking.  

    

Using it for its God given purpose.

 

Place the chicken in the pot and sear on all sides until golden brown, turning as needed.  Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.  Tip in reserved vegtables from the marinade and cook until softened, about three to five minutes.  Sprinkle the vegetables with 1T of flour and stir to coat, cook for another minute.  Add back in the chicken, pour in the marinade.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for an hour and 15 minutes.   

1/4 pound bacon ends, chopped finely   

 1 large handful of shitake mushrooms, stems sliced, tops quartered   

 6 to 8 whole baby shallots (or pearl onions)   

Pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, water   

In a small skillet, render the bacon ends until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.  Keeping only 1 T of bacon drippings, heat over medium high heat and add in the mushrooms.  Sear until browned, remove to same paper towel lined plate as the bacon.  In the same pan, add in the shallots or onions, along with the salt, sugar and water to cover.  Cut a piece of parchment or wax paper to cover the pan, reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the shallots are carmelized a bit.  Add in two ladlefuls of the cooking liquid from the chicken and reduce until syrupy.  Remove from heat.   

When finished cooking, remove the chicken from the sauce and place on a cutting board to slice up.  Strain the liquid from the pot and add to the skillet with the reduction.  Mix in the bacon and mushrooms, remove from heat and whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to finish the sauce.   

A simple, elegant appetizer for this meal, or any meal, let’s be honest, is French breakfast radishes with herb butter.  The butter was from Snowville cream, and mixed with backyard herbs (this time, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, basil, and green onion).   

Serve with egg noodles and Provencal tomatoes (tomatoes halved and stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsely, garlic and chopped tomatoes).  Pour a ladle of sauce over the noodles for good measure.   

Meal notes: breadcrumbs for the tomatoes were from the left over biscuits from this morning.  Noodles were from Mrs. Miller’s Homemade Noodles, Fredrickstown, Ohio.  Herbs were from Cronus’s garden.  All other sourcing can be found on the Farms and Producers page.  Wine served with dinner was a 2008 Syrah from Kinkead Ridge, Ripley, Ohio.  

  

Playlist included Bulldog Skin because it totally rocks and it’s my personal favorite GBV, unless you count My Valuable Hunting Knife…

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