Category Archives: Meat

Braised Short Ribs

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I may have found my second-to-last meal. If I have any say in my last meal on earth, I want it to be my mother’s biryani. If I have any say in my second-to-last meal? Well, it had best be these short ribs.

I’m not much of a meat person. I can’t go two meals without eating vegetables, but I’ve been known to go weeks without having a piece of meat. I eat a lot of beans and lentils and probably consume too much dairy, so I tend to get my protein from other sources. That being said, there are few foods in this world that I love more than slow-cooked, tender, fall off the bone ribs in a wine-enriched, vegetable studded sauce. Is your mouth watering yet? While I warn you that this recipe takes almost three hours to make, it is totally worth every millisecond.

I served these glorious slabs of deliciousness atop some instant polenta. For those of you unfamiliar with it, polenta is a staple in Italian cooking. It’s essentially cornmeal, cooked in broth until it is creamy. Conveniently, you can buy quick-cook versions at the Italian grocery store (straight from Italy!) for about the same price as the original, twenty minute stuff. Just whisk 1 cup of quick-cook polenta into 3 cups of broth (or, in my case, 2 cups broth and 1 cup water); add the polenta in a steady stream so as to prevent clumps. Stir for a couple of minutes until creamy, add some salt and pepper, then either throw in some parm and a tablespoon of butter or a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese (a little parm doesn’t hurt here either). The perfect side dish for any hearty meal.

So, if the apocalypse is coming, I would like two days and an expense account at my local Whole Foods. Girl’s gotta eat! Happy eating.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Olives, Tomatoes, and Grapes

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Today’s recipe comes from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, whose cookbook may be the greatest gift of 2012 to home cooks everywhere. Deb has a fantastic blog, and when I saw that she was releasing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I preordered copies for my sister’s and my good friend Caroline’s Christmas presents. I was lucky enough that my friend Sam (from Blogging with My Mouth Full) was generous enough to gift me the same.

My high school friends and I had a potluck this past weekend, and, as the hostess, I contributed the main dish and a side dish–both of which came from this book. I’ll post the side dish later this week, but it was the main dish that completely blew my mind. First of all, it was easy to make. Easy to assemble, easy to double for a large crowd, easy to do other things like clean your apartment while the chicken bakes. A win for any dinner party.

Second, it was flavor intense. I was both intrigued and wary when I saw that the original recipe featured a combination of grapes and olives. Salt is probably the seasoning that I struggle the most with (isn’t that pathetic?) because everything that I think is too salty, most others find to be not salty enough. What can I say? I’m broken. Leave me alone. As a result, I kind of sort of hate olives. I really want to like them. I try them whenever they are presented to me at Italian restaurants, but I pick them off pizza and never buy them myself. I was also worried that the grapes would be too sweet. Combining the two? Pure genius. The flavors balance each other so well, and the resulting sauce was too perfect for words.

I hope that you give this recipe a try. It might seem a little adventurous but the result is oh-so-worth the risk. Happy eating!

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Buttermilk Chicken Biscuits

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It was FREEZING yesterday.

For those of you living outside of the U.S./not obsessed with American politics, yesterday was kind of a big day. First of all, it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is always a wonderful reminder of how far our country has come and the incredible efforts of people like Dr. King to get us where we are today. On top of that, it was the Inauguration–a.k.a. the one day every four years that D.C. shuts down and really celebrates. There are serious benefits to living in this city.

First of all, the Obamas are awesome. Second of all, Michelle's bangs looked fantastic.

First of all, the Obamas are awesome. Second of all, Michelle’s bangs looked fantastic.

Also, I love Joe. And Jill's boots blew my mind. Total props to her for wearing and walking in those.

Also, I love Joe. And Jill’s boots blew my mind. Total props to her for wearing and walking in those.

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Inaugural Parade from a good friend of mine, so my friends Travis, Christina, Andrew, and I made the quick walk to the White House from the law school around 7.30am in the hopes of getting good seats. Which we did. We also proceeded to freeze for the next 8 hours until the parade finally got underway. What we discovered was that (a) the presence of direct sunlight can instantly improve one’s body temperature, (b) we all need to invest in thicker socks, and (c) the chicken and waffles truck may be the greatest invention known to man. That truck was actually a lifesaver, and it just goes to show how fried chicken can really hit the spot sometimes.

We were super cold. This, however, was before I lost sensation in my toes.

A rare moment of sunshine! This, however, was before Travis and I lost sensation in our toes and wandered off to find the waffle truck.

This past weekend, I made a mini appetizer involving fried chicken for a dinner that I attended. It was a “mini foods” themed potluck, with everyone contributing their favorite bite size foods. There were taquitos, taco-filled pastries, pigs in a blanket, bacon-wrapped poppers, toasty sandwiches, lil smokies, and my little biscuits. While these may seem highly involved, they were actually very easy to make. The marinade is simple and keeps the chicken incredibly tender. Using buttermilk as your base, add your preferred herb (I like thyme) and some spices (in my case, cayenne and garlic). I bet this would taste delicious with a cajun-inspired blend or even with some Mexican seasoning thrown in!

Happy eating!

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Zesty Pork Loin

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So it appears that my meat thermometer is out of whack. I suppose I should just cough up the twenty bucks or so to get a fancy instant read, but I’m being cheap. Don’t worry, I’ll cave before I bake any chickens or make another large piece of meat. In any case, it made making this pork loin a bit more difficult than I would have liked.

Pork is tricky. It’s one of those meats that, if cooked beyond a certain point, can’t really be salvaged–or at least not in my books. While a rare steak can just become a medium to medium-well one, you’ve got a small margin of error for things like pork. So, when I realized my thermometer could not possibly be reading the right temp, I decided it was time to intervene and watch this baby like a hawk. I’ve also never made a pork loin before (bizarre, I know). Apparently, I’m less daunted by a giant turkey than I am by a 1 lb piece of meat. Go figure.

Anyway, the results were well worth my OCD meat-monitoring tendencies. This was flavorful and incredibly tender–even if it was just a teensy bit more cooked than what I was aiming for. Take that, meat thermometer!

So, with that, I’m taking recommendations for meat thermometers. And you should betake yourself to the store and get yourself some pork tenderloin.

Happy eating.

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Individual Turkey Pot Pies

So Turkey Day is officially over. Thanksgiving at my mom’s house is filled with tons of turkey, plenty of sides, and a whole bunch of family. This year, Liz and I took over the cooking in an attempt to give our mom a break (naturally, this resulted in her spending the day cleaning. We fail). I wound up on turkey duty, recreating the Lemony Brined Turkey that has become a staple at the annual law school Friendsgiving, and the two of us split the sides.

Needless to say, like most people, we always wind up with too much leftover turkey. So what’s a girl, who doesn’t really like turkey, to do? After Friendsgiving this year, I decided to give my leftover turkey some new life in the form of mini pot pies that I froze to make a quick meal during the impending exam season.

The recipe for the filling is inspired by the one used by my friend Sarah. If you have time, you should definitely make your own crust. If not, however, the pre-made refrigerated variety works just fine. Hope you all had a great holiday. Happy eating!

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No-Cook Summer Recipes

Prosciutto and Melon Salad, Heirloom Tomato and Peach Salad, Negronis

Summertime is a time for being outside and hanging out with friends and family.  It is not a time for slaving over a hot stove.  Who needs it to be any hotter than it already is?  Luckily, summer is also a time when gardens and farmers’ markets are exploding with great produce that requires little else than a bit of chopping and a dash of salt for eating.

Brandon and I love August, because it means heirloom tomatoes and sweet stone fruits, and last summer, I shared one of our very favorite recipes using just those two ingredients.  This summer, we’ve happened upon another foolproof dish using one of this season’s best ingredients, and to be honest, not one I’ve ever been fond of:  melon.  I’ve always found melon to be cloyingly sweet and unpleasant to eat, but when it’s drizzled in mint-infused balsamic vinegar and wrapped in prosciutto, its deliciousness cannot be denied.

Another score for no-cook summer salads:  they’re easy to pack for picnics and brown bag lunches.  Like Rosemary mentioned in her recipe for wild rice salad, packed lunches can get monotonous, so why not spice them up with an unexpected salad?

Lastly, these recipes are great for brunching and entertaining.  Guests will be surprised that you can pair peaches with tomatoes and ham with melon.  And to really kick it up a notch, serve your salads with an easy, but refreshing summer cocktail, like a Negroni—our unofficial cocktail of summer 2012.  It’s bright red color and citrusy flavor is a great way to get a party started. Continue reading


Wild Rice Salad

So the other externs and I have been operating under the impression that our office does not have a microwave. The copy room, while equipped with a fridge and a toaster, lacks that quintessential kitchen appliance that students and workaholics alike cannot seem to live without. Consequently, we’ve been experimenting with different recipes for salads and learning about the joys of eating cold leftovers (pizza still trumps all other foods in this category). Well, turns out we’re idiots. There’s been a microwave the whole time on the basement level. In any case, I have eaten my fair share of salads over the last few weeks, and, given the descent of the summer heat, I don’t really see myself changing that pattern anytime soon–even with a microwave.

I have a thing for nutty grains. Quinoa, farro, barley–I love their texture in a salad. One grain of which I am particularly fond is wild rice. Nuttier and far healthier than the average white grain, wild rice is high in protein and fiber and low in fat. It makes for a great alternative to pasta in salads as well. As per usual, this salad was the result of using the contents of my fridge/pantry.

So here’s to eating more wholesome grains and staying cool in the blazing heat! Happy eating!

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Carnitas

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It has been a whirlwind, but I made it.  I just turned in my master’s thesis.  I have a job for next year.  Now, I can just enjoy the rest of this school year and relax.  And cook.

A couple years ago, my husband and I took a road trip through the U.S., and some of our favorite moments were spent in the Southwest.  Not only is the Southwest full of some sort of surreal beauty, it is also home to one of my favorite cuisines:  Tex-Mex.  Brandon was sure I would tire of it after a few meals, but after three weeks of tacos, burritos, rellanos, and enchiladas, I just wanted more.

Today’s post is for one of my all-time favorite things:  carnitas a.k.a. “little meats.”  Carnitas are fried pieces of pork, and they’re delicious.  They’re a yummy topper for nachos.  They’re terrific in a burrito.  But best of all, they’re divine in a tiny taco with little else.

Brandon often makes fun of me for “tooting my own horn,” but I just can’t help it with this recipe.  These carnitas are just the best I’ve ever tasted.  They’re sticky, sweet, salty, and rich all at the same time.  They also only require five ingredients (one being water and another being salt).

This recipe is courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, Homesick Texan.  If you haven’t checked it out, don’t hesitate.  If you love Tex-Mex as much as I do, you’ll just want to work your way through each and every recipe.

These carnitas are best left fairly bare.  I topped mine with some pickled onions and jalapenos.  Plus a dash of cilantro.  I wouldn’t serve them any other way.  The “little meats” are so rich, no cheese or sour cream is necessary—something I thought I’d never say. Continue reading


Chicken Noodle Soup

So, once again, I survived finals. I think all of us were just stunned at what a difference being “done” makes. It’s incredibly what finals does to my peers and me. I never feel more neurotic than during finals season. I literally go through Post-it flags/tabs like it’s my job. As our final exams approached, it became increasingly evident that we hadn’t really learned much in a couple of our courses, and it was pretty hilarious to see the level of freakout coupled with the hopelessnes-turned-to-apathy that characterized our study sessions. Whatever it is, exams are over, and I have never been happier to say I am done with the school year! I’ve moved on to my internship–another reason for my absence–which promises to be both interesting and a lot of work. Here’s to a productive summer!

Anyway, DC weather, as usual, was pretty gross throughout the end of the semester. The only thing more depressing than studying for exams has to be studying for exams when it is rainy outside. Makes it doubly depressing. As a result, I found myself craving  soup.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of chicken soup–mostly because I feel like you tend to get a lot of broth, a lot of noodles, and not much else. But my friend Merey has a recipe to die for. It’s incredibly simple and full of flavor. And it’s perfect for blustery, rainy days.

Here’s hoping you find as much comfort in this as I did during exams. Happy eating!

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The Occidental Grill

Boy, do we owe you a lot of blog posts. I swear I have good reasons for being MIA. I’m currently in finals mode, so I’ll be pretty absent until after May 4th. Be forewarned.

Anyway, last week was “Cinderella Week” in the life of Rosemary. Between drinks with the LRW section to celebrate the end of every law student’s (least) favorite class, Diplomatic Ball at the Willard, and Barrister’s Ball (aka Law School Prom) at the Grand Hyatt, very little cooking or studying has gone down. I win the prize for worst 1L that week.

The best part of the weekend, however, was that the best friend was in town. I’d wax poetic about Josh, but I think that would embarrass him. That and I prefer to bombard him with compliments in person. In any case, he was a wonderful date, and I wish he still lived in the District (MAJOR HINT, JOSHUA).

My dashing date and the Willard

Before we went to Dip Ball on Friday night, Josh was generous enough to take me out for a fancy dinner at The Occidental Grill in the Willard. I know, pricey. But damn do they make an excellent steak. The restaurant was founded in 1906 and quickly gained a reputation as one of the most fashionable and credible dining institutions in the District. The place has had its ups-and-downs–including a closing in the 1970s. But, a few rounds of renovation later, it remains one of the most famous restaurants in Washington, D.C. The main dining room boasts a photo gallery of past guests that includes the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and past presidents. The walls practically scream history.

Our meal was delicious and perfectly suited to the elegant atmosphere. The service was wonderful. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about what wine paired well with the meal and about what cocktails would be most refreshing.

We started our meal with cocktails (a strawberry rhubarb sangria for me and a lavender collins for Josh) and calamari–which was garnished with seaweed and served with a slightly sweet chili dipping sauce. While the calamari were delicious, I think Josh and I both agreed that what “made” the dish was the seaweed. It tasted great with the sauce and the texture provided a welcome contrasting bite.

Then, we embarked on steaks. I’m not much of a meat person, but I love a good steak. I went with the classic Filet Mignon served atop some Swiss chard and a portobello mushroom. The vegetables were delicious–though a tad salty for my taste. The steak was perfect. I like might meat on the medium/medium-rare side, and the filet was cooked to perfection. I had a glass of the Carpe Diem Cabernet Savignon–a full-bodied, slightly bitter red–at my waiter’s suggestion.

Josh went with the New York Strip Steak which was MASSIVE and came with onion rings. The onion rings went untouched because this was just a daunting cut of meat. That being said, Josh did pretty well. I was impressed. Sure, it put him in a food coma, but I think it was worth it.

Our side dishes weren’t THAT notable–some basic grilled asparagus and sauteed mushrooms for Josh. We also barely touched them because we grossly underestimated the size of our steaks.

Neither of us finished our meal because we were stuffed and had a ball to attend, but I would definitely return to the Occidental for a special occasion. It’ll be fun to see which of my friends winds up on their walls of fame in a few years 😉


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