Category Archives: Beef

Braised Short Ribs

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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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 ūüėČ

Beef, Cheddar, and Stout Pie

Last weekend, Rosemary and I must have been on the same wavelength. She made boeuf bourguignon, and I made another stewed beef recipe.  The difference?  I used beer and cheese, and I tucked it into a puff pastry shell. Both recipes are hearty and terrific for a cold night in.  It is the time of year for comfort food.

This dinner was actually requested by my husband, Brandon: ¬†“Why don’t we have some sort of meat pie tonight?” ¬†That was all he needed to say. ¬†I had seen a Jamie At Home episode where the ever-adorable Jamie Oliver made this fantastic looking English beef pie with stout. ¬†And if that‚ÄĒcovered in puff pastry and described in his all-too-cute British accent‚ÄĒdidn’t sound good enough, he also threw in some sharp English cheddar! ¬†I mean, give me a break. ¬†How could this not be good?

Well, it is good. ¬†Actually, it’s beyond good. ¬†I had no idea that a beef pie could taste as complex and rich as this. ¬†The beef‚ÄĒwe used brisket‚ÄĒcooks down with stout and some veggies for two and a half hours. ¬†It goes from a mostly-liquid mess to a dark, thick almost-gravy. ¬†Then, you stir in some cheddar to thicken it further and pour it into a prepared puff pastry pie shell. ¬†After topping it with a puff pastry lid, you bake it for another 45 minutes, until the pie is puffed, golden, and beautiful. ¬†Num.

The craziest part? ¬†When you slice into this pie, it stands right up‚ÄĒno pooling between slices. ¬†The filling is sturdy and oh-so-rich. ¬†I was really hungry before sitting down to dinner, but could only eat one slice. Brandon, however, ate half the pie in one sitting (and, soon after, laid down and fell asleep)‚ÄĒso abilities to withstand richness can differ. ¬†This is why I list the yield at six to eight servings. ¬†If you love rich food, and so do your friends and family, you may only get six (or, perhaps, four) slices out of this delightful pie. ¬†However, if you are like me, you might be able to divvy it up into eight servings. ¬†And, if you’re like Brandon, you might as well just cut the pie in two . . . and make sure you have a pillow close by.

Don’t be afraid of the lengthy cook time. ¬†In all actuality, the cook time is your friend. ¬†This dish takes all but 15 minutes to prepare, and then, you just let it cook. ¬†Cook. ¬†Stir. ¬†Cook. ¬†Stir. ¬†Place filling in pie. ¬†Cook. ¬†Eat. ¬†This pie uses a delicious all-butter, prepared puff pastry crust, so no cutting butter into flour is required. ¬†Just throw it all in a pot, sit down with a glass of wine (or stout), wait, and enjoy! Continue reading

Boeuf Bourguignon

December is upon is. It seems as though D.C. weather finally took the hint, as temps dropped drastically this past week–going from 60-degree days to the 40s. Not that I’m complaining– I like winter to be cold. After all, it provides a perfect excuse to test a whole bunch of soup recipes and serves as a happy reminder that Christmas and, hopefully, a few snowflakes are just around the corner.¬†The problem with December, however, is that it also brings final exams. In other words, I am going on a wee bit of a blogging hiatus. Don’t worry–Megan and Liz are still around, and I’ll be back with holiday cookie recipes galore after Dec. 17th.

As an apology gift, I give you this recipe for a delicious boeuf bourguignon. For those of you who know a thing or two about Julia Child, this was pretty much her dish. I’ve yet to tackle her recipe, but I did eat a great version of this dish when visiting Paris and have loved it ever since. It pretty much meets my requirement for a hearty stew, and it’s full of well-developed earthy flavors.

This recipe is simpler than Julia’s (which you can find here), but it’s pretty damn good. Most of the basics are the same. It’s just scaled down for a weeknight meal. The best part (other than how it tastes) is how wonderful your apartment will smell while it cooks. Nothing motivates a law student to outline Contracts like the smell of beef stew in the oven (well, minus the promise of more wine).

This is by no means a “quick-cooking” recipe, but it is easy to put together and to throw in the oven. Go do laundry, read a book, or wrap some presents while this cooks. It is totally worth it.

Happy Eating ūüôā

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