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.
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!
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.
For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a bit of a wine connoisseur. Now I am FAR from being an expert, but I do like a nice glass of wine.
a glass of Veritas’s grüner veltliner–I highly recommend it