Tag Archives: Celery

Saturday Dinner: Chocolate Stout Braised Short Ribs

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Cold weather is settling in, so we turn our hymnals to those slow-cooked, warm-you-from-the-inside-out recipes that fuel us during the fall and winter. The type of recipe that you start at 1 or 2 p.m. and let roll until 5 or 6 p.m. The type of recipe that involves braising. The first thing I toss in the braising pan each fall are short ribs, simply because they are so good and so easy to make. Sear them, cook the veg, toss in some liquid and move to the oven for the afternoon.

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The problem is that I like my short ribs with bones. The bone’s marrow adds a lot of flavor and richness to sauce and they are typically cheaper than the boneless variety. Yes, you spend more money to get the quantity of meat you want, but it’s worth it for the flavor. According to the moustached man in the Wegmans Fairmount meat department, they stopped getting short ribs with bones weeks ago. While grocers charge more for the boneless variety, Mr. Moustache told me that wholesalers can get more for the bone-in variety from restaurants, who like the bone for presentation purposes. So, instead of $7.49/lb., I was left with $9.99/lb. for meat that was once considered a throwaway cut of beef.

“I remember when we used to just grind short ribs for hamburger,” said Mr. Moustache. “Some joker went on TV, made them famous, and now we charge $10 a pound.”

He’s absolutely right.

Continue reading Saturday Dinner: Chocolate Stout Braised Short Ribs


Meatless Monday: Brothy, Garlicky Beans

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Convenience. It’s typically why I don’t use dry beans, going for the canned variety instead. While I plan dinners ahead of time each week, I rarely decide a given evening’s more than a few hours in advance. Soaking beans overnight requires more planning than the average Al Dente meal receives.

So, canned it is. Except when it isn’t. One of the things that stood out to me in Merrill Stubbs’ recipe at Food52 was the rapid soak-and-cook method of handling the beans. It worked…sort of.

I was a little disappointed that the beans weren’t softer, even after soaking them before boiling. In total, I soaked the beans for two hours, boiled them then let them sit for another hour. They were still a little too hard.  Continue reading Meatless Monday: Brothy, Garlicky Beans

Eat The Freezer/Meatless Monday: Kale and white bean stew

NOTE: Remember when The Cosby Show or The Golden Girls would run a clip show? Welcome to my version of a clip show. Eat The Freezer is where we work through the frozen leftovers in my basement freezer.

NOTE II: The quart in the freezer was a little low on liquid, so I added a can of vegetable broth to bulk it up.

This is getting annoying.

For the second straight meal, I’ve made a stew that didn’t thicken. (Side note: I know, for all of the things I could complain about and things that could be wrong, I’m complaining about a stew that will not thicken.) Saturday’s chicken and biscuits came out soupy, as did tonight’s.

Now, I didn’t mind that this came out more like greens and beans and less like a bean stew. I guess I was just a little disappointed, again, in Bon Appetit for tossing out another recipe that came up just a little short.

WHAT WORKED: The ingredients themselves made for a nice combination and a hearty soup.

WHAT DIDN’T: It needed salt. Desperately.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “It’s missing something. I’m not sure what it is, but it needs something.” SALT! It’s missing salt, woman!

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: It certainly will, thanks to the leftover quart in my freezer. Continue reading Eat The Freezer/Meatless Monday: Kale and white bean stew

Meatless Monday: Vegetable-bean soup

IMG_0933No big explanation here. Meatless Monday means meatless soup. This edition is courtesy of Martha Stewart. I don’t have any particular opinions about Martha. Her magazine was beautifully designed. I’m not sure why she gained fame, but whatever. Good on her, I guess. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Vegetable-bean soup

Saturday dinner: Chicken and biscuits

Entertaining a group is a challenge, in a good way. Entertaining a group that has children involved is just a challenge.

I use the opportunity of having friends over for dinner to try something new. Try something new, pull out some stops, and leave ’em wanting more, right? The problem is that one can’t get particularly crazy when kids are involved. You still have to stay pretty vanilla to keep their attention.

Saturday night brought friends to the house, including two single-digit aged boys. Now, since The Kid exists solely on breakfast food, I don’t worry too much about her. Our friends’ sons are less picky about the food they eat, but I did not want to do anything to scare them away from the table.

Autumn brings the clarion call for comfort food. A stew sounded good, but I wanted something more. The best chicken and biscuits I’ve ever had is served on a regular basis at Jake Hafner’s in North Syracuse. I figured the chicken stew would be easy and that I would just pick up some biscuits during Saturday’s trip to the farmer’s market.

Wrong. Continue reading Saturday dinner: Chicken and biscuits

Al Dente on the Side: Chickpea salad

WHAT WORKED: Symeon’s Greek spice. I know it’s nothing more than paprika, salt and herbs, but this stuff can go on anything. If I could order this stuff by the barrel, I would.

WHAT DIDN’T: The feta. Either feta is extremely popular at my Wegmans or stocking the cooler is really difficult. Either way, my choices were brined feta (no way) or the bland Israeli feta that I used. All I want is basic smell-like-your-feet feta cheese. Sadly, I got flavorless white crumbles.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely. With the right feta, The Wife might eat it straight from the bowl. Continue reading Al Dente on the Side: Chickpea salad

Al Dente on the Side: Celery, apple and fennel slaw

We’re spending a lot of time around here telling the two-year-old what’s safe and what is not. Now, you know and I know that a just-honed JA Henckels Professional S 7-inch santoku knife fits into the category of “sharp” and “dangerous.” Does that mean I’m careful?

Absolutely not.

Just as Fernando Torres put Spain up 3-0 against Ireland in today’s UEFA Eurpoean Football Championships, I looked up. Ian Darke, ESPN’s play-by-play voice for the match, was getting loud and excited as Torres broke for the goal. I glanced upwards mid-chop and…took off a chunk of fingernail. Continue reading Al Dente on the Side: Celery, apple and fennel slaw

MYO: Dry Rub

One of these days I’m going to Memphis to bow down at the altar that is the Rendezvous. I will ignore every word ever said to me by a doctor and The Wife, plunk down a credit card and eat everything in site. Until then, I offer their dry rub recipe.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Barbeque Dry Rub

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp celery seed
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chile powder

Combine all ingredients. Makes enough for 12 pounds of ribs. Will store for months if kept in airtight container.