Thursday, March 17, 2016

Slow Cooked Short Rib Ragu over Risotto

My friend Stephanie was craving risotto so I pulled out a pot and got to work. The thing I love about risotto is how lovely of a dish it is without a ton of effort. It feels classy. It feels like a date night meal, but honestly it's something you can make on a Wednesday night.

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The ragu is a little less weeknight friendly. I got around this by throwing everything in the crock pot after the third step and cooking the short ribs on low while I was at work. Then I followed the recipe from there. It worked well and filled the house with the best kind of smell.

Would I make this again? So to be completely honest, short rib isn't my favorite cut of meat. But I would definitely make this ragu with a different piece of meat. I'd also love to just add some roasted mushrooms to the ragu and enjoy a hearty meatless dish as well.

Slow Cooked Short Rib Ragu

I used this risotto recipe and just omitted the onions and chicken.

Ingredients:

3-4 pounds short ribs, patted dry and well seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon flour
1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano plum tomatoes, including juice
2 cups red wine
2 cups water
6 sprigs fresh parsley
salt & pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the short ribs and brown on all sides until the outside is nicely caramelized. I had to do this in 3 batches so the pan wouldn't be too crowded. Once browned, remove the ribs from the pot and set aside.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the diced carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for about ten minutes until the vegetables have softened. Add in the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until all of the veggies are coated. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat all of the vegetables. Continue to cook the mixture for another few minutes.

3. Pour in the wine and increase the heat until the pot begins to simmer. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with the spatula to pull up all of the browned bits. Next, add the tomatoes, first squishing each with your hands, and all of the juice from the can. Pour in 2 cups of water and stir. Then add the short ribs back to the pot. Be sure they are completely covered by the liquid. If needed, add more water to ensure they are covered. Toss in the parsley (no need to chop it) and give it all a big stir. Bring the pot to a strong simmer (increase the heat if needed) and then cover it, remove it from the heat and transfer it to the preheated oven. Let it simmer in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until the beef is fork tender. For me it took about 2½ hours - start checking yours at the 2 hour mark.

4. Once the beef is fork tender, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. Using a fine mesh strainer, carefully strain the liquid into a large sauce pot. Press on the solids to extract all of the liquid before discarding them. Shred the short ribs before adding them to the sauce.

5. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium high heat. You want the sauce to thicken and reduce, which will take at least 30 minutes or so. While the sauce is reducing periodically skim the surface to remove the fat.

Serve the ragu on top of mashed potatoes or risotto.

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Source: Girl Gone Gourmet

Monday, February 29, 2016

Gnocchi With Pomodoro Sauce

I was in the mood for something simple and yet elegant. There is something satisfying about cooking yourself a nice dinner on a Sunday night. It just feels right. While this is the perfect dish to share with company because it looks so dang pretty, I enjoyed eating a big bowl of gnocchi nestled in sauce and cheese while I listened to music and read a little. It was perfect in every way.

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Would I make this again? Most definitely. Plus the pomodoro sauce is perfect.

Gnocchi With Pomodoro Sauce

Ingredients:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoons
4 stems fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
4 stems fresh oregano
2 stems fresh rosemary
2 stems fresh basil, plus 2 more stems for garnish
½ yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 28 ounce can DeLallo San Marzano tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
1 16-ounce package DeLallo potato gnocchi
8 ounces cherry size mozzarella balls, cut in half
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Add ¼ cup olive oil to a 10-inch high sided sauté pan or a saucepan over medium heat. Add the parsley, oregano, rosemary and 2 stems of basil and cook for about 5 minutes or until the herbs become crisp.

2. Remove the herbs and discard then add the onion and garlic to the oil, lowering the heat if needed so the onions cook gently and don't brown. Cook until the onions are transparent, about 5-7 minutes, then crush the tomatoes with your hand and add to the pan with juice. Season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat.

3. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the gnocchi. Season generously with kosher salt and cook until the gnocchi float to the top of the boiling water. Drain and then place the gnocchi into the cooked sauce.

4. Top with the halved mozzarella balls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese then drizzle the tops of the gnocchi with the remaining olive oil. Broil for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese melts and the tops become crispy. Garnish with additional basil leaves and serve immediately.

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Source: Foodie Crush

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Bastille

At this point I doubt there is a single person who hasn't heard of Bastille, but I was taken by surprise by their music a few weeks ago. I was feeling depressed and their album started playing on youtube and it really did something to me. I have been listening to it pretty much non stop for a while now.

Sleepsong:



This is probably my favorite Bastille song actually.

Things We Lost In the Fire:



Daniel in the Den:



Flaws:



Oblivion:



Icarus:



This song inspired me to get my Icarus tattoo actually. I had been toying with the idea for a while and this song was the little push I needed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

GNOT: The Cancer of Never Letting Go

“Does it break my heart, of course, every moment of every day, into more pieces than my heart was made of, I never thought of myself as quiet, much less silent, I never thought about things at all, everything changed, the distance that wedged itself between me and my happiness wasn’t the world, it wasn’t the bombs and burning buildings, it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go, is ignorance bliss, I don’t know, but it’s so painful to think, and tell me, what did thinking ever do for me, to what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think, I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.”
                                                                            — Jonathan Safran Foer

I'm Still Alive

I had to take a break from writing. Part of the issue was I felt like I was just giving different words to the same sadness and I found it uninteresting. Also, I felt like this blog was no longer a safe space for me and I needed some time to reflect. To grow. To try and let go.

I’ve learned a lot of things in the last few weeks.

I‘ve reconnected with friends and started doing the things I’ve always liked to do. I’ve been eating at new restaurants and even went to a movie this weekend. I started a few projects around the house and have spent more time with Holden. Whether or not I still wonder if things were supposed to end the way they did, there is no denying that I wasn’t my best self the last few months. Recognizing that I wasn’t with partner who made me feel supported or like I was free to be myself was an important revelation. As much as it may hurt, some people are just not the best people for us. This isn't anyone's personal failing. It's just the way it goes.

So I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to figure out who I want to be and how I want to live. Freedom is a gift. As much as we may turn from it or try to deny it, freedom is an opportunity. Yes, it is often scary. Opportunity for success is also an opportunity for failure. But more than that, it is necessary. Without it there is no chance for growth.

I’ve also rediscovered that there are things I value about being alone. One, I don't have to talk to someone all the time. I didn't realize how draining it was to be in such constant contact with someone. At first it was really hard, but now I value my solace. I appreciate being with myself again in a way that having a lover compromises. I can disappear for days and don’t have to justify it to anyone. I didn’t realize how much I missed that. It’s been a relief if I’m being really honest.

I've been freed from the monotony of someone else's life and I belong deeply to myself again.

So many people are scared of being alone. They jump from person to person and wonder why they never find what they're looking for. I'm not like that. I like being alone. I can be open to meeting new people and experiencing new situations. I can be loud and adventurous and not have to feel guilty about it. I get to remember what it feels like to get excited when I meet someone new. That thrill of finding another soul who somehow connects with mine (it doesn’t always have to be romantic either) and that is not a small thing. I may not know a lot of things, but I know I want to be loved in a way where I still feel free. Instead I found myself settling for a love rooted in dishonesty and insecurity.

I don't want to talk about plans. I want to do things.

When I am honest with myself I can say I don’t want cheesy facebook photos and mediocrity in love. I don't want to wake up one day and realize that my partner feels more like a roommate than a lover and we have only the memories of better days to keep us warm. I want something more than that. I don't want someone who is scared they're too boring. Instead I want someone who is confident and bold and who knows I won't be bored, even while we do boring things. I want someone who inspires me to be more. Someone who challenges me and makes me want to be better. I see now that the life I envision for myself, one of laughter and joy and adventure, isn’t one I was being offered.

And that’s okay.

I won’t pretend I don’t still feel like there’s this big hole in my life, but I am learning how to come to terms with that. I have regained a lot of my self-esteem and I know a person who doesn’t miss me isn’t worth being missed. So I will keep the door of friendship open out of love and respect, but I won’t beg or try to drag someone through it. The bonds we have with people break every day and I refuse to waste another moment mourning a person who would willingly sever that bond.

It’s just not worth it.

So once again I see this long white expanse of the empty page before me. Just as always I will fill those blank pages with color. The color of laughter. Of love. Of hope. And maybe, just maybe, I will find something more wonderful to write about than I ever could have imagined. In a weird way there's a freedom in being hurt so deeply. Because I know, no matter what, that what lies before me is better than what lies behind me. In a way I'm not sure I ever truly understood before.

I’m not really sure where I am going with this. I guess I just wanted to let the one random person who reads this god awful blog know that I am okay. More than that though, I have been given the freedom to be more than okay. And I won’t waste it.