Scott’s 2018 Short Ribs

 

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This is a perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon – serving two or with guests serving four! The short ribs need about 3 hours to cook – so start around 2 PM and you’ll be ready for a great dinner about 5:30 or 6 PM.

The inspiration for this recipe came from chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Obama’s Short Ribs recipe as described in the New York Times – and it’s also in the chef’s Red Rooster Cookbook – The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem.

I’ve made several modifications – basically to make it simpler and easier. I usually try to rework recipes that use amounts of ingredients that result in wasting portions that you might buy in standard size packages. So, I adjusted – and simplified – and the result was great!

[First posted: February 26, 2018]




Ingredients

  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, smashed and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped – or about 1-1/2 tbs of already minced garlic
  • 1 Optional (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel)
  • 3 cups beef broth (2 cups if only 4 ribs)
  • ½ cup plum sauce (¼ cup if only 4 ribs)
  • ½ cup soy sauce (¼ cup if only 4 ribs)
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Season ribs all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add short ribs and brown on all four sides, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
  3. Add mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery), lemongrass, garlic and ginger to the pot. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, until onion softens, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add in wine, beef broth, plum sauce, soy sauce, thyme, parsley and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
  5. Return short ribs to pot, along with any juices, cover and slide pot into oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, about 3 hours.
  6. Transfer meat to a plate. Use a ladle to skim the fat off the top of the braising liquid. Discard bay leaves and thyme stems. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Add short ribs and turn to coat in the sauce; set aside until you’re ready to serve.
  8. Serve short ribs in shallow bowls and top with a spoonful of sauce. Put remaining sauce in a bowl for the table. Enjoy!
  9. Serve with the rest of the red wine – and, likely, a second bottle! If there are leftovers, congratulations – as the ribs are even better warmed up tomorrow!

Scott’s Easy Baked Onions

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Here’s a great side dish to accompany grilled or roasted tri-tip – baked onions. There are a couple of ways to make this dish – one in the oven ahead of grilling the tri-tips on the Weber BBQ, alongside the tri-tips if you roast them in the oven, or ahead of time by cooking the onions in the coals of the BBQ fire.

It couldn’t be simpler – just takes a bit of planning and a bit of time – but it can overlap with cooking the tri-tips if you first start by getting the onions going.

I like to use just plain yellow onions – available everywhere. A rule of thumb might be 1 medium onion per person – but we really like onions so we usually double up the recipe and keep any left over to warm up along with the left over tri-tip later in the week.

To roast the onions in the oven, begin by pre-heating the oven to 425º F. Then, take a baking sheet or glass baking dish with aluminum foil (to ease the cleanup chores) and simply place the onions on the sheet or into the dish. Put them into the oven and wait – about an hour or so. Test to see if they’re done with a knife which should go in easily and come out cleanly. Remove them from the oven and let them cool down so that you can handle them.

To serve, use a knife to cut off the top and, optionally, drop a pat of butter into the onion – seasoning with salt and pepper.

For an alternative technique – cooking the onions in the coals of the BBQ – see this Weber video about “Melted Onions“.

My Favorite Memorial Day BBQ Recipes

Freedom is not Free - Golden Gate National Cemetery - 2009

Hard to believe we’re into Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer! It’s a perfect weekend for firing up the BBQ and doing some grilling! Here are a couple of recipe ideas to tempt your appetite:

For a great side dish to go with the tri-tip, try my recipe for Scott’s Easy Baked Onions – or the Melted Onions actually cooked in the charcoal coals of the BBQ.

Fire up that grill – and have a great holiday weekend!

Scott’s Wintertime Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup

A favorite of mine this time of year is a hearty beef, mushroom and barley soup.

Some might call it a “beef stew” – and they’d be right. But it’s got a lot of liquid – assuming you use all of the liquids called for – yet has the great flavor of a beef stew. We made this for a second time today – using an amalgamation of one of Mark Bittman’s recipes along with a slow cooker recipe from Cooks Illustrated.

Read on for ingredients and directions!

First published: January 5, 2013




Ingredients

  • 1 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs beef chuck roast – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 oz fresh Cremini mushrooms
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz mini carrots
  • 3 yellow onions – chopped
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 8 oz mini carrots
  • 2 oz Penzey’s shallots
  • 2 oz Penzey’s garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Directions

  1. Soak the dried Porcini mushrooms in a cup of hot water.
  2. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the beef – brown for 10-15 minutes. Remove using a slotted spoon. Discard most of the fat remaining.
  3. In a separate pan, brown the mushrooms – first dry and later adding a bit of olive oil.
  4. In the Dutch oven, add the onions, salt and pepper. Add in the tomato paste, carrots, shallots, and garlic. Add in the mushrooms. Add in the porcini mushrooms – and the liquid while being careful to avoid any grit. Saute for 10 mins. Add the red wine. After 10 mins, add the tomatoes, beef broth and chicken broth.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to low – cover the Dutch oven and continue cooking for 1.5-2 hours. Taste the beef for tenderness to determine when ready to serve.
  7. Serve in large soup bowls – perhaps with crusty bread! Enjoy!

What’s for Christmas Dinner? Pork Loin w/Apples!

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Tonight, we’re making a pork loin roast for Christmas dinner – using one of our old favorite recipes tweaked just a bit for this year’s event. (Isn’t recipe tweaking what fun cooking is all about?)

We’re trying dry brining the pork loin for a few hours in advance of cooking. The advocates of dry brining suggest that a day or so is the ideal timing for it – but I didn’t decide to try it until just a few hours before we need to serve dinner! So, it will be an abbreviated version.

To do the dry brining, I covered the pork loin (a 3.3 lb roast this year) with salt and put it into the refrigerator uncovered. When it’s time to cook, I’ll rinse the salt off the roast and then season it with salt, pepper and Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning. From there, it’s back to our original recipe!

This pork loin roast turned out REALLY GREAT! Even though the dry brining was abbreviated, the roast came out great – moist, not dry at all – and a perfect compliment to the apple/cream/mustard topping. To add a bit more complexity to the topping, I also included a couple of rosemary springs and a layer of sliced red onion. This combination added beautiful flavor and complexity to the topping.

We’ve cooked this recipe many times over the years. Today’s treatment makes us want to come back to it again soon. Try it for your family – it’s a huge favorite with ours!

How to Cook: Easy Tri-Tip Roast on the Gas Grill

Here’s a recipe for grilling tri-tip on the gas grill. So simple to do!

Start with a 2 to 3 lb tri-tip roast.

Season ahead of time with lots of kosher salt, lots of ground pepper, and a touch of McCormick’s Montreal steak seasoning

Fire up the gas grill to preheat for 15 minutes. When heated, cook the tri-tip 7 minutes per side over the direct burners followed by 20 minutes with the fatty side up.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes wrapped in foil before slicing against the grain Turned out perfect!

This would be perfect for your 4th of July BBQ!

 

It’s Time for Minimalist Roast Chicken

Roast chicken

It’s starting to feel a bit like fall here in Menlo Park – which always brings to mind cooking roast chicken in the oven. We’re mostly wintertime roast chicken people – not wanting to bother with it during the summer. But as we get into the fall season, and the days cool off, roast chicken comes to mind as one of our weekend dinners.

I recently came across this simple roast chicken recipe from Mark Bittman. Click through for the recipe and also a link to one of his Minimalist videos where he shows the technique.

It’s a really simple recipe. His key breakthrough was discovering that the use of a cast iron skillet for roasting the chicken helped balance having the white/dark meat cooking appropriately. He recommends putting the skillet into the oven when you first turn it on – and use a high heat (he suggests 500 degrees which our oven won’t quite reach!). As the oven warms, the skillet warms up with it – so that when the chicken is put into the skillet to cook, the warm skillet will help the thighs and dark meat cook a bit faster while letting the breast meat cook normally. It’s this orchestrated imbalance that provides the magic to his recipe.

Give it a try for one of your weekend dinners!

Photo by Rosie 55.

Harvest Time Roasted Tomato and Sweet Corn Soup

IMG_1872 (1)At lunch out yesterday at Mike’s Cafe in Portola Valley, the special soup was roasted tomato and corn – and it was really lovely. While it’s not exactly a soup day here today (temps heading into the 90’s), it’s the perfect time for both tomatoes and sweet corn so I decided to give this a whirl. It turns out magnificently – if I do say so myself! Total time to prepare – about an hour and 15 minutes.

Sunday’s are Farmers Market day in Menlo Park so I headed out first thing to pick up the ingredients – basically 3 pounds of tomatoes (mostly San Marizano’s but some yellow plum and others mixed in) and 3 ears of fresh sweet corn. I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pickup a 28 oz can of plum tomatoes – we had everything else at home. The core recipe was inspired by one of the Barefoot Contessa’s.

[First posted: September 26, 2010]




Ingredients

  • 3 lbs mostly plum (San Marizano, Yellow Plum) tomatoes
  • 3 ears sweet corn
  • 28 oz canned plum tomatoes
  • 1 qt organic chicken broth
  • 2 yellow onions – peeled and chopped
  • 3 tsp minced garlic (from jar)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half, mix in large bowl with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper Spread the tomatoes onto a baking sheet – bake for 40-45 minutes.
  2. Using an 8-quart pot, saute the onions and garlic over medium heat with 2 Tbsp olive oil and the butter. Add the red pepper flakes. Stir, cooking about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and the chicken stock. Add the roasted tomatoes and any liquid on the baking sheet. Season with 1 Tbsp dried basis and 1 tsp dried thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
  4. While the soup is simmering, microwave 3 ears of sweet corn wrapped in wax paper on high for 10 minutes. When finishing, use knive to remove corn kernels onto plate. Reserve aside.
  5. When soup has finished simmering, use hand-held blender to mix to coarse consistency. Add in the sweet corn. Serve!

Summertime Tri-Tip on the Weber BBQ

My son and family stopped by this afternoon following today’s Sunset Celebration Weekend and we did just what we did last year – grilled a couple of tri-tips on our Weber charcoal BBQ. Turns out, we did just about the same thing last year! With the unusually wet and cool spring we’ve had in northern California this year, today (in early June) was literally the first time we pulled the cover off the Weber to grill something!

I picked up two plain tri-tips earlier today from Bianchini’s Market in Portola Valley. The first we seasoned with Tom Douglas’ All Purpose Smoky Barbeque Rub – picked up this morning from Tom’s booth at the Sunset event. The second we seasoned with rock salt – with a healthy dose of fresh ground Penzey’s Special Extra Bold™ Black Peppercorns on both. We seasoned the tri-tips about 5 hours before we started grilling and put them back in the ‘frig.

Like last year, I used Lazzari Mesquite Charcoal in my Weber BBQ – it burns hotter than briquets, cooks the meat faster and adds a very nice mesquite cooked flavor to the meat. Once lit in the chimney lighter, spread the coals all to one side of the Weber – that’s going to be the direct heat side.

I seared the roasts over direct heat 5-7 mins per side (to a bit of nice char) and then cooked them on the indirect heat side for another 20-25 minutes until they reached an internal temperature of 130 degrees. Once they’re at that temp, wrap them in foil and let them sit for at least 15 minutes to let the juices re-enter the meat. Then slice thinly across the grain and serve – preferably with an nice accompanying BBQ sauce. I had also picked up a jar of Tom Douglas’ Ancho & Molasses Barbecue Sauce this morning at Sunset – and it was a perfect accompaniment to the tri-tip!

We also grilled some veggies to accompany the roasts – including corn on the cob, onions, baby bok choy, zucchini and bell pepper. We cooked the veggies mostly over direct heat – taking care not to let them burn – while the tri-tips were cooking on the other indirect heat side of the grill.

A great meal and first time BBQ of the season!

Scott’s Perfect Charcoal BBQ Thick Cut Pork Chops

We love our Weber – an early model of the Performa. A while back we had this fancy indirect heating gas grill – but it just didn’t provide much flavor for BBQing so we gave it away and bought the Weber over 10 years ago. It’s been our regular fire ever since – IMHO nothing beats a hot charcoal fire for the best flavor.

On one of our morning walks last week, friend Chris Gulker550 degrees) on the Performa’s built-in thermometer. Then, it’s time to sear the chops.

I seared them about 2 minutes on each side directly over the hottest part of the fire. After that, I moved them over to the indirect heat side of the Weber and cooked them for another 6 minutes without turning. By that time, the internal temperature was about 135 degrees. I removed them from the fire, covered them with foil and let them sit another 6-8 minutes during which the internal temperature continued to rise to over 145 degrees. At that point, they were ready to serve.

We cooked some sauerkraut with bacon and BBQ sauce in a skillet on the stove and served that with the chops along with some more of that tasty BBQ sauce. What a treat! – a very nice and relatively low cost Sunday BBQ. Served with a little summer rose wine, it was just delicious!