kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 31, 2011

Short Ribs: Thank You, Barefoot Contessa

Happy Halloween!  The weather here (yes, even in Hawaii) is definitely turning cooler.  This is when I change the bedding and re-think menus.  Cold weather foods are definitely what I'm wanting to eat now, especially since we've had illness in our house recently (cold virus, walking pneumonia).  Knock on wood, I have yet to get sick this season, and I hope the pain I endured with a flu shot this week (thank you, KTA pharmacy) will hold off the seasonal bug for me.  Moving past the gai jow (Chinese ginger chicken soup guaranteed to make you feel better), I'm going to be looking at hearty fare to get us through these cooler months.

The local supermarket, KTA (yes, they have a pharmacy too, did I mention that?), sells boneless short ribs that are marinated in a variety of sauces.  They are sold by-the-pound, with the intention that buyers will appreciate the convenience of having them ready-to-grill.  I have never enjoyed buying these ribs, and I've always felt they were inferior to the 3-bone short ribs.  But thanks to Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), boneless short ribs have been redeemed with this recipe.

Although included in her book, "Barefoot Contessa Family Style", this recipe actually came from Scott Bieber, a chef at a well-known Manhattan restaurant.  Scott's Short Ribs can also be found on the Food Network website.  Unfortunately, there are no pictures in the book of this recipe.

I'm always a little unsure of what "short ribs" mean to people outside of Hawaii.  In Hawaii, what we normally call short ribs are usually flat pieces of meat, about 1/2" thick, with 3 oval bones in a row at the top.  Its the cut of beef normally used for kal bi.  Outside of Hawaii, I've heard the terms "English cut" and "flanken style" used to denote specific cuts of short ribs.  I believe the kal bi cut is called "flanken style".  Boneless short ribs are  likely taken from thicker flanken style pieces where the top bones have been removed.  But we all know the meat tastes better when the bones are attached.
fennel lends an anise-like smell to the mirepoix
Don't be alarmed at the amount of wine called for in the recipe.  The alcohol burns off, and the end result is far from wine-y.  I used a very inexpensive cabernet (Rex Goliath from Target, on sale for under $6).  I actually made this ahead of time and reheated it a few days later.  I ended up serving this with mashed potatoes, and it was fabulous.
 This part is for the relatives who always ask me what kinds of treats the Ds passed out this year. . .I was lazy and took the path of least resistance.  D2 took mini bags of popcorn to distribute to her classmates.  D1 took a variety of candy, including Sees Candy Lollipops.  Earlier this month, D2 and I did do the traditional sugar cookie w/icing, but I decided not to post pics because I mistakenly bought purple gel food coloring instead of black.  Ever the trooper, D2 began to decorate the bat cookies, but she handed over the job when her ride arrived.  When she got home, she was somewhat less-than-impressed with the job The Help and I had done to finish the cookies, especially the bat ones (I'm not saying who finished the bat cookies).  Next year, our cats and bats will be black instead of pastel purple, and D2 will make sure she is around to do the decorating herself.

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