Friday, September 10, 2010

Braised Prime Beef Short Ribs with Root Vegetables and Sauteed Bone Marrow

Well, hello there! Yes, I realize it has been months and months since my last update, and I'm so very sorry for the delay. Hopefully I will be able to update a bit more frequently now!!

Today's post is actually a dish that I made back in February... but it has taken me this long to get it online. Hope you enjoy...


I love short ribs. In a major way. Decadent and rich, they are THE perfect winter meal, especially after walking around in freezing ass NYC all day long. Most of the short ribs I have made in the past have been total comfort food. Richly sauced and served with risotto or polenta - it doesn't get much more satisfying than that. That's why, when looking through the FL cookbook, I decided that this was a dish that I HAD to make. ASAP.

Keller's version is, not surprisingly, a much more complex and refined dish than any other short ribs I have ever eaten. It started with an easy but dangerous marinade... hey, gotta live on the edge right?

First, I chopped up some carrots, leeks, onions and garlic, and put them into a pot with thyme, parsley, a bay leaf, and a BOTTLE of wine (my kind of recipe):

Then, I brought said liquid to a boil and LIT IT ON FIRE:

After almost singeing off my eyebrows, I had a delicious red wine marinade, minus the alcohol. My short ribs went into a bowl to take a marinade bath overnight:

Also the day before... I had to deal with the marrow bones, which I had the butcher cut into pieces for me. I order to remove the marrow from the bones, they required soaking in ice water for 24 hours. The catch is, that the water had to be changed every 6-8 hours to avoid the blood from the bones spoiling the marrow itself! EW. Here's what it looked like:


First, I removed the meat from the marinade, strained the marinade, and reserved the vegetables, and simmered the liquid separately to clarify it.

Then, I heated canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. I seasoned the meat well and dusted it with flour, then browned it in the oil until it looked like this:

I poured off a bit of the excess oil and then sauteed the reserved vegetables until they began to caramelize. Then, I put the meat in a large pot, and covered it with the sauteed vegetables, reserved marinade, veal and chicken stock. The pot went into the oven for 4 hours with a parchment lid at 275 degrees.

While the meat was cooking a cut and blanched my vegetables:

Then, when the meat finished, I removed it from the pot and it looked like this:

MMMM nice and tender.

I strained the braising liquid several times through a chinois until the chinois remained clean, then reserved 1/3 of the liquid to the side, and put the rest in a small saucepan to reduce to sauce consistency.

I cut the meat into even pieces, and placed them in a pan over medium heat until they were golden brown on all sides. Then, I moved them to another pot, where I covered them in the reserved braising liquid, keeping them warm until they were ready to be served.

Then, I added the vegetables to the small saucepan with the reduced sauce, heating them gently to warm.

While they were warming, it was time to work with the bone marrow. First, i drained and dried the pieces and trimmed them to create a flat surface on either side. Then, I salted and floured them, and fried them in canola oil over medium heat. The trick here was.. if the oil is too hot, the flour burns before the marrow crisps... if it is too cold, the marrow melts. TRICKY! But I think I got it. Unfortunately, I had to work too quickly to take a picture of the whole process.

Last step was plating. Vegetables and sauce, followed by short rib, and a piece of bone marrow on top. Sprinkle with gray salt and chopped chives and VOILA:

This was a great recipe, and definitely worth the effort if you are looking for something besides rustic, homestyle short ribs. The bone marrow was an added decadence. YUM.

Oh, and by the way, my pictures still suck. Sheesh.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Signing!

I was fortunate enough last weekend to actually meet the man himself! A great bookstore in my neighborhood, Book Court, was somehow able to get Thomas Keller to come and sign copies of his newest cookbook, ad hoc at home. Jordan and I met up with our good friends Jen and Eli about 45 minutes before the signing was to begin, and we were lucky enough to get seats! 15 minutes before start time, there were at least 100 people in the space just trying to get a glimpse.

Chef Keller spoke for about an hour about his book, his influences and his career - it was a fantastic look into his crazy life as a cook-turned-celebrity chef. Here's a few pics of the event:

Yes, I know my iPhone takes terrible pics. What can I say?

And now the obligatory (per Jordan) photo of me and Chef Keller. Quite possibly the worst picture of me ever taken... no comments please:

Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Sage Cream, Brown Butter and Proscuitto

Well, hello there!! I know, I lied about when my next post was going to go up.. please forgive me? Pretty, pretty please?

I promise it was worth the wait!

I made the dish for today's post back in the first week of December, when I started my new job at BWE, the greatest wine store on earth. I cooked dinner for 12 people that night and surprisingly remembered to take pictures of pretty much everything. My journey for this dish began the day before the dinner party, when I made the pasta dough.

I'd like to start out by saying that this was, by far, the EASIEST pasta dough that I have ever made and/or worked with. I've tried countless recipes from some of the most famous Italian chefs, and never has it worked this well. Leave it to a French-trained chef to finally whip me into shape.

The recipe begins, like all others, by using the "well method," making a ring of flour and filling the middle with eggs, olive oil and a bit of milk. Here's a pic:

Then, you gradually incorporated the flour into the ingredients in the center, very slowly to avoid clumping, until it looks like this:

Then, the needing begins. And goes. And goes. And goes. Until you pretty much have a sprained wrist (no comments please) and the dough looks like this:

I put my dough in the fridge to rest and made the filling next. First, I roasted some sweet potatoes in the oven until they were tender. While they were roasting, I chopped some pancetta:

And sauteed it until the fat was rendered, draining it after on paper towels. Once the potatoes were done, I scraped out the flesh and put it in a pot, adding the pancetta, butter and a bit of nutmeg. Easiest part of the day! Here's the filling:

Now it was time to roll out the dough on my pasta machine. It's a pretty easy process once you get the hang of it. This is what it looked like after the final roll through the second-thinnest setting:

Then, I piped a line of filling down one side of the dough:

Folded the dough over and formed the pasta, cutting the individual pasta with a crimped cutter:

Don't they look cute??? Like little pillows :)

Those bad boys went into the freezer with a bit of cornmeal so that they would be ready to travel up to Williamsburg the next day!

****THE NEXT DAY! (dun, dun duuuuuun!!!)****

The first step once I finished carrying my entire kitchen to Caroline's house was to deep fry the sage for the final presentation. This was very easy and basically just involved some canola oil and frying the sage until crispy:

Then, I made the sage cream sauce by first blanching some more sage leaves, and then adding them in the blender to a heated mixture of creme fraiche and beurre monte. The resulting sauce, once put back in a pan, looked like this:

While my pasta was cooking:

I sliced up some proscuitto di parma:

And made my brown butter by cooking the butter until it was light brown and smelling deliciously nutty (sorry I forgot a picture!!). Then, I tossed the pasta with the sage cream and plated the dish (pasta, then proscuitto, then fried sage and drizzled with the brown butter). It looked beautiful!

And it tasted soooo good!! It was very rich and delicious with so many different textures and just wow. Totally worth the work - I don't think I ever want to eat boxed pasta again.

Next time, another agnolotti dish - just as delicious, not quite as pretty (you'll see!).

PS - Thanks to Ruth for showing me how to use my camera!! You can definitely see the improvements in my pictures as this post goes along.. how lame am I?

PPS - If you are reading... please let me know!! Don't make me beg.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Well, shoot. It has been WAY too long since my last post, and I swear I haven't given up on this project. I actually started a new job after Thanksgiving, and between that and the holidays I have had zero time to update. I've got a new post from December that I will be putting up on Thursday! YAY! From there, I will try to update more often again.

Shout out to my people over at The Brooklyn Wine Exchange!! If you are around the neighborhood... stop by! ....

Til next time...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lemon Sabayon-Pine Nut Tart with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream

Sorry for the long delay with this post. I actually made this tart last week, but things have been so crazy with our cute ass foster puppy that I haven't had a chance to write about it!! Good news - my mom is actually adopting him and he will be going home for Thanksgiving! YAY!

I also just had the final exam for my wine class and I'm waiting on the results... don't want to jinx myself but I'm pretty sure I rocked it!

Back to the important stuff - FOOD..... DESSERT.

This was my first attempt at a FL dessert... I chose it because it looked like one of the simpler recipes. I've made both a tart shell and a sabayon before, so it wasn't too intimidating. For anyone that is wondering what "sabayon" is... here is a quickie (hehe I said quickie) definition:

Sabayon (or Zabaglione) is a dessert made with egg yolks, sugar, and some kind of flavoring liquid (such as sweet wine or in this case, fresh lemon juice). The end result is a very light custard, which has been whipped to incorporate a large amount of air.

Got it? Great! Moving on....

The first step in making this dessert was to make the tart shell. This shell was a bit different from others that I've made in that it incorporated pine nuts with the flour and other ingredients. First, my pine nuts went into the food processor:

I pulsed them a few times and then put them into my big KitchenAid mixer bowl, to which I added sugar and flour and mixed briefly with the paddle attachment. Then, I added some butter (at room temp), an egg and vanilla extract...

... and mixed to incorporate into a large dough ball:

This was obviously wayyyy too much dough for one tart, so I divided it into three equal parts, reserving two in the freezer for future use, and putting one in the refrigerator to chill.

Then, I buttered and floured my fluted tart pan (with a removable bottom):

...and gently pressed my chilled tart dough into the pan:

This went into the oven to pre-bake, since my sabayon was not going to actually bake in the oven. While it was turning a perfect golden brown, it was time to make the sabayon.

First, I created a double boiler by bringing a small amount of water to a boil in a pot and placing a mixing bowl with a slightly larger diameter over the top. To this bowl I added the eggs and sugar and whisked:

After the eggs were foamy, I added my freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/3 at a time, while whisking vigorously to create the custard. The end result looked like this:

... and in the shell:

The final step was to put the tart under the broiler and rotate it to brown the top. After almost giving myself third degree burns, the tart came out looking like this:

While it was cooling to room temperature, I made the mascarpone cream by whipping together a combination of heavy cream, honey and mascarpone. This is served on the side:

A great first dessert (and another really crappy last picture WTF??)... this was relatively easy to put together and I would absolutely make it again. I served it to my boyfriend (who loves everything I make) and my friend Kelly (who is always down to at least try my experiments) and they both came back for seconds!! Yum.

Specialty Bakeware - A Cook's Companion, Brooklyn, NY
Grocery and Dairy - Trader Joe's, Brooklyn, NY

Monday, November 9, 2009

Staff Meal Lasagne

Some of you may think that this post is a cop-out because it isn't exactly French Laundry food... however, staff meal is an extremely important part of restaurant culture.... I believe that you can tell a lot about a restaurant by what they feed their staff. At the last restaurant(s) I worked at, we were treated to some pretty great food on a daily basis, and it was easy to see that it was much appreciated by all.

That being said... I thought it was important to make this dish, because I was interested to see the kind of food that Thomas Keller feeds to the (pretty amazing) staff at his acclaimed restaurant. I have made my own version of lasagne tons of times and really don't need any instruction (if I do say so myself :)), but I stuck to the recipe from the book this time around.

First, I chopped up some onions and garlic:

and peeled and diced up a bunch of tomatoes:

Then, I sauteed the onion and garlic in some olive oil until soft and just translucent, and added in the tomato paste, cooking until the mixture turned a vibrant orange color:

Well, my camera skills need some work, but I promise it was orange :)

I added in the tomatoes and cooked the sauce gently for 2 hours on the stove top, stirring frequently to avoid scorching the tomatoes on the bottom of the pot. This was necessary since I used chopped tomatoes only with no juice (as you would have when using canned tomatoes). After it was done cooking, I removed the sauce from the heat, added some chopped oregano, salt and pepper, and put it aside to cool to room temperature. The resulting sauce was thick and somewhat chunky... it looked like this:

While the sauce was cooling, I boiled the lasagne noodles and made the mixture for the filling. The filling consisted of ricotta cheese, eggs, chopped parsley, salt and pepper:

Now it was time to build the lasagne. First sauce:



And repeat!

To finish, I topped off a final layer of noodles with the remaining sauce and sprinkled it with some seasoned grated mozzarella cheese. Before it went in the oven it looked like this:

After 45 minutes in a toasty oven, the lasagne was bubbling and ready:

One slice on the plate....

Mmmmmm... definitely a good lasagne. The sauce and the filling were flavorful and well-seasoned, and it was light while still filling me up! I have to admit, I did miss the little mini meatballs and definitely the parmigiano cheese, but this is a good, simple lasagne recipe.

Coming up next, something sweet (I promise this time!)...

Comments make my day :)

All Grocery and Produce - Met Foods, Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spotted Skate Wing with Braised Red Cabbage and Mustard Sauce

Another day, another recipe.

Today I made Spotted Skate Wing with Braised Red Cabbage and Mustard Sauce.

What is a skate you ask? Well... it is a strange little fish that honestly doesn't look that appetizing at first glance:
Mmmmmm doesn't that look delicious?


To be honest, I wasn't a fan of this funny looking creature until semi-recently, but now that I've been converted, I am in love. It is a very forgiving fish to cook and it does not taste even remotely "fishy."

So... getting started.

My first task of the day was to prepare the braised cabbage, because it needed to go into the oven to cook for 3 hours. Nothing is ever easy is it?

First, I trimmed the ribs from my red cabbage and then sliced it into a chiffonade. I put it all in a bowl and added some red wine, tossing to coat:

The mixture went into the fridge to marinate for a few hours. Then, I melted some butter in a saucepan and added the cabbage and the wine, as well as some grated apple and veal stock. The pan went into the oven for two hours and when it came out looked like this:

Then, I added some grated russet potato and wildflower honey and returned the pan to the oven for another 45 minutes. The finished product looked like this:

Creamy and smooth - just needed a touch of salt and pepper.

Next, I started the mustard sauce. First, I chopped up some leeks, mushrooms and carrots:

Then, I sauteed them in some canola oil until they were just browned, and added some veal stock:

This simmered down for about 5 minutes to create a glace (basically a sauce that is the base for another sauce). Then, I added a whole bunch of butter one piece at a time to the glace until I had a thick sauce. The sauce went through a chinois and back into the pot:

You can see in this photo that my sauce was starting to break... so annoying. But I fixed it by adding just a little bit of water and bringing it back to a simmer while whisking! To the butter mixture I added dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, some brunoise and chopped chives. I kept the sauce warm on the stove while I started the final step.

Cooking the fish was relatively easy. I first dusted both pieces with flour and seasoned them with salt. Then, I cooked them in a pan of fully heated canola oil for about 2 minutes on the first side...

And another minute on the second side, while continuing to baste the tops of the skate with the hot oil to add more color.

Time to plate! First the sauce, then the braised cabbage, and finally a piece of skate. Here's the finished product:

The fish was flaky, but not at all dry and had a really nice crisp on the outside. The sauce was, of course, fantastic because it was loaded with butter... :) For anyone skeptical about skate-- once you try this dish, you'll be a skate-lover forever.

If you have read this far, I beg of you to leave me a comment! Pretty pretty please?

Up Next: Something sweet!

Specialty Cookware: A Cook's Companion, Brooklyn, NY
Seafood: Fish Tales, Brooklyn, NY
Grocery Items and Produce: MET Foods, Brooklyn, NY