Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Foodiness

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31-recipe challenge Day 19: Oscars and short ribs

What better, swankier dish to serve on Oscars Sunday than red-wine braised short ribs? There isn’t one, really.

These braised short ribs, courtesy of Diane, A Broad (love the blog name!) might be hands-down one of the best things I have ever cooked, ever. After just three hours in the oven, these were the richest, most fall-apart ribs I’ve ever had. (Enough so that two days post-surgery I was even able to eat them!). They seem scary and complicated and oh-so-fancy, but really it’s just a lot of throwing stuff in a pot and letting it go.

short ribs 1

There are several steps, between searing, slow-roasting, separating and reducing, but no one step is particularly intimidating on its own. It’s the sum of its parts that’s so seemingly overwhelming, really, but once you break it down you realize it’s really not all that bad. It’s downright doable! And I would totally do this again.

Also, I’m not sure I’ll ever eat a cooked carrot that’s not braised in red wine again. Even the carrots were melt-in-your-mouth.

I served these over some instant polenta, much like Diane, though I pumped mine up with pecorino romano and little light cream. Add a ton of chives and more sauce and dig in and don’t look back. Thank me later.

Despite the fact that I’m going home to cook dinner tonight (duh), all I want to do right now is eat leftover short ribs straight out of the fridge. Short rib appetizer, anyone?

short ribs 2

Short ribs, Seth MacFarlane, Les Miserables…it’s like everything I love just came together to make me the happiest girl in the world. Add in Jennifer Lawrence being adorable as ever while winning Best Actress (and HOW sweet was it when both Hugh Jackman AND Bradley Cooper ran up to help her when she fell?? Such gentlemen!) and it was a pretty great Sunday. The only thing that would’ve made it better would have been a big glass of the malbec I used to braise the ribs. Curse you, amoxycillin! I thought we were over.

 

What have I gotten myself into?

So, between the time I announced my 31-recipe challenge and now, I’ve started actually reading the recipes in full (probably something I should have done BEFORE taking this on), and all I can think right now is, “What have I gotten myself into?

You see, just looking over the list and the pretty, seductive, inviting pictures, I was lulled into a false sense of security–if they can make that, I can make that. What I don’t take into account is “they” probably have a full size kitchen stocked with all the right tools, a huge island, double ovens, six burners and some blue birds to pull the cookies out the oven. I have an apartment kitchen with a tiny counter, tiny oven, drawers filled with an assortment of maybe-the-right-tool and a dog running around. I’m like Julie Powell without the gimlets or the book deal.

Not to mention, while I realize there will be a great time investment involved, I hadn’t fully taken into account the monetary investment–short ribs, whole duck, FIVE POUNDS of duck fat??? (I’m looking at you, duck confit) Those are not exactly budget ingredients. Thankfully I can pretty much subside on Greek yogurt and apples otherwise, because, as you may or may not know, I don’t exactly rake it in.

My only real solace right now is that my experiment starts promptly on February 1, which is promptly two days before Super Bowl, for which Kevin is having a party. For which I more or less demanded that I make at least two things off my list. So hopefully that can help get the ball rolling. (And no, I’m not making duck confit for Super Bowl Sunday. I know you’re all wondering.) And Kevin. Kevin loves to cook too, and he’s great at prep, so knowing I have an extra set of hands in all this is a  relief. Plus, I have a month of opportunities to wear my cute new apron.

I still have about a week to peel myself off the ceiling and bring my heart rate back down to semi-human levels before I dive head-first into what may either be one of the coolest or one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done (or both.) In the meantime, I have to refocus, avert my attention to the play I’m in this weekend (closing weekend), and BREATHE. Breathe…breathe…again…

I’m getting there. If nothing else, keep checking back in to watch my month-long journey toward mental breakdown. It should be fun, and definitely tasty!

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