July 25, 2010


is almost an IDIOT proof technique for deliciously tender meat. But the catch? Braising correctly. The ratio of liquid versus meat versus seasoning/spice and the timing is crucial to the success of the final product (as is all cooking). However, when you make the investment of spending hours to sweat out a pot of meat, you're hoping your end product profits and your belly is rewarded.

Our braise of choice was short ribs beginning with grocery shopping at the local Whole Foods. The short ribs recipe I had in mind is very reminiscent of one of my favorite dishes at Jean-Georges. At JG, we served a lusciously glazed short rib with rich, beef jus and apple-jalapeno puree. Instead of replicating the dish, I asked CC what compliments he'd enjoy with a heavy, soy sauce-based beef. I said "acid." He said "pickled" and "daikon." That's what we went with.

The pickled daikon and thyme crumbs have no recipes. Most cooking is done by intuition and taste, so we utilized his current pantry and tinkered till we were satisfied. But, here's how our short ribs turned out. :D

Soy-glazed Short Ribs

2 1/4 pounds boneless short ribs

salt and pepper to season
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large vidalia onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 inch slice of ginger
1 jalapeno
1 cup red wine
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup diced pickled daikon
White rice
Panko crumbs

Cut short ribs into thirds. Season ribs lightly with salt and pepper on all sides. Sear ribs on high heat until browned on all sides and remove from pot. In the same pot, add a little canola oil and sauté diced onion, crushed garlic, ginger and jalapeno until soft. Add red wine and let reduce by half. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, and water and bring to boil. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add seared ribs. Liquid should cover most of the ribs. Reduce to slow, low simmer for 2 1/2 to 4 hours, covered. Check after 2 hours to see if ribs are tender. Adjust the amount of braising liquid if it becomes dry and reduce the heat. Strain sauce and skim off fat. Serve ribs with rice, pickled daikon and reduced sauce. Top with thyme panko crumbs.

July 11, 2010

This summer...

has been a home-cooking adventure. Aside from Barbeques in the East Village, Greenmarket Dinners, Coffee Cupcakes, Hand-pulled Margherita Pizza, Fresh Hand-cut Pasta, and a July 4th loaded with Bacon-wrapped Hot Dogs and Potato Salad, CC and I have been testing out fun things in the kitchen.

Working in an Italian restaurant, my brain is naturally wired to tinker with Italian food at home. Still, I'm shocked that I haven't gotten sick of the food yet. At Maialino, we have a dish called Raviolo con Uovo which is a single, saucer size raviolo stuffed with potato-spinach ricotta and a whole egg yolk in the center. It's cooked in a brown butter sauce and topped with sage. What happens when you break into the raviolo? A golden yolk oozes out onto the plate. It's perfect with the rest of the raviolo.

A full egg yolk in each of my ravioli at home is a bit much, so CC and I tried a portobello-ricotta-parmesan combo finished in a sage brown butter. We used fresh sheets of lasagna dough found and Whole Foods and sauteed chopped mushrooms with some scallions and sea salt. Here's how it turned out...

Mushroom Ravioli

12 oz portobella, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan
1 package of fresh lasagna sheets
4 oz unsalted butter
5 sage leaves

Sautee chopped mushrooms with scallions in olive oil over high heat until liquid starts coming out of the mushrooms. Season the mushroom and continue to cook until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Mix ricotta, parmesan and cooled mushroom mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Lay one sheet of lasagna on a clean surface. Fill a tablespoon with ravioli mixture and drop onto center of half of the pasta sheet. Repeat on the other half of the pasta sheet. Carefully circle the filling with oil to hold the pasta sheets together. (Note: oil can be replaced with beaten egg). Take a new pasta sheet and gently lay over the filling. Press around the filling until the two sheets of pasta a firmly attached. Use a ring mold (larger than the filling) to cut out ravioli. Store in refrigerator or cook immediately.

Cook ravioli in boiling water for about two minutes until the pasta is a bit translucent. Remove the pasta with a slotted spoon into a clean bowl. Over medium heat, melt butter and cook sage leaves till crispy. Let butter brown over low heat. Place cooked ravioli in brown butter and quickly coat them. Remove ravioli and sage brown butter into a clean bowl.
Buon apetito!

Mushroom Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter!