Well, I suppose that today would be a good day to toss the pine boughs I still have on my dining room table. They’ve been there so damn long I’ve actually grown (almost) accustomed to them, ugh. I enjoy Christmas, but the whole decorating thing exhausts me. Especially taking it down, what a drag. Sigh. But my goal today will be to put Christmas 2005 to rest for about the one month it feels like before it’s time to haul it all out again. Fuck Christmas. Justing kidding, I don’t really feel that way, I’m just saying it because I know everyone has that same (blasphemous) thought at some point during the holidays (or way after the holidays, as today would be, ha), I’m just verbalizing it. For you.
We’re not big Super Bowl party people in this house, but I think I will make one snack-y sort of thing, as a nod to the day. Popcorn with curry butter. Sounds a bit odd, but it is very addictive and delicious, and has a pretty color. Oh darn! I forgot to buy some beer, I do love an excuse to drink beer. And here in Minnesota, liquor stores are closed on Sundays, even Super Bowl Sunday. So I’ll be beerless with my curry popcorn, maj oversight. A nice red will have to do! I know how to suffer…
I’m also planning another comfort-food dinner – beef short ribs, potatoes of some sort, and braised kale. I’ll pretty much be the only one eating the kale, which is a shame – it is both delicious and nutritious. Unless Stace comes for dinner, she’ll eat dark leafy greens with me. We have a nice amount of tomato gratin left from dinner last night which will be lovely with eggs for a lunch/brunch sort of thing. Woo hoo for yummy leftovers! To power me through the Christmas bough clean up. I’ll post recipes after I nail down the menu more specifically. And oh! Speaking of posting recipes, I now have a listing of recipe links at right, nothing fancy, links take you to the comments section they were originally posted in.
As usual, a project I’ve put off for weeks took oh, about 30 minutes to complete. The table is pine-bough free, finally, whew. Now I have to tackle the nutcracker collection, that’s still out too. That will take at least 10 minutes, how will I manage it? (In case you’re worried, the tree has been gone for more than a month…)
Here is a blast of a recipe, simple and delicious, I just made it for myself for brunch. Poached scrambled eggs, I pulled it out of the New York Times magazine a few weeks back. The eggs emerge incredibly tender and puffy, but cooked through (nothing makes me gag faster than runny scrambled eggs, blech; I know, alot of people love runny scrambled eggs, it’s just a thing with me). You finish them with a bit of olive oil or melted butter (yep, you guessed it, melted Hope Creamery butter, mmm…). Eat them in a bowl. If you’re lucky, you have a side of leftover tomato gratin, and a glass of bubbly, to accompany. Clean up is a snap. (Recipe is in comments, below, and now also listed at right.)
Well, no popcorn, didn’t get it done. Too busy going for another great walk (warmer today – I’m telling you, the sun actually throws off some heat, gives one a bit of hope that spring indeed will come…), taking another great bath, and heading right into cooking dinner. No Stacey tonight, darn, but I’m doin’ the whole deal anyhow. Short ribs braised with sage, onion, and garlic. I decided to do the potatoes as a sort-of gratin (no cheese or breadcrumbs, but same technique), sliced thin, tossed with butter and garlic, and baked with a bit of chicken stock as the liquid. Since I know I’ll have a lovely pan sauce from the braised short ribs, I didn’t want cream or cheese in the potatoes. And I have yet to braise the kale, for just myself, I think I’ll use a bit of bacon to add some smoke.
So John’s watching the Super Bowl, I’m about to join him, and when dinner’s out of the oven I’ll snap a few pics if everything looks nice. Hope you’re having a nice night too.
Mmmm…dinner turned out wonderfully. Fork-tender beef, lightly crisped before serving. Buttery golden potatoes, perfect with the garlicky pan sauce. And bacon-garlic braised kale, bright green, a little crisp, and a perfect complement to the rich beef and potatoes. Poured a Da Vinci 2004 Toscana Chianti, nice. (Recipes posted below and at right.)
Braised Kale with Bacon
1.5 pounds kale, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper
½ c. water
Put chopped kale in a colander, rinse with water, and drain (it’s OK for the leaves to have water clinging to them). Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add bacon and sauté until crisp, 8 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add kale and toss to combine. Add a few Tbsp. of the water and toss again. Saute, stirring a few times, until water is evaporated. Add a few more Tbsp. of water, toss again, and sauté until evaporated. Continue until all the water is used, adding more if necessary, until kale is just-tender and moist. Serve warm.
Potatoes with Garlic
6 russet potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 c. canned chicken broth
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil a shallow tart/quiche pan. Peel potatoes, putting each peeled potato into a bowl of cold water as you go. When all the potatoes are peeled, remove from water and slice each potato very thinly, with either a sharp knife for a mandoline, transfering potato slices to a medium bowl. To the potatoes add the minced garlic, salt, a few grinds of pepper, and toss with melted butter. Spread into prepared tart pan. Pour chicken broth over the potatoes, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake for 30 minutes more, or until starting to brown and crisp on the top. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Braised Beef Short Ribs
2 lbs. beef short ribs
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. oil
10 fresh sage leaves
1 small onion, quartered and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. flour
2 c. water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown short ribs in batches, remove to a plate. Add sage leaves, then chopped onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and sauté for 3 minutes. Whisk in water. Add 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add short ribs back to the pot, cover, and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and braise for 2 hours or until meat is fork-tender. Remove pan from the oven and increase heat to 450 degrees. Remove just short ribs from Dutch oven and transfer to a baking sheet, reserving pan juices. Bake short ribs for 10 minutes until browned and starting to crisp. Meanwhile, skim fat from the pan juices in the Dutch oven. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve spooned over ribs.
Poached Scrambled Eggs
Adapted from Daniel Patterson
4 large eggs
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or melted butter (optional)
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Crack each egg into a medium-mesh sieve (or narrow-slotted spoon), letting the thin white drain away. Transfer the remaining yolk and white to a small bowl. Beat the eggs vigorously with a fork for 20 seconds.
Set a medium saucepan filled with 4 inches of water over moderate heat. Put a strainer in the sink. When the water is at a low boil, add a few large pinches of salt, then stir in a clockwise direction to create a whirlpool. Pour the eggs into the moving water, cover the pot and count to 20.
Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. The eggs should be floating on the surface in ribbons. While holding back the eggs with a spoon, pour off most of the water over the strainer. Gently slide the eggs into the strainer and press them lightly to expel any excess liquid.
Scoop the eggs into bowls, drizzle with olive oil if desired and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Variations: Serve with butter; smoked paprika; or a spoonful of crème fraiche and a dollop of caviar.)