I'm headed to Georgia. In less than a week. For good. Whoa, buddy. Hence the lack of posting recently. Between packing (done!), house-hunting (done!), finding a job replacement (done!), and finishing up culinary school (done! done! done!), my life has been a little topsy turvey to say the least.
We always knew we would make the move back south eventually. Well, at least I always did. And then Walt came along and "I" turned into "we". In the end, it just makes sense. Both of our families are there. SEC football is there. Bourbon is there. Come to think of it, most of the things we love most are there. It doesn't hurt that Walt is now gainfully employed. Me? Not so much.
I will, however, dearly miss Southern California. I have become quite accustomed to perpetual sunshine, a Pacific Coast Highway commute, and a year-round farmers' market to write books about. I even have a Meyer lemon tree in my backyard. I mean, come on. As sad as I am to lose that tree, I'm leaving a lot more than lemons behind, like unforgettable friends, an irreplaceable boss, and a cute little Venice beach bungalow. Okay, I take back that last one. A new house was in order.
Don't worry about me too much, though. I think our future is looking quite bright. I'll be exploring the great food city of Atlanta and taking you with me. There will be more southern recipes and stories, this time from the front line. With an infinite supply of resources to tap, from farms to markets, to Mrs. Tina's recipe collection, I think good things are in store for Dixie Caviar.
So as Walt and I ride off into the sunset sunrise, I leave you with some heavenly braised short ribs, served atop a pile of creamy grits in honor of my new home. I can't even begin to explain how amazing this humble dish is. It's even better the next day, which makes it perfect for entertaining. Just reheat on medium-low heat in the same dutch oven you cooked it in. Serve with a pile of grits, polenta, or mashed potatoes and you've got yourself a party.
Source: Adapted from New School of Cooking
Yields: 4 - 6 servings
Canola oil or clarified butter
4 pounds bone-in short ribs
2 medium onions, cut into thin strips
1 - 2 carrots, peeled and diced (depending on size of carrot)
1 -2 ribs celery, diced (depending on size of celery)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
1 cup pureed tomatoes
2 - 3 cups stock (chicken or veal)
1 cup demiglace (optional)
6-8 sprigs thyme
Kosher salt and pepper
Pat meat dry and season well with salt and pepper.
In a large dutch oven, heat oil or butter over high heat. In small batches, brown short ribs on all sides. Remove meat from the pot and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and slowly caramelize the onion in the same pans, adding more oil if necessary. Add carrots and celery and saute, approximately 5 minutes. Add vinegar and reduce by half, turning up the heat if necessary (you want some good bubbling action here). Add tomatoes and wine and reduce by half.
Add stock, demiglace, short ribs, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer, about 3 hours or until falling off the bone. Remove short ribs. Increase heat and reduce sauce to desired consistency. Season to taste.
Kitchen tip: If you don't just happen to have demiglace on hand, or can't find it in your local market, try my tip for "easy" demiglace. Purchase a container or two of low sodium beef or veal stock (I used Perfect Additions brand from Whole Foods, found in the freezer department). Heat the broth in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Allow to reduce (bubbling and gurgling away) until it reaches a thick syrup-like consistency. The more you reduce it, the more condensed the flavor. The yield isn't very much, but even a small amount really takes the flavor of the short ribs (or anything for that matter) to another level.