Wednesday, May 10, 2006
It Came From The Kitchen (Or Revenge Of The Slow Food) - Part 2
A couple days ago I turned on my TiVo and it had, like a big dumb dog, trotted out and scored me an episode of Martin Yan: Quick and Easy. Now, I find Martin, with his lightning fast cleaver and his OCD-like repetition of instructions as he is performing them ("Cut it up! Cut it up! Cut it up! Cut it up! Cut it up! Ha!") amusing and entertaining. I learned about how to peel ginger with a spoon from him when I was about 12. He's been on tv forever. So, I settled back to watch him begin a stir fry that was supposed to have a "black pepper sauce". I was dismayed to note that his sauce was from a bag that came from the seasoning aisle. He just ripped it open and dumped it on the cooked meat and veggies and went about his business. Did he confuse himself with Sandra "God-made-the-world-from-a-seasoning-packet" Lee? It made me hurl my beer can at the TV and berate my TiVo. Fortunately, I don't think either took it personally. But, if I see Martin I'm going to kick him in the balls.
Now, I'm not trying to cast aspersions on the lucrative market of ready made sauces and seasoning packets. Just this Monday I made tacos. I used a seasoning packet...doctored with some other stuff - but taco seasoning nevertheless. What I am aggravated with is seeing a chef on tv do it. Yes, let's pay the nice man with a string of restaurants, who has demonstrated over 20 years of cooking programming that he has learned and forgotten more about cooking than most of our mothers, to rip open a fucking premade baggie of seasoning from the local Stop and Shop. And, while you're at it, why don't you just film him in his home phoning it in as he slowly jerks off over how he lucky he is to not have to try anymore... Sorry, but I don't watch cooking programs to learn how to do something that I can find out from reading the back of a package. There seems to be a whole dumbing down of cooking programs, probably because the suits in charge of programming have decided that they want their demographic to be fucking everybody.. instead of people who want to fucking cook. That way they can sell more Spam.
One of these days, I'm going to turn on the TV and discover that all of the cooking programming has been moved to some newly created "FTV2" on some digital cable channel equivalent of Outer Mongolia...like MTV did before they decided they wanted to show more than just videos on MTV2 and then created a bunch of other channels to put the videos on by category. That'll also be the day that Food Network has also decided to create a 24/7 Rachel Ray channel. And that's when I send the box of poisonous spiders to Scripps Networks. And some napalm.
Here's my response to the "quick and easy as marketing tool to sell more seasoning packets" movement: tonight I've made slow food. Slow - as in, it's going to take about two hours to cook. Nary a seasoning packet was opened or baggie of premade sauce punctured in the making of this braise. I'm going to serve the resulting spicy, saucy meaty goodness over cheddar cheese grits. And then, after we've stuffed ourselves stupid and recovered from the ensuing food coma, I'm going to kick Martin Yan in the balls.
Beer Braised Short Ribs with Chipotle Chile
1 lb. boneless beef short ribs (or 2 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs)
2 t. ancho chile powder (or 1 ¾ t. regular chili powder and ¼. t. cayenne pepper)
¼ t. garlic salt
¼ t. onion powder
½ t. black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 t. ground cumin
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 14 oz. can of diced tomato
1 bay leaf
12 oz. dark beer (like Negra Modelo)
1/3 c. quick cooking grits, dry
1 ½ c. chicken broth
1 T. butter
1 c. cheddar or jack cheese
2 scallions, chopped fine
salt and pepper
1. Combine the ancho chile powder, garlic salt, onion powder and black pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over the short ribs and rub it in well.
2. Heat a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Brown the short ribs in the oil (about 3-4 minutes per side) and remove them to a plate. If the ribs have given off a lot of fat, remove all but one tablespoon.
3. Add the onion and celery to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is transparent, but not brown. Then add the garlic and cumin. Stir through until fragrant. Add the chipotle, tomatoes, bay leaf and beer. Bring to a boil and add the meat back to the pot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours (or until the meat falls apart easily – if using bone-in ribs, meat will fall off the bone easily).
4. Bring the chicken stock and butter to a boil. Add the grits and stir once. Cover and reduce to low heat. Cook 7 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed by the grits. Add the cheese and stir through until the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm.
5. When the meat has finished cooking, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Remove the bay leaf. Skim any fat off the surface of the liquid.
6. Using a hand held blender stick (or carefully using a standing blender), in a large mixing bowl puree the liquid. Then return it to the pan, passing it through a fine sieve (optional). If you use the sieve, press on the solids to get as much through the sieve as possible.
7. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce by one-fourth, stirring constantly to keep it from burning. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the meat to the pan. Cook until the meat has reheated through.
8. To serve, divide the grits between two plates. Top with the meat and spoon some of the sauce over the top of each. Sprinkle scallions over the top. Serve immediately.
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