So, how was everyone’s weekend? Do anything interesting? More interesting than, say, read, cook, and watch football? That was the extent of my weekend and it was glorious. Finished Wizard’s First Rule last night and still waiting for a fantasy series to fall in love with. Well, in addition to George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire and Joe Abercrombie’s First Law. I’m switching up genre’s to start on Hannu Rajaniemi’s Quantum Thief, then plan to switch up once again by tackling a comic book series. Hey, anyone know if the entire run of the Thunderbolts is available in trade paperback?
On the anime front, I too your advice (well, the advice of one of you) and started Moribito. Four episodes in and I’m loving it for its depth of story and character. Even the villains are believable – layered, conflicted. Terrific stuff. Interestingly, Akemi is having a tough go of it because the Japanese dialogue (I prefer subbed over dubbed) is almost Shakespearean and difficult to understand. I advised her to follow the English subtitles.
Another Sunday, another football day. It was the regulars – Ivon and Rob – minus Lawren who was away visiting family. I invited former Stargate VFX Supervising Producer and big time Buffalo Bills fans Mark Savela to watch his Bills beat up on the hapless Eagles (Dream team! Heh heh) but he too had family commitments. So Akemi and I ended up making way too much food…
I knew I wanted to do a braise but couldn’t decide between short ribs, ox tail, and veal cheek – so I did all three.
Step #1: Prepare your marinade. I like to use thyme, tarragon, crushed garlic, basil, and, of course, the secret ingredient –
Recipes often call for red wine or a red wine to port ratio of about two to one. I prefer to go full port for its deep sweetness.
Step #2: Marinate your meat overnight.
Step #3: Prepare your mire-poix. Chop carrots, celery, sweet onion, and garlic, and sweat them over medium heat for about ten minutes until they start to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, then strain the marinade and add it to the pot as well. Turn the heat on high and allow the liquid to reduce by half. Add a spoonful of brown sugar and mix. I also add a couple of cups of veal demi-glace (a luscious dark brown roux and veal stock) I pick up at my local butcher.
Step #4: In the meantime, pat dry the meat and dust with a seasoning mixture of your choice. I go with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sweet paprika, and flour.
Step #5: Brown your meat on all sides over medium-high heat, about 2-3 minutes each side for the bigger pieces, maybe a minute for the smaller ones. You’re not looking to cook the meat here, only give it a nice brown crust.
Step #6: Layer the bottom of your pot with the meat, then pour the braising liquid over top. Make sure the meat is completely submerged. Add beef stock if necessary.
Step #7: Roast it, covered, for 3 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.
Step #8: Bring the oven temperature down to 325 degrees, then roast, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
Step #9: Serve with accompaniment (I prefer a bed of buttered parsnip mash).
Radish cake – ubiquitous at most dim sum places – but Rob’s version was the best I’ve ever head. Alternately crispy, soft, sweet and savory. Akemi couldn’t stop talking about it. Apparently, it’s a two-day preparation that would dissuade most from even attempting it. But it was so worth it. And I can say that because Rob prepared it and all I did was eat it. I’ll see if I can get him to give up the recipe.
We ended the meal with a little something from Ivon –
Macarons. Not quite as labor intensive as the previous dishes but still, Ivon had to drive to the shop on Fraiser, buy then, then bring them back to my place. The only thing that would have made it more complete would have been to know the name of the place he picked them up. They were great! Once I finish settling in, I’m going to do a macaron tour of the city. I hear VERY good things about http://kitcheningwithcarly.com/products/. Also thinking of enlisting the help of some friends to check out the various food carts that have cropped up in my absence. I should have my own Food Network show!
BTW – SNOW MONKEYS WIN!!!