Weekend Dinner Finale

You would think a big gooey cheese salad followed by a bowl of piping hot onion soup would be enough for dinner on a snowy freezing day, but then you would be wrong.  The man of the house wanted, you guessed it, meat.  Sad thing is I actually understand – it’s not easy to come down off a hamburger high you know, these things have to be eased into.

Keeping with the winter weather theme, I made a short rib braise with roasted potatoes and carrots using a recipe I adapted from the Zuni Cafe cookbook’s Short Ribs Braised in Chimney Ale. 

The book recommends salting the ribs a day or two in advance, but I know from experience that when your husband whines about eating only vegetables for dinner and you have to make a quick decision, that an hour in advance works too.  Brown the ribs in a heavy pot or dutch oven.  Remove the ribs and add one sliced onion, 6 sliced button mushrooms, 2 bay leaves and cracked pepper.  Nestle the ribs back in and then add equal parts veal stock and Heineken beer until it comes partially up the side of the ribs.  Simmer covered with a tight fitting lid for two hours or so until the meat is very tender.

Then just before serving, take the ribs out and brush them with Dijon mustard and then broil them until the mustard is lightly browned.  Very simple, but don’t let that fool you.  The dish was surprisingly good.

And no there was no typo, this was the finale for the night.  There wasn’t even a tiny bit of space left for dessert.  So I made that on Sunday.

Weekend Dinner

I don’t know about you, but the weekend is my time to cook.  During the week I rarely take the time to cook a big dinner – who am I kidding, I rarely take the time to cook a small dinner.  It seems like we walk in the door Jason makes something quick and then it’s off to the dog to the park.  There’s just not much time for food and that means cheese smokies, hamburgers and a lot of ketchup.  And even though it’s super yummy Stonewall Kitchen – Country Ketchup, when it starts becoming it’s own food group there’s just too much ketchup.

And it was on Saturday night, with another hamburger dinner looming on the horizon, that I snapped out of my gastronomic drought.  Luckily the fridge was well stocked, so I was able to jump into action without having to leave the house.  The first course for the night was a mixed green salad with blood orange vinaigrette and fried Kofalotiri cheese.  The sweet & sour dressing and bitter greens were the perfect accompaniment for the salty Greek cheese.

Toss the salad with the dressing before starting the cheese, then the salad can be quickly assembled and served while the cheese is still hot.  Cut the cheese into the size you want to serve, but make it about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat and add the cheese to the hot pan.  The cheese will start to melt immediately, but don’t worry it will hold it’s shape.  Let the cheese melt for several seconds and brown before flipping it and browning on the other side.  The cheese will still be quite firm.  Arrange it on the plate and then add the dressed greens.  Serve immediately.