Growing up on the East Coast summers were reserved for dinners off the barbeque, ice cream cones that melted faster than you could eat them, and warm summer nights where no sweaters were required.
When I moved to San Francisco almost four years ago I learned very quickly that summers here meant falling asleep to the sound of fog horns, bundling up in a coat and scarf every morning, and warm, hearty meals for dinner.
So braised short ribs and strawberry pie do not seem like an unlikely combination for dinner in early July in San Francisco. Especially not when your apartment is so socked in with fog you can only see a few blocks and you are roaming around in slippers to keep you feet warm.
Why the short ribs? I think it was more for being able to use the beautiful blue Le Creuset I received as a wedding gift than anything else. Yes I have been strategically picking recipes out of cookbooks as an excuse to use every new kitchen gadget that appeared in our apartment last year. It has definitely stepped up my cooking game and perhaps, gave me enough confidence to think that people might actually enjoy reading about my cooking. I guess if you are reading this you actually do.
Back to short ribs. For my first take on short ribs I went with my tried and true cooking guru . . . Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa. I remember walking by her store in the Hampton’s one summer as a kid and my mom picking up some of her home made granola and cookies. Yum!
It seems that Ina even took a lesson on how to make short ribs from her friend Scott whose recipe she published in her book “Family Style.” Because I am not overly confident yet I do not veer too far off of recipes but I know Ina’s cooking well and always adjust with less salt, fewer onions, and keep an eye on the food not the timer.
The short ribs came out perfectly. If only I had remembered to take a picture of them before all six plates were devoured! Yes I had friends over and yes this is my first time blogging. The meat was juicy, tender, and fall off the bone deliciousness. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. The cote du rhone, mirepoix, fennel, leek and fresh herbs made the richest braising liquid but it was a little watery for my taste. My friend Warren to the rescue – he showed me how to make a gravy with the braising liquid. You take a 1:1 ratio of butter to flour whisk it slowly over low heat in a sauce pan and add in the broth until you get the right color and consistency. The other lesson I have learned – butter always makes everything taste better.
Perfectly braised short ribs, vegetables, and gravy served over freshly whipped mashed potatoes and I say you have one yummy, Sunday, San Francisco summer dinner.
Are you still wondering about that strawberry pie? Well I can not take credit for making that. My friend Roxanne, who also happens to be gluten free, made that from scratch including the gluten-free crust. It was amazing! The crust was crispy and buttery and the strawberries were soft, sweet and tart – the perfect combination.
I am not sure where the recipe was from and, of course, being the rookie blogger that I am I also forgot to take a picture. Next time – I promise.
A link to the short rib recipe: