Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Semi-Homemade Valentine: Red wine braised short ribs and Kickass Cupcakes

It's that highly anticipated and highly dreaded time of year again... Valentine's Day. It's pretty much impossible to make a reservation for tomorrow night anywhere at this point, so I suggest you stop trying and try this instead: red wine braised short ribs. All you need is to buy a pack of short ribs, a bottle of wine, and give it 2-4 hours. That's it. It's probably the easiest yet impressive meal you can make under the constraint of the holiday and a budget.

I bought my beef short ribs at McKinnon's in Davis Square yesterday, which I must say has the cheapest quality meat around. I spent the night cooking, and today I decided that a dessert is necessary, but it doesn't necessarily have to be made by me. So today, I was in Davis Square again and stopped by Kickass Cupcakes, the overpriced yet arguably worth it cupcakes that are dense and topped with rich frosting. (For the record, my meat cost twelve cents more than my cupcakes.)

The menu for the night:
Romaine lettuce and cucumber salad with homemade Caesar dressing
Red wine braised short ribs
Sauteed balsamic portabella mushrooms
Baked garlicky broccoli with Swiss cheese
Fresh strawberries
Kickass cupcakes
Cucumber infused water
Total cost: $28.46 (excluding the leftover wine I used to make the ribs)

Here are the photos, followed by the short rib recipe. If you're interested in how to make any of the other dishes, feel free to ask!

Look. At. That. Meat. Dayum.

Lucky lemon, chai cinnamon pecan, and chocolate with buttercream cupcakes!

Salad on the left, heart shaped dessert platter on the right.

Red wine braised short ribs
2-3lb beef short ribs
3 cups red wine (nothing too fancy)
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
5-7 cloves of garlic
2-3 tsp salt (to taste)
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp herb de Provence (or fresh rosemary and thyme)
1-2 bay leaves

1. While pot is heating to high with olive oil and garlic, coat short ribs with ~1tsp of salt and pepper.
2. Once pan is heated, sautee onions and carrots with herb de Provence until slightly browned.
3. Insert beef into pot and once all side are slight seared, add red wine.
4. When the red wine begins to simmer, turn heat down to low. Add bay leaf and leave to simmer for two-three hours with lid slightly ajar.
5. Check on it every thirty minutes to and hour and mix gently. Give it a taste test and add salt and pepper if needed.
6. Take beef off heat and SKIM OFF ALL THE OIL. There should be at least a centimeter or two of clear yellowish oil. Please dispose of all of it.  Let beef cool for an hour or leave over night. Once beef cools, more oil should condense on top in a white lard mass. Get rid of that too!
7. One hour before serving, simmer pot of short ribs on low heat.

...what did my boyfriend do for me? I don't know! Valentine's Day is tomorrow!

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