If you read the blog, it’s no secret that I love to eat and I love to write about cool new places in CLE to get good food. But, I also really love to cook and so I thought I’d share a recent home-cooking adventure. My grandma used to say that you shouldn’t make anything for company that you haven’t made before. This is probably good for your company, but not always practical. So, when I decided to make dinner for CLEmom’s birthday, I went with two new-to-me recipes.
For dinner, I decided to serve red-wine braised short ribs. I found the recipe for the short ribs on The Little Kitchen and you can read and print it here. I was drawn to this recipe because of the red wine glaze, but also the use of lots of vegetables and spices, as well as the long cooking time to get the short ribs tender and flavorful.
You make the short ribs in the slow cooker, but there is a fair bit of prep work before you start. I’m used to slow cooker recipes that basically require you to throw everything in the pot and turn it on. First, I needed to de-bone the short ribs and both brown the meat and cook up the bones. I got my short ribs from my previously-mentioned go-to butcher, Pinzone’s Market Fresh Meats.
The dogs were pretty intrigued by this much meat smell at 6am (with the long cook time, you need to get this in the slow cooker early). Also, if you’ve never butchered short ribs at 6am, you’re really missing out.
From there, it was time to cook the vegetables, then make the sauce with red wine, balsamic vinegar, and thyme. I used Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon for the sauce. Since you’ll have about half a bottle left after making the sauce, pick a wine that you like and enjoy it with your short ribs dinner!
It’s OK to leave your vegetables roughly chopped for this recipe. While they stay in the slow cooker the whole time, you remove them before serving the meat. Next, you get to the typical slow cooker recipe part: throw everything in the pot, turn it on, and go away for 10 hours.
I will say, the house smelled great even before I turned the slow cooker on and the flavors only built over the cooking time. I served the short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus. I like to leave the skins on the potatoes for two reasons: (1) It tastes good and (2) I hate peeling potatoes. I seasoned the asparagus with garlic and basil olive oil, wrapped it in foil, and baked it in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
The end result was a very tasty meal! The vegetable and wine flavors permeated the meat, which was fall-apart tender after all the time in the slow cooker. This is a great winter meal and is something that will make your guests feel like they’re getting something really special.
For dessert, I made blueberry cobbler, with blueberries from the West Side Market. You can read and print the cobbler recipe here. The best thing about the cobbler is that it doesn’t call for a lot of sugar, but rather uses the natural sweetness of the berries. It was a delicious finish to the meal and a nice alternative to the traditional birthday cake.
It can be just as fun and exciting (and tasty) to enjoy a good meal at home as it is to enjoy a good meal in one of CLE’s great restaurants. Making a celebratory dinner for my mom, who taught me how to cook and how to enjoy spending time in the kitchen, was particularly special. I hope you try out these recipes and enjoy them as much as we did. And then, the next night, enjoy a fabulous meal out. It’s all about balance, after all…
Have a great weekend, CLE!