Is it just me or are there a crap ton of people born in November? This past week we celebrated five birthdays! Five in one week! Included in these amazing days of birth are my middle sister (just turned 18…holy cow) and my husband.
I feel like I have my party pants permanently on. I’ve been a baking foo’! So many sweets!
Speaking of sweets n’ treats, last week I purchased Smitten Kitchen’s newly released cookbook! So beautiful! And there are pictures for every recipe. This is dangerous. So dangerous. I want to make everything in it. In one week, I’ve made four of the recipes. This is a record for me and a cookbook. Although I have an obsession with cookbooks, I rarely get around to actually cooking from them. Doh!
Recipe numero uno was her amazing S’mores Cake. Oh. My. God.
My youngest sister, Olivia (first picture below), and I made the S’mores Cake for my sister Jill’s birthday (second picture). The cake is a spice cake that contains a cup of graham crackers pulsed to a flour. There is a rediculous chocolate ganache layer sandwiched between the two cake layers and it is topped with a homemade marshmallow meringue, which we broiled quickly in the oven. Although I am trying to stay away from gluten, I did have a smidge (or two). HOLY COW. It’s a bit involved, but well worth it for a special occasion. My pictures were terrible since I had to take them at night, so I’ve only included a few.
The next recipe that I had to tackle from the cookbook was her Beer and Balsamic Braised Short Ribs. Rediculous! I made them for my husband’s surprise birthday dinner. They were super easy and so flavorful. The meat falls off of bone.
For 10 people, I bought 16 short ribs and cooked them the night before the party in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Letting the ribs rest and cool overnight in the refrigerator makes it super easy to remove the top layer of fat since it hardens up (see picture below). Plus these ribs are even better the second day, if that’s even possible. Right before everyone got to the house, I reheated them in the oven for 30 minutes. No fuss!
I also served them over mashed root vegetables: turnips, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. Great alternative to the carb laden mashed potatoes.
So A++++++++ to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. GO get this book. It’s well worth it and is laden with beautiful food porn!
Beer Braised Short Ribs with Mashed Rood Vegetables (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)
Serves 8 to 10
Ingredients for Beer-Braised Short Ribs:
- 16 bone-in short ribs (6 to 8 pounds), at room temperature and trimmed of excess fat
- Salt and pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of worcestrshire sauce (I used coconut aminos)
- 2 bottles of dark beer (I used oatmeal stout)
- 2 to 3 cups of beef stock
Ingredients for Mashed Root Vegetables:
- 3 to 4 pounds of root vegetables (turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes)
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (or half and half)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- Lay out the short ribs. Trim of excess fat. Pat dry. Season each side well with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 325. In a large dutch oven, about 7 to 8 quarts in size, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brown the short ribs in batches, getting a good brown sear on each side. This will take about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate. Repeat with remaining ribs.
- Once all ribs are browned and resting on a plate, turn the heat down to medium-high and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil remaining in the dutch oven. Add the diced onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir until thickened. Next, add vinegar, beer, and worcestershire sauce (if using). Scrape beef bits from the bottom.
- Return the browned ribs to the pot. If they do not all fit laying flat, turn them vertically with bones sticking up. Add enough stock to just cover the ribs. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and then the lid. Aluminum foil keeps the liquid in the pot, keeping your meat moist. We love moist meat!
- Bake in the preheated oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from the oven. The meat will be tender when pierced and the bones will look like they are falling away from the meat. Mmmmmmm. Let the ribs rest for 15 minutes. Skim as much of the fat from the surface as possible.
- The ribs can be served immediately or allowed to cool and rest overnight. If you allow them to rest overnight, remove them the next day at least 1 hour before you are ready to serve them. Scrape off the top layer of fat. Reheat them for 30 to 45 minutes in a 325 oven. Serve with sauce over mashed root veggies.
Mashed Root Vegetables
- In a large, heavy pot, place root vegetables with enough water to cover them. Heat over medium-high heat, covered, until it comes to a rolling boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Drain.
- Add butter, coconut milk (or half and half, if using), and garlic powder to the pot. Mash vegetable mixture with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper to taste.