Lambic braised slow-cooker ribs with jus BBQ sauce

These 2-step slow cooker ribs use lambic beer as a braising liquid, and can be finished by using the jus to create your own BBQ sauce.

Ribs, before they are baked in the sauce.

Slow cooker ribs can be done so many ways. Here is the method I like to use. This is a two-cook method so it is important not to overcook the ribs in the slow cooker. You want them tender, but not fall-off-the-bone. They should hold up in the oven.

It s very unlike me to engage in a two-step cooking process, but for this recipe, it is worth the extra effort.

What you need

1 large onion quartered or sliced
1 package loin baby back or St Luis style ribs
6 oz of beer… I used Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic (see notes)

Spice rub:

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 bay
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3-5 whole cloves or allspice corns
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

For the BBQ sauce:
Braising liquid (strained and defatted, if desired)
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce or gochujang (spicy chili sauce)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

How you do:

Season the ribs with your spice mixture. Load onions into the bottom of the slow cooker and lay ribs on top. Alternatively, curl ribs around the sides of the slow cooker. Pour the Lambic into the bottom of the dish and cover. Get a big glass and enjoy some Lambic while you relax. Cook on low for 6 hours. Resist temptation to lift the lid.

When the ribs are done, line a sheet pan with foil, parchment, or other non-stick surface and heat oven to 375F. Move the ribs to the pan and section them, if desired.

Strain the liquid left in the cooker (you can save the onions for a stir-fry or as a garnish, if you like). Use a fat separator to remove the fat and move the jus to a medium sauce pan, reserving a few tablespoons to mix with the cornstarch (slurry). Add the sugar, chili sauce, and cornstarch slurry. Cook on high to reduce sauce to desired thickness…between 10-20 minutes.

Brush some sauce onto the ribs and put them in the oven for 45 minutes, glazing with the sauce every 10-15 minutes or so.

Notes:

Lambic is a sour, fruity beer that comes in various flavors. It is delightful and refreshing in the summer. Lindeman’s peach and raspberry are my favorites, but any will do for this recipe. What I like about this beer is that it adds acidity and sweetness to the mix. However, you can use any beer or cider you like. If you use the lambic, get the big bottle so you can have some while you cook and then serve it with dinner.

Stop your ovens. It’s officially time for the summer cooking series.

We kick off the season with Jalapeno poppers!

Photo by Tim Evanson, via Flickr.

This week, the temperatures at our house reached the high 90s. That means there will be no more baking, roasting, or braising for the foreseeable future. The hottest times of the year leave us with four options for cooking: the stove top, the grill, the slow cooker, and the electric pressure cooker.

If we had a smoker, I’d add that too. We go to other peoples houses for smoked foods. I might head over to my bro’s house for a lesson in smoke to share.

But tonight, I’m making stuffed jalapenos. To avoid baking these in the oven, I’ll use the toaster oven,. You could also put these on the grill using a grill pan or sheet.

I love the aroma and flavor of jalapenos, even if I don’t always like the spice of them. I often use pickled jalapenos instead of fresh, because they are a bit more mild. Baking them also soothes the spicy beast, especially if you remove the pith and ribs.

Super Simple Stuffed Jalapenos for the Toaster Oven

3 jalapenos (green ones will be more mild than those with red or orange coloring.)
1/2 package of bacon
1/2 package of cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (or more if desired)

SAFETY FIRST: Really and truly– wear gloves and protect your eyes while you work with hot peppers. Jalapeno juice can spray while you remove the insides. And the spice offers lasting pain if it gets into an open hangnail, for example. Wash your hands and knife before using it again.

Slice the jalapenos lengthwise. Remove the seeds, pith, and ribs using a spoon. Arrange them on a lined baking sheet that fits in your toaster and set aside. Cook the bacon over medium low heat until crispy. Chop it into small bits and put it into a bowl with the cream cheese, sour cream and garlic powder. NOTE: I’ve tried this with more intense flavorings, but I feel as though the bacon, the cream cheese, and the jalapeno flavor can really shine when they are left alone.

Fill the peppers with your bacon/cream cheese ambrosia, and top with cheddar. Be generous with the filling and with the topping.

Pop those bad boys into the toaster for 15-20 minutes at 350F. You want the cheese on top to get a super melty and bubbly and you want tender peppers.

ANOTHER SAFETY TIP: Toaster ovens can be temperamental, so don’t walk away. Depending on your oven, you might need an additional 5 minutes, or you might need to pull them out if they start to get charred on top.

Picture Imperfect. What to do when dinner goes wrong.

I had a plan. A glimmer of a plan. OK I had ingredients.

Last night was supposed to be our fancy meal of the week. We’d hit the farmer’s market on Sunday and got all kinds of great things. Among those items were a couple Branzinos.

Branzinos, if you don’t know, are code for restaurant quality fish, that deserves to be treated with respect. It is rather expensive, and it has a really delicious, buttery flavor. It really should be cooked simply, with minimal accompaniments. We splurged.

And I, in my hubris, thought, “I know how to cook fish to perfection. I will be named Champion of Branzino and all bass will bow as I parade by.”

Here was the plan: Crispy-skin branzino, with lemon garlic compound butter, honey carrot salad with cilantro, and fresh sourdough garlic bread.

Only one of those items made it onto the plate exactly as described, and even that was a challenge.

We’ll start there. The compound butter. Its easy: lemon juice, fresh grated garlic, salt, butter. But my butter was cold, my lemon juice was frozen, and all of my garlic started sprouting. Sooooooooo. I melted the lemon juice and hoped the residual heat would soften the butter and grated some green garlic. Also I added some African Smoke seasoning blend.

Here is the progression:

Step 1 melt frozen lemon cube. Step 2 add butter, garlic and seasonings. Step 3 mash it up. Step 4 spill a bunch so move to larger bowl. Step 5 stir more frantically as you notice the lemon will not incorporate. Let existential dread set in. Step 6 finally pour off any leftover lemon juice and put whats left onto parchment. Step 7 roll it up and stick it in the fridge.

It was while I made the butter that I felt things start to slide. I somehow knew from that moment that this was not going to be the dinner I had planned.

Nonetheless, I pushed on to the salad. Except when I looked into the veggie drawer, I suddenly realized that the green beans I had been avoiding were nearing their last days. Not wanting to waste, I gathered them up. They were dressed lightly in oil and salt and put into the oven at 400F for 30 minutes. They came out a bit wrinkled and charred. Sigh. I tossed them in a few tablespoons of saucy minx.

Now it was time for the Branzino. These bad boys had been sitting on the counter staring at me like Bran Stark waiting for an old friend.

Branzino, old buddy.

I’d patted them down and seasoned them with salt and pepper when I realized, the bread I’d planned to serve had been consumed the day before.

Since my five-year old has issues with green beans, and although he likes fish, isn’t really eating meat these days, I knew I had to put something on the plate that would make him happy. (My 1 yr old is an eating machine and still in the stages of “I want to eat what you eat” —she will happily mow down some string beans and fancy fish.)

So I put off the fish again to make some quick biscuits. (My biscuits are nothing to brag about– I make em and we eat em.) You really don’t want to rush into fish anyway. It cooks so quickly that you are better off waiting until everything else is finished. Prep your pan, prep your fish, but then hold off.

Ok, moment of truth…and disaster.

As you can see from the second image, my first skin didn’t flip with the fish. Despite having a good amount of oil in the pan and ensuring it was hot enough, it stuck. So I turned down the heat for the rest of the filets. And although those didn’t stick, they also did not cook at a hot enough temp to get that skin crunchy skin.

In the last pic, you can see the beautiful crisp of skin I got from that first one. I promise you, as I ate it over the sink in my kitchen, it was phenomenal.

So here is the final plate, picture imperfect. Everything tasted good:

One of the things that always makes me laugh during cooking shows is when someone will completely trash their entire dish because it didn’t turn out perfectly.

Of course, I get that these competitive reality shows are highly manufactured dramas. But home chefs know that even when a dish goes wrong everybody still needs to eat. Branzino purchased at $15 a pop cannot simply be replaced.

Most days dinner is about flawed execution, and half-laid plans. Sometimes it turns out great. Sometimes it’s only edible. And sometimes you have to push the limits to redefine edible.

The meal was completely edible– tasty even. It had good basics and top-notch ingredients. It was really good. It just wasn’t perfect.

7 mistakes you are making in the kitchen, as told by Pineapple Chicken.

We all make mistakes. In novice cooking, there are plenty of pitfalls that can ruin a dish. But there are also ways to avoid these mistakes. Here we’ll look at some common mistakes and easy fixes that will help you produce beautiful and tasty food. We’ll use a pineapple chicken stir fry as our inspiration. But first, the recipe.

Ingredients

1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite sized pieces.
1/2 large onion, diced small
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces
1 package (8 oz) snow peas, snap peas or green beans
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup stir fry sauce (recipe in link)
1 cup plus cornstarch with 1 teaspoon each salt/pepper (to taste)
2 tbls cornstarch(divided)
up to 2 cups water
Optional: Additional veggies, water chestnuts, baby corn

1-2 cups uncooked rice
1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

Once the chicken is cut as uniformly as possible, let it drain and pat dry. Coat the pieces in 1 cup of cornstarch, mixed with salt and pepper. Be sure every chicken piece is dry to the touch, adding more cornstarch if necessary, 1/4 cup at a time.
In a hot skillet, add the chicken in one layer. Cook on high until chicken is dark golden and crispy.
Meanwhile, follow instructions for rice, adding a tablespoon of butter to pot or rice cooker.
Remove chicken and add onions. Cook onions until translucent on medium heat (about 10 mintues). Turn heat back up to high and add pineapple. Cook pineapple until color brightens, and pieces are lightly caramelized.
Meanwhile make a slurry of 2 tbls of cornstarch and 1 cup of water. Turn heat to medium low and add soy sauce mixture to the pan, followed by the cornstarch slurry. Add snow peas and cashews. Mix to coat ingredients in sauce, cooking on low until liquid thickens. Add another cup of water as needed to thin out sauce.
Serve over rice.

Mistakes

You don’t taking advantage of “what looks good” when you go shopping.

To everything there is a season. For example, my original plan for this recipe was to do orange chicken. At the market however, I passed by a gorgeous, golden ripe pineapple that smelled like heaven. The best part about cooking is being driven by what looks good, what season you are in. One of the reasons I love the farmers market is that it provides a rich education on when to expect certain fruits and vegetables, as well as an opportunity to experiment. I’ve never made pineapple chicken before. But I know the basics of technique and felt comfortable enough to wing it.

You don’t mirepoix.

Prepping is key. Spend the first 20 minutes gathering everything you need: pre-measure all your ingredients, wash and chop fruits and veggies, then chop everything else you need in the size you need it. These are my brand new bowls so I wanted to use them, but usually I save clear plastic soup containers from the market and use those for my mirepoix.


One other note: Time is precious, so prep your ingredients in a particular order. Cut fruits and veggies first, then meats. That way, you don’t have use a different cutting board or spend extra time washing the same cutting board.

Place everything you need next to your stove top, as close as possible in the order you will be cooking. Stir fry in particular is a wait, wait, wait, hurry GO! kind of food.

You don’t flavor your rice.

Rice deserves flavor, just as any other starch. Just a tablespoon of butter will give you great flavor. I particularly like using it in the rice cooker, because you also get a little crispy rice at the bottom of the pan.

Who doesn’t like crispy rice?

You overcrowd the pan.

I’ve covered this before, but it is essential to choose a pan that allows food to breathe. Crowded chicken will steam instead of crisp. Sure the food is edible, but really, you are better than that.

You cook food at the wrong heat.

Some meats should sear. Some fruits and veggies should too. Others get better the longer they cook. But sauces can quickly burn, and other vegetables lose crunch and flavor (not to mention nutrients) when cooked at heats that are too high. Get to know your range and find out which foods like it “hot” and which ones like it “not.”

You don’t cook ingredients long enough or you move the food in the pan too much.

You’ve spent the time to get to know your cook top and the ingredients. But now you can’t stop fiddling. Take a look at this chicken piece. That is the result of about 10 minutes of cooking on high. It is just barely starting to get the right color. I cooked it another 10 minutes.

Likewise, let onions go for at least 10 minutes. They are just getting to the point of translucency. This is when I add the pineapple. But don’t go too fast at this point.

And don’t move it around too much. Just let it be. Take a look at side by side images of the pineapple. I turned these after about 5 minutes. They look beautiful and the onions continued to gain color.

You cook other ingredients too long.

Delicate herbs, thin veggies, nuts really need just a little heat to brighten their colors and get a little tender. Respect your ingredients and they will reward you with ultimate flavor.

A saucy minx.

The best homemade stir fry sauce to keep in your fridge.

Looks like I need to make more…

Today I’m introducing you to my favorite sauce. It’s one I make myself and keep in my fridge at all times. I can also add to it easily and often do when I have the right ingredients on hand.

This is a basic sauce, but it makes my life easier to have it premixed and ready to go when I’m making stir fry.

The one issue I have is that I really don’t measure. I go by taste on this one. But I’ll try to give you approximations so that you can make this at home, and adjust to your liking.

Ingredients

The secret sauce! Not pictured: scallions (I didn’t have any), rice wine vinegar.
  1. Soy sauce (about 1 cup)
  2. Honey (about 1/4 cup)
  3. Finely grated ginger (1 tablespoon or to taste)
  4. 2-3 cloves of finely grated or crushed garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
  5. 1-2 stalks chopped scallions
  6. Thai fish sauce (a teaspoon or to taste)
  7. Rice or white wine vinegar (a teaspoon or to taste)
  8. Optional: Shichimi—a red chili pepper blend (1/8 teaspoon)

Variations

With a simple adjustment, this sauce base is a great replacement for teriyaki sauce (with far fewer preservatives). All you need to do is measure out 1/4 cup of the sauce, add 1 cup water, the juice from an orange or lemon, and 1/4 cup brown sugar into a pan over medium heat. Add a cornstarch slurry of 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 water and cook for about 5 minutes.

Another quick adjustment makes it a great dipping sauce for gyoza. Measure out a few tablespoons of the sauce, add an equal amount of rice wine vinegar and a few drops of sesame oil, as well as a few extra splashes of fish oil. The dipping sauce is light and tangy—perfect for the dumplings.

You can experiment with spices. I really like shichimi, but it would be great with chili oil—or even a packet of the chili flakes that come with pizza delivery if that’s what you have on hand.

A few tips

As I mentioned, I add to this sauce whenever its convenient. For example, when I buy a bunch of green onions at the market for a recipe, there are always leftover stalks. Sometimes I can use those during the week, but other times, I might not get to them. If they are looking a little limp (but are free of mold) I’ll trim any questionable parts, chop up the good parts and throw it in the jar. Because the main ingredients are soy sauce, honey, and vinegar, the onions are pickled. The ginger and garlic are likewise preserved.

Speaking of ginger, whenever I buy ginger root, I slice it up and keep it in my freezer. It stays pretty hearty and can be used in to make ginger tea, smoothies, lemonade, curd, or in this sauce whenever it is needed. The garlic can also be frozen (or stored in oil), but my husband grows garlic in our herb garden, so we have a pretty good supply on hand.

If you don’t have fish sauce, you can omit it… but its sooooooo good, I think you’ll want to add it. It adds a layer of umami flavor that makes the sauce irresistible. A small bottle will last for years.

Do you have a secret sauce? Let me know!

Can we talk about shortbread?

There is no better cookie than shortbread. Fight me.

Almond-flour shortbread with orange zest on my mom’s luncheon china. Too much butter.

From make, to bake, to take no other cookie beats shortbread. It is the three ingredient wonder that makes you look like you know what you are doing. They work for every holiday, as well as appreciation gifts, and are easy to make gluten free (although they are never sugar free or fat free…sorry).

The base recipe is 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour. So if you are going for a couple dozen (depending on size), here is what you might use:

1/2 cup sugar (bakers sugar is best, but use what you got)
1 cup SALTED butter (room temperature– 65F-69F).
2 cups flour

Cream the butter and sugar, mix in any flavorings, add the flour and mix until it is dough. Refrigerate or freeze for an hour and bake at 375F for about 10-12 minutes.

Wham! Yep, that’s it. From there, you have endless options and ways to fiddle, but you’ll almost always maintain that ratio of 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour.

I assume you have questions.

Why salted butter?

Oh hell yeah. You’ll notice I did not add salt. For one, I wanted to be cool and say that you can make something delicious with three ingredients. Just let me have this moment.

But you can add salt. If you use unsalted butter you’ll want to add 3/4 of a teaspoon. And if you like salty cookies, add fancy salt on top of the cookie before you bake it.

Seriously, give salted butter a try. I know it isn’t canon. I just really like the flavor. Check out Alison Roman’s Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread for a mind-blowing shortbread experience.

Why is your room temperature so specific?

Butter plays differently at different temperatures. Cold butter yields flakiness, which is why you use cold butter for pie crust and biscuits. For cookies, the goal is crumbliness. Room temperature butter is usually about 71F, but I live in an area that can reach triple digit temperatures in the summer. Plus I find that butter warms as you work it. I like the results best if I start at slightly cooler than room temperature. If your butter gets warmer, you will likely see a little more spread in the final cookie, but by all means bake them and eat them gleefully.

Why refrigerate or freeze?

What I like about this recipe is that the cookies get better the more the dough has time to fully integrate. Plus, it gives you options. I’ve made the dough on a weekend and baked up half a dozen in my toaster oven during the week for dessert. The dough will stay safe wrapped in parchment and cling wrap for a week in the fridge, and up to a month in the freezer.

In truth, we should start making nearly all our cookies this way. There is no need to buy cookie dough from the store when you can make it exactly how you want it and have it ready at a moment’s notice.

What size should I make the cookies?

Slice-and-bake shortbread is perfect for a quick cookie snack.

I’ve found that a tablespoon makes a really nice sized cookie. It bakes quickly and balances the richness. Depending on your customization, some cookies might spread, but in general, shortbread holds shape really well. Roll them into balls to get a half moon shape, or keep them in the same shape the scooper makes for a slightly flatter result.

Alternatively, roll the dough into a log before it is refrigerated and slice-and-bake. NOTE: For a really pretty finish brush the logs with a beaten egg and coat them in demerara or sanding sugar before slicing.

If you want to roll them out to cut into shapes, be gentle. Pat them into a flat disk and refrigerate. Then roll the dough out as lightly as possible.

How can I customize?

Nearly any way you see fit. Add a couple teaspoons of vanilla or almond extract. Add a tablespoon of citrus zest; a tablespoon of lavender or rosemary. A cup of chopped walnuts or pecans make a tasty cookie. You can also play around with the flour, substituting almond flour to make the cookies gluten free. Or replace about 1/3 of a cup of flour with cocoa powder to make chocolate shortbread. And 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in the flour can yield a tender/crisp texture that is amazing.

One key thing is to look up at least one recipe when your are planning a substitution. Substitutions might call for slight ratio changes as well. For example, when I use almond flour I cut back on the butter by 4 tablespoon (using the ratio measurements I mentioned above). Almond flour has a bit of fat in it and is more moist than normal flour. I get a lot of spread with that cookie if I put in too much butter. Do I still devour them? Yes, yes I do.

I also prefer shortbread for decorated holiday cookies, precisely because they hold shape better than sugar cookies. A simple icing of lemon or orange juice and powdered sugar mixed with seasonally appropriate colors allows you to pipe or flood beautiful cookies like a champ.

And now for the best part!

Mine, all mine.

Here’s the real secret. Kids don’t really like shortbread as much as adults do. My son will even pass up shortbreads with chocolate chip. It’s an adult cookie. It’s a subtle cookie. That means when I bake them, I don’t have to hide them. And that makes mommy a smart cookie.

One pan, one process. Mushroom and tarragon chicken.

This incredible one-pan meal is all about technique and endless possibilities.

This pan is overfilled. But doesn’t it look delicious? Photo by Sébastien Marchand on Unsplash

The ingredients

4-6 bone-in, skin-on thighs or skin-on chicken breast (the skin is important)
1 c sliced mushrooms
3 tbls chopped fresh tarragon
2 large spring onions, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, chopped or grated (or about 1 tbls)
1/4 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c white wine (aka, whatever is left over from last night)
2 tbls lemon juice (or one lemon squeezed)

The equipment

Garlic grater, crusher or microplane
Oven-safe or cast iron skillet (essential)

Turn oven to 375 F.
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
In a hot cast iron skillet place chicken skin side down. Be sure not to crowd the pan. Sear on high until skin is crispy and light brown. Turn the chicken over with tongs and (safely) move the skillet to the oven.
Cook 40-60 minutes until chicken is 160 F internal temp.
Meanwhile mix heavy cream, white wine, lemon, garlic, and green onion in a measuring cup. Add some salt and pepper.
When the chicken is done, move it back to the cooktop and remove chicken. Add mushrooms in a single layer and sauté over high heat until one side is golden brown. Turn mushrooms and golden them up.
Reduce heat to medium low and pour the cream mixture into the pan. Use tongs or wooden spoon to scrape up brown bits and incorporate them into the sauce. Cook, stirring often, until liquid is reduced by half (about 5-10 minutes). Turn the heat off and add half of the tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning. Place chicken and any drippings back into the sauce, and garnish with the rest of the herbs.

The chicken, veggies and sauce can be served over rice, egg noodles, or with a salad.

The story

I love this meal. It is so fancy and yet you only use one pot. I make this when I want to remind myself that “I can f-ing cook!” True story: this was the first meal I made after our daughter was born. After several months of take out, meals from the freezer, and friends feeding us (thank you thank you thank you) my husband devoured it and said, “I missed your cooking.”

This is actually a really simple meal and its very easy to swap ingredients. I tend to use chicken thighs because they stay juicy, even if you overcook them…in fact they get better. Anything I can shove in the oven and walk away from is a bonus. That’s why skin is important. When you flip the chicken, make sure the skins are super crispy. It will continue to cook in the oven while bathing the meat (mmmm chicken fat bath). You want properly rendered skin that crunches when you eat it. (I love chicken skin-don’t judge me).

I generally use my 8-in. cast iron skillet because it fits four thighs nicely. Plus I love it. However, when I’m cooking for more people, I need a bigger vessel. Enter my 12-in. Calphalon Unison skillet. It is light-weight (comparatively), easy to clean by hand, and goes from stove to skillet in one easy swoop. I’m super sad to report that the line has been discontinued. Stock up if you see them at TJ Maxx.

Tarragon has a licorice flavor, but it’s not in your face. If for some reason you don’t like (or have) tarragon, many herbs make a nice swap. Cilantro is especially nice and you can confidently add a big handful if you are looking to use up a bunch. Parsley is a bit grassier, and should be used 1:1 in place of the tarragon. I haven’t tried mint or basil yet, but I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t work. Rosemary should be used sparingly since it is pretty strong and can easily take over a dish. If you try something different let me know.

Green onion is also a taste thing. You can use regular onions, but cook them with the mushrooms so they have a chance to sweeten up.

Another ingredient that can be substituted is the heavy cream, although your choices are limited. I’ve used whole milk with minimal difference in flavor. What I like about milk or cream in combination with lemon is that you get that sour cream/buttermilk flavor. Plain yogurt would do here too. I would still add the lemon, though, because I like the lemon flavor.

If you use a nut milk, almond (unsweetened and plain) will likely give you the cleanest result. I’ve never done coconut milk. I bet the flavor would be wildly different, but still delicious. I would definitely use cilantro for a coconut milk application. And I might throw in some curry paste, ginger, lime leaves… and now that’s a whole other post.

Don’t have mushrooms? Well, that one is a little tougher. But hey, I could see this as a broccoli or cauliflower meal. Asparagus? Sure. Want to add green beans? Go nuts. What you add or exchange will change the flavor profile, but your results will still be yummy. Cook any veggies over high heat to give them a bit of caramelization. They will pick up some of the chicken flavor from the fat in the pan (you’re welcome). Do remember that veggies are more delicate than mushrooms so remove them from the pan while the sauce is reducing to avoid creating soggy gray mush.

Of course, you can always omit wine. A splash of white wine vinegar can create a similar result. The point is, this is a process meal: Cook the meat in the pan, remove the meat, cook veggies with pan drippings, add a delicious liquid with some thickening properties and reduce. Add fresh herbs. Add the meat back in and serve.

Sit back and enjoy the accolades.

My recipe promise

Here is my promise to you: I will never post a long blog about a recipe, while waiting to give you that recipe until the very last moment. I won’t do it.

Because I know what it is like to scroll through someone’s blog post when my hands are covered in flour. I know the ads take eons to load, or never load and you have to hit refresh.

Me waiting for a site to load. Photo courtesy of Jeff Hurt jeffhurtblog.com/2012/05/25/how-create-sticky-conference/ via Flickr.

I know how it is when you’ve got 15 minutes before the baby wakes up and you need to make sure you’ve measured the marinade right or check whether the burner should be medium low instead of a default high.

And I know what it’s like to be excited to cook something for the first time and you finally chose the prettiest picture from your search and now, you just want to make it!

I don’t begrudge these ads (they pay for people to write these great blogs, do the research and post the pretty food porn). And I don’t begrudge the writers sharing those interesting tales of technique, discovery, and joy. We need more storytelling.

But, I also know the pain of cooking from an online recipe. So, as Meatloaf puts it, I won’t do that. (Yes, I’m old. Google it)

Stay tuned for my first recipe.