If you haven’t heard, Blue Hill in New York City is going through some renovations this month. In the meantime, they’re hosting the pop-up, wastED. As the name suggests the restaurant focuses on the wasted cuts of meat and produce of the restaurant industry, giving them the spotlight and a life of their own. At some point during the meal, my husband uttered a very true statement. “You know we’re basically eating garbage…really expensive garbage.” He was absolutely right. Though I must stress, very DELICIOUS garbage.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the ultimate locavore dining experience. You can’t get much more local than picking harvesting vegetables and herbs right behind the restaurant or roasting the pig that grazes just a few hundred feet away. The restaurant has no menus, no specials of the day. Your meal is guided by what’s in season and what’s fresh. A welcome “journal” greets you with lists of what’s in season and how the dining experience works. For dinner, you have a choice of 5, 8 or 12 courses. The amount of food is fairly consistent across all three meals. Selecting a higher number of courses is simply a way to try more ingredients and different preparations. I’ve dined at Blue Hill twice. Different seasons, different company, different experiences completely.
I loved to cook before Top Chef came around. I was never a fan of cooking shows. The food network annoys me. Sure they’re some good recipes out there, but how can you really learn to make a 4 hour braise (with sides!) in a 27 minute episode. The shows would just frustrate me. But when Top Chef came along, I was immediately hooked. Top Chef doesn’t teach you how to make a recipe, it inspires you to think out of the box, to consider what you would make if faced with some saltine crackers and a piece of fish. Or what dishes would best describe you? Watching the show definitely encouraged me to play with flavors and invent new dishes.
I needed a reason to use my new(ish) 3 1/2 quart Le Creuset (which has since become one of my favorite pots ever) and I had some short ribs about to catch a nasty case of freezer burn in the oven. Last time I made short ribs for a dinner party they turned out pretty amazing. I marinated them in wine and veggies for a day, then tossed the marinade veggies and braised the short ribs with some fresh veggies and the same wine. To finish off, I roasted the final product in the oven for 10 minutes, or so, giving them a bit of crunch and glazy texture. So good. But that was a 2 day recipe. I was just cooking for my husband and me, and unless it’s a super special occasion, like a landmark anniversary or something, a 2 day recipe is not going to happen. And thus my googling brought me to Dan Barber’s Short Rib Recipe.