We’ve already established I’m a huge fan of Long Island wines. All New York wines. And while the trip isn’t that far mile-wise (hey, we’re all part of the same island) a two-hour trip can easily double or triple come summer. All Hampton goers, heading out to their beach houses, crowd the LIE so much you’re left with miles of parking lot. And once you finally make it to your destination, things don’t improve that much. Tasting rooms are overflowing. While the wine will never run out, the intimacy is lost. My husband and I are pretty firm about our North Fork expeditions. Summer weekday day trips only. Otherwise, we avoid the area like a plague between May and October. While the Hampton’s crowd may calm down post Labor Day, the harvest season is just ramping up. So you can imagine how excited I get when Brooklyn Uncorked rolls around each year. Rather than schlepping up to the North Fork, traveling from winery to winery, the North Fork comes here. Dozens of wineries, all under one roof, for one fantastic evening.
A few weeks ago I went to visit my friend, Cristin, in Baltimore. It was a beautiful weekend in early April. Baltimore being only a few hours south of New York, I’m still always surprised by the weather difference. Magnolia and Cherry Blossoms were already in full bloom, with New York’s spring still a few weeks away. There was no shortage of activities in front of us–museums, Fells Point, antiquing. But being high off my first foraging experience just the weekend the before, we decided on what any sane, classy women in their early 30s would do. We spent the afternoon picking dandelions and the evening making wine.
First I have to apologize for the lack of step by step photos of this recipe. I had no idea it would turn out as good as it did and I was pretty jaded going into the recipe preparation. The recipe was from of my long owned cookbooks, Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two. I’ve wanted get rid of this book on a number of occasions, but really, how often do you find recipes for a slow cooker that serves two rather than a family of twelve? The last time I used this book was at least 3-4 years ago. It was a delicious looking recipe for pork tenderloin with a rhubarb chutney. I prepared the ingredients accordingly, set my crockpot and left for work. When I returned 8 hours or so later, wonderful aromas drew me down the hall to my apartment door. I was hit with the beautiful scent of rhubarb as I turned the key. My mouth watered and I couldn’t get to the kitchen fast enough. When I opened the pot, however, I was welcomed not by a tasty tender piece of pork but a dark, salvageable charred mess. How the char and burnt scent didn’t fill my apartment is still a mystery to me, but that dish still remains my most disappointing cooking experience ever. To walk into the illusion of a perfect meal, only to be slapped in the face by it’s ruins. We had pizza that night and I haven’t touched the book since.
Some of my favorite recipes are the ones I don’t have to get anything special for. In my resolution to cook at least once recipe from the several dozen cookbooks scattered around my apartment and goal to cook something healthy at least once a week, I stumbled upon my Cooking Light: Cooking Through the Seasons. (but of course, I would own their seasonal cookbook). Leeks are one of my favorite vegetables, so as long as they’re in season, I generally have a few on hand. I had a pork loin in the freezer and everything else was basic pantry items. What I also loved was that technically this is a one pot meal. With the leeks, you don’t really need another side, though I chose to go with some balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts anyway.
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.