reply to post by Erongaricuaro
hey, thanks for joining in!
i'm right there with you. when i was younger i thought that i really wanted to cooked in highest end restaurants. those attaining michelin stars
and the like. it wasn't until i started getting out into the field and working in different kitchens did my thoughts and opinions on food change. i
absolutely respect haute cuisine and it does have it's place within the food landscape. but in my opinion working in those joints requires a level
of pretension that i do not possesses. it's cooking fine food for those that can afford it and after a while it became distasteful to me. don't
get me wrong, those that are successful in that arena of cooking are some of the best in the world.(thomas keller, eric ripert, etc) but dudes like
that don't come around very often. i'm a simple guy when it comes to food, relying on only the freshest and most local ingredients i can get my
hands on. i cook to the season and am happy to do so. i've been fortunate to travel through mexico on multiple occasions during my life and i have
to say that i am envious that you get to enjoy that beautiful food country on a full time basis. i'd much rather eat off a cart in mexico city or at
any tiny joint in oaxaca than any restaurant in nyc. mexico, as a whole, as a much greater respect for the power of food, cooking, and community,
than we do here in the states. it's something to be admired.
as far as aging beef, i'll first say that i'm not a butcher and have my limitations when it comes some areas. basically there are two types of
aging. dry aging and wet aging. dry aging is something that can be very difficult to do properly. it involves a temperature and humidity controlled
environment. you're basically letting the exterior of a large sub primal cut of beef slowly age without rotting. this concentrates the 'beef'
flavor into the interior muscles of the cow. when it's done aging you trim and cut your steaks. this is very difficult to do at home.(something i
myself have never attempted) i save the time and headache and purchase dry aged beef from a good butcher who does it properly. on the other hand,
you can absolutely wet age your beef. this is something anyone can do and is effective at aging your steaks. wet aging is simply done by vacuum
packing your individual steaks. the juices from the beef, with their natural enzymes, will break down and tenderize the meat. you don't get the
same concentration of 'beefiness' as one would with dry aging, but it's far safer and able do be done properly by the home cook. once vacuum
packed it can sit in your fridge for a week or so before it's to be used. i hope that helps.
you can look into some of the least popular, cheaper, cuts. shanks, short-ribs, tails. these all make for great braising meats. cooking in a wet
environment for extended periods of time will break down connective tissue, impart a lot of flavor, and make a very tender bit of beef.
as far as a particular recipe you could do a braised short rib with polenta(grits/maize). it's simple, straight forward and delicious. and best of
take your short ribs and lightly dust with a little flour.
brown the meat in in a big, heavy pot, with a bit of oil.
when browned on all sides remove the meat and set aside.
chop onions/carrots/celery 2:1:1 ratio
cook in the same pot as the beef...about five minutes.
add a bay leaf, a bit of thyme, some whole black peppercorns and a garlic clove or two(just crushed)
this should cover the bottom of the pot.
place the beef back in on the bed of veg.
pour a couple cups of chicken stock into pot along with one bottle of dry red wine. bring up to a boil on the stovetop
cover the pot and place in 350 oven for about an hour forty-five.
remove cover, drop temp to 300 and cook for another 30-45mins
turning over the ribs ever now and then. liquid should reduce by about half.
at this point the meat should be super tender and the bones should be easily removed.
remove the meat from pot and set aside for a moment.
strain liquid and discard vegetables/herbs/peppercorns/garlic
you should have a beautiful rich sauce. place sauce in a smaller sauce pan and place meat inside.
this should keep everything moist and warm as you make your polenta.
for home cooking i recommend using a quick cook polenta. it's best to follow the recipe, although i go a bit heavier with the butter. it's cook
to serve just place a portion of polenta in the middle of the plate. place a portion of short ribs on top and spoon some sauce over.
it should tender, delicious, warming to your gut. the way food should be.
hope that works brother. i don't write recipes down so i can't really say 'so many cups of this' 'x amount of that'.
cooking is very intuitive....baking on the other hand...now that's SCIENCE!
anyways...good luck. feel free to come on back whenever.