I recently bought Tom Colicchio’s Think Like a Chef (he of the Top Chef hosting). Colicchio, though a four-star chef, started from no classical training, and never got around to the CIA. So, his cookbook is not necessarily about classical recipes, but more about techniques of classic cooking. Since I tend to ignore recipes, but am intrigued by techniques, I think his is the most interesting cookbook I’ve read in the last year.
One of his big techniques as a meat-centric chef is braising. I have never really braised, at least as a formal technique, and real meat like beef, as opposed to the quicker (yet still classic) techniques of seafood.
And, of course, five or so cloves of garlic
Chopped with thyme
Shortribs are salted and peppered
Browned on all sides
Veggies get tossed
Clean some red jalapenos and toss into the veggies at the last minute
Preheated oven at 350, I put the ribs and veggies together
Added beef stock and red wine vinegar
Not covering the ribs, but enough to bring liquid up to the sides
The broth should barely simmer in the oven. After a half hour or so, I dropped the temp to 300. I turned the ribs, then cooked for another hour and a half, and midway through, I dropped the oven to 275. Basically, a very, very slow simmer (a couple bubbles trickling up consistently).
So, after a few hours, I removed the veggies and ribs
Reduced the sauce in a pan by half, then (after feeding both kids, giving baths, putting to bed, making martinis, and other important life-activities…) added the ribs and veggies back to the reduced broth…merely to warm back up
Plating. Stack a few ribs, top with thyme and some chopped jalapenos, pile the veggies on the side, and pour some broth/sauce over and around the ribs
And, a good behind-the-scenes shot of how we do these dinners, with lights, tripods, laptops, kitchen equipment, etc.
There have been quite a few times where I’m busy cooking and Christey will say: “Stand back, your head is in my light”, or I will say: “Here I go, this is important”, but the flashes haven’t charged, or the camera focus takes too long, and the shot is gone. I’ve chopped vegetables at chef-speed, only to pause in mid-drop, knife shining in the light, just to get the shot. It’s a lot of fun blending both of our arts.
-Photography by Christey Krause, Food by Peter Krause