It’s officially cold in the Hoosier State and that means I’m in the mood for hearty comfort food that makes the house smell incredible (and helps keep the winter blues at bay). My wife and I had an incredible tasting menu at Pizzology last year (special New Years Eve event) and the Braised Short Ribs stood out to me more than everything else (although it was all very good). After that meal I knew I had to try to replicate the dish and start serving it to the family on a semi-regular basis.
There are two different types of Short Rib cuts. The ribs can be separated and cut into short lengths (typically about 2 inches long), called an “English cut” or the “flanken cut” which is achieved by cutting across the bones (typically about 1/2 inch thick). This recipe calls for the English Cut and will need 2 ribs per person.
Once reduced the cooking liquid can be thickened with a roux or served as is. The ribs go very well with a starch such as mashed parsnips, or potatoes.
One of the most consistent source for English Style Short Ribs in Central Indiana has been The Fresh Market in Broad Ripple and Carmel. Even if they don’t have them in the case just ask, they’ll most likely cut them fresh for you.
Braised Short Ribs (serves 4)
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon (Spend around $10-12)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 short ribs, trimmed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
Flour, for dredging
10 cloves garlic, peeled
8 large shallots, peeled, and split in half
2 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, peeled, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
6 sprigs Italian parsley
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts unsalted beef stock or chicken stock
Freshly ground white pepper
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole, large enough to hold 6 ribs, over medium-high heat. Season the ribs all over with salt and the crushed pepper. Dust the ribs with flour and then when the oil is hot, place the ribs into the pot and sear for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until well browned.
Transfer the browned ribs to a plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot; lower the heat to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly, 6 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend.
Add the wine, browned ribs, and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil; cover the pot tightly, and slide it into the oven to braise for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface.
Carefully transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with a lip and keep warm. Boil the pan liquid until it thickens and reduces to approximately 1 quart. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids.
Pour the sauce over the meat. Serve with vegetables of your choice.
This is a family recipe that I grew up on. I promised in the Maple Bacon Ice Cream post that I would share. Since it’s a custard the lemon flavor is smooth and sweet, not tart.
2 C. whipping cream
2 C. half-and-half
1 C. sugar
1/3 C. finely grated lemon zest
6 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 C. fresh lemon juice
Bring the cream, half-and-half, sugar and zest just to a boil over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Whisk the egg yolks and salt together in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the cream mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk until blended.
In a slow steady stream, add the remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly, and continue whisking until blended.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until the custard thickens and leaves a path on the back of a wooden spoon when a finger is drawn across it; do not allow the mixture to boil.
Immediately pour the custard through a strainer into a bowl and stir in the vanilla. Let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally. Refrigerate, covered, for 3 hours, until thoroughly chilled.
When ready to freeze, stir the lemon juice into the cold custard, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For a firmer texture, transfer to a freezer container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
Nothing brings back the childhood memories more than making homemade ice cream. When I was growing up my Grandmother had one of those electric models that used ice and rock salt. The smell of the electric motor mixed with the super cold ice/salt mixture is so distinctive it can take me back to the breezeway in a heartbeat.
Having obtained her recipe for Lemon Custard Ice Cream (future blog post I promise) I purchased the necessary attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer (specifically for that recipe). It consists of a double walled stainless steel bowl filed with a freezable liquid and a plastic dasher. The Kitchen Aid churns the mixture to a semi-frozen state which, once achieved, you eat it right away soft serve style or put it in a container and freeze overnight. The entire freezing process takes about 30 minutes. Sounds easy, right? Read on…If you’ve never made homemade ice cream, I mean really good quality homemade ice cream, you probably don’t understand the amount of work, time, and expense that goes into the final product. This time around I opted for a new creation that my daughter and I thought up while talking about food one evening. A quick Google search located a recipe that looked promising.
Maple Bacon Ice Cream. Yes, Maple Syrup, Heavy Cream, Egg Yolks, and Candied Bacon frozen together into a delicious treat that covers that sweet and salty spectrum we all love. So far so good, what can go wrong? Let’s investigate this crime scene piece by piece…
The first step of the process is reducing the maple syrup by about 1/2. This is easily done and takes about 20-30 minutes. You need to keep an eye on it though as it tends to bubble up. Once complete, you set this off to the side and work on the next step.
To achieve the ever so highly desired creamy consistency you need to make custard. This, in its simplest form, involves cream, sugar, and egg yolks. This recipe also has three additional ingredients, Bacon, Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar.
The first step is to “scald” the milk. This just means heating it to 180°F (no more, no less). Once the proper temperature is reached you add the sugar stirring just enough to dissolve. Pour the milk mixture into the reduced maple syrup and heat everything to 160°F stirring so the syrup incorporates into the milk.
Next you beat the egg yolks until pale and start tempering the eggs with the heated milk mixture, beating with a whisk the entire time (unless you want scrambled eggs in your ice cream). After you slowly add about 1/3 of the heated milk to the eggs (whisking the entire time), you pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining 2/3 of the milk. You’re still whisking like a maniac, right?… RIGHT?
Now you are well on your way to a good, basic, custard. Keep stirring, and cooking slowly, until you get a semi-thick consistency. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Remove the custard from the heat and pour into a heat proof bowl. Make sure you press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard to keep the top from forming a skin.
Cool the custard bowl on the counter for 30-45 minutes and then put it into the fridge for 12-24 hours. Yes, 12-24 hours. You’re done for the day. Start cleaning up your mess and find something else to do! Make sure your ice cream making equipment is in the freezer too. Regardless of what you’re using you will want to make sure everything that touches the custard tomorrow is cold.
OK Ben (or is it Jerry?), it’s the next day. You waited the proper 12-24 hours, right? Time to start the next step in this ice cream making marathon…
Start by cooking your bacon (however your normally do it). I use the oven and bake on parchment paper at 350°F for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. This was the mistake that ruined the final product. Keep reading for the nasty details.
Time to set up your ice cream making equipment… It can be the old fashioned hand crank (good for making the little ones miserable with the promise of sugar for their efforts), electric crank, or the modern multi-function kitchen appliance method.
This step is easy. Fill your bowl, insert the dasher, turn said equipment on and set your timer for 25-minutes.
While you’re churning, sprinkle brown sugar on the bacon strips and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Flip and repeat. Allow the bacon to cool again and then chop into bite sized pieces. A brûlée torch would be a great replacement for the broiler process.
That $7 container of high-end custard form the store down the street is sounding pretty good right now isn’t it?
Once the 25 minutes is up you should have a semi-solid product. Add the candied bacon and continue to mix until just incorporated. The ice cream can now be eaten as is (soft serve style) or placed in a container and frozen for another 12-24 hours. I opted for freezer time and was anticipating digging in the next day. We shared some bites of the soft server off the dasher and determined this was going to be a winning recipe.
Before we get to the final product let’s review what we have in this so far…
Making your own ice cream at home is fun. It takes some time but the end result is usually worth the effort. In this case we were into this recipe for about $30. We used some of the best ingredients we could get our hands on and were happy to know exactly what was in our frozen treat.
Heavy Cream $6
Organic Brown Eggs $4
White Sugar $2.50
Brown Sugar $2.50
Indiana Maple Syrup $10
Nueske’s Aplewood Smoked Bacon $5
I actually did not add all of this up until after the fact and realized how expensive this little adventure turned out.
The ice cream has had its 24-hour rest in the freezer. To be honest I almost forgot about it since we started this process 3 days ago…
The end result was firm and very smooth frozen custard with chunks of candied bacon. Exactly what we were trying to accomplish! This is GREAT! Let’s dig in…
But first, let me ask you this… How many of you keep a little stash of bacon fat in the fridge for fried eggs and things? OK, we have a few virtual hands raised out there, good. Now, how many of you would take a spoonful of said bacon fat and place it in your mouth? Really, no one? OK…
Remember a few steps back where we put sugar on our bacon and placed it in the broiler? Notice how I neglected to remove the bacon, drain on paper towels and place on a fresh piece of parchment before starting the candying process? Once the sugar is melted it all kind of blends together and in the rush to melt the sugar, and not burn it, you sometimes fail to notice these things.
I scooped a generous portion into a dish and dug in.
First bite? AWESOME!
Second bite? Really good!
Third bite? Uh oh… what is that? It’s like a piece of butter or something… Wait, there’s no butter in this… Eww, it’s all over the roof of my mouth and covering my tongue. Why can’t I taste anything?
Oh, crap… It’s frozen bacon fat. It’s not just a little frozen bacon fat, it’s a lot of frozen bacon fat. The tell-tale white streaks are running throughout the custard… Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present… Maple, Bacon, Bacon Fat, Custard!
It was awful… I wanted to like it but that mouth coating of bacon fat just ruined it for me. I still have it in the freezer of any brave soul wants to come on over and try it out. It’s being thrown out tomorrow. The bacon fat was not noticeable when the custard was in soft server form (and directly out of the ice cream machine. Only after it has time to solidify did it become noticeable..
In retrospect, the maple custard was awesome by itself. I think the addition of some toasted pecans would make it really good. The next time we make this I’m substituting bacon for nuts. In fact, I may be tossing that little container of bacon fat I see every time I open the fridge. It’s going to take a little time for me to get over this one.
As with any recipe, the devil is usually in the details. Had I thought to properly drain and blot the fat off the bacon I’m convinced this entire experience would have ended quite differently.
For those of you interested in making this for yourself, I’m including the recipe below. Be sure to learn from my mistakes and drain that bacon!
Maple Ice Cream with Bacon
12 oz of the best maple syrup you can afford
6 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
20 oz heavy cream
14 oz milk
At least six strips of caramelized bacon, cut into bacon bit sized pieces (I used brown sugar for the candy coating).
Cook the maple syrup down to 1/2 its volume about 3/4 of a cup. This stuff tends to boil over so take it slow and low. Check it frequently and do your best to keep it away from a full boil.
In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, and syrup reduction. Stir to dissolve the maple syrup reduction. Bring to a bare simmer. Depending on the temperature when it is added, you may find that the syrup reduction solidifies. Do not fear. When you get above 160 degrees F, it will easily mix into the liquid.
While the milk and cream are heating, mix the yolks with the salt. Beat well.
Temper the eggs with the dairy mixture by slowly adding about 1/3 of the liquid(in two or three additions). Remember to whisk constantly during the tempering process. Add the eggs mixture to the remaining milk mixture. Stir constantly until the temperature reaches 175F.
Cool to room temperature overnight. Freeze in your ice cream machine and add the caramelized bacon at the last minute or so of freezing.
Cool, refreshing, crunchy and savory. Those words all describe the classic Greek Salad. The use of local summer produce makes this even better. This salad goes great with burgers, pork chops or even by itself. Be sure to use good quality oil, vinegar and feta cheese.
1 package cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
2 diced seeded & peeled English cucumbers
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced yellow bell pepper
1 cup pitted kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, halved
1/2 thinly sliced medium red onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
8oz feta cheese cubed
Freshly ground pepper to taste (you should not need salt because of the feta and olives)
Combine all vegetables and set aside.
Whisk Oil, Vinegar & lemon juice into a light emulsion. Pout vinaigrette over vegetables and mix to combine.
Add feta and mix lightly. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Vinaigrette may partially solidify if refrigerated overnight. If this occurs, leave bowl on the counter for 10-15 minutes prior to mixing and serving.
This recipe is what inspired me to purchase a waffle iron. After visiting the “Taste of Belgium” stall at Findley Market in Cincinnati last year I just had to learn how to make these. “Liege” style are not your typical Belgian waffles you get at the local breakfast spot. These are packed full of a special Pearl Sugar that caramelizes during the baking process. The result is a crispy caramel infused pastry that does not need syrup.
3 1/2 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
8 oz softened butter (2 sticks)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pearl sugar (such as Lars’ Own®)
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk.
Gradually add all ingredients to the flour, except the pearl sugar.
Let dough rise until it doubles (about 30 minutes)