Friday, April 10, 2009

Spotting Dinner - Coffee Braised Bison Shortribs

I love shortribs. I've only ever had them at one restaurant - No. 9 Restaurant in Lambertville, New Jersey. Their shortribs are AMAZING. That's what I order every time I eat there. I did have equally amazing braised lamb shanks with polenta and vegetables there in the winter last year, but the shortribs weren't on the menu that night. Why do I get the same exact dish every time I go to that restaurant? Because it's probably one of the best tasting things I've ever put into my mouth! So when I was looking for dinner inspiration and searched for "shortribs" on TasteSpotting and foodwoolf's coffee braised bison shortribs came up - I was sold. I love shortribs, I love coffee, and bison is oh so yummy.

Photo from foodwoolf

Coffee Marinated Bison Short Ribs
via foodwoolf
Adapted from the February 2008 Bon Appetit issue

This is a start-the-day-before dish, that requires 6-8 hours of marinating. I suggest doing this before you go to bed or do it first thing you wake up the day you're going to make the short ribs.


* 4 cups water
* 3 cups chilled strong brewed coffee
* 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
* 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
* 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
* 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 2 cups ice cubes
* 4 pounds bison (often labeled buffalo) short ribs, cut between ribs to separate

Short Ribs:

* 1/4 cup chopped bacon (about 1 1/2 ounces)
* 2 cups chopped onions
* 1/2 cup chopped shallots
* 6 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 tbsp Siracha chili sauce
* 1 cup strong brewed coffee
* 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
* 1 tablespoon soy sauce


For marinade:

Stir 4 cups water, coffee, 1/2 cup coarse salt, and sugar in large bowl until salt and sugar dissolve. Add syrup and next 3 ingredients; stir until ice melts. Add ribs. Place plate atop ribs to keep submerged. Cover and chill 4 to 6 hours. Drain ribs; discard marinade. DO AHEAD: Drained ribs can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

For short ribs:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Sauté bacon in heavy large wide ovenproof pot over medium heat until beginning to brown. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate. Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook ribs until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer to large plate.

Add onions, shallots, garlic, and Siracha to pot. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add coffee and broth; stir, scraping up browned bits. Add chili sauce and all remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Add bacon and ribs, cover, and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is tender, about 2 hours 15 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm in 325°F oven until heated through, about 20 minutes, before continuing.

Transfer ribs to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Spoon fat from surface of sauce. Boil sauce until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over ribs.

The recipe seems a bit complicated since there are different steps to it... It's well worth the effort though. I was once told that the shortribs at No. 9 Restaurant are watched over for 24 hours... As for the bison - bison is quickly becoming available at major grocery stores these days. You might be able to find it at a specialty butcher in your area... and if you can't you could substitue traditional beef shortribs for the bison ribs.

This dish served with your favorite mashed potato recipe and seasonal vegetables would be a great surprise for a special family dinner.

- Here's to bison and full bellies.
- Cait

Spotting Lunch - Pasta Salad Niçoise

When the weather is warm, I love pasta salads. I probably associate warmer weather with pasta salads because my dad would always make them in the warmer weather for dinner. My dad never made a pasta salad quite like the one I found on TasteSpotting posted by Gastronomer (Sorry Dad).

Pasta Salad Niçoise
via gastronomersguide

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces cavatappi
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 6-ounce cans solid white tuna in olive oil, drained
1 red bell pepper, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slivers
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Make garlic oil by heating 2 tablespoons oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Let cool.

To a pot of rapidly boiling, liberally salted water, add green beans. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and rinse with cold water. Drain.

Cook pasta in the same pot until al dente, a few minutes short of package directions. Drain.

In a large bowl make vinaigrette by combining garlic oil, 4 tablespoons oil, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, salt, and pepper; whisk well. Add pasta, beans, bell pepper, tuna, olives, and capers. Toss gently to coat all ingredients with vinaigrette.

Yield: 6 servings.

To make this pasta salad even more special, you could get a nice fresh tuna steak at your local seafood counter and grill it. I love grilled tuna with just a bit of salt, pepper, maybe some lemon zest, and olive oil. Tuna is nice with any of your favorite herbs though.

Here's to fishes and full bellies.

- Cait

Spotting Breakfast- My Valentines's Monte Cristo Panini

I never really had a Monte Cristo before... Rachel Ray did her take on them during an episode of 30 Minute Meals and I've seen the sandwich on menus, but I never got around to eating one. When I was looking for a breakfast idea on TasteSpotting I found PaniniKathy's Valentine's Monte Cristo Panini and thought it was a great take on the idea of the sandwich.

Photo from paninihappy

My Valentine’s Monte Cristo Panini
via paninihappy

Adapted from Everyday Food

Serves 2


Dijon mustard
4 slices country bread (I used Bread & Cie’s country levain)
Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
Ham, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Confectioner’s sugar
Raspberry preserves


Preheat the panini grill to medium heat (350 degrees).

Spread mustard on the bread. Layer 2 of the bread slices with Swiss cheese, ham, and cheese again. Place remaining bread slices on top.

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Dip each sandwich in the egg mixture, turning to coat well.

Carefully place the sandwich onto the panini grill. Close the lid and grill for 4-5 minutes until the bread is lightly browned and the cheese is melted.

Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar and, if desired, spoon a little raspberry preserves in the shape of a heart in the center. Another idea is to stencil in a little heart motif with the confectioner’s sugar. Happy Valentine’s Day - enjoy!

I know it's past Valentine's Day, but the concept of the panini is perfect for any day of the year. If you want to really get into this sandwich with a knife and fork I'd heat the raspeberry preseves in the microwave or on the stove until they are of a "syrup" consistancy and pour it over the Monte Cristo. If raspberry isn't your thing, you could use pretty much any kind of preserves instead - or just go with maple syrup (the real stuff).

- Here's to breakfast and full bellies.
- Cait