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Braised short ribs are why I’m here

There are often days when I wonder, what am I doing here?

A few days ago, an article from Food52 with advice for future food writers came up in my feed. The article states that instead of “torturing yourself with the rejection and struggle for respectable payment” … “look to other interests in the food industry” … “create something new, to start a business. This is what you should be doing.”

Now, I don’t by any means consider myself a food writer simply because I have a blog. I’m simply happy to sit here and call myself a writer. And I know that my “other” job will have to keep me afloat while I continue to write, because I am attempting to enter an industry that is perpetually shrinking. Literary magazines are struggling – shifting from being published in print, to exclusively online to save costs; and IF they pay a writer, it’s relatively nominal.

Ironically, blogs are culpable for the great shift in the writing world. Blogs have made it easy for anyone to have a voice and an opinion with a camera to take pretty pictures. The article states that, “Blogs changed this exclusionary system, both for the better and the worse. While they gave an exciting new platform to those formerly shut out of gatekeeper publications like Food & Wine, The New York Times and Gourmet, they also created a new, more democratic but competitive arena in which, ultimately, most would fail. The best blogs would grow into their own self-sustaining brands, and the rest would be left to struggle and starve, or subsist as an unpaid hobby.”

So I ask myself today, what am I doing here? Its pretty easy to follow your bliss, but even harder to do it and make money at it. Despite being able to give myself a writer title, it has not paid me one cent for the probably millions of words I’ve written. I don’t have thousands of followers. But regardless of what happens with this blog, it will continue to be a slice of life into my stories – what I’m making, eating, drinking, doing; all the while writing both for the blog, and for myself, and for literary agents.

The sobering reality is that it is hard to become a writer. I was told that during a lecture my senior year of college. Graduation was just a few months away, and some representatives from a publishing company came in to talk to us “budding writers,” and they had very little positive advice. Their words were much the same of this article, in that it won’t be easy, and there will be a lot of rejection. And you know what? I’m okay with that; I don’t think any job should be a cakewalk, but I do believe in doing what you love. I’ve been dealt endless rejection letters, but I can also say that I’ve already defied the odds in being published already. And it won’t be the last.

Now the real reason I’m here: to share with you a kick ass recipe for short ribs. Everything you’ve read above, and everything you’ll read below, that is why I’m here, to share stories and recipes with you.

There are a few things I think I do really well in the kitchen, one is short ribs, another is braised greens. This recipe has both. Oh, and an awesome picture of “meat-henge,” thanks to Amber. Please enjoy! 🙂

Short Ribs with cauliflower mash and braised mustard greens

Serves: 4

Ribs:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 short ribs, trimmed of excess fat

Salt & pepper

Flour for dredging

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 stalks celery, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste

1 cup, brewed coffee

1/2 bottle dry red wine

4 cups stock (chicken or beef)

Warm the oil in large pot. Season the ribs all over with salt and crushed pepper. Dust half the ribs with about 1 tablespoon flour and then, when the oil is hot, add the ribs into the pot and sear four to five minutes on a side, until the ribs are well browned. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate. Lower the heat to medium, and toss in the vegetables and sauté 4-5 mins, then add herbs. Cook for 5 more minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for one minute to blend. Add wine and coffee. Add ribs back to pot.

Bring to the boil, and cook for 10 mins and then add stock. Bring to boil again, and then turn heat down to low, and simmer, covered with lid for 2 hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Discard bay leaves.

Cauliflower mash:

1 head of cauliflower, florets only

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

salt and pepper

Add cauliflower to pot with milk and water (enough to just cover the cauliflower). Bring to boil and cook for 10 mins. Remove cauliflower with slotted spoon and add to food processor. Pulse a few times. Use reserved liquid to add to food processor to achieve desired level of creaminess. Don’t add too much, or mash will be too liquidy.

Mustard Greens:

One bunch of mustard greens, ribs removed and chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 pinch chili flake

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over med-high heat, add garlic and chili flake and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add greens and add salt and pepper. Continuously stir greens for 2-3 minutes until they begin to wilt slightly. Add raisins and stock, and cover with lid, cook for 2-3 mins.

Plating:

Add spoonful of mash into a bowl, top with greens, followed by short rib, and then one ladle-full of broth with vegetables.

Oh, and here’s what we drank with dinner:

Dug into the collection. Pretty amazing 🙂

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