Don’t Deflate – Inflate the Taste – Spinach-Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breast

Perfectly stuffed and inflated chicken breast

Perfectly stuffed and inflated chicken breast

People have been talking a lot about deflated things lately. The deflated Patriots balls proved for some good fodder on Twitter with #TomBradyHasSaggyBalls and #DeflateGate ruling online.

And things have been inflated too. This past week’s ‘epic’ ‘historic’  ‘monster’ snow storm is a great example of an inflated forecast – for NYC anyway.

But my most amazing recent encounter with inflation came from ConEd. Today I received my e-bill from the Electric Company – not the ’70’s singing kind. Now, I do look at these emails, but what happened today made me think of all the people who never do. See, today’s invoice was for $288.56 for electric charges since December 22 and not 12/22/12, 12/22/14. To put this in perspective, last month’s bill was $58.27 AND I’ve been away much of this billing period. I called – pressed a lot of buttons – and finally got an agent – Tony. Tony explained that because of the ‘storm’ the meters weren’t read and ConEd just estimates the wattage used….uhmmmm, based on what? Me running a neon sign company out of my apartment? After I went and read my own meter (now I know where that is) – the massive inflation error was corrected and my bill deflated down to $52.21.

Lesson here? Sometimes things are erroneously deflated and sometimes things are erroneously inflated.

One thing that you should not deflate but should inflate the taste of is chicken breast. Just pump it up with Ricotta Cheese and Spinach.

Ricotta-Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts (serves 2 – more if your breasts are inflated….)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. You’re going to dirty a bowl, a plate, a fry pan and a baking dish – so clean as you go
  2. Don’t get over zealous with the flour – you just need enough to lightly coat the breasts – any more and flour will end up all over your counter(s) and floor
  3. Chicken goes on sale – but, please, I beg you, do not buy a store brand unless that store is Fairway, Trader Joe’s or WholeFoods. I recently had an unfortunate bad chicken incident when I stopped and shopped somewhere I won’t name.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Sized Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

    On Sale!

    On Sale! – But a good brand, so AOK

  • 1 10oz Package of Chopped Frozen Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese – I like the Polly-O brand
  • 2 Slices of Prosciutto – thinly sliced – don’t go crazy, just buy the Boars Head
  • Flour
  • Olive Oil – you know the drill, really good extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt / Pepper – or Dad Salt – message me for where to find it

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Defrost the spinach – just take it from the package, put it in a microwave safe dish/bowl and zap it for 6-7 minutes

spinach, chopped, frozen, chicken, dinner

BirdsEye spinach – always a good deal

2. Drain the spinach – I wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out. Just be careful as the spinach is hot (duh) and will burn your hands

3. Once the spinach is wholly cooled – take about 1/2 of it and mix it with the 1/2 cup of Ricotta Cheese – set aside. You can use all the spinach with more ricotta (like I did) and then save the rest of the mixture for a great Spinach Maria side.

spinach, ricotta, stuffed chicken recipe

I made all the spinach and more ricotta –   enough stuffing for 6 breasts Or to make a spinach maria side

4. Butterfly the chicken breasts – this is a little tricky if you’ve never done it. Best advice is to place one hand on top of the breast, slice slowly into the flesh and continue to move your knife down the center and open the breast until it’s a perfect butterfly shape

Put one hand on top of the chicken to hold it steady while slicing

Put one hand on top of the chicken to hold it steady while slicing – and cut that fat off the end

5. Place the breasts one at a time on a large piece of plastic wrap on top of a cutting board

butterfly chicken breast

Perfectly butterflied breast – needs pounding!

6. Place a second piece of plastic wrap on top of the butterflied breast

7. Pound the chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thick – You’re not trying to kill the chicken, it’s already dead – Best method is to come down on the chicken with your mallet and then move the mallet to the outside of the breast. Be careful not to rip the breast open – though really no worries if this happens

8. Salt and Pepper or DadSalt the inside of the pounded breasts

DadSalt is a mix of flavinators and testifiers - a venture to raise funds for EBResearch.org. Contact me for details.

DadSalt is a mix of flavinators and testifiers – a venture to raise funds for EBResearch.org. Contact me for details.

9. On one side of the butterflied and pounded breast, place a heaping tablespoon plus a little more of the ricotta-spinach mixture and use your fingers to press it into an even layer. Leave a little space on the edges – don’t overstuff.

stuffed chicken, spinach ricotta dinner

That’s about the right amount of stuffing – maybe a little too much…

10. Fold the un-spinach/ricotta half of the breast over the spinach-ricotta half and gently press the edges together

stuffed chicken breast, dinner

See, there’s a hole in mine – not to worry. It’ll be hidden by the prosciutto

11. Dredge the stuffed, sealed breasts in flour just to coat

12. Take one slice of the prosciutto and lay it on top of the dredged, stuffed chicken breast

stuffed chicken breast recipe

Dredged and covered – note the hole is now just our secret

13. Heat about 2 TBSP of Olive Oil and 1 TSP of butter in a large pan over medium/high heat

14. Prepare a 9×9 or 8×8 or whatever sized baking dish will fit the breasts with cooking spray – set aside

15. Once the oil, butter is melted and sizzling hot, place the chicken breasts prosciutto side down on the hot pan

stuffed chicken breast dinner

Yes, the prosciutto will adhere all on its own to the chicken. Trust me.

16. Brown the chicken until the prosciutto is browned and crisped and adhered to the chicken – about 4 minutes

17. Flip the chicken and brown the alternate side – about another 4 minutes

stuffed chicken breast, prosciutto, dinner

This is what the prosciutto should look like – perfectly browned and adhered to the chicken.

18. Remove the breasts from the pan and place in the prepared baking dish.

19. Place the baking dish into the oven for :20 minutes – until cooked through and chicken meat is completely white

20. Remove and serve

stuffed chicken breast recipe

Perfect. Just Perfect.

Chicken breast stuffed with spinach

And the surprise inside!

Some things are meant to be deflated – huge egos, beach balls at the end of the day, giant Santas after christmas is over. And, some are meant to be inflated – not my ConEd bill, mind you – but rather a chicken dinner sumptuously inflated with spinach and ricotta cheese.

Meatloaf CAN Be Paradise…if not By The Dashboard Lights

tyler florence meatloaf recipe tomato relish

MMMMMMeatloaf

I suffered many cruelties at the hands of my parents in my childhood. Many. Most of the evil came in the form of deprivations they imposed upon me.

le sport sac blue bag meatloaf recipe

The Naughty Girl Accessory

I was not allowed to wear a non-competitive swim suit when all the other girls were starting to sport OP instead of Speedo.

I was not allowed to have a LeSportSac bag in highschool. Not allowed. Why? Because the naughty girls carried such satchels. I mean look how naughty it is!

paradise by the dashboard lights meatloaf recipe

Evil Album

And…in Junior High School when Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell album was taking teenagers by storm…I was not allowed to own it. Even though I could purchase the album with my own hard-earned money…I wasn’t allowed.

I wasn’t allowed because of the hit song “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights”. The song includes a  sportscast of a baseball play where the batter is trying to round the bases. I don’t know – Maybe it meant something else?!? But I just liked the song and wanted to own the album. I think that my father was also opposed to the whole ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ title. You know, because of Satan.

Later on, I learned that many people don’t like Meatloaf….the man AND the meal. But, Tyler Florence’s ‘Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish’ might just change all that.

Mmmmmmmeatloaf ala Tyler Florence (Serves 4-6)

Tiny apartment tips:

  • Recipe calls for whole milk…but, you can use any combination of 1%, 2% and cream – whatever you have in your apt
  • Recipe calls for 3 slices of white bread…but, what will you do with the rest of the loaf? So, I bought a demi loaf of french bread and used the inside of that instead
  • Recipe calls for a combination of Beef and Pork, 1.5lbs and 1lb respectively. BUT, ground beef comes in 1lb and 2lb packages…which means you would have extra and then what? And, I like veal in my meatloaf…so I buy 2.5lbs of Meatloaf mix instead. It’s ok if you have slightly more or slightly less. But I did find 1.25lb packages of the stuff and just bought 2.

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion finely diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 2 Bay Leaves – dried, jarred bay leaves are AOK
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, cored, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 smallish tomatoes on the vine diced and seeded – or 2 large ones
  • 1/4 Cup fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley chopped
  • 12 oz Tomato Ketchup – the Heinz bottles are 14oz…so just use most of it
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Slices of white bread OR 1 demi loaf of french bread – no crusts and torn by hand.
  • 1/4 Cup whole milk….OR a mix of 2% and heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 lbs of ground meats…I use Meatloaf Mix which includes beef, pork and veal
  • 2 Eggs
  • Leaves from 2 Fresh Thyme sprigs – I have frozen sprigs in the freezer at all times
  • 4 Slices of Bacon
  • Salt an Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. In a large skillet, heat 2 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat

2. Add the bay leaves, onion and garlic and saute until fragrant and beginning to soften – about :04 minutes

meatloaf recipe food dinner tyler florence

Saute Onions, Garlic and Bay Leaves

3. Add in the red peppers and saute stirring for about :03 minutes

meatloaf recipe dinner paradise by the dashboard lights

Add the diced red peppers

4. Add the tomatoes, parsley, ketchup and Worcestershire and stir to combine

meatloaf recipe dinner tyler florence bat out of hell

Sauteing the Sauce

5. Add salt and pepper to taste – I just grind some pepper over the mix and throw some sea salt in…like a teaspoon or so.

6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for :05 minutes to combine all flavors

meatloaf recipe dinner food beef tyler florence

It loosens up as it simmers

7. Remove from the heat…And this is V IMPORTANT: Let cool….

Seriously….let it stand for at least :10mins. Remove the bay leaves at this point.

8. While that’s going on…Tear the bread into pieces and drop into a small bowl – cover with 1/2 cup of milk/cream combo

meatloaf recipe tyler florence paradise by the dashboard lights

Bread soaking in the milk…mmmmm

9. Crack the eggs into a small bowl or glass and gently beat them

10. In a large mixing bowl, combine the meatloaf mix with 1 1/2 cups of the cooled tomato relish, the eggs and thyme leaves

meatloaf recipe food dinner meatloaf mix

Because 3 Meats are Better than 2

meatloaf recipe tyler florence dinner

Add the COOLED relish, eggs and thyme

11. Squeeze the excess milk/cream from the bread pieces and add the bread to the meatloaf mix

12. Using your hands, mix the meatloaf

dinner recipe meatloaf tyler florence

Don’t over mix…just combine well

13. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with Reynold’s Wrap Pan lining paper

pan lining paper spinach balls recipe

Shiny on the bottom, parchment on the top

14. Form the meat mixture into a loaf – about 9 inches x 4 inches

dinner meatloaf recipe tyler florence

Free-Form Meatloaf

15. Coat the top of the top of the meatloaf with about 1/2 cup of the relish

dinner meatloaf recipe tyler florence

Relish Coating: The Magic of Moist Meatloaf

16. Cover the relish coated loaf with 4 strips of bacon

dinner meatloaf tyler florence bat out of hell

Because Bacon seals in the moisture and makes everything better

17. Bake for 1 1/2 hours – the bacon will be crispy and the meatloaf will be firm

18. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and let it stand for about :10 minutes before slicing

tyler florence meatloaf recipe tomato relish

MMMMMMeatloaf

OK…so Tyler Florence might not change anyone’s opinion of the singer, Meatloaf. And, I may never be able to convince anyone that Paradise by the Dashboard Lights is really a love story – although Meatloaf does promise to love the girl in the song ‘until the end of time’ and all. But, don’t deprive yourself of the magic of meatloaf. Because Tyler Florence’s meatloaf IS paradise and may just change your meatloaf hating mind.

Spring Break in NYC and The Other White Meat: Pork Tenderloin

pork tenderloin whole foods dinner recipe

Pork Tenderloin Mise En Place

A good friend spent this past weekend in Vail – at this time of year some of the airlines fly directly from NYC to Vail – Puff Puff. Anyway, she texted me an overview of the scene at the airport: Moms and Dads on Blackberries, kids being tended to by nannies while waiting to board the plane. Yeah, it’s private school spring break in New York. Check your FaceBook or Instagram feed and you’ll see what I mean.

Sean Lowe the Bachelor pork tenderloin

Book Club…

For six months a year, on Monday nights, I have book club (read: The Bachelor Watching). My hosts cook a lovely dinner, we catch up on life and then spend two hours soaking in The Most Dramatic Season Ever.

On one such recent Monday, this UWS couple admitted to me that they were the ‘worst parents ever’. Why? Well, because, GASP! Their son’s spring break was rapidly approaching and they had nothing planned for him. To make it worse, their son is, indeed, in private school and is sure to be the only five-year-old to return after the hiatus without tales of skiing, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and all around hobnobbing with the rich and famous.

I tried to console them and ease their shame with the story of my own upbringing. OK…I went to private junior high school. There I said it. And, while other families were jetting off to Eleuthera (yes, I had to google the spelling on that) and Jackson Hole and Little Dix Bay, we stayed home. Sure, my mom might take us to the mall (aka The Stamford Town Center). But, for the most part, we spent the two weeks of vacation in the affordable comfort of our own home. And I turned out ok. (Zip it, this isn’t a question).

Staying home for spring break never bothered me. But there were other cost cutting measures that did make me feel different than my well-traveled classmates.

Growing up less fancy than some of my friends may be why I have always been a little prejudiced against cheaper meats…like pork: The Other White Meat.

Truth be told: I don’t like pork. Sure, I love bacon…but that’s not the pork I mean. I’ve never been a fan of the pork chop. It’s not the more interesting or expensive lamb chop. And, until three weeks ago I thought that I hated pork tenderloin…It’s not the fancy beef tenderloin after all.

But, at a recent ‘Book Club’ dinner, my gracious hosts prepared an amazing pork tenderloin that may, if you’re like me, change your mind about the other white meat.

Pork Tenderloin (serves 4)

Tiny apartment tips:

  • Always mise en place – IOW set up your ingredients and take a pretty picture
  • You always have to buy more fresh ginger than you need for any one recipe, so when you buy it, peel it, wrap it in Saran and then put it in a baggie and into the freezer. It’s easier to grate this way and lasts a long long time
  • You’re going to need a meat thermometer…OXO sells a small one that’s tiny apartment friendly. The face has a smaller diameter that fits nicely in a drawer

Ingredients:

  • A 1 – 1.25 lb Pork Tenderloin – I priced these at several UWS locations and found that the ones at Whole Foods are not only very competitively priced at $14.99/lb, but also the prettiest.
  • pork tenderloin asian flare whole foods

    Pretty Whole Foods Pork Tenderloin – but does sort of look like Alien

  • 3 TBSP Freshly Grated Ginger – I go heavy on ginger because I just love it
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
  • 2 TBSP Low-Sodium Soy Sauce…OK, I used the packets from a Shun Lee delivery
  • 3 TBSP Toasted Sesame Oil. Yes, there’s a difference between sesame oil and toasted sesame oil…it’s about $6 – but go for it.

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together creating an asian marinade

grated fresh ginger pork tenderloin recipe

LOTS of grated ginger

pork tenderloin marinade asian

My new tiny baby whisk from Sur La Table. LOVE

2. Unwrap the pork tenderloin and place in a ZipLoc baggie

3. Pour the marinade over the pork

pork tenderloin asian marinade

Marinating Pork Tenderloin – pre-fridge

4. Seal the bag and place the marinating pork into the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. I marinated about 5 hours…During the marinating process, flip the bag every hour or so to ensure the meat is evenly marinated.

whole foods pork tenderloin recipe food

Pork Tenderloin, Post 5 Hour Marinade

5. About :20 minutes before cooking, take the pork out of the fridge and temperate (bring to room temperature)

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

7. Place the pork tenderloin on a cookie sheet lined with Reynold’s Wrap and into the oven

OXO meat thermometer dinner pork food recipe

OXO

8. Roast for :25 – :30 minutes – until the meat thermometer reaches 145 degrees

9. Remove from the oven and place the pork on a cutting board and cover with tin foil

pork tenderloin asian marinade recipe food

Out of the Oven and Ready to Rest – still sorta looks like Alien

10. Allow the meat to rest for at least :10 minutes..the Pork will continue to cook during this resting period

11. Slice and serve

tender pork tenderloin recipe food dinner

Perfectly Roasted. A little pink is AOK

I gotta tell you, I was a lot skeptical about pork tenderloin. I was even a little nervous when my hosts told me they were serving it for dinner. But this was really good.

I’m not going to try to convince you that staying in NYC for spring break is the same as skiing in Val D’Isere. And, a trip to the Stamford Town Center in March may not be exactly as fabulous as a sun-soaked villa in Nevis.

But, don’t be ashamed of The Other White Meat. When done well, the super-tender asian marinated pork tenderloin can be just as satisfying as other much more expensive competing meats.

Oh! Goody Goody! Mulligatawny Soup

mulligatawny indian soups curry

Mulligatawny Soup – The Happiest of all Soups

Almost exactly a year ago, Reuters published a study that found Indians – from India – to be among the happiest people in the world. This in spite of countless natural disasters, over crowding, extreme poverty etc.

indian people happiness factor

Happy Even When Protesting

But…The happiness of Indians doesn’t surprise me. I’ve encountered this phenomenon before.

London has an enormous population of Indian, from India, people – though they are called Asians over there. I know this because for a time I worked for a cosmetics collection sold only in England and we had a line specifically formulated for Asian (Indian-Asian) skin tones that did very well.

One of my BFFs, Alex, lived in London for a couple of years in the mid ’90s. As Alex was moving into her flat (apartment), one of her neighbors came out to greet her. No surprise that the neighbors would be curious. Alex is a majestically tall, beautiful, blond woman who gets attention wherever she goes. Her neighbor was similarly tall – but the similarities ended there. He was an Indian gentleman dressed in traditional Indian garb.

In New York, the sight of a new neighbor’s belonging clogging the hallways and tying up the elevators can send residents into a rampage. We might bombard concierges and doormen with calls demanding to know when the eyesore and inconvenience will be over. We’re not really a ‘welcome, here’s a bundt cake‘ kind of people.

So, having moved from New York, Alex was getting ready to apologize for moving in, crowding the hallway, using the elevator, making any unnecessary noise…really, for anything at all.

But, no need. The Indian neighbor came out, took a look at Alex and her belongings that cluttered the hallway, smiled broadly, clapped his hands together as he announced joyously: ‘Oh! Goody Goody, my new neighbor!’. He was so happy to welcome her.

Since the goody goody greeting, we have tried to follow his lead, soak in some of his glee. And we have used his words whenever we greet new neighbors, new adventures or new anything.

To try to infuse his joy into my cooking, every time I make Indian food, I whisper his words over and over in my head.

Goody Goody Mulligatawny Soup (Serves 8)

Tiny Apartment Tips:

  1. cuisinart kitchen utensils

    Kitchen Utensil Cleaning Station

    Creating this soup uses a lot of kitchen tools…so clean as you go. 

  2. The fragrance of the soup will be strong depending upon how much curry you decide to include…So, close the doors to your bathroom, bedroom to keep the aroma from permeating your linens
  3. Make an effort to welcome new neighbors who move into your building

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP Butter
  • mise en place vegetables

    Goody Goody Mise En Place

    1 medium onion, diced small PLUS 1 whole onion cut in half

  • 2 Carrots, diced small PLUS 1 whole carrot
  • 2 – 3 Stalks of Celery, diced small PLUS 1 whole stalk of celery
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1 TBSP Curry – I use a little less – but maybe that’s why I’m not as happy as people from India
  • 1/4 TBSP ground nutmeg
  • 3 Whole Cloves – whole cloves are really expensive…but, if they mis-charge you at the Food Emporium, and you find the mistake, they will refund you the entire amount! There’s a reason to be happy!
  • 3 Sprigs of Parsley – flat leaf
  • 1 12-14oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 32oz of Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 2 Bone In Chicken Breasts with rib meat
  • 2 Cups cooked rice – I used long grain American Basmati…but, would probably recommend plain white rice instead
  • 1/4 Cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and Pepper

1. Poach the chicken breasts:

  • how to poach chicken

    Poaching Chicken

    Remove the skin from both breasts

  • In a pot large enough to hold both breasts, cover the breasts completely with water
  • Throw in 1 onion cut in half, a bay leaf, a whole carrot chopped in half, a celery stalk chopped in half, 1 TBSP salt, 1 TSP freshly ground pepper
  • Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil
  • Reduce to a simmer
  • Simmer :15 mins or until the chicken is cooked through
  • Remove from the poaching water and set breasts aside to cool
  • Strain the poaching liquid and reserve liquid to cook the rice

2. Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat

melting butter le creuset stock pot

Goody Goody I love butter!

3. Add the diced onion, carrots, celery and red pepper

sauteeing vegetables

Goody Goody Vegetables

4. Saute the vegetables until very soft – about :15 mins depending upon how small you dice

5. Add the flour, curry and nutmeg and stir to combine. Cook about 2 mins

mulligatawny curry soup

Goody Good Stir In Curry

6. Add the whole cloves, salt and pepper, chicken broth, parsley and tomatoes

7. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer (BTB/RTS) and simmer covered for 1 hour

bring to boil, reduce to simmer mulligatawny soup

Goody Good BTB/RTS

8. While the soup is simmering and IF the chicken breasts are cool enough to touch, shred the chicken with your hands

mulligatawny soup with chicken

Goody Goody Shredded Chicken

9. Cook the rice in the poaching liquid according to the ingredients on the rice packaging

10. After the soup has simmered for one hour, remove from the heat.

11. Puree using an immersion blender – I have a new pink one from Cuisinart!

cuisinart immersion blender mulligatawny soup

Goody Goody Easy Puree – Thank you Cuisinart!

NOTE: if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender…Allow the soup to cool! Then, transfer a couple of ladles at a time to the blender and puree. Transfer the pureed portion to a second pot. Repeat until all of the soup is smooth and creamy

12. Stir in the heavy cream – you can skip this…the soup is tasty and creamy without…

mulligatawny soup add cream

But, it’s really Goody Goody with the cream

13. Add in the shredded chicken and rice and heat through

mulligatawny soup with chicken and rice

Goody Goody Rice and Chicken

14. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley, sour cream and…if you want to spice it up – a little dash of Gindo’s Spice of Life

mulligatawny soup recipe shredded chicken

So So Goody Goody

Welcoming committees may be going the way of the dinosaur. And, the ‘no bundt cake’ approach isn’t exclusive to New York City. I lived for a bit in CT and never received a bundt cake out there either.

I’m not saying we should all be baking every time an apartment on our floor changes hands…But, would it be so bad to welcome a new neighbor?

Those simple happy words from Alex’s Indian neighbor still make me smile fifteen years later

I’m not really sure why the people of India are so happy. Maybe it’s the food? After making and eating this soup, I could see that. It really is another reason to smile and announce joyously: Goody Goody!

When Fabulous People Are Coming to Dinner: Ina’s Beef Short Ribs

scott's short ribs ina garten

Fall Off the Bone Tender Goodness

I’m about to be butchered by Ina Garten lovers everywhere. So I’ll just start by saying, I love to cook her recipes and I even watch her show(s).

She makes her own chicken stock and never fails to mention it when including it in any recipe: “2 cups of home made chicken stock. It’s really the best.”

She grinds her own spices.

She uses only “really good olive oil”.

She grows her own herbs. “This is rosemary right from my garden.”

She’s a master of the kitchen and all things kitchen related.

That said….She’s a bit of a name dropper.

Each time I tune in she’s about to host a luncheon/dinner/beach party for every fabulous gay person east of Nassau County. I honestly think I recently I heard her say: “Truman Capote and Liberace are coming for lunch, so I’m making cornish game hens and apple turnovers.”

Or maybe it was more like: “Andy Warhol agreed to paint my hallway so I’m making him salmon with lentils!”

Ina garten short ribs jeffrey

Ah…Jeffrey

 And, then there’s Jeffrey. Jeffrey (for the non-Ina aficionado) is Ina’s husband. They’ve been married for like a gazillion years. Jeffrey works and lives in Manhattan Mon – Fri – venturing out to Ina’s Hampton’s home only on weekends. And, when he arrives, Ina kills the fatted calf – or in her case – chicken.

Friday shows always start something like: “It’s Friday and Jeffrey’s coming home from the City tonight so I’m making his favorite chicken. My perfect roasted whole chicken in fact.”

Ina gives the impression that Jeffrey is unable to do anything by himself – except live in NYC. So, Ina gets busy in the kitchen making all of Jeffrey’s favorite meals whenever she has to leave town. And, seriously, sometimes she’s planning to be gone for a just a few hours. “I’ve been invited to go skating with Brian Boitano tonight, so I’m making Jeffrey’s favorite cappuccino ice cream for him while I’m away.”

OK. I feel better. So, back to the fact that I love her recipes (‘How Easy Is that?”), I’ve made her Scott’s Short Ribs a half dozen times and they are easy and delicious.

Ina Garten’s Scott’s Short Ribs (Serves 8 – hers serves 6, but I was having 8 to dinner)

Important to note:

  1. The entire process of making this meal, including chopping…takes about 4 hours
  2. In a small apartment like mine…If you can close your bedroom and bathroom doors while the meat is in the oven…do it. The beefy winey aroma is lovely on the evening it’s made…Not so much the next day on your linens or towels
  3. There’s a bit of chopping…so, make Anne Burrell proud and mise en place if you can
ina garten short ribs mise en place

Pretty Mise En Place

Ingredients:

  • fennel whole foods vegetables

    This is Fennel I’m sure of it

    8 Beef Short Ribs, trimmed as best you can of the fat. Ina’s butcher does it for her…but that might not be what happens to you….or, me.

  • 1/4 Cup Good Olive Oil – whatever you do, do NOT use shitty olive oil! That would really piss Ina off!
  • 2 Medium Sized Onions Chopped
  • 4 Cups Large-Diced Celery – Ina says that’s 6 stalks, but only if the stalks are from her magical giant celery growing garden….It’s more like 10 stalks of celery
  • 2 Carrots peeled and large diced
  • 1 Small Fennel – fronds, stems and core removed and large diced
  • beef broth Whole Foods

    WF Owner is a Vegan, But this is good beef broth

    1 Leek, cleaned large diced, white part only – (to clean it best…chop and submerge pieces in ice water then fish out with a spider…the dirt/grit will fall to the bottom of the bowl)

  • 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 750ml bottle of Burgundy or Pinot Noir or other dry red wine – plus 14 bottles for your thirsty friends who are coming to dinner
  • Fresh Rosemary – from your garden…Or, Whole Foods or other
  • Fresh Thyme Sprigs
  • 6 Cups of Beef Stock or Broth – I use the 365 Brand at Whole Foods and 6 Cups is a box and a half
  • 1 TBSP Brown Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper – Ina prefers Kosher Salt, of course

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

1. Place the short ribs on a sheet pan and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper

short ribs whole foods

Try to get the same size short ribs…

2. Put the ribs in the oven and roast undisturbed for :15 minutes (go to step 4) – remove from oven and set aside

3. Reduce heat to 300 degrees

4. While the ribs are roasting, heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven (I use my pretty blue Le Creuset, of course) over medium low heat

blue le creuset short ribs williams-sonoma

Pretty Blue Le Creuset

5. Add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel and leek and cook for about :20 minutes stirring occasionally

le creuset short ribs ina garten jeffrey

Vegetable Softening Nicely

6. After :20, add the garlic and cook for another :02 minutes – or until you can smell the garlic goodness

7. Pour the wine over the veggies and bring to a boil

ina garten short ribs add wine

I heart cooking with wine

8. Continue to cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by about 1/2

9. Add a TBSP of salt and 1 TSP of pepper

10. Make a bundle of several sprigs of rosemary and several sprigs of thyme and throw them in the pot

Herb Bundle

Herb Bundle of rosemary and thyme

11. Nestle the ribs into the winey vegetables and pour the beef broth over them – the ribs should be totally submerged

ina garten short ribs scott's

The beef ribs all nestled

ina garten short ribs 365 brand stock broth

And totally covered with broth

12. Throw in the brown sugar

13. Bring to a simmer over high heat….Once simmering, put the lid on the dutch oven and carefully put it into the oven for 2 hours. The meat will be very tender.

14. After 2 hours, remove the pot from the oven and the ribs from the pot. Set ribs aside keeping them warm if possible

scott's short ribs ina garten

Fall Off the Bone Tender Goodness

15. Discard the herbs and skim off the excess fat

16. Over medium, cook the vegetables and sauce for :20 minutes until reduced slightly

ina garten short ribs recipe

Ribs  and herb bundle removed- sauce a-simmer

17. Plate the ribs and pour some of the sauce and veggies over them

18. Plate the veggies separately

ina garten short ribs recipe veggies

Drunken veggies plated

19. Serve

20. Ask yourself: How easy is that?

This is a great meal for groups because it’s delicious and impressive. And also because all of the work will be done hours before your guests arrive.

But don’t even think of making the short ribs for Jeffrey and Ina on a friday. They’re having chicken with Jodie Foster and Neil Patrick Harris.