Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Friday, January 8, 2010

Vintage AV Geek -1970's Newcomb Classroom Record Player

Remember these?  I do, and I wasn't even in AV Club.  What I remember most about them is they had these springy feet, which caused the whole thing to jiggle whenever the teacher messed with it.  These things were about as portable as the first Compaq portable computer , but they could get seriously loud - to the point of filling an elementary school auditorium.  "Ecoutez, Repetez Aprez Moi" indeed.  I would love to get one of these with a film strip projector.....Beep !

Do You Have A Pepper Mill In Your Pocket?

One recent trend I simply can't abide is the giant restaurant pepper mill. I dunno what brain surgeon came up with this practice, but for the pepper lover, nothing is more of a PITA than having to wait while some poor waitron grinds on and on, impatiently waiting for you to tell them to stop.  The alternatives to this ghastly ritual are crappy pepper packets, preground pepper put into a salt shaker or going without entirely.  Well, those last two options are actually the same since pepper won't fit out the smaller holes of the salt shaker. Well, thanks to the internetz, I no longer have to suffer in silence, while looking around for a good source of peppercorns, I found this miniature peppermill over at Pepper Passion - a site dedicated to all things pepper.
So the next time you see me I'll have one of these little numbers in my pocket, though I may also be happy to see you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Worlds Best Wine Key - The Pulltex Pulltab

You're probably still using a cheapy corkscrew you picked up at the packy* (either that or that rabbit contraption), either way, you are missing out.  It's often the little things that make the difference, and this is one of those little things.  Like Mary Poppins and the Rossle garlic press, the Pulltex is practically perfect in every way.  The Pulltex our friends had given us many years ago recently went missing and it wasn't 'till I purchased a cheapy replacement that I truly appreciated it.  It didn't transform water into wine or anything, it just worked really well without a lot of thought, the way things should, something I cannot say for it's generic replacement.  Get one, you won't be sorry, I promise.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

These Ribs Will Rock You To Your Very Foundation

Hamersley's Bistro Braised Short Rib Recipe

Made this recipe for Christmas Eve a few times and these ribs are the best I have ever had, much better than the over-rated ones I had a Craft in NYC, that and they are dead simple to make.  Two suggestions, make sure you have plenty of room in the pot before you put them in the oven or you will cause an epic fire, get really good quality ribs from a butcher, don't bother with supermarket ribs, they are too fatty and small.  I recommend John Dewar's in Boston, Newton & Wellesley.  Oh, and these ribs should really be served with some slightly lumpy garlicky mashed potato's, steamed broccoli rabe would also be a nice accompaniment (the bitterness will nicely set off the sweetness of the ribs and spuds.

Gordon Hamersley's Bistro Cooking at Home
Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onions
Serves 6
6-8 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
About 3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium red onions, cut cross-wise into 1/2 inch rounds
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bottles stout beer, such as Guinness (IPA works too if you're not into stout)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups beef stock or combo of beef & chicken stock
Heat the oven to 350. Trim the excess fat from the ribs and season them on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large heavy Dutch oven, heat the oil until very hot. Working in batches, brown the ribs on all sides adding more oil if necessary. Remove the ribs and pour off the rendered fat but don't clean the pot. 
Add the bacon and cook until most of its fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add the beer, vinegar and beef stock. Put the ribs back in the pot. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and cook in the oven until they are fork-tender, about 2 hours 15 minutes. (Begin checking them after 2 hours).
Take the lid off and continue cooking the ribs for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.
Very carefully, so as not to break apart the meat, transfer the ribs and the onions to a rimmed platter or sheet pan and keep warm. Degrease the liquid if necessary. Bring it back to a boil and cook until reduced by at least a third.