Sunday, March 4, 2012

Trying Something New

It's only the first week of March and I already feel like I need to shake the bad juju off of 2012. For those of you who don't know, I have been sick for most of the year (BTW, pneumonia sucks - and finding out I developed a hernia in two weeks time is also anti-fun). To try to turn things around, I took the last week off and decided to try anything to get better.

I napped.

I read.

And when none of that seemed to make much difference, I shopped.

My love for cooking shows has made me nearly drool every time I walk into a cooking store and see those Le Creuset pots and pans. So I bought one.
It's a covered sautee pan (not the French oven that I REALLY want - but the thought of spending more than $200 for something I would maybe use in the fall for soups didn't seem like a good investment right now). It is so heavy that it requires two hands just to haul it the two steps I take from stove to sink. It is beautiful. I love it.

To make the most out that pan, I decided to cook something different. So, I bought this.
I really like ribs but have never tried making them myself. I bought this rib starter and had a slight moment of panic. It said if you're using a slow cooker, you'd need to cook the ribs for SEVEN hours! I didn't get home with ribs until nearly one in the afternoon! I immediately panicked thinking this would never work. These pans don't do high heat, so I figured using it on low would be the same as a slow cooker. I put a little sauce in the bottom of the pan, then put one rack into the pot at a time, covering each with the sauce. I read the label and it said to add some chicken stock. I didn't have any so I splashed it with beer. With the lid on, I just waited and crossed my fingers.

Within an hour, I could smell the sauce working. I started to get hungry but ignored my urge to snack. I was going to eat those ribs! In five hours, I lifted the lid and saw the sauce did such an amazing job, most of the rib bones had slipped away from the meat. This made me super happy because I don't really enjoy gnawing on a bone like a dog or a caveman (this is also why I don't like fairs/carnivals - seeing people hack into a turkey leg can make me dry heave). I did take one not-so-flattering picture of the finished product.
I wanted to show the bone so that  you could tell it was a rib, but I realized after I took the picture that this was fat-side up (nobody's best angle). If I took the effort to flip them over, I would have made the plate dirty and I lack the chef's knack for prettying up a plate.

These ribs were SO good! I don't know if I'd buy that $16 sauce again. I'm pretty sure I could get the same thing from a bottle of barbecue sauce which, like this fancy sauce, can be used on the meat after it's  cooked. Now that I know I can do ribs inside the house without a whole lot of work, I'll try this again.

But I'm not finished trying out new things! Tonight, I'm going to tackle beef bourguignonne. It's kind of like beef stew, so I don't think it will be a miss.

I'm looking forward to my new cooking adventures and hoping that all this sickness is behind me.

PS - about that hernia thing. I am not in the least bit of denial that I am getting old. I know that I cannot eat and drink all the things I love without paying for them later (the list includes citrus, chocolate and booze - BOO!). I also learned that as long as I'm not in pain, I don't have to think about surgery.
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