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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

A Rainy-Day Braise: Ancho Chilis, Zinfandel, and Beets

Goat shanks braised with Zinfandel, Ancho Chilis, and Beets I think this is a killer one-pot dish for a dank, inclement night although, in point of fact, I’m cheating, because neither beets, nor my protein of choice – young goat shanks, from the Owen Family Farm up in Hopland – are technically in season right now. But the mild heat and smoky undertone from the chilies, together with the spicy-sweet peppery jam of the wine, seemed a natural bedfellow for dense, rich, and slightly gamy flavors…… Read More »

Braised Lamb with Bitter Chocolate, Rosemary, and Syrah

Lamb shoulder, braised with Syrah, Chocolate, and RosemarySometimes, despite all the planning, the wearing-thin of cookbook pages, the carpal-tunnel-clicking through epicurious, I’ll find out the hard way that it’s what I didn’t plan for that determines whether my food ultimately succeeds, or merely sucks. Typically, I’m undone by good, old fashioned pilot error; typically, but not always, because sometimes it’s the black swan crapping on my mise, and it’s just such an exception to the rule that inspired this edition of Meat, Braise, Love: A slow braise of shoulder of local lamb with bitter chocolate, rosemary, and bad-ass Syrah.Read More »

Tyler Florence’s Hot Dog Chili (Or, When Bad Recipes Happen To Good People)

Tyler Florence Hot Dog ChiliA conundrum endemic to parenting and modern life in general, the home kitchen provides an object lesson: When preparing a recipe for the first time, particularly one from a celebrity chef like Tyler Florence, do I trust my instincts and override the recipe whenever something seems amiss? Or, do I remain humble, follow it to the letter, and hope for the best?… Read More »

Meat, Braise, Love

Beef Short Ribs in a Zinfandel Chili BraiseProducing a braise in your own kitchen is a bit like making porn in your own bed: It rewards practice, because when you get it just right, it’s the best you’ll ever see, and all the times you don’t, it’s still a very long way from sucking. Similarly, there is just so much to love about the braise: Purely from a gastronomic perspective, no other cooking technique so easily employed by the home cook comes close to creating the depth and concentration of flavor than does the properly executed braise.… Read More »