Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A glance and a nod, and what must come to be

21 March 2017

The only time I ever met Martin McGuinness, if you want to call a quick glance and nod “meeting” someone, was at a NORAID Prisoners’ Wives fundraiser in San Francisco, a few years before the Good Friday Agreement. They gave him the key to the city, he gave a predictably good speech to a predictably supportive crowd, and that was that. I remember feeling, then, that this was a special time in history, and this was a special human being, and his vision of what the future could hold might maybe, just maybe, actually come to be. It’s heartbreaking to think that he never witnessed a free and united Ireland before he passed, but when I look back at that glance and nod some twenty years ago, I know in my heart that I’m wrong. He did see it, and he did feel it, well before almost anyone even believed it was possible. It’s up to us, now. If we believe in ourselves as much as he believed we should, and work even harder, we can make the future he saw so many years ago a reality in our lifetime.

Requiescat in pace.


Holy Saturday, AM

08 October 2016

Saturday morning’s first stop: the GPO, where Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, kicking off the Easter Rising.



Inside the GPO

Inside the GPO

O'Connell Street sidewalk

O’Connell Street from inside the GPO

We walked around Dublin a bit, before heading to the National Museum to see a 1916 exhibit.

An Túr Solais, AKA The Spire, on the former site of Nelson's Pillar

An Túr Solais, AKA The Spire, on the former site of Nelson’s Pillar


The Snug in Temple Bar

The Snug in Temple Bar




Proclaiming a Republic exhibition at the National Museum



Yes, one would expect.

Yes, one would expect.

This is what is called a missed opportunity. How do you close your gift shop on one of the busiest days of all time?

This is what is called a missed opportunity. How do you close your gift shop on one of the busiest days of all time?


Rosemary O’Brien, AKA Guinness Braised Short Ribs

09 June 2011

Braised (beef) short ribs take time, but they couldn’t be simpler and their versatility can’t be beat. I use them on sandwiches, in ravioli, to stuff tacos or burritos … at one of Dublin’s best restaurants (Pearl Brasserie, if you’re keeping track), they used nicely braised short rib and wild mushrooms to garnish a beautiful filet … pure decadence.

Short ribs after a trip to the oven to brown

Short ribs after a trip in the oven to brown ...

My favorite way to cook these babies is to brown the ribs in the oven while I caramelize the veggies on the stove, then combine them all in a pot with garlic, some herbs, and a good beer before letting them simmer in a low oven for a few hours.

When they’re almost, but not quite, falling off the bone, I remove the ribs from the braise and pop out the bones. You strain the liquid a couple times, leaving a dark, yeasty juice that smells and tastes absolutely amazing … it’s what monks would have drank 800 years ago if they knew how to make it. Hell, maybe they did, and I’ve just recreated what they had been doing for another 800 years before that, albeit in the dark, and without the benefit of electronically controlled temperature ovens and stainless steel pots, much less the cryovac-sealed short ribs from a family farm not 30 miles past the Indiana border. Man, those monks probably had to actually kill the damn cow, too.

Ingredients for the braise ...

Ingredients for the braise ...

Anyway, I digress. What else is new? The point is, this takes some time and patience, but it’s as simple as microwave popcorn and much more worth the effort.

At the left you’ll see my braise: 2 carrots, one stalk of celery, 2 sprigs of rosemary, an onion, Guinness, the peeled cloves of a head of garlic, and 3 bay leaves.

The mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery) is what gets browned in olive oil with a pinch of salt before meeting up with the already browned and seasoned ribs, Guinness, garlic, rosemary, and bay leaves in the pot.


Everything together in the pot

Everything together in the pot


Add water to cover, stick it in a 300 – 325 degree oven, and wait a few hours. Check the meat as mentioned above, and when it’s ready strain the veggies out, reserving the liquid, remove the meat, pop out the bones, let everything cool, put the ribs and juice into a clean container, and stick it in the fridge.

To serve, pull out some of the ribs, remove any obvious fat or gristle, and heat to serving temperature in the liquid.

Seriously, the next time you get one of those grey, chilly, rainy, nasty, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING IN LATE SPRING??? type of days … make some of these. Trust me, it’ll be brilliant.



Tiger Sauce

21 March 2011

OK … it’s been a while. We’ve eaten a lot, traveled a bit, and missed a lot of sleep. Let’s make some Tiger Sauce:

Faux Pork Loin Carpaccio with Tiger Sauce

Faux Pork Loin Carpaccio with Tiger Sauce

  • one head … yes, head … of garlic, peeled and degermed (about 10 cloves)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T chili oil
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T sherry vinegar
  • a couple pinches of salt

Obliterate the garlic with a mortar and pestle and combine with the remainder, or pulverize it in a food processor, blender, or other such device.

This is good with lots of stuff, but try it with thinly sliced seared and poached pork loin.

Long story short:

  1. Trim and season a pork loin with salt and pepper. Heat a stock pot large enough to hold it and add some oil.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the pork, half an onion (peeled and cut into thick rings), and a dozen or so matchsticks of peeled fresh ginger.
  3. Sear the pork on all sides, and add enough (hot, maybe boiling?) water to cover. Scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve any crusty bits. When it boils, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for around 30 minutes. Remove the pork, strain and reserve the liquid.
  5. When the pork had rested, cut into thin slices and arrange no a plate, overlapping the slices like you would see in a proper carpaccio.
  6. Drizzle with a mixture of sour cream and milk (just enough to make it, ummmm, drizzle-able). Drizzle with the tiger sauce, and sprinkle with minced flat parsley or chives.
  7. Chill for at least 30 minutes and serve.

This week … lobster. Also, remember the poaching sauce you saved? Put it in the fridge, because you’re going to make rice with it this week.


Back from the Edge

02 March 2011

OK, perhaps a bit melodramatic, but we’re back after a busy and illness-filled business trip. To compensate for the lack of a decent recipe this past week, we’ve posted a bunch of photos of some stuff we’ve been eating over the last few months on the Facebook Page. Check it out, Like us, and let us know what you think.


Roasting Red Peppers

31 January 2011

Tomorrow’s post will be R’s nearly-famous Roasted Red Pepper Soup … a surefire way to fight off the effects of the impending SNOWPOCALYPSE and make you forgot about its cousin, ICEZILLA, which is headed this way on Thursday. It would be up today, but there’s no bloody way I was going to spend $6 per POUND on red peppers at an unnamed grocery store, even if the store’s name rhymes with Troll Nudes. No wonder I never shop there.

We will, however, talk a little bit about roasting red peppers, in case you want to get started. Actually, roasted red peppers are a thing of beauty in their own right, and have myriad uses, so a person would be wise to have a stash of these around to use for sandwiches, eggs, tacos, salads, sauces, antipasti, rice, and so on.

There are plenty of ways to roast peppers, some easier than others, and most of them work just great. Actually, using the word “roast” is pure custom — you can broil, grill, or napalm these babies and get almost identical results. The principle behind this whole thing, which is after all the important part, is to apply heat to the peppers in order to cook them and blacken their skin, after which you peel them and remove the stem and seeds. Much like another well-known agricultural product, nobody wants their stash of red peppers to be full of stems and seeds.

Whatever process you use, the end result should be cooked, peeled pepper flesh that has started a caramelize a bit, deepening the flavor profile and creating a smokier, sweeter beast … kind of like the Humboldt Kitchen crew after a tall single malt scotch.

Some would have you fire up the gas burner and grab a pair of tongs, roasting the pepper over the flame like a marshmallow over a campfire. This gets boring after a few minutes, but works great in a pinch, like when your oven is preoccupied. Long story short, you roast the peppers this way until the skin is black, then stick them in a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. When they’ve cooled, use a clean dish rag, paper towels, or your fingers to rub most of the blackened skin off, and then remove the stem and seeds. I usually take off the hard tip at the bottom, too, but that’s just me.

For more than one or two peppers, I prefer to use the oven.

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Scrub all the nasty stuff off the surface of your peppers, like the wax coating, the sticker, and the salmonella.
  3. Arrange the peppers on a sheet pan, leaving an inch or two of space between them to prevent their steaming instead of roasting.
  4. When the oven is hot, place the sheet pan onto the top rack. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven and the peppers. Every 10 minutes or so, turn the peppers using tongs … CAREFULLY, BECAUSE THAT 500 DEGREE OVEN WILL TORCH YOUR SKIN … or just grab the sheet pan with an oven safe glove and give it a good shake to shift and turn the peppers a bit. Unlike babies, you can and should shake your sheet pan.
  5. When the peppers are all blackened, remove them from the oven and place them (with tongs, not your fingers) into a bowl that won’t melt, and cover them with plastic wrap.
  6. When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, use a clean dish rag, paper towels, or your fingers to rub the blackened skin off.
  7. Cut a circle around the stem on the top of each pepper and remove the stem and seed pod, picking through the inside of the pepper for any seeds that may have come loose. I like to remove the little nib at the bottom of the pepper, too, but like I said, that’s just me.
  8. Use immediately, or pop them in a ziplock and stick them in the fridge for a few days. If you want to keep them longer, pack them in a jar or ziplock and top it off with olive oil.

I should probably mention that if you want to do this more quickly and feel comfortable concentrating on what your oven is doing to your peppers for a bit, then by all means preheat your (top) broiler or (charcoal or gas) grill, remove the stems and seeds from your peppers, and cut them in half so they lay flat. If using the broiler, put them skin side up on a sheet pan and stick them in. If using a grill, lay them skin side down over the flames. Now, watch and wait, making sure if you are broiling not to lose too much heat by keeping the oven door open too wide. When the skin side of the peppers blackens, remove them and follow steps 5, 6, and 8 above.


A preview … r getting down in the kitchen …

04 January 2011

r gets down in the kitchen … PREVIEW

A low budget VIDEO preview of what’s to come … done on spec by r, who is the one wearing the gloves in the video. Click the link to watch.