Recipes A Wintery Short Rib Braise

I’m always thrilled to find something that’s so satisfying and nourishing, it becomes a new addition to the lineup of household favorites. That’s a rare occasion. But I think we have a winner, folks. This is a braise made up of beef short ribs, mushrooms and the hearty winter greens of your choice. There’s a little fuss involved in browning the short ribs before they head into the oven for a slow-cook, but it’s worth it for the rich flavor and falling-off-the-bone tenderness.

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Resolution #2: Rearrange the Plate

In culinary school, we did a lot of plate drawings. The elements were always different, but the formula was invariable: Protein, Veg, Starch. Protein, Veg, Starch. J recently started trying to drop weight to qualify for a lower weight division at tournaments, and he suggested that we drop the starch sector from our plates. “Just double the vegetables and put the meat on the side.” At the time, this statement was revolutionary, and I must admit, not terribly welcome.

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Resolution #1: Better Brown Bagging

Get to (or stay at) a healthy weight. Enjoy variety. Save money. Control what goes into your body. Feel more organized. These are just a few of the many tasty benefits wrapped up in the resolution to pack more delicious lunches to take to work. Truth is, I’ve known all the terrific reasons to pack lunch for quite some time, but I’ve never quite been able to put the plan in action.

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Recipes Day 23: Christmas Gumbo

*This post marks Day 23 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. In my neighborhood, ‘tis the season of the big carp slaughter. Apparently it’s traditional for Polish folks to eat fresh carp for Christmas (part of the traditional “fish on holy days” tradition, no doubt) so the fishes are currently swimming about in cold-water pools waiting to be chopped up for dinners across the ‘hood. Likewise, in Italy, southern folks celebrate the feast of the seven fishes over the holidays.

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Recipes Day 20: The Scarborough Loaf

*This post marks Day 20 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. Like me, you may know a few vegetarians. Like me, you may have once been one of those vegetarians. In those days, I was always a little befuddled at the holidays. I mean, feast foods are pretty proscribed for omnivores (1. roast something 2. add starchy sides). Those who shun meat are left without a lot of festive “center of the plate” foods.

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Smoked Chops & Apple-Kissed Kraut

I had grand plans for a gorgeous autumnal Choucroute Garni, but life interfered (I’m certain you’re well aware of know how life tends to do that) and I realized that a long-cooking dish in the Dutch oven simply wouldn’t do. Food needed to appear on the table STAT. Luckily, a deconstructed Choucroute Garni happens to make for one of the quickest meals out there. And a darn tasty one at that.

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Recipes Not the Lunchlady’s Goulash

At the tender age of six or seven, I had a clear moment of decision in the school lunchroom. As most epiphanies are, this revelation was heartfelt and simple. Though I’d traditionally devoured nearly anything that crossed my path — poisonous or not — I discovered a newfound hatred for goulash. Little did I know that the bland hamburger-macaroni combo they’d scooped onto my plastic tray and billed as goulash was actually a low-rent impostor.

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Food Quote Friday: David Shumate

“In the early spring I get together with all the people I’ve been in my past lives. We sit around the table at my grandfather’s farmhouse — mashed potatoes, creamed peas, cornbread.” — David Shumate in “Welcome Home, Children”

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Recipes Demystifying Mussels

Here’s a mystery: Mussels are cheap, tasty, plentiful, fast-cooking, low in mercury, a lean source of protein and a good way to get your omega-3 fatty acids. Early humans were big on ‘em. With all that to their credit, you might think they’d go like gangbusters. You’d think those little black shellfish would be flying out of fishmongers’ shops, so to speak. But no. You’d be wrong. Home cooks tend to shy away from cooking mussels.

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Recipes The Problem with Chickpea Masala

You know what the biggest problem with my Chickpea Masala is? It smells great. It tastes wonderful. It looks… homely. Oh, sure. I can toss some chopped cilantro or some parsley over the top of it. But come on… that’s just putting lipstick on a pig. (Or is that a dog? Who knows these days?) But we can say with certainty that curry is really not a photogenic dish. This is really the problem with all the bowl-foods.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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