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Bon Appétit: Braised Short Ribs

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

Servings: 6

  5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2’ pieces
  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  3 medium onions, chopped
  3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
  2 celery stalks, chopped
  3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  1 tablespoon tomato paste
  1 750-ml bottle dry red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon)
  10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  8 sprigs thyme
  4 sprigs oregano
  2 sprigs rosemary
  2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  4 cups low-salt beef stock

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp. drippings from pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.

Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2 1/2 hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned over.

Bon Appétit: The 10 Commandments of Perfect Mashed Potatoes

The Gilmer Free Press

Mashed potatoes can be watery, not fluffy enough, too dry, not seasoned properly, or just plain blah. Master the rules of perfect mashed potatoes now, and you’ll ensure that they’re at their buttery, fluffy best on your table.


1. DO use the right potatoes

Not all tubers are created equal as far as mashed potatoes are concerned. Potatoes fall into three categories: starchy, waxy, and all-purpose. You want to use the starchy ones to get a creamy mash. We prefer Yukon golds for their buttery texture (and golden color), but Russets (aka Idaho potatoes) are also good.


2. DO cut your potatoes the same size

Different-sized chunks will cook at different rates, so some of your potatoes will be undercooked while others are overcooked. No bueno. Cut your chunks the same size, start them in cold water, and bring to a simmer until they are cooked through.


3. Do NOT add your flavorings at the end

There’s nothing worse than biting into a hunk of raw garlic because it was stirred in right before serving. We like to put garlic and herbs in the pot with the dairy, so the milk or cream gets infused with the flavor before being added to the potatoes.


4. DO embrace the tang factor

Sour cream, buttermilk, crème fraîche—all these things will do wonders for your spuds by adding richness as well as a pleasant tang.


5. Do NOT lose the fluff

There are a lot of things you can do to ensure your mashed potatoes are perfectly fluffy every time. One trick is to drain the potatoes and put them back in the pot without a lid after they have boiled. Cook them just for a couple minutes on medium-low, shaking the pot, until all the excess moisture that’s still clinging to the potatoes has evaporated. That’s liquid you DON’T want, since it’ll make your mash all watery.


6. Do NOT add cold liquid

Make sure the milk or cream you add to your potatoes is HOT. This helps it absorb better so you don’t feel the need to over-mix. Over-mixing is bad. Keep reading to see why.


7. Do NOT skimp on the seasoning

Salt the water you are cooking your potatoes in, just like you would pasta. Once your potatoes are mashed, season and taste until they are to your liking. All the butter in the universe can’t make up for the taste of bland potato. Oh, and don’t skimp on the butter either. Nobody likes a butter miser, especially on Thanksgiving.


8. DO use a potato masher or ricer

You do NOT want to use a food processor to mash the potatoes. Vigorous over-mashing is a serious problem. Why? Because potatoes are made of starch and starch doesn’t like to be handled too much. Ever had gluey or gooey mashed potatoes? This is why.


9. Do NOT serve a naked mash

Mashed potatoes are perfect on their own, yes. Know what else is perfect? Topping them off with a pat of butter, a handful of crispy fried shallots, a sprinkling of chives, or a generous shaving of your favorite cheese. Gravy on the side, always.


10. DO wait until the last minute

Mashed potatoes are pretty time sensitive—they always taste best when freshly made, and they never taste as good when reheated. To make them fresh without messing with the rest of your Thanksgiving game, peel and cut the potatoes up to a day ahead and store, covered in water, in the refrigerator. Assemble your milk/cream/butter mixture in a small saucepan and refrigerate that, too. That way, all you need to do on Thanksgiving day is boil, drain, and mash.

Bon Appétit: Ricotta, Kale, and Mushroom Toast

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

  Wild mushrooms
  Garlic
  Olive oil
  Kale
  Fresno chile
  White wine vinegar
  Salt and pepper
  Ricotta
  Country-style bread


Directions:

Cook wild mushrooms and sliced garlic in olive oil, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp.

Add torn kale leaves and sliced Fresno chile (seeded for less heat) and cook, tossing, until kale is wilted; season with white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Season ricotta with salt and pepper and spread onto toasted country-style bread; spoon mushroom-kale mixture on top.

Bon Appétit: Peppered Butter and Pear Toast

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

  Butter
  Black pepper
  Whole grain bread
  Pear
  Bee pollen
  Flaky sea salt


Directions:

Season room-temperature butter with cracked black pepper.

Spread toasted thin whole grain bread with pepper butter and top with thinly sliced pear.

Sprinkle with bee pollen (if you want) and flaky sea salt.

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