Monday, December 17, 2007

Bone Collection

OK, so no one has ever accused the short rib of being a beauty. Its gnarled tangle of beef is bequeathed only to those willing to put forth a solid braising effort. Half an hour on the stove, two hours in the oven, bathing in bottles of wine and its own admirable reluctance, until finally, when your hungry has peaked in a way that resembles rage, it completely acquiesces to your will. Then you eat.

The result is very similar to pot roast in taste, texture, and the comfort it conjures. It makes an untraditional centerpiece to a Thanksgiving meal, but the casual bounty that it offers fits perfectly within the holiday's theme. Just trim away or be prepared to not be able to eat all the meat present on each bone. These ribs were once in charge of moving the entire back half of a cow during its sojourn on Earth, so their hard work is in sacrifice of some edibility. No matter. The braised short rib is long on charm and flavor.

Glazed Expression

Part 1 of the two-part series entitled Glaze Makes Life Worth A Damn. Sicilian lemon cookies, displayed as a trio because Tamalehawk barely has the first one crushed in his beak before maniacally planning the demise of the other. After three he must physically restrain his own wing as it flails and flaps in search of a fourth and fifth. These indeed bring out the worst and best he has to offer. In a mirror, quickly think of all things that come glazed. Remember the face that you make. Now picture the same items, completely denuded of their glaze. Compare that face with the one you made previously. Without exception, your face transformed from delighted grin to deadly grimace.

For lack of a smooth transition to Chinese food, Tamalehawk will just lay it out there. He thinks he found a new home base. He has been struggling with the cuisine for some time; Orange Garden can't get their act together to offer delivery, most other places are obsessed with ladling a cabal of crinkle cut carrots and an odorous onslaught of onions in every dish. However, Silver Seafood on Broadway and Lawrence, delivered on the promise made by Check Please, which Tamalehawk had watched just a day earlier. It marked the quickest turn-around time from viewing to tasting, and proved a wise move. Great fried rice, bafflingly fresh chicken, crab rangoons that quite effortlessly go Beyond Rangoon, and only a small container of white rice which Tamalehawk feels no guilt about depositing directly into the trash unopened.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Rebirth

A casual, covert census has confirmed melted marshmallows as a ubiquitous umbrella for this sweet seasonal side. Holidays are a balance of preservation and experiment, of nostalgia and opportunity. Some smells must be recreated note by note; other new smells must be allowed to wantonly waft their way into tradition. Magazine recipes meet mom's memory, surprise meets certainty. The crescent rolls blacken from neglect and are heroically saved at the last moment, or ceremoniously buried beneath a hillock of potato peels. Everyone eats in eleven minutes and meanders back to the couch to finish the puzzle.

That was weeks and weeks ago now. Tamalehawk stills soars stoically above the staggered cityscape, save for the surreptitious swoops to the shadowed streets for a sweet or savory snack. He apologizes for his prolonged perch in the placid penumbra, and affirms that his appetite has not abated, but rather accelerated to accommodate the inflated belly of '08.