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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Trying to be creative with our weeknight meals

I've written before about my issues finding good quality meat while out shopping. The meats at our usual supermarket (Jewel-Osco) just don't look great a lot of the time, and their selection of organic meats is incredibly minimal. The meats at Costco are terrific, but I don't always want to get so MUCH meat all at once. PLUS, I need to get some meat every week, and I can't deal with a Costco trip every week. Trader Joe's has lots of organic meats at a great price, but I've had too many instances of TJ meats that have turned. We love, love, love the Paulina Meat Market, but they aren't open on Sundays, and that's when we shop.

So, Michael started doing some research, and he found a lot of people talking about a market called Treasure Island. This is a European-style market with a few locations in Chicago, but we had never been there. I'm not sure why. It has certainly been recommended to me. 

We finally made it to Treasure Island on Sunday and it was terrific. They had Boars' Head meats (which we love), lots of great ethnic foods and a fabulous meat department. I was most excited by the short ribs I bought, so when we got home, I sat with my cookbooks and tried to find a good recipe. 

I realized as I looked through the recipes that most of them required multiple hours of cooking. However, I already had a Sunday dinner planned (with not enough time or energy to make two at once). This meant that the short ribs had to become a weeknight meal, but I didn't want to use the crockpot. So... I got creative.

I found a Mark Bittman recipe for Anise-Scented Short Ribs that required multiple hours of cooking. Last night, after Michael and Dylie headed up to bed, I did the first part of the recipe. I browned the meat, removed it from the pot, and then sauteed onions and ginger in the fat. The rest of the ingredients were added (soy sauce, water, sugar, rice vinegar) and then I brought it all to a boil. According to the original recipe, I was then supposed to turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook it all for an hour. This was not happening at 10:30 pm. So, I covered the pot, threw it in the fridge and then pot it back on the stove after work today. Right now it's cooking away, but I'm feeling a little nervous. The meat doesn't seem to be falling off the bone yet. We still have half an hour, but not sure we'll get what we want. Stay tuned...


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