A former personal chef client from Massachusetts was looking for a great short rib recipe that was also relatively kid-friendly and low-maintenance. I bought short ribs from the Skagit River Ranch stall at the Ballard market last week, and got out the ol’ slow cooker. I just heard that All-Clad makes a new slow cooker with an insert that you can actually put right on the stove to brown meat – how clever, and perhaps worth the hefty price tag. Why did it take so long for someone to come up with that? And why did I buy my slow cooker before said invention?
This recipe was entirely inspired by, though not really adapted from, the recipe from Stonewall Kitchen Favorites (by Kathy Gunst, Jonathan King, and Jim Stott) for Beef Short Rib Stew with Bok Choy in an Orange-Ginger-Hoisin Sauce. One day I walked into Kathy’s house at about 9 a.m. and started my day with a bowl of this warming, Asian-flavored stew that she was testing for the book. Since then, I’ve developed the opinion that short ribs taste best with deep, earthy, Asian flavors. And, I admit, I eat the leftovers in the morning, whenever possible.
If anyone has any suggestions on how to photograph braises or anything remotely stew-y, please speak up. I can’t help but compare my stew photos to excrement, no matter how nice and delicious the food looks and tastes in real life. Just when I think I’m becoming a better photographer, my uneducation slaps me in the face. Last night, when I was lamenting not having a macro lens for my schmancy new camera to take close-ups of the short ribs (inside, at night, with no natural light), I wanted to change the shutter speed. My husband, who is undoubtedly more photographically educated but perhaps not as artistic, helpfully suggested switching the camera to manual and changing the F-stop. “The what?” I asked accusingly. Time for a photography class.