Wildest Dream of Ecstasy

This is the first time, in the history of our relationship together, that Sam and I have received rabies vaccinations in the same week. Though his dosage is one third the cost of mine- I expect that’s because he weighs 40lbs. and I weigh considerably more than that. At least now, I have some sympathy for his anxiety at being at the vet’s. Poor little puppy, sitting up on that cold, metal table, too anxious to eat the treats that the vet offers and trying his best to smash his body into my arms and crawl onto my shoulders just to get off that table and away from Dr. Evil. My experience with the vaccine was much less torturous, but Marc still couldn’t watch the needle.

Anyway, as a means of soothing my conscience for exposing poor Sammy to such trauma, I feed him people food. Not that I go overboard with the treats (that’s what his Grandma is for), but if some beef short ribs should happen to be left on the plate at the end of a meal, and if those short ribs should happen to have a little bit of beef and maybe some yummy, yummy fat on them, who am I to deny this long-suffering dog his wildest dream of ecstasy?

Short Ribs

Ergo, when we made Beef Short Ribs in Chipotle and Green Chili Sauce with creamy polenta on Saturday, Sam did get a short window of opportunity to strip a couple of nearly-bare ribs of their meat and have a good, if short, chew on the bones. He didn’t even flinch at the spiciness of the sauce, though it registered as pretty hot by my standards. Perhaps the spice didn’t have an opportunity to touch many taste buds as it was snarfed through to the belly; it’s his treat, he can eat it however he wants (but not the bone). He did spend the better part of two hours “guarding” the meat in the oven, sitting in front of that little window and making sure that the ribs didn’t accidentally fall out of the oven and into his mouth. I hope he feels it was worth all the vaccination pain and guarding/begging efforts.

I, for one, found these to be quite extraordinary. I can’t really put my finger on which spice made them so piquant but I suspect it was the chipotles. We don’t use these very often so I imagine that’s why the taste stood out so much for me- that smoky, spiciness compliments beef so well. I have a beef (ha!) with the chipotle canning people, though: who needs a cup of canned peppers in adobo? It’s too much! We freeze the remainders but months later, we will only remove that baggie from the freezer, classify it as f.u.b.a.r. and toss it, along with all our other bits and pieces of long-forgotten sauce and dough. I would complain but I’m not confident enough in my pronunciation of ‘chipotle’.

About the polenta, I must clear something up: I have no idea what I’m doing. Every time I make this, I read the directions and I follow them; they’re not complicated: boil some salted water, whisk in the polenta, simmer for 40 minutes or so, stir in butter and parmesan, done. My problem is that we must have some sort of instant polenta- I whisk it in and moments later it looks done. But there is no kind of 40 minutes of simmering. It tastes fine.. what am I doing wrong? Is there such a thing as instant polenta, like instant rice? Research results are forthcoming.

Simple Salad Also, we had quite possibly one of the most scrumptious salads I have made to date. I got so carried away trying to “brunoise” the damn shallots that by the time I was ready to assemble the dressing, I had about two tablespoons worth. With a little mustard, oil, champagne vinegar and some shaved parmesan, this ended up being one of the Best Dressings Ever.

Chocolate BarFor dessert, we split a $5 chocolate bar that was purchased earlier at the Cookbook Company. Actually, they ran out of the Best Chocolate Bar Ever*, so we decided to try this new one as a treat. I don’t know if chocolate, pralines and Highland Whiskey really belong together but I’m pretty certain they shouldn’t be mixed into a ganache filling, encased in “Edelherb” dark chocolate and sold in bar form. Next time, it will be Best Chocolate, or nothing.

* The Best Chocolate Bar Ever is Cafe Noir dark chocolate.

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