It's always nice to go out to eat, but a restaurant dinner might not always fit the budget. Instead, try cooking like a chef with this easy dish of braised short ribs.
Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown 2 pounds of well-trimmed beef short ribs on all sides. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add one 10 1/2 -ounce can double-strength beef broth or beef consomme, 1 cup of dry red wine, 2 small, quartered onions, 4 cloves of minced garlic and 3 fresh thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Remove ribs from stockpot and keep warm.
Strain vegetables and skim fat from cooking liquid. Reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid for sauce; discard remaining liquid. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup chopped shallots and 1 teaspoon of minced thyme. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Add reserved cooking liquid and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup dry red wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove skillet from heat; stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Serve sauce over ribs. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 381 calories; 22 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 97 milligrams cholesterol; 10 grams carbohydrate; 596 milligrams sodium; 1 gram fiber; 30 grams protein
-- Recipe and analysis from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association
If you're always in a rush, Oster has found a way to let you take your drinks with you.
The company has introduced the Blend-N-Go, a cup that attaches directly to an Oster blender for customized shakes and smoothies.
Simply put your favorite ingredients in the 16-ounce cup, screw on the blender's blades, and blend. When you're done, put on the spill-proof lid, stuff in a straw and you're ready to go.
The cup sells for a suggested retail price of about $15 at most retailers where Oster blenders are sold.
For more information, visit www.oster.com.
* Learn tasty recipes for the couch potato 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at Williams-Sonoma, 1725 Annapolis Mall in Annapolis. $40. Call 410-266-3221.
* Taste quality wines that sell for less than $20, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 16 at Bin 604, 604 S. Exeter St. $15 in advance, $19 at the door. Call 410-576-0444.
Spicing things up with green salsa
Who says salsa should be red? Not Andrew Uribe, an Ellicott City chemist who has re-created his father's recipe for salsa aji, a staple of Latin American cuisine.
In addition to tomatoes, the distinctly green Emy's Salsa Aji has chopped cilantro, diced green jalapenos, chopped onions, scallions, red and green peppers, lemon juice and vinegar.
Uribe says it can be eaten on chips, but tastes even better on meat and fish.
Emy's Salsa Aji is available in spicy and mild flavors for about $9.50 for a 17.5-ounce jar. It can be purchased online at www.emys salsaaji.com and at the Dutch Farmers' Market on Route 29 in Burtonsville.
For more information, call 443-742-2134.
Just in time for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is a new book on Jewish dietary laws. How to Keep Kosher by Lise Stern (William Morrow, 2004, $24.95) tells the history of kosher laws and explains both Conservative and Orthodox perspectives on the practice.
Stern also offers a variety of kosher recipes for Shabbat meals and holidays.
The book is available in bookstores and from online booksellers.
The Dish welcomes food news and notes. Send to The Dish, Attn.: Liz Atwood, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.