Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, Jennifer Ammoscato, and her favorite recipe for ANNE BURRELL’S SHORT RIBS!
DEAR INTERNET: IT’S ME, AVERY
Avery Fowler 2.0 Series, Book 1
BY JENNIFER AMMOSCATO
Oh, don’t judge me, people. We all do it.
Don’t try to tell me that you’ve never checked that weird mole on your thigh on WebMD. Or how to fold meringue on Epicurious. And, there’s no way that I’m the only one who clears her search history after looking up how to give a great bl—(Um, that last one’s not important.)
When newspaper reporter Avery Fowler discovers her husband is having an affair, the online help site HowTo.com is where she turns to navigate this challenging stage of her life.
If the Internet is Avery’s information god, then HowTo.com is her Holy Grail. Its live chat option is like having a virtual life coach (a snippy British chippy named Clementine) for the low, low price of fourteen ninety-five a month.
Add into the mix a new boss, Victoria van Horne, whose managerial style calls to mind the Wicked Bitch Witch of the West—or the Anti-Christ—and the poor girl needs all the help she can get! The stakes rise and hilarity ensues as our heroine struggles to take control of her personal life and topple her boss after she learns Victoria’s guilty secret.
With Clementine (virtually) in tow, our heroine tackles such tricky situations as dating after divorce, sex once nothing points north anymore, and how to cover attempted murder scenes (despite a paralyzing fear of blood) as the new and improved Avery Fowler 2.0.
DEAR INTERNET: IT’S ME, AVERY
Avery Fowler 2.0 Series, Book 1
BY JENNIFER AMMOSCATO
DEAR HOWTO.COM: HELP! I’M KITCHEN CHALLENGED!
“Jordan, what does braised mean?”
“It means— Hey, wait a minute. You’re not trying to cook again are you?”
“Well, Raj is coming over and—”
“Ave, didn’t we learn our lesson after the flaming swordfish incident?”
I frown at my cell phone on the counter set to Speaker, then look back at the recipe I found on Pinterest. It doesn’t look that hard and I really want to show off for Raj by cooking a sumptuous meal. (Note to reader: I’ll settle for edible.)
It’s a warm Saturday afternoon so I’ve thrown open my windows to let the fresh air in and dissipate my memory of my awful yesterday. I still can’t believe poor Rebecca was fired. And, I set a hit a new, personal low by accidentally sending a sext to a man who—for all I know—may have already uploaded it to hotracks.com to make a bit of beer money. (Yes, I know that parts a complete exaggeration of the consequences. But I’m sure we can all agree—boobie pic to colleague—not one of my finer moments.)
I forcibly yank my mind back out that particular worrisome avenue and focus on the recipe. I spent the morning collecting the ingredients from three expensive specialty stores. Unfortunately, they didn’t come with a chef.
When it came to cooking in our marriage, Michael and I had an agreement: he would cook the food and I would eat the food. Our taste buds and the fire department had all come to that conclusion long ago that this was for the best. But that doesn’t mean I have to admit it to my teasing friend.
I defend myself. “That was ages ago and who knew wine was so flammable?”
“Avery, it was two months ago and everyone knows alcohol is flammable. Except you, I guess. Look, I’m not trying to be mean. I just don’t think that you should attempt any recipe containing the words ‘braising’, ‘sauté’ or ‘flambé’. And maybe not ‘meat’.” She doesn’t even attempt to smother her chuckle.
“Thanks for your confidence.” I poke at a package of short ribs on my kitchen counter.
“I want to impress Raj.”
Jordan doesn’t need a recipe. When I called, she was relaxing on the couch watching golf. What she and her husband will have for dinner hasn’t even entered her mind because she can cook a life-changing meal using only chicken, brussel sprouts and baking soda. She’s the freaking MacGyver of the kitchen.
“I’m going now,” I sigh, and mentally prepare for the battle ahead.
“I’ll watch for you on the news.” Smug bitch. But I love her.
Down to business. The recipe calls for chopped carrots, celery, onion and garlic. I can definitely handle that. Before I start to chop, I decide to first open up the full-bodied merlot that I’ll use for the sauce to let it breathe.
Now that I think about it, sipping wine while cooking just seems so civilized. I pour myself a glass. And take a fragrant sip. Yum.
Now, what am I supposed to be doing? Oh, yes—chopping. I set to work transforming my vegetables into neat, ½-inch chunks. Sharp knife. No blood. Always a good sign.
I’ve worked up a chopping rhythm. What else can I dice up? I attack the potatoes and green beans that will accompany the ribs. I sip more wine and chop.
Sip and chop. Sip and chop.
I may have refilled my glass.
When I’ve sliced and diced all the vegetables, I turn my attention to the meat. I need to preheat the oil in the pan. I pour in a few glugs from the bottle and turn the heat to high.
I take another sip of my merlot and remove the short ribs from the package. I try not to be grossed out by the blood on the Styrofoam container. Ugh.
I attempt to spear them with a fork to place onto a plate. The heaping pile of flesh and bone is heavier than I expect, however, and the plate tilts. A bloody rib slides toward my thumb.
Aaack! I involuntarily jerk the plate on a sharp angle to force the rib backwards and away from my hand. This only serves to force the outermost rib on the other side of the plate to abandon ship. It falls to the floor with a messy splash.
Damn it! Okay, I’m sure the ten-second rule applies here. I can still save the patient. I snatch the rib off the tile. Except that I don’t.
Instead, I cringe at the blood and let the meat slip from my fingers. It tumbles even further away, just out of my reach and right onto an obscenely large dust bunny that must have set up camp near the base of my stove some time during the 1990s.
I rescue it from the dust ball, sit on the floor and gaze at my very fuzzy piece of beef. Is there a 42-second rule?
No worries. I’ll just rinse it under hot water. That should do the trick. I turn the tap on full blast and wash the dusty beef, running the water extra long and extra hot just to make sure I get all the grime off.
When I turn off the tap, I stop and listen. What’s that noise? It sounds like sizzling. It sounds like—
Oh, my God! The oil on the stove smokes like a chimney. Before I can even think of what to do, the oil bursts into flames.
Author Jennifer Ammoscato – solving the world’s problems one cosmo at a time.
Jennifer Ammoscato is a paid, productive member of society. Frankly, it’s not enough. Therefore, May 2015 will see the launch of her debut novel, “Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery” (The “Avery Fowler 2.0” series, Book I).
During the day, she is an intrepid writer/editor for the public relations department of a Canadian university. By night, she fights crime and the urge to organize closets and stuff herself with salted chocolate caramels.
Jennifer began writing as a child, producing such classics as “The Occurrence” (she understood the appeal of werewolves long before Stephenie Meyer). She had to search for the courage to write a novel, though. “That’s so F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. I didn’t know if I had the alcohol capacity for it.” However, after being goaded (sorry, encouraged) by a friend, she took the leap.
Dreams do not inspire Jennifer’s books. In fact, they tend to terrify her. In particular, the ever popular naked-at-school or I-have-a-final-exam-and-didn’t-study dreams. She usually just makes stuff up.
She is married to her husband, Ezio. As opposed to someone else’s husband (insert name here). She is the proud mom of two very tall sons, Dante and Christian.
Links to Jennifer’s website, blog, books, etc.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Jennifer is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 202 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
ANNE BURRELL’S SHORT RIBS
Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell
Show: Secrets of a Restaurant Chef
Episode: The Secret to Short Ribs
6 bone-in short ribs (about 5 3/4 pounds)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 1/2 cups tomato paste
2 to 3 cups hearty red wine
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
2 bay leaves
Season each short rib generously with salt. Coat a pot large enough to accommodate all the meat and vegetables with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
While the short ribs are browning, puree all the vegetables and garlic in the food processor until it forms a coarse paste. When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the pureed vegetables. Season the vegetables generously with salt and brown until they are very dark and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Scrape the crud again and add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat if things start to burn. Reduce the mixture by half.
Return the short ribs to the pan and add 2 cups water or until the water has just about covered the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. Check periodically during the cooking process and add more water, if needed. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let things get nice and brown and to let the sauce reduce. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart. Serve with the braising liquid.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Jennifer is giving away an Avery T-shirt and a box of Godiva to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog. Don’t miss the chance to read this book! Thanks, Jen, for sharing your story with us!