I think it’s time to really admit it. Summer is over. It’s hard, letting go of my favorite season in Chicago. But this year, it’s been even more difficult because in the midwest at least, we were sort of jipped, robbed, of our summer. Unseasonably cool, rainy, and sad intermixed with a few gorgeous, sunny, and sometimes blistering hot days. Now that I think about it in that way, I’m suddenly having an easier time saying goodbye. Goodbye lackluster summer, hello lovely fall.
If I still lived down South, I’d be beyond excited right about now. Fall is definitely the best season down that way – the summers are brutal and fall means that you can finally turn the air conditioning from level 4 to level 2 in the car. You can buy ice cream again without it melting in the grocery bag before you get home. And you can stop expecting to receive a chinese fan or battery-powered wind maker as your gift at the outdoor weddings.
And although I do love my Chicago summers, I am still a mighty big fan of the fall. Sure, I love watching the leaves change color – who doesn’t? I also like that people start to wear more clothes because, let’s be honest, those gypsy sandals and short skirts really aren’t that cool, right? And what’s with those shirts that hang off of one shoulder? Wasn’t that only cool when Debbie Gibson was making music?
Aside from all that though, you know what else I really love about the fall? Warm, comforting, satisfying food. Soup, roasted butternut squash, chili, and all things slow cooker.
It’s not that you can’t use those slow cookers in the summer. In fact, I think I made this dish back in June when I had a crazy craving for short ribs – I couldn’t help myself when I saw the coconut milk and red curry paste, as we all know I love those Asian flavors. Slow cooker recipes are ultra convenient – turn that puppy on and come home to short ribs that literally fall off the bone when you pick them up (if they haven’t already) and a rich sauce full of all those scrumptious flavors of ginger, fish sauce, and the already-mentioned coconut milk and curry. Or if you’re like me, use it on the weekend when you’re home during the day so you can also smell the goodness all day long!
But please, don’t just dump that sauce on top of your short ribs, unless you are dying for extra cholesterol points. Please people, drain the fat…
Then dump that lovely sauce all over those short ribs and rice. I know you’ll be excited by this point, but don’t forget the final touches of lime zest and juice – they brighten up the flavors like you wouldn’t believe.
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009; serves 6
2 lbs beef short ribs, trimmed
1 1/2 t kosher salt, divided
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/3 c minced shallots
3 T minced garlic
3 T minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 c water
2 T red curry paste
1/4 c light coconut milk
1 T sugar
1 T fish sauce
1 t grated lime rind
1 T fresh lime juice
4 c hot cooked basmati rice
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in slow cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.