Reader: Spent the first part of the storm at the Cambridge - wow, their brined chicken wings may be my new favorite in the city. Glad I stopped in, as they had 21st Amendment ale on tap.
C.L.: Glad to hear a good word about the Cambridge, the handsome tavern on the red-hot 1500 block of South Street from the owners of Hawthorne's. I'm looking forward to trying it soon, as it has the air of an excellent neighborhood haunt.
Reader: As for yesterday's cooking, took advantage of office being closed to make some short rib in the slow cooker. Excellent!
C.L.: My wife desperately wanted a slow-cooker for her birthday - and got it. We haven't had much luck, though, with recipes. Do you have a source for good slow-cooker recipes? We like short ribs.
Reader: We don't really have a go-to source for slow cooker recipes. Usually just start with the meat we want to use and search the Internet for inspiration. Would like to take advantage of our pressure cooker more, though. Any ideas?
C.L.: Most of the ones I've come across in Internet research tend to be either way underseasoned, or just bad. Moments like that, I'm reminded at how unreliable recipes sourced on the internet can be. Pressure cookers, I don't have much experience with, though I know they are effective for cooking tough cuts more speedily.
Reader: If you like short ribs, you MUST try Molly Stevens' red-wine-braised short ribs with porcini and rosemary from her All About Braising cookbook.
C.L.: Great suggestion. I've always used the red-wine-braised short rib recipe from Daniel Boulud's book Cafe Boulud. Amazing. But I'm open. . . . Plus, I've got two packs of porcini mushrooms begging to be cooked.
Reader: There was quite a stir regarding restaurants that were open yesterday. What are your thoughts? Stupid? Enterprising?
Reader: Is dining out worth putting hardworking and generally underpaid workers at risk?
C.L: I don't think it's fair to demand workers risk their welfare to make it to work on a day when every one is locked down in a state of emergency. I'm grateful, of course, to the markets that stayed open as long as they could to provide essential provisions. But there comes a point where it just isn't safe, and is unreasonable to expect employees to stick around. For those owners who have the ability to keep the lights on and taps flowing themselves (and with willing employees, if that's the case), I say go for it. As I learned from my friends in New Orleans, restaurants that stick it out can also be safe harbors and community centers during a time of crisis.