The Devil, You Say!


No, it’s true!  Despite the demonic titles, both of today’s selections are legitimately delicious, a combination that, despite divergent sources, pair well.  Deviled Beef Short Ribs and Salad with Devil’s Rain Dressing only sound diabolical, but they taste, well, glorious.  It’s Halloween after all, meaning a shiver or two are in order, but first and foremost, the palate must be thrilled.  Always, always.

Today’s meal easily accomplishes that goal, starting with Deviled Beef Short Ribs as presented in the Cook’s Country Cookbook.  The beef enjoys a double enhancement, first glazed in a tangy mustard sauce, then coated in parsley-flecked bread crumbs.  These seal in the juices, ensuring a meltingly tender cut of beef.  Of course, mustard also matches beautifully with beef ribs, and that charmed combination is given even more attention as extra mustard sauce is served alongside, much to the beef’s delight.

The salad comes by way of a by-now familiar source, the Nero Wolf Cookbook.  It’s one of the many creations chef Fritz Brenner prepares for fortunate residents and guests in Nero Wolfe’s well-appointed brownstone.  As imagined by author Rex Stout, of course, himself quite the gourmet.  “Devil’s Rain” sounds intense, doesn’t it?  It’s only mildly spicy, actually, even when set against the greens’ cool lushness.  A slight kick, but certainly nothing worthy of Old Scratch’s title.

One of its main components is ground walnut, carrying the spice aloft on savory smoothness.  An additional note – what we commonly call “walnuts” are actually walnut halves, one of two parts within each shell.  Here’s such a duo, making up, between them, one walnut:Walnuts

Also, make note of the special cutlery, forged just for Halloween.  Greater detail of one of today’s utensils:

Halloween Silverware

A wickedly creepy setting, particularly when used to serve up two devilishly good creations.  Relax, though.  The Devil had nothing to do with this, other, perhaps, than to inspire the titles.  Stirrings of spiciness are as close as we’ll get to his flames.  Still, it thrills just a bit to imagine the possibilities, particularly on “Devil’s Night” and all.  Even when a full stomach and contented memories of a great meal put one in mind of something a little closer to Heaven.

*****

Deviled Beef Short Ribs

  • 2/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 packed cup light brown sugar
  • 2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 4 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-and-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (*1)

Place oven rack at the middle position and preheat oven to 325°.  Combine yellow mustard, orange juice, jalapeños, dry mustard, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons black pepper in a food processor.  Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds, and set aside.

Combine 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon pepper and cayenne in a bowl.  Cover ribs all over with the rub, then place them, meat side down, on a baking tray.  Cover tray tightly with aluminum foil and cook until the meat is nearly tender, about three hours.

Place a medium skillet over a medium-high flame and add the butter.  When melted, add the panko and cook, stirring often, until golden-brown, about three minutes.  Off the flame, stir in the parsley and lemon zest, then transfer to a shallow dish.

Remove the baking tray from the oven and increase the temperature to 425°.  Discard the juices from the tray.  Brush the meat (but not the bone!) with a quarter of the mustard sauce and return the ribs to the tray, meat side up this time.  Roast, uncovered, until meat begins to brown, about ten minutes.

Brush the meat with a third of the remaining sauce and roast in oven for another ten minutes.  Transfer ribs to a serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside for 15 minutes.

Brush meat once more with half the remaining mustard sauce and roll in panko mixture, taking care to coat all the meat.  Serve, with remaining  mustard sauce in a dish alongside.

NOTES:

1 – Cilantro, if you please.  A much better option than is bitter parsley!

*****

Salad with Devil’s Rain Dressing

For the dressing:

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 10 walnuts, shelled and roasted
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

For the greens:

  • 1 head each, curly endive, romaine and Bibb lettuce
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 2 stalks celery, slice thinly on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 small cooked beets, grated

Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and process at low speed for 20 seconds.  Take care not to over blend, as you want the dressing still to have a little texture.

Break the greens into pieces and divide among serving plates.  Add the cilantro, celery and shredded carrot.  Pour on the dressing and grate beets atop.

29 thoughts on “The Devil, You Say!

    1. You too, Jennifer, you too! To think, due to time zones, you have three more hours of it left than I do. What manner of deviltry is this?

      So glad you appreciate the flatware! When I spotted it, both the meal itself and the article became inevitable. Have to make the purchase worthwhile, though. Thus, the silverware will go into rotation every October. Plus any other time which feels spooky.

      Just a few hours ago, in fact, it was used at lunch, for chicken ravioli. Really set the mood. Maybe the chicken was what remained of a voodoo ceremony.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If you remember your Sunday School lessons, Crystal, you’ll recall that when the Devil’s sundry afflictions didn’t discourage Job, deviled eggs were next. That’s when the Almighty put a stop to things. Good for that, too, as deviled eggs are horrid…just horrid.

      Would you believe the mustard sauce adorning the short ribs actually is hotter than is the Devil’s Rain dressing which laces the salad? Due, no doubt, to the jalapenos. I mean, neither is explosive, or even striking, but both have spirit. Real enhancers, the pair of them.

      You know how beef and mustard were made for each other. Now, imagine a mustard amped, and a particularly nice cut of meat. The combination is superb. Sorry, that was gratuitous. Especially when someone hears her stomach growling.

      The Devil made me do it.

      Like

      1. But here’s the thing. I’ve come to enjoy a good deviled egg (an oxymoron if ever there was one). And that’s how I know that your deviled beef short ribs (and devil’s rain) must be divine.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, that’s unfortunate, Crystal, but it also is flattering, as your palate is sophisticated enough to make the distinction. Yeah, that was pretty pretentious of me, wasn’t it? You get the idea, though.

        Besides, if we all liked the same thing, kitchen exploration and culinary expansion never would’ve gone anywhere in the last 4,000 years. Instead, look at where we are now.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You too, my friend! Wishes, as in good-n-early, As in Halloween 2022, just 363 days hence.

      So thrilled you noticed the special flatware too! Not only does it make the season, but it adds a certain panache to the meal too, don’t you think? After all, what better companion than a grinning skull than when someone is going to town on short ribs? Plus, a nice fresh salad alongside, saving us from surrendering entirely to our carnivorous impulses.

      Besides, Halloween now is in the rear-view and Mozart serenades at present. The Enlightenment rises again, and Felix is back. At least until next October.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh… Considering the timings of my own wishes, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no such thing as too early.

        It does indeed, and the whole thing sounds all the more morally dubious when you describe it like that. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah Rachel, I think we both have a year-long fascination with Halloween. For me, it’s the tantalizing interplay of darkness and light. The shadows just beyond the sunshine. Both actual, and imagined – especially imagined.

        As for meat-eating, no moral judgment intended! Look, I understand why people choose vegetarianism, and I respect their decision – though I don’t endorse it. I’m an animal-lover and a poultry fiend. Makes me a hypocrite, doesn’t it? Well…there it is.

        The best approach I think, is to avoid excessive pursuits. Meat and veg, in balance. Works well from so many angles – moral, healthy, culinary, aesthetic, variety, etc., etc.

        By the way, Rachel, I hope I sussed out what you meant in each of the sentences. The first, about your wishes’ timing, refers to Halloween, right? The second, mentioning moral dubiousness, concerns meat eating. How’d I do?

        If that’s not what you meant by A) or B), my, did I drive this conversation way off-track!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be vague! Your deduction can bear no fault; For my part, neither tiredness nor general listlessness lend themselves to my making sense, I’m afraid. My first sentence was in reference to Halloween, yes, but also holidays in general and my tendency to be late in a post-midnight, technically-not-even-the-day-anymore sort of fashion. Seeing it as merely being excessively early, as opposed to late, is amusing to me.
        The second… Well, let’s just say I have a darkly humorous imagination, and something about your wording had me picturing cannibalism.

        As for driving the conversation off track, there’s no such thing. We’re taking the scenic route; any diversion just makes things extra scenic.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ah Rachel, not the greatest performance on my part, but at least I didn’t miss both points entirely. Plus, it marks our friendship’s maturity that we can pick up on thoughts at any point in the discussion. We avoid the elaborate setup.

        I completely agree with you about holidays being more about the seasonal feel than they are about a particular square on the calendar. Much warmer and genuine that way. In the long run, we crave emotional suites, not individual standalone days.

        Now, my defense of meat-eating doesn’t transfer to cannibalism. Let there be no mistake. I know, I know, how bourgeois of me to make the distinction. Although, in an indirect sense, we haven’t abandoned the topic completely. A future article will feature someone whose family was diminished, perhaps, by cannibalism…of the South Seas variety. While the entry will have absolutely nothing to do with cannibalism, the unspoken context provides a bracing contrast in the imaginations of those in the know.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tamara! The deviled short ribs first gained attention back in 2019, I think it was. Attention which soon became anticipation, then obsession.

      Problem is, I needed at least one side to make it a meal. Inspiration came, as it often does, when reading the Nero Wolfe cannon. Deviled Ribs and Devil’s Rain dressing? I do believe that will be the Halloween 2021 entry!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. As I’ve been learning lately, a little cayenne in just about everything doesn’t hurt too much at all, especially anything with melted cheese. Adding it to apple pie might be going a little far but then if one hasn’t tried it one can’t knock it, can they?

    Now I don’t know about devilish, at least not now when I’ve been working so hard to be a good person, but I would say those short ribs actually look divine. As I’ve been learning though, beef here in Trinidad isn’t always easy to find. The local store here sells something called clod. What is that???? I discovered it’s actually what we know as chuck. Ok, chuck has it’s applications but I gotta do some searching. I love chicken and a bit of lamb but this American likes to have a good steak once in a while. Luckily ground beef isn’t too hard to find but the allusive good cut of steak is something I’m going to have to search out.

    Thanks for schooling us on the walnuts and the skull forks are just too awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, thanks for all the compliments, JoAnn! See, encouragement like yours inspires future inventiveness.

      Speaking of which, a bit of spice often benefits sweetness. For example, have you tried Mexican cocoa? It’s a bit like what we use here in the US, but with vanilla and with cinnamon added. Oh, and a bit of hot peppers. Just a bit, but it’s flippin’ incredible!

      In that spirit, I think apple pie might blush when cayenne kisses it, but it’ll smile too. The secret is, go slow. Maybe an eighth of a teaspoon for a whole pie, ratcheted down accordingly for a single slice. You just want to get the apple’s juices flowing; you don’t want to bludgeon the poor thing. Just enough to make tasters ask, “OMG, what did you put in this pie? I can’t tell what it is you added, but it makes the whole thing come alive!”

      It makes sense TnT doesn’t have much going on, steak-wise. After all, there’s not much room to graze cattle. Sure, mail-order is a possibility, but shipping it nearly to South America would be ruinous. Unless, that is, you’re fine with paying $120 for a plain ol’ sirloin. Although, does Trinidad have any high-end resorts? If so, you have to figure they’d have steak on the menu, which means there has to be a way. I admire your determination to find a solution, JoAnn. It proves you’re a true foodie!

      By the way, are you a grandmother yet, or is that still in the future?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome for the compliments. I enjoy being encouraging!

        They do have high end resorts here somewhere but not exactly in this specific location. Where I’m at chicken reigns supreme and lamb is employed here and there. At least there is plenty of ground beef to be found and I’m sure that has a lot to do with American fast food joints having moved in like Burger King and Wendy’s. KFC and other chicken places like Popeye’s and Church’s still are the most frequented around here.

        I did post photos on my regular FB account but forgot to post them elsewhere. Will have to include some in an upcoming post.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yeah, JoAnn, I’d love to see some pictures! Actually, I expect to be on social media myself within a couple months, but until then…

        You did mention chuck roasts. Both they and ground beef do speak of islanders’ interest in the concept, but I wonder if the lack of steaks has more to do with economics. Specifically, as steaks are more expensive, they’re priced beyond most household means.

        It’d be great if a Ruth’s Chris or a Shula’s would open next to the Mickey D’s and Popeye’s, but two or three meals from the former likely would exceed Trinidad’s annual budget, so it’s not likely to happen. Still, I’d hate to have you jonesin’ for any steak dinner, even something from Ponderosa.

        I mean, does Ponderosa even exist anymore? I haven’t seen one in fifteen years, and haven’t eaten in one for thirty.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah I think Ponderosa has been gone for spell.

        Expense probably has a lot to do with it. Most cow products like cheese and sour cream are imported. Cow’s milk comes in a box although luckily I switched to drinking coconut or almond milk long ago so I was ok there. I will just have to get my steak fix when back in America.

        You are not on Facebook yet? However did you accomplish such a thing?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Fear, JoAnn. From what I’ve gathered, social media in general devours all the time it sees, and Facebook (er, Meta) is ten times more gluttonous. Plus, discussion is abandoned in favor of people posturing and shouting past each other. Nope, huh-uh. For now it’s two steps forward (Pinterest and Instagram). After that sinks in, we’ll see.

        Oh, there has to be a cure out there for your steak fix. I mean, besides something exorbitant, such as mail-order, or a trip back to the States. Maybe a generous benefactor? Could be, your fiancé needs a few not-so-subtle hints that six Porterhouses would make a really swell birthday gift.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m that could be arranged. Here in Trinidad it’s who you know and how much money you have to spend. Then, you can get practically anything you want.

        I had another thought though. Perhaps I should try out more recipes for which ingredients are plentiful here in Trinidad. Might work better. Will see about that.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Good point JoAnn, though the situation you describe in in Trinidad (who you know and how many $ you have) applies just about anywhere, to some degree.

        There’s no reason your dreams of a ribeye don’t reconcile with your desire to explore Trini ingredients. You can do more than one thing at once.

        You mentioned chicken, which definitely whetted the appetite, poultry fiend that I am. Not only that, but isn’t goat somewhat common on the island? Not that it causes a mighty hankerin’, mind you, but it is worth a try.

        I, for one, am eager to read where your curiosity takes you!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Goat always fails to whet my appetite. I believe this that stems from a friend of mine whose parents used to have goats. I never forgot the smell and how much I didn’t like it. So odd as I do not have a problem eating beef or pork and as every knows they can be real stinky at times. Just one of those weird things I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yeah, I can imagine how that’d put you off.

        Bismarck’s quip comes to mind, advising those who like laws or sausages to avoid watching either being made.

        I imagine many of our most avid food cravings would shudder if we had an up-close-and personal view of how it got to the market in the first place. Yeah, this makes me a hypocrite. Something I noticed long ago, though in a different context, when I realized my donations to animal rescue didn’t quite jibe with poultry fiendishness.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the beautiful compliment!

      When I sample Italian cuisine (or Italian-American food, at least), please – don’t laugh! There is much to explore in our world, and we all try things for the first time. There is so much to learn.

      Your English is very good. No insult intended – I know how difficult English is. Sadly, my Italian doesn’t match your English. Really, all I know are a few phrases from Mozart’s operas!

      Like

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