Father’s Day Weekend might not be the ideal time to expect Dad to start doing the cooking. But if Dad is game, then Miami grilling guru Steven Raichlen has the book to make it happen.
It’s Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys. Part cookbook, part DIY primer, the book is suitable not only for virgin cooks but for guys who know their way around the kitchen and want to try new things.
The margins on the recipe pages contain welcome hints for how to shop for ingredients, what gear you’ll need, and ways to adapt the recipes to different meats or vegetables.
Recipes lean toward the hearty. So, to test one out, I turned to one of the trendiest proteins: Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Bacon and Mushrooms, which seems aimed directly at the masculine palate.
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One warning: The recipe claims 30 minutes of prep time to preface three hours in the oven. But given that you’re chopping or slicing bacon, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, shallots, garlic and an optional handful of chives, then braising each item individually before the oven time begins, figure an hour’s worth of prep.
The recipe calls for a whole bottle of red wine. A $6 Beringer cab did the job nicely, but if the ghost of Julia Child has guilted you over the years into dumping pricier wine into something that cooks for hours, go right ahead.
Any wine adds a delightful, fruity sweetness to this meaty stew. The short ribs fall off the bone. The bacon adds salt and some chewy texture bits. Cooking each vegetable individually preserves individual flavors that compete well with the rich gravy.
Serve it over your favorite noodles, grain or rice. I cooked quinoa in beef stock, and we were happy with the result. This recipe is a special-occasion meal, like for ... Father’s Day.
By the Book checks out recipes from new cookbooks. Kendall Hamersly is senior features editor at the Miami Herald.