My parents have been extremely influential in teaching me how to be a wonderful host to friends and family. They’ve taught me how to cook, be gracious, and welcome people in to one’s home. Their whole focus and philosophy is to always cook family style and always cook a lot of food for anyone who wants to come by. They always had a set of three practices that they would live by.
1) Have a stocked fridge. You never know who will stop in and need a comforting meal.
2) Always cook family style. You should never limit a friend or family member to a certain portion or a small amount. If they want more food or eat more, we shouldn’t judge them (unless it’s soy sauce)
3) Serve a diverse amount of dishes. Everyone has different tastes and everyone has dishes they are more inclined to, so everyone deserves to have at least of their options be a favorite, something that reminds them of home, introduce them to new flavors and textures, and begin new memories.
I’m glad my mom taught me these practices and instilled them in me as I watched her plan, prepare, and share her dishes with her family and friends. With this style of cooking, I’ve been amazed at how my mom has become a master at leftovers. She is able to plan the meal, take into consideration people returning for seconds and thirds and still end the dinner without having any food left over to last more than one day. I’ve heard rumors that Asian mothers have a certain sixth sense for these things; amongst knowing how to find a bargain, wear a perm in any weather, sneak meat into a vegetarian dish, and insult someone shrouded in a compliment.
As I started this blog marathon, I found myself having to prepare the week’s posts in one day because of my work schedule. With the help of some very hungry housemates and friends, I’ve been able to host weekly dinners at my place and, surprisingly not have too much left over. Unfortunately, last week I didn’t follow one of my Mom’s rules for hosting dinner. I didn’t diversify. I feel my mother saying “I taught you better” as she reads this. I ended up wanting to share a bunch of meat dishes with you that week, so, the menu included pork belly, ground pork, roasted chicken, and braised short rib. It was no wonder why I had so much of the ribs left over. So, here is what I did with said ribs, in order to give it life, a new feeling, and a dish to pawn off on my housemates for their lunch the next day.
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 lb short rib, shredded or pulled
½ c braising liquid or broth
1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes
1 tsp black pepper, ground
6 basil leaves, sliced
salt to taste
1 lb rigatoni
sauté onions, carrots, and celery in a large dutch oven until fully sweated, about 10 min
add garlic and short ribs and stir until fully cooked and fragrant
stir in the rest of the ingredients except for cheese and simmer on low until flavors have fully developed, about 20 minutes
cook pasta based on package instructions and until al dente or slightly firm
add additional fresh basil leaves and cheese and stir right before serving and toss with pasta