just as "subsidiarity" is more than a slogan about "small government", the writing and thought of Leo XIII on the social question and the social order is not reducible to "unionism, as presently defended and advocated for in early 21st century America, is to be supported by faithful, thoughtful Catholics." It's not that unions were once necessary, but now they are not. It's that unionism is to be supported by faithful, thoughtful Catholics when it is consistent with, and actually carrying out, Catholic Social Doctrine, and not (or, at least, not necessarily) when it is not. To resist overreach and bad-acting by unions is, well, to resist overreach and bad-acting; it's not to stomp on Rerum novarum.
In my view, it is vital to keep in mind, as we try to think with Christ and the Church -- and not with either the Chamber of Commerce or the Democratic Party -- about union-related policy, to take into account (to the extent we can) the costs and benefits of proposals and practices, and to look at what unions are, and are not, actually doing with the power they have, and not merely to wield a "the Church teaches that unions are good" stamp. In fact, unions and unionism are sometimes bad (just as religious freedom -- which is good -- is sometimes abused).
For example: In the United States, teachers unions are, on balance, definitely not good. They have, historically, been a powerful force for anti-Catholicism and the obstruction of reforms, including reforms that the Church clearly teaches are morally required. It is a grave injustice to require parents who want their children to be educated in (reasonably regulated and reasonably well performing) Catholic schools to pay twice (that is, to deny public funding to those parents). Legislatures should not extend special powers to teachers unions, and they should oppose them to the extent it is necessary to re-orient education-related spending and policy in the best interests of children (and in a way that advances religious freedom and pluralism) and not of public employees who work in government-run schools. Another point: It is not good for unions to use workers’ contributions to support political causes – say, abortion rights – that are not relevant to the association’s purpose and mission.
Go read the whole thing. It's a very thoughtful analysis.
On Thanksgiving Day, I grill-roasted a heritage breed, free range, organic 9 lb turkey from D'Artagnan using apple and hickory wood chips for smoke (one of the best things I ever did was to install a gas line on my back porch so I can run a natural gas grill and patio heater without ever having to worry about running out of propane on a long cook like this one, and hard wood charcoal purists can bite me).
Since it was just Helen and I, we had two drumsticks, one thigh, and one breast left over. A mid-morning snack today revealed that the leftovers had intensified in smokiness. I also had some leftover boiled new potatoes, green beans, and carrots. (The leftover cornbread dressing didn't make it past that midmorning snack). As I pondered tonight's dinner, I immediately thought: hash. So here's how I (mostly) cleaned out my refrigerator.
You definitely want to have your mise en place ready to go before you start cooking, as it goes pretty damned quick.
I heated my trusty All-Clad Master Chef 2 Nonstick 12-Inch Fry Pan over medium-high heat and added a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter. When the oil-butter mix stopped foaming, I added the onions and chili. I hit them with a small pinch of salt. I sauteed them until they had softened and were just beginning to color at the edges. I then added the garlic and cooked it another 30 seconds. Next I added the turkey and stirred it through. Next I added the potatoes, carrots, and a big pinch of the dried parsley. A big pinch of salt and 10 grinds of black pepper (using my Turkish pepper mill) followed. I tossed the hash around in the pan for a while, smoothed it out to an even level, and then pressed it down to let it brown. I spread the green beans and green onions on top of the mix.
While the hash browned, I heated a pat of butter in my Calphalon Nonstick 8-Inch Frying Pan. When the butter stopped foaming, I fried two eggs over easy. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco. As the eggs fried, I stirred the hash to mix in the beans and green onions. I then dished up the hash and topped each plate with one egg. Because I like heat much more than Helen does, I refrained from hitting her serving with the several more dashes of Tabasco to which I subjected mine.
What wine to serve with this hash? Granted, you could make a case for beer, cola, or iced tea being better matches. But I like wine. Specifically, red wine. I wanted something young, fruity, not super tannic, with some smoke being a plus. The 2010 Foxen Tinaquaic Vineyard Syrah worked surprisingly well.
The bouquet suggests black cherry, raspberry, and cola. The palate picks up those elements, but adds smoky bacon, tar, and plums. Grade: B+
I was in the mood for a sauce that was more meaty than tomato-ish, so I started with a couple of trusted bolognese sauce recipes and modified like crazy.
Pour 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with their juices into the ceramic insert of your slow cooker (I like Muir's Organic tomatoes). Drain 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes and add them to the cooker. Set cooker on high heat.
Pour one cup of not very oaky white wine (e.g., Pinot Grigio) into a pyrex measuring cup. (I put a chop stick in the cup to give bubbles something against which to form.) Microwave on high until boiling. Add 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms. Steep 30 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Finely chop mushrooms and add to cooker. Pass reserved liquid through a coffee filter (use a funnel). Add strained liquid to cooker.
Meanwhile, add 1 tsp dried italian herb seasoning, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp dried basil to cooker. Stir. Add 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (trust me, it really ramps up the meat flavor) to cooker. (I told you it was non-traditional).
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown 1 pound lean ground beef. Transfer beef to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Add 1 pound ground lamb to skillet. Brown. Transfer lamb to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Add 1 pound ground pork to skillet. Brown. Transfer pork to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Add meats to cooker. (BTW, on all three meats, I had my butcher grind them very coarse. Large pieces do better in the slow cooker. Also, I debated adding a pound of ground veal, but decided against it. I wanted several days worth of leftovers ... not a month!)
Prepare a mise en place of 2 oz finely diced pancetta, 1 medium yellow onion diced, 1 rib celery diced, 1 medium carrot diced. Slice 1 to 4 cloves garlic (depending on your taste, I like a lot) very, very thin. (If you know the famous dinner scene in Goodfellas, that's what you're trying to emulate when you slice the garlic. And, of course, that scene has good advice when it comes to adding onions to the sauce.)
Blot skillet dry with paper towels. Pour 1 tsp olive oil (not extra virgin) into skillet and heat on medium setting. Saute pancetta until it begins to crisp. Add onions, celery, and carrot. Saute until softened and just starting to turn golden. Add garlic to skillet. Stir. Add 4 tbsp tomato paste (again, I like Muir). Saute 1 minute. Add 1 cup white wine. Raise heat to high. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Transfer all to cooker.
Add enough low sodium organic beef broth to cover solids in cooker. Stir to combine. Cover. Walk away and clean up kitchen.
After 2 hours, reduce heat to low. Add 1 cup milk. After 2-4 hours more on the low setting, taste. Adjust seasonings with salt, freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, nutmerg, and/or allspice to your taste. How long you cook it really depends on how much integrity you want the pieces of diced tomato to retain. I like them to remain fairly intact, so I err on the short end but YMMV.
Serve over fresh fettucine or papardelle (I prefer the latter). I like to top it with freshly grated Parmesan and a dash of very good extra virgin olive oil. Pour something red from Tuscany.
For two good eaters, with left over rice mix for tomorrow night.
Combine dressing ingredients in a measuring cup and emulsify with your Cuisinart Hand Blender. Set aside.Rice Salad Mix
Heat a Le Creuset 3-½ Quart Round French Oven over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil. When butter stops foaming, add onion. Add a pinch of salt. Cook 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften and add white part of green onion. Cook 2 minutes. Add garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Add wild rice and stir thoroughly to coat rice with fat. Cook 1 minute. Add wine, turn heat up to max and bring to boil. Boil 1 minute. Add broth. Return to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45-55 minutes (until tender and some grains begin to split open). After 20 minutes, add brown rice. If necessary, add more broth (you don't want all the liquid to ever evaporate). After 40 minutes, add Porcini mushrooms.
Meanwhile, put pecans in a small baking dish, and roast at 350° for about 10 minutes. Do NOT let them burn! Transfer to a dish and let cool.
Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil in a sauce pan. Add snow peas. Cook 2 minutes. Drain through a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water.
When rice is done, drain through a fine mesh strainer. Shake strainer repeatedly to ensure thorough drainage.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add dressing to taste. (I like it damp but not sloppy). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pan Seared Duck Breast
Preheat oven to 350°.
Pat duck breast dry with paper towels. Place the duck skin side up. Using a sharp knife, score 6 (¼-inch-deep) cuts across the skin at a 45 degree angle. Season both sides.
Heat an oven proof skillet over high heat. (I don't like cast iron for this purpose. I prefer my trusty Calphalon anodized 9-inch skillet.) When pan is hot, add duck breast, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove pan from cooktop, mop up fat with paper towels, and transfer to oven for 6 minutes.
Transfer breast to a cutting board, loosely tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Here at PB.com, we like to leave the skin on, but YMMV. In any case, slice duck thinly.
I like to use a soft lettuce, such as butter lettuce. Spoon some of the rice mix into the center of a lettuce leaf, top with a slice or two of duck, and roll into a burrito shape. Bite. Sip wine. Second bite. Yum.
Lately I've been cooking a lot out of Essentials of Slow Cooking. Tonight I made a modified version of its Chicken Marsala recipe in my Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. Because I found it necessary to make some modifications, I pass along my version:
I've added porcinis because I think they add an extra blast of flavor and tweaked the spices and herbs. I used skin on chicken breasts rather than skinless for the same reason.
Pour the chicken broth into a microwave safe container and zap for 3 minutes. Add the porcinis and steep them until they soften (about 30 minutes). Remove the porcini mushrooms, roughly chop them, and set aside. Strain the broth through an unbleached coffee filter to remove any grit and, if necessary, top up with additional chicken broth to make a total of 1 cup. Set aside.
Combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, white pepper, and Italian herbs. Pour onto a large plate. Dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour and shake off excess.
I melted the butter in my Calphalon One Nonstick 12-Inch Fry Pan over medium high heat. When the butter stopped foaming, I added the olive oil.
Saute one chicken breast for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with the other breast. Transfer the breasts to the slow cooker. Add broth.
Add the cremini and porcini mushrooms to the pan, which should have plenty of fat left. Add thyme, oregano, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Saute over medium high heat until the mushrooms begin to brown (about 5-7 minutes). Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the pancetta and shallots to the pan and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. Add 2 cups of the Marsala wine to the pan, raise heat to high, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a rolling simmer, and cook 7 minutes. Pour Marsala mixture over chicken breasts in slow cooker. Set slow cooker to high and cook 2 hours.
Add mushrooms to slow cooker and cook an additional 30 minutes.
This is KEY. The cookbook does not call for degreasing the sauce, but I think it is essential. Using tongs, remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker and remove skin. Place in a heat proof glass dish. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms and other solids to same dish. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a warm (150°) oven.
Pour sauce into a All-Clad Copper Core 1-Quart Saucier Pan, leaving fat behind in the separator. Add remaining ¼ cup Marsala wine and mascarpone cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add cornstarch and boil for 1 minute. Pour over chicken-mushroom mixture. Top with chives and serve.
Yum, if I do say so myself.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter. When butter stops foaming, add fennel, onion, and carrots. Cook 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, basil chiffonade, lemon zest. Cook 2 minutes. Add white wine, increase heat until mixture boils, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Line a rectangular glass baking dish long enough to hold fish with aluminum foil. Cut 2 24-inch long by 12-inch wide rectangles of aluminum foil. Lay both over baking dish, shiny side up. Add vegetable mix to top layer of foil. Rinse fish thoroughly. Season exterior and interior with salt and pepper. Stuff interior with lemon slices, reserved fennel fronds, and basil leaves. Fold top layer of foil over fish to form a pouch and crimp sides tightly. Repeat with lower layer of foil.
Bake at 425° for 25 minutes. Transfer fish, vegetables and sauce to a large warm platter and serve.
Serve with Le Risotto aux Tomates et au Safran (i.e., Tomato Risotto with Saffron). You can cheat by using Alessi Pomodori Risotto, which I find quite agreeable.
A crisp white wine without a lot of oak would do nicely. I poured a 2007 Le Cigare Blanc, a Rhone-style blend of roussanne and grenache blanc from Bonny Doon Vineyards. Lots of white stone fruit and melon flavors, with good acidity made it a nice match.
With Helen out of town for a few days, tonight saw the revival of an old PB.com tradition; namely, bachelor night. Long time readers know what this means; namely, steak, potatoes, red wine, followed by a couple of Dunhill Peravias and either Port or Wild Turkey's American Honey Liqueur, depending on how hot it is, while watching a sci fi or fantasy DVD.
It was fairly warm tonight by So Calif standards, so it was a night for American Honey Liqueur and an old favorite: The Two Towers-The Extended Version, mainly because I felt like watching the Helm's Deep battle again.
Take the ribs out of the refrigerator and transfer from plastic bag to a large, clean cutting board. Use paper towels to mop up any liquid and to wipe off excess rub. Put ribs, concave side down, in a large, disposable aluminum roasting pan and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Put roasting pan on grill, as close to the front as possible.
I cut the bottom off the fennel bulb to create a smooth surface and then sliced it very fine using my Zyliss Mandoline. I removed the core sections, and chopped the rings into bite-sized pieces. I then mixed the chopped fennel with the other ingredients in a bowl. I added enough salad dressing to wet everything and set the mixture aside to marinate.
As noted above, I divided the green salad into two salad bowls.
On the menu tonight was rack of lamb and potato-onion gratin, with generic veggies and, of couse, a good red wine.
Crusted Rack of Lamb
French the rack, making sure to remove all the fat and connective tissue. Yes, it's painful given what you paid for the rack, but you really don't want fat or gristle in the finished product. Besides, your dogs will love the trimmings. (If you lack dogs but grind your own meat, freeze the trimmings and save for the next time you make meatloaf. If you neither have dogs nor grind your own meat, please accept my sincere condolences.) Season the rack with salt and pepper (both sides, please).
Combine the bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, onion powder, and the dried and fresh herbs in your Cuisinart mini-prep processor and pulse until the herbs have been well-chopped and the texture is something like that of dry couscous. Set aside.
Heat your Calphalon 12-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add enough olive oil to coat the pan very lightly (use a "pure" or "virgin" olive oil, not extra virgin olive oil, which has too low a smoke point). Sear the rack of lamb on both sides; about 4 minutes per side, until you get good carmelization. Transfer the lamb to a roasting pan with a rack. Allow to cool briefly. Coat the meat on both sides with the mustard, press the bread-cheese-herb mix into the mustard on both sides. Spritz with a spray olive oil.
Roast in a 425-degree oven for 18 minutes. When done, allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Heat your Calphalon 12-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add onions and thyme and rosemary sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 7 minutes or until onions have softened and are just starting to turn golden. Do NOT let the onions turn brown! Add garlic and chopped herbs. Saute 3 more minutes, but do NOT let the garlic or onions turn brown! Remove from heat. Remove and discard the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Let cool briefly.
Spritz your Pyrex 8 inch square baking pan with an olive oil spray. Layer 1/3 of the potato slices on the bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Add half the onion mix. Sprinkle with half the Parmesan cheese. Top with 1/3 of the potato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining half of the onion mix. Sprinkle with the remaining half of the Parmesan cheese. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the potato slices. Pour the half and half over. Pour the chicken stock over until the liquid comes up almost to the top of the potatoes (you may need more or less of the stock called for in the recipe). Cover the pan with foil.
Put the pan in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 30 minutes (add 10 minutes if you like your potatoes extra mushy, subtract 10 if you like them extra crunchy). Remove from the oven and allow to rest 10 minutes.
My cooking philosophy is to limit the hard work to no more than 2 dishes. Everything else gets short cuts. Tonight, I heated up Kato's Green Peppercorn sauce, which has a lot of mustard in it, as a sauce for the lamb. As a veggie side, I microwaved a package of Eat Smart's broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot medley.
I plated by napping the lower half of our 10 inch square plates with the sauce and topping with 2 double rib cut chops per plate. A healthy portion of the potatoes went in the upper right corner, with the veggies in the upper left corner.
Real home-made risotto is a lot of work. Making the stock. Stirring. Adding the stock in small lots. Stirring. It's worth it, but not all the time. Sometimes you just want some comfort food without all the work. When that time comes, here's a recipe to try.
I start by reconstituting 1 oz. of dried porcini mushrooms as per the package directions (30 minutes in 1 cup of warm water). I then strain them, reserving the liquid. I then run the liquid through an unbleached coffee filter and set it aside. I rinse the porcinis and then chop them very fine.
Next I mix the mushroom liquid with 1/2 cup white wine and enough low sodium chicken stock to make a total of 2.5 cups of cooking liquid. I bring the liquid to a boil in a 2.5 quart pan.
When the liquid comes to a boil, I add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and one package of Alessi Imported Risotto con Funghi Porcini. (I've tried a bunch of risotto brands and I like this one the best. Here in Los Angeles, I can even find it at Ralphs.) Stir well, bring back to the simmer, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the reconstituted porcini mushrooms. If it looks likely to run dry, add 1/4 cup chicken stock. Stir well. Recover and cook 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 teaspoon truffle paste, 1/4 teaspoon white truffle oil, and 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter. Serve out (2 portions as a main course, 4 as an appetizer). Top with freshly shaved Italian Parmesan and freshly chopped Italian parsley.
The extra porcinis and the additions specified in the preceding paragraph provide a depth and complexity of flavor that effectively disguise the store bought basis. It'll taste like you slaved over it for the hours risotto from scratch requires.
Combine fish stock, water, and first portion of wine in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Season with salt and white pepper. Add rice. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add second portion of white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. When the wine is almost completely incorporated, add cognac. Start timing from here. Begin adding stock, water, and wine mixture about ¾ cup at a time. Cook until liquid is almost completely incorporated, stirring often, then add another ¾ cup. At about the 16 minute mark, add shrimp and tapenade. Stir well and continue adding liquid as before. At the 18 minute mark, start checking for doneness. I like it a just ever so slightly al dente, which should take around 20 to 22 minutes.
Meanwhile. At about the 15 minute mark, put a griddle or skillet over high heat (I use about 8.5 out of 10).
Spread flour on a large cutting board or sheet pan, mixing in salt and pepper. Lightly dredge scallops in seasoned flour, being sure to shake off as much excess as possible. You want a very, very thin layer of flour or it'll be gloppy.
Add oil to pan at about the 16 minute mark. At 17 or 18 minute mark, add scallopps to pan. make sure that you've got at least an inch of clearance around each scallop. If the pan is crowded, they'll stew instead of searing. Timing is critical. Pay very close attention. You want a rich golden sear on both sides, which should take about 60 to 90 seconds per side. Remember that scallop sushi is just fine, so err on the side of under cooking the scallops. Over cooked scallops are not much fun to eat. The scallops will be done when they are just firm to the touch. Make an OK symbol with your left hand. Tap the muscle between your thumb and forefinger. That's about what the scallops should feel like.
Just before serving, add chives, parsley, and truddle oil to risotto. (If you're not on a diet, add a tablespoon of unsalted butter too.) Mix well. Dish up in large pasta bowls and nestle ½ of the scallops on each plate.
Rack of Lamb
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and spray with olive oil Pam. Sear the rack on all sides in a preheated cast iron pan over high heat. Remove the rack of lamb from the frying pan and smear the meat all over with the pesto. (You probably won't need the whole tub, depending on its size, so be careful not to let any leftover pesto come into contact with the lamb if you want to use the leftovers for another purpose.) Press the bread crumbs into the pesto.
Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast at 350 for 15 minutes and finish with 5 minutes under the broiler for medium-rare. Let the crust brown, but don't let it burn. Remove the rack of lamb to a cutting board, tent with foil, and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
Rice Cooker Green Pea Risotto
Combine peas and water in a microwave-proof bowl, loosely cover and cook on high for 4 minutes. Strain peas and reserve.
Combine 1/3 cup peas, pesto, basil leaves, and cream in a Cuisinart mini-prep food processor and puree until smooth.
Set a Cuisinart 4 cup rice cooker to the cook cycle and add 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is melted, add shallots and garlic. Cook 1 minute to soften and add rice. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, pour the wine into an microwave-proof measuring cup and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add wine to rice cooker and stir with a wooden spoon.
Pour the chicken stock into a microwave-proof measuring cup and microwave on high 1 minute. When the rice has mostly absorbed the wine, add 1 cup of chicken stock and stir with a wooden spoon.
Check the rice occasionally and keep adding stock in one-third cup increments as needed. After adding another cup of stock, begin tasting the rice. When the kernels have begun to soften but are still pretty chewy in the center, add the pea puree and stir with the wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add the reserved 2/3 cup whole peas when the rice is almost al dente. As the rice finishes cooking, add additional stock if necessary so that the risotto develops a creamy sauce. Just before serving, finish with a pat of butter and Parmesan cheese to taste.
Total cooking time is about 30 minutes.
A mature California Cabernet Sauvignon would not be amiss
Put demi-glace in a medium slow cooker set to high. Heat first tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until they are soft and beginning to brown. Transfer veggies to slow cooker.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the same skillet and return to heat. Thoroughly dry short ribs with paper towels. Dust with instant flour. Sprinkle with salt. Sear on all sides. Transfer to slow cooker.
Add drained tomato pulp to slow cooker. Sprinkle with herbs. Add bay leaf.
Deglaze skillet with red wine and then add enough of the wine to slow cooker to barely cover all the other ingredients. Cook 2 hours on high. Reduce heat to low and cook another 2 hours.
Remove short ribs from slow cooker, transferring to a glass baking dish. Cover with foil and put in refrigerator.
Strain braising liquid through a fine sieve. Reserve liquid. Discard veggie pulp. Transfer braising liquid into a large fat separator. Put in refrigerator.
About 40 minutes before service, combine butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. After butter stops foaming, add carrots. Cook 3 minutes. Add shallot. Cook 1 minute. Add garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Add mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Cook 2 or 3 minutes until mushrooms begin to soften and slightly brown. Add tomatoes. Cook 1 miniute. Add demi-glace and braising liquid. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and allow liquid to reduce to a glaze consistency. Add truffles, basil, cognac and balsamic vinegar. Return to simmer then reduce heat to lowest setting. Just before serving, add last tablespoon of butter and mix well.
About 30 minutes before service, transfer the baking dish holding the short ribs to a preheated 250° oven. When ready to plate, put some gnocchi in a large pasta bowl. Add 4 short ribs per bowl. Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle finely chopped chives over all and serve immediately.
Peel potatoes while still hot. Transfer to a large bowl. Mash well with a potato masher. Cool for 15 minutes. Add egg, half-and-half, nutmeg, salt, pepper, chives, garlic and onion powder, and mix well. Add 1 cup flour and mix well with hands. You want a soft, slightly sticky dough ball to form. You may need to use up to the full 1-½ cups semolina flour, but add the last ½ cup about a tablespoon at a time until dough ball forms. Divide dough into 4 pieces. On a floured work surface, roll each dough piece out until it forms a rope shape about ¾ inch thick. Reserve about half the dough ropes for another use tomorrow night, storing them in a plastic container in the refrigerator. Let tonight's ropes rest 15 minutes. Cut into ¾ long pieces. Roll each piece over the tines of a dinner fork to make the characteristic grooves.
Meanwhile, bring a large pasta pot of well salted water to a boil. When a rolling boil is achieved, add gnocchi pieces. In about 5 minutes, they should be floating at the top. Check one for doneness and then use a slotted spoon or spider to dish into pasta bowls. Add short ribs, spoon sauce over, top with chives, and serve.