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Here’s a brief biography of today’s Guest Chef! I, know it’s Friday and I mentioned Wednesdays, but we’re kicking off things a few days early 🙂
Bret Clark, today’s self-taught chef, simply “enjoys cooking” and his cooking has manifested into a “passion/hobby!” Bret was lucky in that while growing up his Mom taught him how to cook, so when he was on his own he could be self sufficient. Bret states, “When I was young, that’s one of the ways I would get dates, was to offer to make dinner, and typically either grilled steak or homemade lasagna.”
As time marched on when he would have a question on how his Mom made certain things, he would call and she’d tell him. That worked well for quite a while and then he married his wife, who is a great cook as well. Bret states, “In the household early on I handled the grilling duties and she mostly handled the cooking/baking. At some point I began to cook more, most likely around the time that I started brewing my own beer, which by the way I won 2 blue ribbons at the Memphis Mid-South Fair for both of my entries, a Medium-Bodied Pale Ale and a Full-Bodied Pale Ale, where I beat out people that had been brewing for many years, as I tried to emulate a Bass Ale.”
Bret mentions, “I think I really developed my love of cooking when I saw Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network with his live show way back around 1996/1997, he was/is my hero and likely inspiration. From that point on I’ve really developed a passion for good food and lost any fear I’ve ever had to try cooking new things (“it’s not rocket science”). I’ve never had any type of cooking class; I’ve always just gone by what I like to eat or what looks/sounds good.”
“My favorite fare is probably Italian food. After having lived in Sicily for 3 ½ years, where both of my kids were born and are Italian citizens (my little Sicil-Americano’s), I fell in love with Italian food. The thing I like is the simplicity of it and the wholesomeness, and every dish seems to always be a “food of love” for me. I prefer fresh, or the best ingredients to cook with which makes every dish that much better. It all starts with good ingredients!
My second favorite, and it’s a very close second, is Southern/BBQ, where my best BBQ friends are my Grill and my smoker. The same passion and simplicity that goes into Italian food is the same for Southern/BBQ. I got hooked on Southern/BBQ first while living in Memphis and then living in Virginia Beach for over 14 years. M sons favorite meal to this day are my red beans and rice, and he requests them almost every year for his Birthday meal. There’s also nothing like Carolina style BBQ or pulled pork, and my ribs have been perfected to the point that they’re competition quality that everyone raves about. My ribs are to the point that it’s REALLY hard for me to ever order ribs in a restaurant, because mine are ALWAYS better than what I can buy.”
Here’s Bret Clark’s Italian Short Ribs with Pasta Rags!
6-10 short ribs (depends on size)
Good olive oil
Large onion chopped
3/4 head of garlic sliced
16oz can small diced tomatoes or 1 lb fresh
1 box Pomi strained tomatoes
Parsley to taste
Basil to taste
1 cup of good Italian wine (if you don’t love it when you drink it, don’t use it to cook with)
Pre-heat oven to 300
Heat Dutch oven on stovetop, add approx 1/8 cup olive oil & heat on med high until HOT
Coat ribs in flour, salt & pepper
Brown ribs on all sides. When browned, remove from pan
Add onions and garlic. Cook until soft.
Add diced tomatoes, Pomi, wine, parsley and basil.
Bring to a slow boil, check seasoning and adjust as needed.
Return ribs to pot and arrange them so they are submerged, or close to it
Cover Dutch Oven and place in oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hrs
Once done, remove ribs from pot and shred the beef, adding it back to the sauce
Meanwhile cook pasta to al dente
Serve in a bowl, top with fresh shredded, shaved or grated Parmagiano and fresh herbs