I have a subscription to Cooking Light, as bougie as that may sound. My mom used to get it and I would sometimes borrow her copies until they got me my own subscription for Christmas one year. The funny thing about our relationship with the magazine is that mom and I aren’t all that interested in light cooking. We don’t count calories. We don’t obsess over sodium. Low fat substitutes for anything are not welcome in my kitchen. However, Mom and I have been known to haul off and suddenly go no carb or vegetarian from time to time. Cooking Light is good for such moods. Plus, the pictures are very inspirational. So much, in fact, that I renewed my subscription last winter after many years of disinterest.

Coming back to it in these (still) troubled economic times has been interesting. Gone is the full page wine section at the end. There is a new “Feed Four for Less than $10” column. Overall, the recipes are decidedly more down-to-earth. The editors have retained a sense of international dining with “Asian-inspired” this and “Tex-Mex” that since ingredients for these dishes are easily found in the average grocery store. However, if they were truly devoted to reflecting the thrifty gestalt of the 21st century, they might mention that soy sauce and other condiments can be purchased for substantially less at Asian markets. Similarly, off cuts can bought for a song at Latino and Eastern European groceries. (Ed note: Yes, I know that the majority of America lives outside of a major metropolitan area. That’s what makes this problematic – people with less opportunity for jobs in less culturally diverse cities are trapped into buying 4 oz. of Kikkoman for $10. Thus, the magazine is not actually in touch with the plight of ‘Merica’s volk.) They would also maybe consider that Cabernet is a bit of a commodity to the average family, especially if you’re going to use 3/4 of the bottle to braise short ribs, which I did a few Sundays ago, although I used Pinot Noir since CVS is the only place to buy wine in my neighborhood. Needless to say, Jeff was okay with the fact that we only had a bit left to drink with dinner. His standards are higher than mine.

The recipe can be found here. Please note that I did not use low fat, low sodium anything. I also didn’t strain the veggies and cook down the sauce due to a lack of patience. I didn’t use shallots either since Avondale’s micro-economy doesn’t demand them. Instead, I used a little more onion.

First you brown the meat. Jeff usually does this part.

Wine - sofritto - delicious smells