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Polenta Cake with Braised Short Rib, Herb Avocado Mayo, and Salsa Verde

Makes: 8 appetizer servings

● 2 lb. (1 kg) bone-in beef short ribs
● Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
● 2 tbsp olive oil
● 2 large shallots, halved
● 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) balsamic vinegar
● 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) red wine
● 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
● 2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml) beef or chicken stock

Preheat an oven to 375°F Roast Mode. Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, sear the ribs until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. As each batch is done, transfer the ribs to a platter.
Add the shallots to the pot and sauté, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3-minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and red wine to the pot and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and stock and bring to a boil. Return the ribs to the pot. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours.
To serve, using a slotted spoon, divide the ribs among individual shallow bowls. Skim the fat off the sauce. Spoon some of the sauce over the ribs and serve.

Makes: 8-12 as canapes

● 1 cup polenta
● 4 cups water
● 2 tbsp butter
● Salt and pepper to taste
● 2 cups shredded cheese of choice

Cover a baking sheet with plastic or lightly oil a baking dish. Make polenta by whisking polenta into boiling water. Reduce to simmer and cover until thickened. Add butter, salt and pepper, and cheese. Cool slightly and pour onto plastic or into a lightly oiled baking dish. Spread to a thickness of about ⅓ inch using an offset spatula. If you are using a baking dish and can’t spread the polenta that thin, you can always slice the rounds after they are cut to make thinner medallions. Cover with plastic and allow to stiffen completely, preferably in the refrigerator overnight. Cut the stiff polenta into 1½ to 2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. If the rounds are thick, cut crosswise into ⅓ inch thick rounds. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy nonstick or cast iron skillet. The polenta should sizzle as soon as you place the medallion in the oil. Cook the rounds in batches until nicely browned on each side, about 3-minutes per side. Turn them carefully with a spatula, and do not crowd the pan. Drain on paper

Makes: 1 cup

● 2/3 cup mashed ripe avocado
● 2 tsp white or cider vinegar
● 2 tsp lemon juice
● 3/4 tsp onion powder
● 1/8 tsp garlic powder
● 1/4 tsp salt
● 1/4 cup water
● 2 tbsp oil

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. If you want a spicy mayo, feel free to
add a dash of hot sauce.

Makes: 3 cups

● 1 ½ lb tomatillos (about 12 medium)
● ½ cup chopped white onion
● 2 cloves (or more) garlic, optional
● ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
● 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
● 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers , stemmed, seeded and chopped
● Salt to taste

Preheat the broiler on high. Set the rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Prep the tomatillos. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Add a few garlic cloves in their skin (if using). Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skins of the tomatillos. Combine the cooked tomatillos and seasonings, then pulse in a blender. Add lime juice, onions, garlic (if using), cilantro, chili peppers in a blender or food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season with salt to taste. Cool, then refrigerate.