Braised Short Ribs

Rather than brave what many consider to be “amateur night” in terms of responsible drinking on New Year’s Eve, Dan and I prefer to stay in, cook a nice meal and watch an old classic movie.  There is comfort in our little New Year’s Eve ritual, in that it has become our annual tradition and it involves our shared loves of good food and movies.  Every year we look forward to planning the menu (we try to cook something new and maybe a bit more extravagant than our usual cooking) and selecting the movie (which can be difficult, as classic movies aren’t really our thing, aside from this one night each year.)  Our choices aren’t always successful — beef wellington several years ago was a colossal failure (way too much effort for a mediocre – at best – result), but we always enjoy the process and our evening together.  This year was no exception, and we succeeded with our food and movie choices as well.  We found the short ribs recipe in the cookbook “Restaurant Favorites at Home” and were surprised by how easy it was to make with simple ingredients and several hours of braising time.  We chose the movie “To Have and Have Not” because it stars the legendary onscreen (and off!) couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and because it is based on a novel by Ernest Hemingway.  The fork-tender ribs literally fell off the bone when we dished them out of the rich (but not too rich!), flavorful sauce.  The movie was quite entertaining, with a nice mix of charm, humor, romance and intrigue.  We love our New Year’s Eve tradition, especially as a reminder that a good meal and quiet evening together can be cause for celebration any time of the year.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Bavarian Grill

My aunt, uncle and cousins from Oklahoma have an annual tradition of driving to the Houston area to spend the New Year’s holiday with family there.  For several years now, they have stopped at the Bavarian Grill in Plano for lunch along the way, which just happens to be about 15 minutes from our house.  This year, they invited us to join them and we’re so glad they did!  The food was amazing (I had the jäger schnitzel with spätzel, pictured above), the company even better, and we all wondered why we had never met up for this annual lunch before.  Suddenly, a new tradition is born.  Can’t wait for next year’s feast, Levy’s!

Ok by me if it's ok bayou

A big bowl of Cajun BBQ shrimp and a loaf of crusty bread hit the spot on a cold evening.  We like this recipe, which is also really quick and easy to make.  If you don’t have access to fresh shrimp, frozen “EZ Peel” shrimp will work fine — just be sure to use the big ones and leave the shells on when you cook them.

Giraffe-in-a-box

My brother J has always been a creative guy, and one of his artistic outlets is origami.  We spent Christmas at a lakehouse with my side of the family this year, and my brother spent a bit of his down-time creating a little family of giraffes out of colorful paper.  I snagged this one (named George) and put him in a shadow-box frame to hang on our picture gallery wall.  Thanks J!

Braise be

We continued our New Year’s Eve tradition of staying in and cooking something a little more fancy or elaborate than our usual dinners — this year with braised short ribs (post coming soon.)  The melt-in-your-mouth tender ribs in the silky, richly sophisticated sauce made for a perfectly celebratory year-end meal.  And don’t even get us started on the leftovers, which we served over egg noodles with a little Worcestershire sauce, channeling my grandmother’s beef and noodles.  So good.

Cheers 2013

We’re not big on year-end wrap-ups or new year resolutions, but we do appreciate the fresh-start, clean-slate feelings that come with a new calendar, and we look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store.  Happy New Year!

 

 

Potato and Cheese Pierogi

The regular football season has come to an end, and therefore so has the Steeler Opponent-City Challenge.  It has been a successful season (more so for Foodie Lawyer than the Steelers), and we’ve enjoyed trying new dishes from so many cities and learning about their origins (the most colorful of which was probably Nashville Hot Chicken.)  Some of the dishes were better than expected (Cincinnati Chili for example), others were so good that we’ll definitely make them again (hello, Crab Cakes), and a few were enjoyable, but not worth the effort (looking at you, Polish Boy Sandwiches.)  Speaking of Polish food (and terrible segues), pierogi are pretty popular in the Cleveland area, so we were told by one of Dan’s friends who lives there.  The Steelers’ second game against the Cleveland Browns this season gave us an opportunity to try making homemade pierogi for the S.O.C.C., and gave the Steelers a chance to redeem themselves from the turnover debacle that was their earlier game against the Browns.  The Steelers were redeemed and the pierogi were successful, which brings the final S.O.C.C. tally to:  Steelers: 8-8, Foodie Lawyer: 13-2.  Better luck to the Steelers next season, and a healthy, happy and delicious 2013 to us all!

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