I must admit that this New Year of 2013 has already brought much change. I started it in another city, a different home and with a renewed perspective. Although I am a confessed social media addict (currently in recovery), I have decided to not become so engrossed in my personal Facebook account as I have noted that it seems to be such a time suck, no?
So, while my beloved cat Tenshi has battled cancer for the better part of 2012 (she was diagnosed in November of 2012), the only things I have posted have been personal pics of her throughout her treatment in doctor's offices and also photos of her radiation marks. Even these pictures have been sporadic and not very often. Only my close friends have truly been aware of what has been going on. However, some of you may have seen photos of her on my Instagram and or Twitter feed. But, for the most part I have usually keep the majority of my private life private. Because, let's get real, this is a food blog right :) ?
However, seeing that Tenshi has been such a big part of my life for so long (almost 13 years), I had to just share the news and also a very comforting recipe. After 15 months or so of battling squamous cell carcinoma inside her nose, two rounds of radiation and also more than several doses of chemotherapy, the hubby and I made the decision to finally put her down this past Friday. I honestly cannot put into words how difficult this has been. I know that some of you may say that she was just a cat. But, Tenshi was so much more than that. She was a true companion.
You see, I rescued Tenshi from an animal shelter when I was just 19 years old living with roommates in the big city of Los Angeles.
What? I should have asked if it was okay? Your allergic? Oh, you hate cats too? Hmmm...These things never even crossed my mind. Yet, from that day forward she was always with me. Graduating college, switching careers, moving from place to place, getting engaged, getting married and being present with me on my journey to becoming a true adult. Our nights went from having my friends and I take shots before a big night out in college, to staying home and watching Mad Men.
I will be 32 in a little over a month. No one can say that you do not change the most in your twenties. Who I was when I was 21, 25 even 28 is not who I am today and she was present. There. A constant. So, to have her not be there any longer when it was the one constant throughout all this change, has been very difficult to say the least.
I know that it was time and I understand the peace that comes with that. However, I was craving comfort.
This past Friday we endured an ice storm here in Charlotte. It began once the hubby and I left the office without her. We trekked through sleet, ice and rain to Whole Foods so that I could pick up some bone-in beef short ribs to make this short rib recipe I have had my eye on ever since I pinned it on Pinterest. Comfort food elevated and boy was it just what I needed. A savory meal made in honor of my favorite cat whom one of my roommates and I named back in 2000 and comfort is what it brought. Enjoy!
8 beef short ribs, bone in
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, chopped or sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
24 oz. Guinness Extra Stout
14.5 oz. beef broth
3/4 cup water
8 oz. tomato paste
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
Kosher salt and pepper
1. Season the ribs with the salt and pepper
2. Coat a large dutch oven with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Do not over-crowd the pan (I browned mine in two batches).
3. Once the ribs are browned, remove from the pan. You may find that the ribs rendered a lot of fat, if this is the case, discard the remaining fat/oil, however leave about one tablespoon. Add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic to the pan and add a generous pinch of kosher salt. Brown for about 4-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Brown for another 4 minutes, stirring occassionally Add the Guinness, beef broth, water, generous pinch of kosher salt and pepper and the bay leaves. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the bits of flavor. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and reduce the mixture by half, about 25-30 minutes.
4. Add the short ribs back to the pan and then add the rosemary. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 3 hours. Turn the ribs twice during the cooking process, adding more beef broth and water if needed. Remove the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow the meat and sauce to brown.
5. Serve with the braising liquid.
Source: The Messy Baker
Smashed Sage-Quark Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1/4 cup quark cheese (european cheese; or creme fraiche if you cannot find it)
1. Scrub potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil and put them in a dish and put in the oven along with the ribs as they are braising for about 80 minutes.
2. Once potatoes feel soft to the touch, they are ready. Peel off the skin of the potatoes and add the sage, quark and salt to taste. Mash with a fork or a whisk until smooth. Serve alongside the short ribs.
Source: Self- Gastronome Tart