but first, the bean got to participate in her first school fundraiser last weekend. it was the "wheel-a-thon," and we were to get sponsors to pledge either a dollar amount of their choice per lap that the kids rode around a track, or a flat amount. we didn't really make a huge effort to get sponsors (i hate asking people for this kind of stuff), but MIL wrote her name down and we just made up for the rest to make up the minimum to get her a t-shirt.
the hub took her to the fundraiser, while i went off to meet friends for lunch. i charged the camera and emptied the memory card for him...but he ended up forgetting it. i kind of think it's because of the pink strap cover i have on it, but oh well. he did snap a picture with his phone, though:
when i got home, she was totally zoned out in her chair, clutching her prize.
i pried it out of her little paw, promising that she could have some after she took her nap. yeah, i'm one of *those* moms - i totally bribe my kid to take her nap. whatever. it works. except that this time, when she woke up and asked for her cotton candy, we headed into the kitchen and found this:
and i looked down and saw this:
crap. well, you can see that i managed to fix it with what you see in her hands. but still - damn you, humidity!
so on our last trip to NYC, we'd had dinner at a great little italian restaurant near times square. of course, i don't remember the name of it, but the memory of my short rib pappardelle entree is still fresh in my mind. whenever we go out to an italian restaurant here, i scour the menu for something similar. sadly, i have yet to find it. so i decided to check the google and see if i couldn't figure out how to make it on my own.
i was stoked to find a recipe from bobby flay that sounded promising. and since i'd bought some lovely looking pappardelle at the farmers market that's been waiting to be served with something super delicious, i hit the grocery store and a few other places to pick up the ingredients.
before she left, MIL left me with a final parting gift - she planted an herb garden in the back yard. now i totally have a black thumb - i never remember to water stuff and most every plant left in my care has been a victim of my lack of attention. so she made sure to put it in one of the planters where it'll be watered automatically by the timed sprinklers. sweet!
i went back there, picked some of those fresh herbs, rinsed them off, and made my bouquet garni. well, sort of. i didn't have any cheesecloth, so i improvised and busted out a coffee filter instead. same thing, right? and, uh, i might not have had any kitchen twine either. but i used my macgyver-like skills again and stole the bit off of a tea bag to tie the little bag shut. i am such a freaking genius.
then, i got to work chopping and dicing the onion, carrot, celery, and shallot - that's mirepoix to you foodies.
if you've been reading for a while, perhaps you'll remember the le creuset dutch oven i'd coveted one year and then received as a christmas present. yeah. until this day, it was still sitting in my pantry with the labels on and instruction manual inside. i'd just never found a reason to use it, because it's really small and most recipes that call for one required a heftier-sized one. i was never really sure exactly how big mine was, so i peeled the labels off and googled the numbers. i finally figured out that it was definitely one of the smallest dutch ovens ever made, but it was big enough to cook half of the recipe. since there were only two of us eating it anyway, this was a good thing.
of course, after all that, i realized that all i had to do was lift the lid and peer inside of it. because "2.75 qt" was printed right on the damn thing. heh.
i browned my ribs and then tossed the mirepoix in to soften the veggies.
the actual cooking part went fairly quickly. i measured out ruby port and red wine and beef stock, and pretty soon my dish looked like this.
in went the ribs and the bouquet garni, and then the whole thing went into the oven for - oh, three hours. when it was done, it looked like this:
i was most alarmed to find this:
holy shit. i'd burnt my prized (and only) piece of le creuset cookware damn near to a crisp. i set it in the sink and ran some warm water over it, and was relieved that the black stuff was rinsing off almost without effort. whew.
after i removed the bones and shredded the rib meat, i was left with this:
i put it back in the sauce and left it to simmer while the pasta cooked.
with a sprinkle of some pecorino romano cheese (which i had to ask the hub to stop off at trader joe's to pick up on the way home), it was done.
and oh my. SO good. just like the deliciousness i remembered from new york. maybe a bit of a pain in the ass and a super long prep, but so worth it.
makes me want to make it all over again.