Whole30 Day 7 Dinner: Friday afternoon (which was Day 6 for me) I walked upstairs with one last chore to complete before jumping in the shower. I’d thoroughly sprayed the tub down earlier that morning with my all natural cleaner like always. I like to let the cleaner sit and do it’s thing while I clean the rest of the house, but when I attempted to detach the hand held shower head to rinse the cleaner out of the the tub (like I’ve done hundreds of times before!) the ENTIRE shower head attachment came off the wall spraying water everywhere! A complete, “It’s gonna rain on yo head” kind of moment! It was like the wall around it just melted! I quickly turned the shower off and continued to rinse the tub out with the faucet. Near to a panic attack, I calmed down long enough to size up the sinkhole on my bathroom wall and fully realized that there was just no way getting around telling Amy about what had just happened. So, I sucked it up and went about cleaning up the water from the bathroom floor.
Thinking the worst was over, I ventured back downstairs to grab my comforter out of the dryer and noticed my pantry floor was covered in a good 2 inches or so of water. At first I thought, “Those damn cats must of knocked over their water bowl and no wonder since I just cleaned the floor!” I instantly thought to head down cellar for the wife’s handy dandy shop vac to quickly clean up the pantry flood and low and behold there was even more water on the basement floor! I’m not gonna lie at this point I was in serious meltdown mode with the vapors, stress sweat, palpitations, and all but I plugged in the shop vac and just got busy vacuuming up all the water. Once all the water was gone and I was certain more wasn’t on the way, I did manage to calm down a bit. Luckily, when Amy got home she went upstairs to assess the hot mess in our bathroom and upon returning back to the kitchen calmly said to me, “The thing was completely rusted out so no wonder it broke, but I think I can fix it.” I was so relieved I burst into tears, ladle in hand, bleary-eyed, stirring the simmering sauce in my small Dutch oven. One of those rare moments when my sweat and tears literally went into dinner.
The next morning we went to the local hardware store and the incredibly helpful staff demo’d exactly what we (and by “we” I mean Amy) needed to do to repair it. So, while she was upstairs hammering and tearing out drywall and replacing plumbing I set about in the kitchen doing what us Southern gals do best….cook an amazing meal to show our appreciation for the ones we love. After laboring all afternoon and well into the evening in the small confines of the bathtub, Amy was wiped out and most definitely in the mood for a comforting beef dinner. The meal was truly amazing and it was the least I could do to thank her for busting her ass all day fixing our shower. I wasn’t expecting my braised short ribs to stand in as a thank you for her extraordinary plumbing skills, but after the shower head fiasco I was definitely grateful I didn’t have some lame leftovers on the menu.
As I’m writing this the shower is now mostly repaired. My wife and her many skills never cease to amaze me.
Braised Short Ribs
4 to 6 good quality Beef Short Ribs (shout out to Herman’s Quality Meats!)
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Coconut Aminos
4 to 6 cups sugar free Vegetable Stock, or stock of choice
1 pkg Baby Portobello Mushrooms, rinsed and trimmed
1/2 cup Carrots, chopped
1 lg Sweet Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 a Red Bell, chopped
1/2 cup Radishes, chopped
1 sm Tomato, chopped
2 sprigs Rosemary, stems removed and leaves chopped
3 tbsp Spanish Paprika
Salt and Pepper taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Preheat a large Dutch oven over high flame at least 10 minutes. Evenly coat the short ribs with salt and pepper. Sear the short ribs in batches, if necessary, on both sides until a golden crust is formed, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the short ribs and set aside. Reduce the flame to low and deglaze the pan with the Balsamic vinegar and Coconut Aminos stirring up all the fond from the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to inhale any of the steam while doing this as the vinegar will burn your nose.
Once the pan is deglazed turn off the flame and add in all the vegetables. Arrange the short ribs on top of the veggies and pour in enough stock to submerge the ribs. Cover and braise the ribs in the oven about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to braise for about 1 additional hour, checking at least once to make sure the liquid isn’t reducing too much. Once the ribs are fall-off-the-bone-tender very carefully remove the Dutch oven and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the bones and rib meat from the Dutch oven onto a separate platter. (I plan on utilizing the bones in a stock later on.)
With an Immersion blender, puree the leftover vegetables and stock in the Dutch oven until very smooth, adding water until desired consistency is reached. I used about a cup and half of water. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the gravy as needed. Serve the short ribs with the pesto, mashed root vegetables, and gravy. This meal will easily feed four to six people or provide enough leftovers for additional dishes throughout the week so plan accordingly.
Jalapeno Pea Shoot Pesto
1/2 cup Pea shoots, torn in half
1/2 cup Purple Basil
1 Jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar, or to taste
1/4 cup raw Pine Nuts
1 tsp Water, if needed
Salt to taste
With an Immersion blender or food processor, pulse all the ingredients until smooth. Serve with the braised short ribs.
Note: braised beef of any sort is a very rich and somewhat fatty dish. Therefore, the addition of acid such as the Red Wine Vinegar and a bit of heat from the Jalapeno really compliments this type of dish but feel free to serve any acidic sauce or your favorite Chimichurri with the braised short rib recipe. Just please don’t skip the acid.
Rutabaga Parsnip Mash
1 lg Rutabaga, trimmed, skin removed, and chopped
2 Parsnips, trimmed, skin removed, and chopped
2 tsp Ghee, or to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a med soup pot, add in the chopped Rutabaga and Parsnips and cover with water. Bring to a boil over med high flame. Add in a pinch of salt and continue to simmer the root vegetables until very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully drain off the water and return the veggies to the pot. Add in the Ghee and mash the vegetables. Once the veggies are in much smaller pieces, puree them with an Immersion blender until very smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.