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i’ve been wanting to venture more outside of my normal cooking/baking routine ie. introduce new techniques.  maybe inspired a bit by ‘julie & julia’ but mostly just wanting to make foods that WOW or over WOW the crowd.

so last month when i went to see j&h in lubbock, texas, i embraced the challenge to throw down with my favorite foodie friends. on the menu: braised beef short ribs courtesy smitten kitchen, recommended by my good friend c.  being short a few ingredients on valentine’s day, h & i made it out to the market to pick up what we needed.

now everybody in lubbock, texas at the united supermarket is polite and helpful.  after 20 minutes of walking up and down and down and up the wine aisle looking for port, i began asking for direction to which i was finally referred to the kitchen manager.

apparently the alcohol content is too high and cannot be sold in supermarkets and it also being a sunday, i needed a quick alternative. the kitchen manager looked at me and said

“i know this sounds crazy, but the i would highly suggest I-talian dressing”

i tried to conceal the outbursts of laughter i felt starting in my stomach. trying to return the politeness as well as considering h has to continue shopping there, i decided to protect h’s reputation.  don’t worry i kindly declined the I-talian dressing as well as the plum chipotle she tried to sell me on next as the 2nd ingredient was that scary modified corn syrup.

all that to say, the short ribs were, (ahem*) amazing. the meat fell off the bone. it was much to talk on and on and on about.

last night i decided to try my 2nd braised meat: chicken. i tried a recipe from the art of simple food.  once again: meat. fell. off. the. bone. and there was much to talk on and on and on about.

Braised Chicken

{from Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters}

6-8 pieces of chicken (legs/thights/backs)
3-4 garlic cloves
2 onions
12 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c chicken broth
2 fresh sprigs of rosemary
salt and pepper

heat olive oil in dutch oven.  fry chicken thighs and/or legs with skin on until crispy, about 12 minutes. remove and set aside.
add onions, sliced thick and garlic cloves, also sliced. add a bit more olive oil and saute for 5 minutes. add the chicken skin side up in the dutch oven and cover with diced tomatoes, chicken broth, fresh rosemary and salt and pepper. cover. bring to boil then simmer 45 minutes on stove top or in oven at 325 F.

skim fat and eat over rice, polenta, straight out of pot, ice cream.

my greatest fear when biking, is the combination of going down hill on wet pavement and somebody cutting me off.

so of course one must face their fears and live through the dreaded experience. i am a survivor. it was painful. it took me 4 hours to figure out how i landed between throwing my body on the pavement coupled with skidding on the remnants of the morning rain: it was left hip and right shoulder, a nice little sheree-twist mudslide down roosevelt ave.

{yes i yelled at the driver; no i did not use any expletives.}

aside from a bruise on my shin from the pedal, a sore left groin from the seat and a sore mid section from the twist and slide action, i am ok.

my helmet however…..
meet bell.

we’ve been friends for 7 months now. she’s pink and sparkly. and charming. she performed beautifully on the early morning of march the 3rd, saving my head. she now has a nice deep scratch as permanent symbol of her sacrifice.

apparently a helmet is only good for one accident. after that it’s safety ability is compromised. i am torn. i want to keep wearing sparkle bell, but i also don’t want my head splattered on roosevelt ave. as i am sure there are more drivers who forget to pay attention to bikers (ahem*) so i guess i have to retire her. i wonder to what degree of accident is the helmet deemed unreliable but maybe i shouldn’t find out the hard way. forty bones is worth my life.

so the big question is: bell or bern?

they were as good as they looked.

green by kate

pink by me. i may add some more flare.

blue/purple by eden.

anne's 3-d yellow

anna's book of peach.

of course, nat is red.

{photos courtesey of nat…see more fun}