Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No, I didn't quit Blogging. I quit Twitter. Lets talk Beef shanks now...


After all the horrible stuff in Boston was over we got to go into the city to see the play "The Book of Mormon". What a great play. It was good to see the city bustling again and people coming back out into the city.


They said no photos were allowed but I am a rebel. I needed pictures of the Opera House. Ok, so they were talking about pictures DURING the play, but I like to think that I am badass.


Love the detail in this building.


There was a game going on at Fenway. We parked right near there to go to Island Creek Oysters for dinner.


Then my car was broken into. My GPS and iPad were nabbed. They left their calling card on my floor mat (shut up, I know my car is filthy). After all the "We are Boston hear us Roar", and Neil Diamond singing, some dickwad ripped us off. So much for warm fuzzy feelings.

Despite the theft, we had a really fun time. What else has been happening in the last month that I have been too busy or too lazy to blog? Well, here is the conversation in my head about blogging

Janis: I should blog something. Nevermind that I haven't cooked in a month, and we have been surviving on some really bad shit like Rice a roni and other boxed foods.... I could make stuff up to blog. No one will be the wiser.

Head: No one wants to read that shit.

Janis: I will talk about myself. How uninteresting can THAT be?

Head: Very. Give up and just pretend you don't have a blog.

Janis: Yeah, I think you have a point.

What else has been happening? (afterall I get to talk all about me me me on my blog)


Dr. Food forgot his wallet at breakfast and I didn't have my purse with me. He left me at the table as collateral (oy) and went home. I drank boatloads of coffee until he got back. By this time I was shaking from a caffeine rush and was talking really fast. We went to Target and I got over it.


My friend Cathy made me go walking. I hate exercise but she yelled at me and got me to go. I love her for the encouragement (but I still hate exercise). We saw Turkeys. I illustrated where the turkey was in case you aren't too observant.


I had some beef shanks in the freezer. I never have made them before. I looked up a recipe and found one that sounded good. It was Portuguese Braised Beef Shanks. So good and not difficult at all.


I knew that the dog and Dr. Food would love the marrow. Wait, did that sound bad putting the dog and Dr. Food in the same category. I didn't mean it that way...


The dog put this recipe in her favorites list. Dr. Food liked it too.

Portuguese Braised Beef Shanks Recipe
by Karen Calanchini, Food Stylist and Photographer, of Redding, CA

1 teaspoon mixed color peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
6 ounces thin-sliced pancetta, cut into cubes
4 (about 3 1/2 pounds total) thick center-cut beef shanks (I had mine cut 1-inch thick)
Coarse salt or sea salt and freshly-ground mixed color pepper
Olive oil, if needed
2 large yellow onions, medium chopped
6 to 8 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 1/2 cups Beef Stock
2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoon dark molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 dried Guajillo chile pepper
1 dried Arbol chile pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position oven rack in lower third of oven.

Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves into a cheesecloth pouch; tie securely and set aside.

Heat a large oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-low heat until hot. Add the pancetta cubes and sizzle to render the fat and crisp up. When crispy, remove with a slotted spoon to a folded paper towel; set aside.

Place the beef shanks into the hot rendered fat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top of each beef shank and sear until very brown (this step gives the dish more flavor). Turn the beef shanks and sear the other side. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the browned side. Once both sides are well seared, remove the beef shanks to a plate; set aside.

Lower heat to low (if the pot is dry, add a little olive oil). Add the onions, stirring until they begin to release their water. Using your spatula, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan and stir into the onions. Sauté the onions until softened. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 1 minute.

Add the beef stock, wine, molasses, and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot. Turn off the heat, add the prepared pancetta, beef shanks, and any accumulated juices to the pot. Nestle the cheesecloth spice pouch and the chile peppers in the pot. Cover and braise the beef in the oven, for approximately 4 hours, turning once and using a spoon, scoop up the juices and the onions and pour over the top of the shanks. Meat should be falling off the bone when done.

Remove from oven and transfer the beef shanks to a serving platter, along with the bones (the marrow in the bone is excellent and some people love to eat it). Remove the cheesecloth spice pouch and peppers (unless you want to eat the peppers).

At this point, the juice may be reduced, if necessary, by cooking over high heat to the obtain the consistency or thickness you desire. Skim fat from the top, taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Divided meat and bones (with marrow) onto 4 plates and ladle the sauce on top.

Makes 4 servings.


  1. It completely tickles me that you have long, involved conversations with yourself in your head, janice. Also, welcome back! xo

  2. Many of us at a certain age have long conversations with ourselves...I say it's hormones. My other self says it's the liquor. Hi Janis...the shanks sound really delicious.

  3. I was just wondering how bloggers post EVERYDAY with a recipe. I mean, how does one do that?

    Nice to hear from you! Glad you're doing okay (except for the break-in which sucks) and got to see some turkeys...

  4. glad you are doing well and out from sequestration, or shelter in place, which for some reason always reminds me of someone squatting under a piano (too much duck and cover practice) so sorry after all your city has been through it was capped off by beer cans and a break in.
    I'd like to think they were from out of town. Glad to read you again the recipe looks great! Were your ears burning Saturday night? Paula and I were talking about you. I was explaining about how we were neighbors for years yet never met!

  5. Funny how life is full of the tragic, the sublime and the ridiculous. Sometimes all in one week. The beef would be the sublime part, of course.