Category Archives: spring

Glazed Oxtail Meets Amazing Brown Rice Bowl


As with the beans, so with the oxtail…

Who makes anything with oxtail these days? Wizened Italian grandmothers, that’s who. Am I aspiring to be a wizened Italian grandmother?
No.

But again, there’s that yearning to live ‘close to the ground,’ if you know what I mean. If you can’t be in harmony with nature due to your society’s dependence on oil, then at least you can understand better how to be grateful for what you have. Enter the oxtail, sturdy, hearty, hard-to-get-at-unless-you-take-the-time protein.

Simply Recipes (such a great site, btw) put up this recipe for Glazed Oxtails a few weeks ago, coincidentally right after I had taken the leap at the farmers market to purchase some oxtail joints. Ding! That would be the universe calling.

It took a while, edging around other plans, but I finally made it this week, staying amazingly faithful to Elise’s recipe (for me), which included very helpful pictures at all steps along the way.

One of the ways I did depart from her recipe was volume: being a one-person household, I didn’t want to either buy or store the 4 pounds of meat, so I bought one vacuum-packed bundle, coming in at 1.3 lbs. I halved most of the other ingredients, which was fine (except then the boiling-off took forever…).

However, after a time, it too was done. But ya can’t just eat meat.

Then this eye candy from Vanessa Barrington showed up in my Twitter feed, and I had my idea: Glazed Oxtail meets Amazing Brown Rice Bowl. Done!

I went the easy way for the rice bowl part, already feeling virtuous from the multi-step, multi-hour process that the oxtail required. Brown rice from Trader Joe’s went into the micro, spring onions (from the farmers market- it IS spring!) got chopped into the pan with a dollop each of lemonaise and tahini. I added a swish of olive oil to coat, then half of the rice until warmed through, then half of the oxtail (which I had prewarmed to deliquify the gelatin).

In went the rest of the rice (for 3 cups total). I topped a serving for my dinner with the greens of the two spring onions and a splinkling of dashi for crunch and salt.

If you’re interested in the proportions, that was ~.75 lbs oxtail to begin, and  3 cups brown rice (for 2 servings, one dinner and one work lunch!). As you can see, it made for a dish that was suffused with good beef flavor and stock without being dominated by the protein itself. Just what I was aiming for at this point in my eating life.

Now if only I can do that for some of the other aims in my working life…

where she admits Spring is here

What a disappointing winter…
The height of DC’s snow: Shaw Recreation Center on Feb. 12th
I repeatedly humored the so-called winter weather, preferring to think that all the mild December and January temperatures presaged a violent dumping of snow to occur in mid-March or *gasp* end-of-April (birthday). But the climate appears not to have heard me. I think I can finally declare to myself that Spring (and temps in the 80s) are here to stay. Cue groaning about DC humidity here
Unfortunately this gives me a good excuse to gripe about my running schedule as well. Progress in training this week has been irregular, and I am comparing myself to the early-peaking cherry blossoms in reproach. It’s not ME! It’s the CLIMATE!
That’s okay, though. If I’ve learned one thing from my mature years, it is that one dip does not mean the end of the streak. No, we shall just go bumping along, like many other fearless creatives who are risking it all for their happiness.
Well, folks, it’s been a tough week, with the runs falling a bit short, and having to face several goals that are not being met (pages written, healing accomplished, enlightenment achieved). One morning, I woke up decidedly against running. Daylight savings had it completely dark outside during my usual run time, and I was tired from the time change. I didn’t want to run, so I decided…
To Bake.
That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Maybe not. Well, it’s like this: my body didn’t feel like running, but my mind craved the satisfaction, the sense of accomplishment, that come from putting in the effort toward a worthy goal. So I made these cookies, from the blog, Coconut & Lime. They were pretty good. And I got to conduct a science experiment.
Ingredients:
6 oz semisweet chips

3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature*

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, the spices and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in chips. Place tablespoon-sized blobs of dough on the lined cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look “set” and the bottoms are just golden. Carefully remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
The experiment was this: you know how some cooks recommend you squash down the tops of drop cookies before baking? What’s that about? Instead of Googling it, I did half spheres and half smooshed spheres of cookie dough and observed their behavior in their natural habitat.
Squished on the left, Round on the right

The smooshed spheres of cookie dough burned on the bottom faster than the regular spheres, which even got an extra minute in the oven. After combing the Googels extensively for 20 minutes, I found this article that stresses the amount of baking soda as key in how much a drop cookie will spread when baking (more soda, more spread). However, I’m having difficulty finding the cause of the tradition of flattening the drops of dough. Does anyone out there in Blog Land have an idea? Please let us know in the comments- your help would be much appreciated!

The cookies were gobbled up to general satisfaction, but it will be good to get back to running.

The Infamous…

My party, as promised :-)
So. I floated along in a glow-haze for the whole week, but I guess it’s time for documentation. Proof that so much fun could, in fact, be had. Well, here it is, folks. My very own pinata party, out on the green.

(This is me being cheeky and pointing out over right field where my homerun would go, hehe.)


Here’s Rachel, giving it a go (left). So what else did we do, besides swing away? You’re right, it wasn’t all violence; we don’t roll like that. Since it was actually a dual celebration for my friend April (born 4/19/someyear) and me, we had two mostly-not-overlapping groups of friends, so people got to meet and talk and bascially just loll about in the perfect California-weather day. It was awesome- felt very Chosen People-ish (but more on that below with the bowling).
There was also a fair amount of food. It was hard to stand it, but I managed to sample a few things here and there. I brought Nora’s red pepper spread recipe, Molly’s Banana Bread, and some cranberry bread with no chocolate, since it was not yet Easter and I knew at least one person would be abstaining from chocolate for Lent (that is one old habit that should die a fabulous death).
And here is April of the 4/19 bday, in a great Action Shot (right)! Her mom was in town too, and so helped with the logistics- I think the older Filipina woman did a great job blending in and having fun with all us young’uns!
But the pinata party wasn’t the only event. Nay, there were pre-party rumblings heard as early as Sunday. Rumblings that took the form of… a Korean Triple Play !

Lovely beef and noodle dish at Palace Restaurant

 Me, Nina, Nora at the Lanes


Jess, Nora, Marc focused on the ‘pan-chan’ (terrible anglicism)
The Korean Triple Play was born of my desire to continue field tripping into adulthood. If we’re going to go into Virginia, we might as well make hay, right? Or something like that. So especially for people who couldn’t make it to the pinata party, it was a nice outing. Consisting of:
1) ‘Palacial’ dinner at Palace Restaurant, a Korean BBQ/ Grill place of tasty food and wonderful service
2) Burning off a few of those calories at AMF Annandale Lanes, just down the road
3) Burning off some more (and losing our voices) as we choke through an hour of karaoke at a Korean private-room karaoke lounge
It was a great idea, let me tell you. PLUS, we had a great time bowling- we went Jews v. Gentiles; each team had an N, a J, and an M (isn’t that crazy? natural selection or something?), and each team won once. That’s all we had strength for!
Ahh, 30. I am embarking on this year with a powerful feeling of self-possession, balance, and drive. TOward what? Well, we’ll see. 😉