We had a nice long weekend. If you’re in the States, it was President’s Day on Monday and most people had the day off of work. In between watching five episodes of House of Cards, we managed to get around the city. Friday was Valentine’s Day, so Kramer and I did the obligatory dinner thing. We went to Mission Cantina, where we feasted on scallop and beef heart ceviche (so romantic), shrimp chips and chicharones with guacamole, octopus tacos, pork cheek tacos and beef shank tacos. The octopus was my favorite, as usual. We met up with some of my coworkers afterward, followed by some excellent cocktails at our new favorite spot, Featherweight. On Saturday, I ran some errands and then we went to our friend’s place for a big group game of Cards Against Humanity, together with drinks and pizza. The weekend’s piece de la resistance, however, was on Sunday, when a group of us headed to Lyndhurst, New Jersey to go to Medieval Times. This idea stemmed from being awake with jet lag from Thailand and thinking that it sounded super fun and romantic to go to Medieval Times for Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, our friends were of similar sentiment. After taking the subway to the New Jersey Transit and transferring once, then walking for about a mile through suburban New Jersey, we made it and had an absolutely lovely Sunday afternoon, filled with jousting and falconry and eating with our hands. It was simply magical. I highly recommend going if you live near a “castle”. And definitely get a flagon of ale while you’re there.
I’m sure you knew it would happen eventually, or maybe you are of the belief that it should have happened a long time ago. It’s okay – I completely understand. It’s time to rejoice, because these are, indeed, the last of our photos from Thailand. It seems like it was so long ago that we were there. I was thinking that it felt particularly long ago as I dumped snow out of my boots this past weekend, or when I was rubbing sidewalk salt off of them yesterday after work. Only one month ago, Kramer and I were lounging on the sand, sucking down mojitos or beers that we smuggled onto the beach in our backpacks, snacking on jelly doughnuts that they sold on the beach for less than $1. When I tell people that I am going to get fat and tan on my tropical vacation, I take at least half of that very seriously. Now, I’m still working on getting rid of that five pounds that I gained from said jelly doughnuts (along with pad thai, tons of rice, street meat, vermicelli noodles, or whatever else it was that I shoved into my mouth) and trudging through snow, slush, ice or maybe even a delightful combination of all three. Yesterday, I was whining and freezing as I hobbled into work, today I’m sweating because it’s 40 degrees and I haven’t felt a non-freezing temperature in way too long. Ah, yes. Life is all too real, and Thailand seems like some sort of fever dream now. But I still have pictures! Lots and lots of pictures. I have enough photos to make you feel like you’re sitting through your grandparents’ slideshow of Retirement World. So buckle up and enjoy – these are all you get until I figure out a way to get myself to another beach location.
I made this miso osso buco a few weeks ago when I was on a serious miso kick. This may sound like miso overload, but I served it alongside my miso roasted cauliflower. Kramer and I loved it, but it depends on your miso tolerance. Mine is obviously quite high. Anyway, we love osso buco in my house. It’s one of our favorite ~special occasion~ foods. You can’t just go around eating osso buco every day, now can you? That is a world that I would like to live in. For now, though, when I see veal shanks on sale, I always buy them and freeze them for a day when it’s extra cold or we’re just in need of something extra delicious. The way the meat just falls right off of the bone and the fat helps make a rich sauce as everything braises together is something I can’t get enough of. I usually do some kind of red wine combination with a cut of meat like this, but this time I went ahead and used more Asian flavors. White miso paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and dashi, along with orange juice, lime juice and the zest of both, makes for a flavorful dish, indeed. The sauce is absolutely fantastic and you’ll want to dip your roasted vegetables or big hunks of crusty bread into it, sopping up every last bit. Kramer and I ate this for dinner one night and leftovers on the next – the osso buco was every bit as good on the second night as it was on the first (maybe even better, as the flavors had time to develop even more). When you make this, and I really hope that you do, please don’t forget to scoop out the bone marrow and spread on a piece of toast. I refer to this as the cook’s reward, specifically when I’m scooping out the bone marrow from Kramer’s osso buco when he isn’t looking.
Kramer and Wyatt chilling.
Dane having a great time.
Look at that face.
My brothers and Kramer about to go on a banana boat. I love this photo because Wyatt looks so unhappy.
Brown your shanks, then cook your onions and add in your sauce, orange juice and lemon juice.
Add in your water, then the veal shanks. Stir to combine, cover and braise for 2.5 hours.
- 4 tablespoons white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons dashi
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha or other chili paste
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns (optional but recommended if you like a kick)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cuts veal shanks, tied
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, whole
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 cups water
- orange and/or lime zest, for garnish
- First combine your rub and sauce ingredients. Divide the mixture in half into two separate bowls and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Tie your veal shanks around with cooking twine so that they do not fall apart while they are braising in the oven. Rub the veal shanks with half of the sauce/rub, then dredge in the combined flour/salt/pepper. Place the veal shanks in your heated olive oil and cook on each side until nicely browned. Remove the shanks from the pan and place on a plate, then set aside.
- Heat your pan to medium and add in another splash of olive oil if needed. Add in the sliced onions and cook until softened, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 5-6 minutes. Add in the whole garlic cloves and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until fragrant. Add in the other half of the sauce and cook until reduced a bit, about 5 minutes, before adding in the orange juice, lime juice and water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and add the veal shanks back to the pan. Cover, place in the oven, and braise for 2½ hours or so, until fall-off-the-bone tender. Garnish with a little orange and/or lime zest and serve alongside crusty bread, roasted vegetables, or a big, fresh salad.