Vacation Cut Short Short Ribs

As anyone with kids will tell you, sometimes you just need to get away.  Away from the daily routine and task list that is necessary to keep a civilized home life with clean laundry, kids schedules and the planning for, shopping for and making of dinner.  As a combined Valentine’s Day/Birthday gift, my husband surprised me with a long-weekend getaway “staycation” at a resort about an hour away for three nights.  We stayed two.

As anyone with kids will tell you, sometimes you just want to leave them with someone else and get away.  But, if you don’t have family who lives close by, you foolishly decide that being in new surroundings with lots of fun activities will be enough to keep the kids contented while you do child-friendly things like tour wineries and eat at nice restaurants and visit quaint historic villages with lots of character.

Our room was a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, full kitchen suite.  The plan was to put the kids in one room while we slept in the other.  The plan was NOT to have my husband in one room, my oldest daughter in the other, and me and the baby on the very small couch in the sitting room.  The first night was fine.  The second night, our youngest daughter refused to sleep for a stretch longer than two hours without standing up in the travel bed and crying while looking at her older sister asleep like she was trained to throw her voice.  On morning three, exhausted, doing all we could to keep our one-year old from electrical outlets in the room, whose size just became a liabililty (I had no idea how many electrical sockets were in a nice, roomy suite), we decided to go home, where the memory of toys and a sandbox and big wheels was more compelling than “relaxing” in the pool for another day.

So, last night, to commemorate our first night back from an abbreviated vacation, I made one of Steve’s favorite meals.  Not just to thank him for making such a thoughtful effort to get away from our daily grind, but mostly to thank him for knowing when it was time to come home.  Braised meat is the fastest way to his heart: braised pork fajitas with avocado cilantro and lime, braised pork over any pasta, braised lamb shanks in San Francisco at a restaruant whose name I wish I could remember, but above all, braised beef short ribs.

I used a combination of recipes for short ribs.  I didn’t use Andra’s recipe (Not Roy’s Short Ribs) that was a beef recipe contender on Food52 and recieved amazing reviews because I didn’t have several of the ingredients on hand and I was dead set on using polenta and I didn’t think polenta would work with that version.  I used a combination of Jennifer Reese’s version in her book, “Make the Bread, Buy the Butter” and the “Red Wine Braised Short Ribs” from Bon Appetit.  I served them over creamy polenta with lots of butter and parmesan.

It was so good, we could have easily eaten the exact same meal at a nice restaurant on vacation.  But it was better at home.

– Catherine

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