Thursday, November 8, 2012

Heart (cardio) and soul (food).

Yesterday evening we went to the gym for some cardio. Fifty minutes on a Precor AMT machine can get pretty boring. Therefore, I am thankful that I can stream Netflix on my phone at the gym. Dr. Who makes cardio so much better.

I just started watching Dr. Who about a month ago. I started with the new episodes starring Christopher Eccleston and am up to the second David Tennant season. He's dreamy, by the way. The episodes are funny, dramatic, exciting and emotional. Cardio time flies by thanks to Netflix streaming.

Today, I'm thankful for the place I work and the people I work with. I'm lucky to work at a university, a place that's constantly reinvigorated with new energy every semester, a place that values critical thought and offers unlimited opportunities to learn new things and meet new people. I love giving of my efforts and talents to a place that contributes so positively to the world through education, research and community involvement.

I am also lucky to work with and around people that I genuinely like - people that make me laugh, make me think, challenge me to be better every day.

I love helping people work through their problems, in any way I can, and I am privileged to have the opportunity to do so every day via my job. As technology changes, I get to adapt, and help others adapt, too. It's fun, it's challenging and it makes me enjoy my job even more.

And I'm incredibly lucky to get to work with my husband - how many people have someone at their job that they can trust 100% and know is looking out for their best interests? It's comforting to have this. Plus, carpooling is great, and seeing each other for lunch every day is even better. :)

There are many places and jobs that pay more money, but few give so much back as a university. This place is filled with people - including me - who love what they do and love the environment they're doing it in. They love the satisfaction of watching people achieve academic successes, big and small. They love seeing the benefits our university provides to the community and to our city, and they love the people they work with, for and around.

I am thankful for my job - where I work, the people I work with, and I what I get to do every day.

If I could only figure out a way to incorporate cooking into technical support, I'd be on Cloud 9!

Speaking of cooking...

This recipe has nothing to do with any of the above, but it's one of the best things I've ever eaten. I made it on Sunday and had leftovers yesterday, and will have more leftovers on Friday. I wanted to share it with you right away: braised short rib ragu. We've been serving it over gnocchi, but I'll have it with polenta later this week.
Braised Short Rib Ragu
Inspired by Closet Cooking
Servings: 6 or so

1 oz dried mushrooms (oyster or porcini)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs. short ribs, 2-3 inches long
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 c. celery, diced
1 c. carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. anchovy paste
1 c. red wine
1 c. tomato puree
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbps. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
3 c. beef stock
1 bunch parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soak the mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the short ribs until brown on all sides and remove to a plate. You may need to do this in batches.

Reduce to medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the red wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the seared ribs, the mushrooms and their liquid, tomato puree, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, rosemary, fennel, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste and enough beef stock to cover the ribs.

Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to the oven to cook until the meat is falling off the bones, about 3 hours.

Remove the beef from the pan, set aside to cool. Discard the bay leaves.

Using a stick blender, puree the sauce until no large chunks of anything remain. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Pull the beef from the bones, shred it, return it to the sauce and simmer to thicken if desired.

Serve over gnocchi or polenta.

The braise takes a bit of time to get going, but once it’s in the oven, it’s pretty hands-off. Incredibly savory and satisfying – comfort food at its best. Freezes really well, too.

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