Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Return of Family

Of late my life has been pretty hectic but nothing compared to that of my mother (who's blog can be found at Texas-To-Mexico) and father who spent the last few weeks packing up their lives in a foreign country to come back home to the motherland, Texas. For the last five years my father has spent the majority of his time living and working in two cities in Mexico, for three of those years my mom lived there with him. During that time they accumulated stuff, made lots of friends and traveled to see some pretty cool stuff....beginning during the latter part of April they began packing that life into boxes and crates and on Saturday they arrived home. Home being the place I've been permanently house-sitting for them (their home)....I cannot describe how happy I am to have them back here but I can say this, it feels like things are the way they are supposed to be once more, my whole family is back in one place. To welcome them home, I made a pot of Braised Beef Shanks and some roasted potatoes. A great meal that took most of the afternoon to cook but very little active attention on my part (even better when preparing for someone to arrive!).

Red Wine Braised Beef Shanks


3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup flour
4 beef shanks, about 6 ounces each
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt and black pepper
2 cups medium diced onions
1 cup medium diced celery
1 cup medium diced carrots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups red wine
3 cups beef stock


1. In a large stock pot or braising pot, add the olive oil. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Season the flour with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Dredge the shanks in the seasoned flour, coating each side completely.
2. When the oil is hot, sear the shanks for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until very brown on all sides. Remove the shanks and set aside.
3. Add the onions to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the celery and carrots and continue to saute for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
5. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom and sides to loosen the browned particles. Add the stock. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
6. Add the shanks and continue to cook for about 2 hours, basting the shanks often, or until the sauce is stew-like and the meat starts to fall of the bone. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

The last of my welcome home meal was a delicious berry cobbler...not something I make all that often, unfortunately until the parents came home the majority of my audience was my little sis who hates "hot, smooshy fruit" -- yea that means cobblers, pies and crumbles would be left entirely for me or anyone else who happened to come by the house so I didn't make the much, too much temptation for me! However, with two other "hot, smooshy fruit" eaters in the house I was able to make this cobbler that didn't last long!


2 Lbs Mixed Berries (I used raspberries, strawberries and blueberries)
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Sugar

Cinnamon & Sugar

1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Crisco
1 Well Beaten Egg

1. Mix filling ingredients in a greased baking pan (13x9), let sit until the berries begin to produce their own juices.
2. For crust, mix salt and flour together. Then cut crisco into the mix and slowly add egg until mixture forms a dough.
3. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch on a well floured surface. Once it is desired thickness, place over the top of the berry mix.
4. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over crust.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 40-45 minutes.


Donna-FFW said...

Oh , I would like one helping of dinner and 2 of the cobbler. They look outrageously delicious! perfect dinner!

doggybloggy said...

just fill my plate up with cobbler....

girlichef said...

Oh, sounds like a perfect day :) Great thinking making a meal that would leave you free to hug and move things and enjoy your family. I would also love a serving of your cobbler, yum!

Gloria Chadwick said...

Your dinner and dessert look delicious. It's nice to have your family home again. :)

Chef E said...

What a joyful homecoming story! I got teary eyed too :) for you guys...I am coming home for a visit in June! Road trip...

Your food sounds and looks good, as I saw cherries at the store I thought for a moment about doing something, maybe still...

Anonymous said...

Wonderful welcoming home dinner! The beef shanks sound excellent and delicious berry cobbler!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Everything looks so top shelf. What a meal! I can imagine how wonderful it feels to have your parents back home!

Reeni♥ said...

I love smooshy fruit!! I'll eat your sister's share. What a delicious meal you cooked up. I'm glad your all together again and that they made it home safe and sound.

Grace said...

meat and potaters followed by any glorious fruit-type dessert (a la mode, if you please) is the perfect meal. delightful!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Can I pass my plate over please?

This is a perfect welcoming home dinner.

Rosie x

Dee said...

I loved the entire meal. It was delicious & tasted wonderful on what seemed like a very long day.

Tangled Noodle said...

There is nothing better than the taste of home! This is a wonderful feast to welcome the family back together again. Just the name of the beef dish had me salivating!

Congratulations on the homecoming!