So, how was everyone’s weekend?  Do anything interesting?  More interesting than, say, read, cook, and watch football?  That was the extent of my weekend and it was glorious.  Finished Wizard’s First Rule last night and still waiting for a fantasy series to fall in love with.  Well, in addition to George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire and Joe Abercrombie’s First Law.  I’m switching up genre’s to start on Hannu Rajaniemi’s Quantum Thief, then plan to switch up once again by tackling a comic book series.  Hey, anyone know if the entire run of the Thunderbolts is available in trade paperback?

On the anime front, I too your advice (well, the advice of one of you) and started Moribito.   Four episodes in and I’m loving it for its depth of story and character. Even the villains are believable – layered, conflicted.  Terrific stuff.  Interestingly, Akemi is having a tough go of it because the Japanese dialogue (I prefer subbed over dubbed) is almost Shakespearean and difficult to understand.  I advised her to follow the English subtitles.

Another Sunday, another football day.  It was the regulars – Ivon and Rob – minus Lawren who was away visiting family.  I invited former Stargate VFX Supervising Producer and big time Buffalo Bills fans Mark Savela to watch his Bills beat up on the hapless Eagles (Dream team!  Heh heh) but he too had family commitments. So Akemi and I ended up making way too much food…

I knew I wanted to do a braise but couldn’t decide between short ribs, ox tail, and veal cheek – so I did all three.

Step #1: Prepare your marinade.  I like to use thyme, tarragon, crushed garlic, basil, and, of course, the secret ingredient –

Recipes often call for red wine or a red wine to port ratio of about two to one.  I prefer to go full port for its deep sweetness.

Step #2: Marinate your meat overnight.

Step #3: Prepare your mire-poix.  Chop carrots, celery, sweet onion, and garlic, and sweat them over medium heat for about ten minutes until they start to brown. Season with salt and pepper.  Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, then strain the marinade and add it to the pot as well.  Turn the heat on high and allow the liquid to reduce by half.  Add a spoonful of brown sugar and mix.  I also add a couple of cups of veal demi-glace (a luscious dark brown roux and veal stock) I pick up at my local butcher.

Step #4: In the meantime, pat dry the meat and dust with a seasoning mixture of your choice.  I go with salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sweet paprika, and flour.

Step #5: Brown your meat on all sides over medium-high heat, about 2-3 minutes each side for the bigger pieces, maybe a minute for the smaller ones.  You’re not looking to cook the meat here, only give it a nice brown crust.

Step #6: Layer the bottom of your pot with the meat, then pour the braising liquid over top.  Make sure the meat is completely submerged.  Add beef stock if necessary.

Step #7: Roast it, covered, for 3 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

Step #8: Bring the oven temperature down to 325 degrees, then roast, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

Step #9: Serve with accompaniment (I prefer a bed of buttered parsnip mash).

In addition to the braise Akemi and I made, we also enjoyed a Robert Cooper culinary creation –

Radish cake – ubiquitous at most dim sum places – but Rob’s version was the best I’ve ever head.  Alternately crispy, soft, sweet and savory.  Akemi couldn’t stop talking about it.  Apparently, it’s a two-day preparation that would dissuade most from even attempting it.  But it was so worth it.  And I can say that because Rob prepared it and all I did was eat it.  I’ll see if I can get him to give up the recipe.

We ended the meal with a little something from Ivon –

Macarons.  Not quite as labor intensive as the previous dishes but still, Ivon had to drive to the shop on Fraiser, buy then, then bring them back to my place.  The only thing that would have made it more complete would have been to know the name of the place he picked them up.  They were great!  Once I finish settling in, I’m going to do a macaron tour of the city.  I hear VERY good things about  Also thinking of enlisting the help of some friends to check out the various food carts that have cropped up in my absence.  I should have my own Food Network show!


4-1, baby!!!

34 thoughts on “October 10, 2011: My Port-Braised Meatacular! Another Football Feast! And my Snow Monkeys are on a roll!

  1. Hey, Joe!

    -2 Mailbag questions-

    1) Who was your favorite BusyTown character? I always thought Mr. Worm was stylin’ in his apple car and wearing his hat/boot combo.

    2) If DARK MATTER gets the greenlight to become either a show or movie, which format do you think it would be the strongest suited for: live action, animation, or anime?

    ? Wizard’s Last Rule? I know Terry Goodkind’s Wizard FIRST Rule, but could find nothing labeled last rule. If same, and meaning it is the last one you will read, lol, sorry you didn’t love it. I am a huge fan of Goodkind.
    Food looks great. I wish Ivon would get me Macaroons. You can’t find them locally here so far as I have been able to see. Sigh. I mail ordered some last year and they were, not unsurprisingly, not very fresh.
    How are the pups doing, especially Maximus? Still eating?

  3. Food looks scrumptuos! Please do list macaron shops in Van. Still hoping to get to try the real deal and not the coconut macarooooons.

    Football – was a good day for both your Snow Monkeys and my picks.

  4. Completed Dead Island (zombie awesome video game). Seen Hangover II (this is just nuts). And discovering Homeland on @PeterKelamis ‘s recommendation.

    Moribito ? Yeah that anime has one of the most beautiful (if not THE most beautiful scene) ever directed in a cartoon.
    This is at the end of episode 6. An imperial ceremony. Won’t say more to not spoil anyone on the story. The scene is remarkable. Perfect balance between music, drama and the beautiful Japanese way of doing things. I am so amazed by the little details… how some servants have cloth in front of their face to avoid to look at the emperor directly to not be disrespectful and it is the sum of little details like this that makes Moribito amazing to watch.

    Happy Canadian Thanks Giving BTW!

  5. That meat-thingy sounds DElicious! I might even try it, though it would probably be easier if you just flew here to Jersey and made it for me! 😀

    I’m sooooo tired. My weekend (Sat & Sun) went like this:

    Bad night sleep Friday into Saturday. Heartburn…or something. Tossed and turned, sat up for a couple hours, crawled back to bed at 5 am – had to be up in the morning to visit friends. I was totally dragging. Came home, and ate an Italian hoagie – with hot peppers – for lunch. For some reason, that cleared up my heartburn. Started cleaning the house, but was just too tired from aforementioned bad night’s sleep. Took a nap and woke up feeling great. Cleaned the house until 9 pm and then ate a weird ‘dinner’ (homemade guacamole and succotash made with yummy pole limas and sweet corn – it was like candy!). It was weird like that because I didn’t want nice, fresh veggies going to waste, and I didn’t have time to pick up meat, and so I wouldn’t let Mr. Das order pizza like he wanted to because then the veggies would surely have lost their freshness by the time I got to them. Also, at 9 pm, who wants to eat a heavy meal? Oddly enough, it held me over better than most big dinners I’ve had. After dinner I piddled around until about 11:30…then died.

    Woke up this morning feeling GREAT! Did a load of laundry, mopped the kitchen floor (which I didn’t get to the day before), fed the cats, cleaned the litter pan, did dishes, took a shower, went to services, came home, took a nap (I LOVE naps!) then went to a 50t wedding anniversary party for friends of ours. Good times, great food. Came home, watched Inspector Lewis (Hathaway! *swooooons*) and now, here I am, telling you about my super dull weekend.

    Dull because it’s very festive around here this weekend. A wine festival. Lima bean festival. Seafood festival. You name it, there’s having a festival for it this weekend. On top of that, the weather is GORGEOUS! About 80 degrees, dry, and not a cloud in the sunny sky. Mr. Das even went to the beach yesterday. But I stayed home, determined NOT to go out because going out always ends up with me spending way too much money for stuff I don’t need. I have to save or we will never make it through this winter, so that means keeping my ass – and my assets – at home.

    So, that was my weekend. Good, but not great. Nothing to complain about, though. My house is clean, and that always makes me feel really good, especially since it costs me nothing and I do love ‘homemaking’. Still, I think I love naps, more. 🙂


  6. I’ve been reading the 2nd book of Sword of Truth series recently. I thought it may have been an anomaly with the first book, but the pattern appears to be repeating in the second. There are a significant number of grammatical errors. It’s a ligitimate Kindle edition and in the 1.25 books I’ve noted over 13 errors in grammar. Has anyone noticed the same in the hard copies?

    So I’m taking a break from them and I’m back re-reading Harry Dresden. Can’t recommend the series highly enough. Especially if you enjoy a protagonist that doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

    I also say it shouldn’t have to be all electronic or all paper. I love the convenience and portability of electronic, but love the smell, feel of a real book and ability to pass it onto someone. The feeling of an old library cannot be replicated in any way.

    Still reading what you’ve been up to Joe, just haven’t been in a position to read comments and comment that often. Glad to hear you’re settling back in at home.

  7. Mmm, that braise sounds pretty fabulous. And like it would be a great ragu meat or filling for a nice, delicate agnolotti or something similar.

    Also, if you like Song of Ice and Fire enough to add some things to your collection, but buddy Jed does (did?) the figures & statues for it:

  8. Your recipe sounds delish. I’ll have to try it some day. Also, please do get the radish cake recipe from Rob. I’ve eaten a lot of radish cake, but I’ve never seen one quite like Rob’s (doesn’t look very cake-y, but I’m sure it’s good).

    Happy Thanksgiving! Will you be roasting a turkey?

  9. “Thierry” on Alberni between burrard and thurlow is new. apparently they can’t keep up with the demand for macarons

  10. If you’re ever in Sydney (Aust), you really must check out this place for macaron’s – crazy colours and flavours – picked up a box of six on Saturday – personally I thought the Mandarin and Passionfruit were the best.

  11. “hapless Eagles (Dream team! Heh heh)”

    I’m in Philly, first the wonderful Phillies losing and now the Eagles are off to a great start. But at least we got a dog abuser and not many other teams can say that. LoL. More like “Hopeless Eagles”. LoL 🙂

    Both the Phillies and the Eagles need changes from the top down…

  12. The braise looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing the prep steps.

    Go Snow Monkeys!

    Let us know when you get to the McCaffrey. I love all her books, but the Dragonrider series, the Ship series, the Talent series, and the Freedom series are my favorites.

  13. The wife and I had a great weekend at our nephew’s campground near Sea Isle City. Nice Fall temperatures, a campfire, good food and plenty of booze makes for a good time.

    I think I’m going to try your braising recipe this weekend. I usually make it with Guinness. Never tried Port.

    Rob, if you’re reading this: cough up that radish cake recipe! =)

  14. Mmmmm!! That braised meatacular looks scrumptious! 🙂

    I’m glad your Snow Monkeys are having a good season. My Giants just lost to the Seahawks yesterday. So now the Giants are 3-2. I’m still bummed about it. They kept making stupid mistakes. At one time, the Giants had the ball and they were at 1st and goal. Just as the ball was snapped, the freakin’ Seahawks intercept the ball and made a freakin’ touched down. I was so mad I turned it off. It was like less than 2 mins of the 4th, and I knew the Giants were done. It’s frustrating to be Giants fan.

  15. Please, please, please, get Rob to give up the radish cake recipe! I love this stuff so much, but there is not good dim sum places near me. It never even occurred to me that you could make it at home!

  16. Congrats on the win! I, myself am on track to win as well, in both my leagues. As long as nothing too out of the ordinary happens in tonight’s game, I’ll be 3-2 in one league and 5-0 in the other!!

  17. Happy Thanksgiving to Canadians! Someone’s going to eat well.

    RE electronic books, I’ve been trying to read this way these past few months, and it isn’t just yours Narelle. The errors (random spelling, punctuation, grammar) I’m seeing are nearly overwhelming, and I can’t imagine why! Wouldn’t an ebook be made from the same master manuscript as the print copies?? Have they fired the proofreaders? (HINT: HIRE ME!!) It’s almost making me nuts enough to get a hard copy & compare. Just extremely disappointing, I really can’t believe a print edition is the same. And if it is, we are all in trouble.

    If you like Song of Ice & Fire you’ll have to see the recent TV series Game of Thrones, they did a great job book –> screen. Season 2 next year might be even better!

  18. That meat sure looks good. Living vicariously through your pictures is always fun. Glad the Snow Monkeys won.

    Hope you have a good day!!!

  19. That port marinade looks so delicious, the instructions are very helpful; I’ve never thought to braise before baking.

    I finally broke down and got Kindle for pc, and after a minute of kvetching about default settings leaving the annotations on (why would I want “popular annotations?” ) I then got sucked into the book; which was not very good. Don’t think I’ll be buying a kindle any time soon.

    I can recommend Amulet of Samarkand again as a fantasy title, that’s about it, I am way behind in my reading. Has anyone seen American Horror Story or Homeland? Those two shows are gripping, and Horror Story gave me bad dreams, very creepy show.

  20. @ JimFromJersey – Mr. Das was up in Sea Isle this weekend, and also today, doing lock work. Soooo close! The weekend was beautiful, wasn’t it? Today is just the same – maybe even a bit warmer. I do not wanna go to work. 😛


  21. Yum, that braise looks good. I’ve never had radish cake. I’ll join in for a request for the recipe. Please!?

    I didn’t do much this weekend but I did get a nap.

    Narelle: i’ve gotten a few ebooks that way. Weird!

  22. Okay I assumed you meant the writer (There are a significant number of grammatical errors.) but it seems an ebook issue.
    I am a grammar snob on articles, research etc. In books, and chat boards, I look for flow and meaning and let the rest pretty much go unless it is truly gawd-awful. I have read all the Sword of Truth books, and honestly don’t recall any of it pinging me as a problem. If you give me a quote and chapter, I’ll pull my book and we can compare the line between the e-book and paper copy. 🙂 Might be interesting to see since DRLDeBoer says common.

  23. Glad to hear you are enjoying Moribito. It’s one of my personal favorites.

    My fantastic fantasy team (The Wraith) is doing quite well. Unfortunately I have to wait until after tonights game to determine the winner of my matchup. I’m currently sitting on 170.60 points and waiting for Matt Forte and the Detroit Kicker to play for my opponent (my brother) and he is sitting on 132.20. It’s Matt Forte so there is a chance he could score 30 points….guess I’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully the Wraith with be 4-1 as well!

  24. Co-hosted (hostessed?) a bridal shower for my best friend’s daughter. Belly dancing, gin and tonic, dolmades, hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel and pita were involved. Oh, and flan.

  25. that recipe looks pretty labor intensive, and well worth the labor. I will have to try it when things slow down a bit. Between work and taking care of dad, I’m shoving in an instructor class. Another day and a half and then I can escape for a week or two from the daily grind. Meantime, in or out of lurk mode, enjoying the posts. and trying to figure when I can get around to checking out some of those books on your read list. Lots of love to all the other regulars.

  26. About all I did over the weekend was see a movie. But it was a good one: “Buck”, a documentary about “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman. Moving, insightful, and surprisingly funny at times. I highly recommend it, and not just for horse people (although I happened to see it in a rural theater full of horse people, who all seemed to love and appreciate it)..
    – KB

  27. Damn you Joseph, for putting pics of such fine looking food on your blog when I’m hungry and reading it at 11:15pm…the can of Chef Boy-R-Dee i’m going to have doesn’t quite compare 🙁

    Since you asked about our wknds, mine sucked. I spent the past two days and change de-shingling a roof on my parents garage. Now i’m waiting for the wind here to die down so I can install a tar paper layer, followed by metal roofing….which is really, really hard to do with 20 km/hr winds…the roofing becomes a para-sail over your head basically. And i’m against the clock because the rain is expected on Thursday…and I need to do my regular job tomorrow and Wednesday…not fun.

    And to top it off, I got stood up on a date tonight, by someone who was obviously playing a game with me after the fact. Just sucks when you’ve met the person already once, they seem legit and nice too, and then you waste your time driving for an hour to meet them, finding out after they were just playing you. and when you are dealing with someone who is a grown adult…you just expect more then something you’d expect to see from a junior high aged kid.

    Fortunately my wknd is ending on a positive note…because I got a chance to read your blog…vent a bit..and got a new culinary idea for what I want to make for supper this week.

    Thank you for continuing to take the time to write your blog…I read it every day.


  28. i’d like to try macarons some day. this might be a stupid question, but are the different colors different flavors?

    I should have my own Food Network show!

    you should.

  29. As someone who has just moved to Vancouver to finish up university, I am very interested in your future macaron tour.

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