Last week I posted a slow recipe for braised short ribs. Now I wanted to give you a quick Italian recipe for those busy nights.
Peel and clean a pound of shrimp and cut a pint of little tomatoes in half. It doesn’t matter what kind of tomatoes. Use whatever you like best.
Chop a few cloves of garlic. Using a large pan, saute the tomatoes and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. In a separate pot, start making pasta. When the tomatoes and garlic are fragrant add a ladle full of your pasta water. The starch from the pasta will thicken the sauce.
Add the zest and juice of one lemon, a sprinkle of salt, and your shrimp. Cook for another five minutes and toss with the drained pasta.
Finish with a little fresh parmesan and serve. This meal only takes 15 minutes to make! And you can vary it with whatever you have on hand. Fresh herbs, white wine, or red bell pepper would all make a nice addition.
I am not happy with all the turmoil in celebrity lives lately. It’s shaking my foundation and taking up too much space on my twitter feed. Some things are not a surprise. Katy Perry and Russell Brand were not likely to last an eternity. But Heidi and Seal? I thought they were forever.
Demi and Ashton seemed like a crazy couple but then we got used to it. Bruce Willis was accepting and we could all just relax. Years went by. Out of nowhere…WHAM! Done. And now she apparently has a drug problem, too.
Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis are another couple that seemed so secure, we could count on them always being there. There hasn’t been a formal announcement that they are splitting up, but it’s coming. Fourteen years and two kids. Countless pirate movies. Johnny’s weird moustache. They’ve been through so much.
Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard were together for like 30 years. Did they end because of how creepy American Horror Story is? Did they see Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins break up after so long and think, I likes what I sees?
It’s too much bad news all at once. Plus, the Kardashians are always in the news. So…yeah. That’s enough. I’m openly asking Hollywood to stop this nonsense. Work it out. For heaven’s sake, it’s Oscar season.
Austin is the live music capitol of the world, partly because of ACL. Austin City Limits is a live music show that airs on PBS has been filming in the same venue since 1976. Everyone big has played there. It is a place of music legend. Last year they finally moved it into a larger, updated venue. Now it’s Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater.
The new theater is important for a few reasons. One, it’s keeping America’s longest running music show going. Two, it’s larger, so more people are able to attend these performances. Three, the new theater is a state of the art venue with perfect acoustics and sits on top of The W. So it’s in a cool part of town.
The lobbies on the different levels are cool and filled with lots of great photos from historic ACL shows and famous photos of music legends. You aren’t supposed to take photos, but I had to sneak one of a Mick Jagger column when I was there last week.
I was there to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo. If you think you aren’t familiar with LBM, you might know them from Paul Simon’s Graceland. They’ve won Grammys and traveled the world delighting audiences with their humble and beautiful music. It’s a rich a cappella of South African choral music in the styles of isicathamiya and mbube.
The group has been around for 40 years and is a mix of young and old members. But let me let you, they can all dance! Even the oldest singer was like a Rockette, and they use their dancing to make the audience laugh, too. Dressed alike in matching dashikis, black pants, and white sneakers, there is no star in the group. Instead, they jump out front of the group any time they please and give you a dance solo. It was very entertaining.
If Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs in your area, I’d recommend going and getting your Africa on.
Everyone’s talking about Slow Food Austin. More than just a cool social organization that hosts foodie happy hours at the hottest restaurants, it is part of a global grassroots movement to link the pleasure of food with a commitment to the community and the environment. They educate the community about all aspects of food, where it comes from, proper shopping and cooking techniques, beekeeping, butchery, farm tours, etc. You name it, they do it.
In honor of Slow Food Austin, I was inspired to do a little slow cookin’ of my own. Here is Giada De Laurentiis recipe for braised short ribs.
Season your short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a dutch oven and brown ribs on all sides. The original recipe calls for four pounds of short ribs, but I’ve used two pounds here. I’m not a meat freak, so this is enough for me.
While the meat is browning, chop one onion and three cloves garlic.
When the ribs are browned, take them out and set them aside. Toss your onion and garlic into the pan and cook for about three minutes, stirring occasionally. Now would be a good time to chop five Roma tomatoes into eighths.
Add tomatoes to the pot, along with one cup of red wine and three tablespoons of dijon mustard. The flavor combination of the wine and mustard are what make this dish so special, so I wouldn’t recommend substituting anything. Bring to to a boil and scrape up the brown bits in the bottom of the pot.
Once boiling, add the short ribs back to the pot and cover with two cups of beef broth. Now into a 350° oven for two and a half hours. Right before you take it out, start making some pasta. Giada uses penne. I use whatever fun imported pasta I can find. This dish takes so long to cook, you might as well use a really special pasta.
After two hours, this is what your sauce looks like. The ribs should have fallen off the bones and be completely tender.
Remove meat and bones and set aside. Use a spoon to skim off all the fat from the top of the sauce. In batches, puree the cooked down vegetables and stock and pour into a large pot over low heat. Shred the rib meat and add to the sauce. Be careful to discard the fat and bones. No one wants to eat that! Your final step is to toss the cooked, drained pasta in with the sauce. Serve with fresh grated parmesan and eat immediately. This took so long to make, you must be starving.
This is absolutely worth the time!
The first Birchbox of the new year had a clarity theme. From a fresh face to an optimistic mood, the products included this month are supposed to inspire clarity in all aspects of our lives. That’s a bit of a stretch, but I still enjoyed the selection in this month’s box.
- FIX Malibu Immaculate Complexion Smoothing Serum. Antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C, and E brighten skin tone and soften wrinkles.
- Algenist Firming and Lifting Cream. Moisturizer that uses microalgae to boost skin’s elasticity.
- Juicy Couture. Their signature fragrance is sweet and floral.
- Zoya Nail Polish. The color I received is called Kendal and is a pale, creamy periwinkle.
- Extras: ‘wichcraft Granola and a Birchbox magnet. There was also a card with tips for doing mini detoxes in various areas of your life: Mind, Relationships, Closet, Diet and Bathroom Cabinet. They suggest using your Birchbox magnet and putting the list on your fridge as a reminder.
The real gems in this box are the serum and moisturizer, which cost $94 and $125, respectively. I’m happy with all of these products.
I was fortunate to be a part of a recent concert that Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin did together at Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre. It’s a wonderful, intimate little venue and there’s not a bad seat in the house. Especially my seat, which was backstage.
I know, right? The whole experience was fantastic. Getting to run around backstage with a pass on, check out the dressing rooms and all the behind-the-scenes action of the Paramount was cool. It’s incredible how much work it takes to put on a show, even a simple one with just two musicians and their guitars.
Shawn Colvin lives in Austin and had the ease of someone who is most comfortable on stage. She’s played the Paramount plenty of times. And Lyle Lovett is a Texas gentlemen who was affable and spent the night cracking jokes. Seriously, he is extremely funny. If you’ve never seen Lyle in concert, he talks a lot on stage, banters with the audience, and on this night, bantered a lot with Shawn. They are old friends and have great rapport.
Highlights included Lyle’s “If I Needed You” and “Fat Babies.” Shawn played songs off her new album and wore fabulous boots.
The quest for a good slice in Austin rages on. I never would have found Saccones if a friend hasn’t pointed me there, because it’s located
at the edge of the solar system in North Austin. Like, really, really far from where I live. Which is a shame because they deliver…and the pizza is awesome!
This is the real deal, you guys. The owner is from New Jersey. This is New Jersey pizza. In Austin! It can be done. The speculations that it takes NJ water to make good pizza can be put to rest.
There is some real New Jersey pride in this place, too. You walk inside and see New Jersey license plates lining the walls. (Even the old school blue and yellow ones! Remember those, Jersey peeps?) Some turnpike signs, pictures of the Manhattan skyline, and Sopranos memorabilia round out the decor. Ahhhh, home.
The cheese is right. The sauce is right. Dear lord, the crust is THIN! And not weird cracker thin. Pizza-folding-thin. There’s nothing about this place that I would change. Except the location. At least 45 minutes from the cool part of Austin, it’s a hike. But a relief to know that in a pizza emergency, I don’t have to get on a plane for a decent slice.
Saccones gets an A+.
Recently I took advantage of a Google offer for a $75 cut and color at Jco and Company Salon in South Austin. What an incredible deal! I took full advantage and had my blonde highlights freshened up and a significant hair cut.
My regular place is a Redkin Salon and Jco uses Paul Mitchell, so I felt good about trying some new products and maintaining high quality.
The salon itself was friendly and comfortable, with a hint of luxury. A place where I felt pampered, but it wasn’t at all stuffy. More than a salon, there is photo studio in there as well as rooms for esthetician services. So you could get a full makeover and photos after, which is pretty cool.
My stylist was Tara, who was fantastic. She was personable, professional and modern. We discussed what I wanted, my normal hair routine, curly vs. straight, and she made a few recommendations. I appreciated that she cared how it would grow out and wanted to provide a style that would buy me time, as I am not good about going every six weeks.
Are you looking for a new salon? Check out Jco and give Tara a call!
New year, new bed. Macy’s was having a huge sale on beds, so we decided it was a good time to upgrade. I searched everywhere for a headboard I liked, but couldn’t find one. But then the crafty part of me said, But what if you made one? And then the hungry part of me said, Can we go get dinner? I’m starving.
Mr. Betty and I decided to go for it. We ate dinner. But then after that we decided to make a headboard. Here are the supplies we used:
- Untreated plywood
- Spray adhesive
- Staple gun
- Upholstery foam
- Upholstery fabric
From Home Depot we got the adhesive, staples and gun, and had them cut a board to our measurements, 48×78 inches. A standard headboard is about four feet tall and two inches wider than your mattress width.
We bought the foam, batting and upholstery from a fabric store. Bonus, the most expensive part of this project, the upholstery fabric, was 50% off! Do not cheap out on the fabric. Make sure it is thick and of really good quality.
First, we sprayed one side of the board with adhesive and applied the foam. We stapled it onto the back, making sure to leave a couple extra inches on the top of the board. Our foam and batting was in two pieces, but if you can get them in one, even better.
We repeated the process for the second step. Sprayed the foam with adhesive and covered with batting. Stapled the batting to the back.
Final step, lay the fabric on top of the batting and staple to the back. Don’t use adhesive this time. This is nice, because you can change the look of your headboard by just switching out the fabric. There were so many great fabrics. I can see myself changing it a few times a year.
I am so pleased with how this came out. It’s flawless, cushiony and chic. We used a solid fabric, but if you do this with a print make sure to line it up the way you want it.
Total cost for the headboard was $125, including $25 for staple gun and staples. I highly recommend trying this DIY headboard if you are looking to be creative or save a little cash.