I Call Do-Over


This week is a week of celebration: yesterday was TNS’s third anniversary (and check out the “Thank you, readers!” giveaway if you haven’t already).


Meanwhile, today is the ninth anniversary for me and Brian. Which can only mean one thing. Okay, two things:

  1. Beer and hoisin-braised short ribs with mascarpone mashed sweet potatoes for dinner, and
  2. A sappy post about my totally awesome relationship. I’m warning you up front, so you can back out if you’d like.

I’m calling do-over because technically, I did post these ribs once before, but it was in the first month of the blog’s existence, no one was paying any attention, and the photos were wretched. I’ve refined things a bit over the past three years as well.


Braising short ribs starts out with cooking the ribs in the oven on high heat for a while to develop some color (which equals flavor). During the rib roast, I put together the braising liquid on the stovetop, giving the flavors a chance to meld and me a chance to correct the seasoning and get the taste exactly where I wanted it to be.

You can probably figure out how to streamline things, but I have braise-related paranoia and like my liquid to be EXACTLY RIGHT so the resulting sauce will be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. Perhaps I am a bit of an overachiever.


While things simmered on the stovetop and snapped-crackled-popped in the oven, I hied to the den to take advantage of our new subscription to Netflix and stream some episodes of The Tudors.* I’m a bit of an anglophile, except that I only really care about pre-1600 Britain, so it seemed like it would be up my alley. Also I need to watch it when I’m home alone; Brian will indulge me many things, but I don’t like to take advantage.

*Quibble: would it have been so hard to find a red-haired actor to play Henry VIII, so I could suspend my disbelief more effectively? Come on, show.


I’m happy not to have been born royal in the 16th century, because if The Tudors is any indication, I would have been forced to marry the elderly and gouty king of Portugal and then to kill him to escape the marriage, and my soul isn’t prepared to bear the burden of that kind of sin. Luckily, I was born a modern gal and was able to exploit my heterosexual privilege and marry for love.

da beer

Speaking of my marriage, have I mentioned that it kicks ass? You totally wish you had my relationship. Here are some reasons, in a bulleted list and in no particular order.

  • There are impromptu foot and back rubs.
  • There are pre-emptive chocolate bars when I’m about to get my period.
  • There is near-constant laughter.
  • He is smoking hot and has a sexy, sexy beard.
  • Someone knows what I am thinking almost before I think it, which could be totally creepy but is not.
  • Have I mentioned all the laughing?
  • He not only tolerates the destruction I leave in my wake whenever I cook (it’s formidable), but often cleans it.
  • He shares my deep and abiding love of Gene Kelly.
  • Best. Hugs. Ever.

This is all in addition to the fact that I would probably be dead if it were not for him. For those who may not know, I’m Bipolar and have had some pretty black times. Okay, seriously black. His boundless patience and understanding where a major part of what gets me through those times. There are no words that can adequately express my gratitude for the fact that he willingly and lovingly puts up with a crazy woman on a daily basis. For NINE WHOLE YEARS.

Add all this to the fact that he is adorable in ten thousand million different ways, and you can see why I’d be smitten.

plated, one

Since there are no words to express my gratitude I have to do it via short rib, which I think is a highly effective medium for conveying to someone how much you love them. Especially when beer is also involved. Hello, I love you, have some beef.

plated, two

Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Asian Flavors

For the beef:
4-6 beef short ribs

For the braising liquid & reduction:
2 large onions
2 large carrots
1 head garlic
3 tbsp. olive oil (or canola/veg oil, or butter)
2 c. chicken stock
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1/2 c. hoisin sauce
1/3 c. plum sauce
1 tsp. chili-garlic paste
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. Chinese Five-Spice Power (if you don’t have this, sub cinnamon and star anise)
1 750ml bottle Belgian beer (I like Chimay)

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Arrange the ribs in a single layer in a roasting pan or dutch oven, preferably one that can also be used on the stove, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the over for 40 minutes, flip the ribs, and roast 15-20 more minutes until brown.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion and carrots and cut off the top fourth of the garlic to expose all the cloves. Put a large pot over medium heat and heat the oil. Add the onions and carrots and cook until the onion is translucent and slightly golden and the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, stock, hoisin, plum sauce, vinegar, chili paste and Five-Spice; let simmer while the ribs are roasting.

When the ribs are browned, remove them from the roasting pan and pour off the fat; knock the oven temperature down to 300. Put the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Pour in the beer, making sure to scrape up any beefy bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Let the beer reduce by about 1/3.

Pour the reduced beer into the braising liquid, and adjust the taste/seasonings. Return the ribs to the roasting pan and pour in enough liquid to come 2/3 the way up the sides of the ribs, being sure to get the garlic and some onions into the pan.

Cover the ribs (use heavy-duty foil if you’re not using a dutch oven with a cover) and return to the now-300 degree oven. Cook 3 hours, turning every hour or so, until you can pull the meat apart easily with a fork. Put them aside to rest. Do not pick at them.

When the ribs are done and are resting, strain the solids out of some of the braising liquid and use a fat separator to get rid of the fat (if you make the ribs the day before, skip this step – just put the whole pan in the fridge and let the fat congeal on top overnight, then peel it off, discard and proceed). You want to have about 2 cups of liquid.

Heat a pan over high heat until very hot, and pour in the defatted liquid. Reduce until syrupy, making any flavor adjustments you want (I threw in a little dried chili at the last minute).

Pull the short ribs from the bone – they’ll come off easily – and serve napped with the reduced sauce.

19 thoughts on “I Call Do-Over

  1. Awww. I was syrupy like that once. I hope to God you stay that way longer than I did. Love never lasted worth a shit for me, except for the kids, who are totally worth the jerks that are their respective fathers.

    Re: ribs. These sound heavenly. You need to enter them in the Food52 ongoing short rib contest, which ends Thursday night. I’m just sayin’.

  2. I’ve been lurking for a few weeks (and enjoying your site so much that I have now worked my way through the first year’s worth of blogging – my neighbours must think I am crazy – lots of snorting and laughing going on), so on this day of celebration for you I thought it appropriate to stop lurking and come out of the cyber shadows and say “hi”. Keep up the great work, I know where to come now to cheer me up when I have a bipolar downswing (yup, me too!).

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention thursday night smackdown » I Call Do-Over -- Topsy.com

  4. Happy anniversary! I want something you have; no, not your dinner (you know I’m a vegetarian). That’s right, your adorable husband. Who brings you chocolate! Awesome.

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary! I still like my husband after 17 years so I wish you many more years of great meals and good lovin’

  6. Awww, that was so sweet! Brian sounds like a perfect match for you. You are soooo lucky! Happy 9th anniversary; I know you guys will have many, many more!

    OK, enough of the touchy feely cooing…those ribs look amazing. I seriously need to go out TODAY and buy some short ribs to try this recipe out.

  7. You, an overacheiver? Really?
    Such a very very nice post. You are lucky to have each other!
    And this sounds like the best way to do short ribs ever. I will try it in my new Dutch oven.
    Happy anniversary!

  8. Happy anniversary! Being married is the best and that’s coming from someone who never gets back and foot rubs unless husband wants something else. My husband also seems to love his horse more than me sometimes, but since he bought me a Kinect for Christmas, I think we’ll be making it to 10 years this year.

    If you made me short ribs like this, I’d be so happy I would forget about any silly back rubs or cautionary chocoalte I’m not getting from my husband.

  9. kay, i’ll check that contest out, thanks.

    claire, thanks for de-lurking, glad you like it here!

    sara, i know the short ribs are out, but i must encourage you to mix mascarpone into mashed sweet potatoes. so. fricking. good.

    julie and tina, thank you!

    cynic, unfortunately, they’re both taken. also, i totally nabbed the best brother anyway.

    tina, we’re a disturbingly perfect match, it’s true. if you try the ribs, let me know how you like ’em!

    , you must. i fully believe that short ribs are the best reason to own a dutch oven.

    rachel, huzzah for 10 years!

    nick, i feel like you’re right.

  10. Happy Anniversary, and congrats on those fab looking ribs. On your next blue day, screw the Tudors and reach for Black Adder, it’ll set you straight. – S

  11. Will be trying these ribs as soon as I finish with this stupid detox diet I’m on (no dairy, soy or gluten – what was I thinking??)
    Happy anniversary to you and your lovely Brian & many more years of TNS

  12. Aww Happy Anniversary. I am a massive pansy and this post made me get teary. It might have hit a bit too close to home…

    On a brighter note, you love Gene Kelly? I LOVE Gene Kelly.

  13. Congrats to you both, it’s fun to have an awesome husband. Mine won’t give footrubs though, he thinks feet are gross.

    Those short ribs sound awesome too!

  14. im so happy for you that you found someone who understands you. i have mental health issues too and you really need the right person to understand you, calm you and sometimes just tolerate the crazy. plus hes a lucky man, he gets to eat all your awesome food! grats and keep laughing.

  15. oui, i do enjoy the black adder.

    deb, i can’t do any diet that tries to separate me from cheese. more power to you.

    sally, i ADORE gene kelly. i would have ten thousand of his babies.

    jodi, thanks!

    erika, it IS fun. i’m sorry yours has a foot thing, because foot rubs and fricking great.

    jesi, seriously. he’s better than valium.

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