1. He is a very adventurous eater and will try anything I make.
2. He is young and single and sometimes has free evenings to spend with us.
3. He is just starting out in a new job, with a new apartment and a new car and my feeding him helps him save money.
4. He and Forrest are really good buddies, despite the fact that they have hardly anything in common, and having him over gives Forrest the opportunity to ask him to do things like throw the football, shoot the bb gun, and insulate the pipes - all to which Kent constantly declines, but Forrest never stops asking.
5. He loves food as much as I do and is always enthusiastic and appreciative of my meals.
6. I want him to feel included and happy in his hometown and hope everyday that he feels he made the right choice to return.
7. He is the baby of the family, and isn't that what you do to the baby? Spoil them!
8. He lives really close to our house, so even if it isn't planned any more than a couple minutes in advance it is still a possibility for him to hop on over.
9. He says annoying baby brother things while I am cooking like, "isn't that just a fancy way of doing it", or "there must be an easier way", and "where did you learn that?" or my all time favorite, "Mom doesn't do it like that, does she?"
10. He is one of the more quiet members of my family and it gives me the opportunity to visit with him sans some of the louder participants and hear what he has to say for a change.
But the number one reason there will always be a place at my dinner table for my now grown up baby brother is......Sometimes when I am in the kitchen chopping, measuring, and sauteing all while taking pictures for this crazy blog, I look up and see this:
Thank God for open floor plans! My baby brother and my baby, Priceless!
The recipe below is one of Kent's favorite things I have cooked for him over the last few months. He talks about it all the time. And trust me, it is well deserved. Although this is an all day recipe (one I made while still on maternity leave and had the whole day to man the stove), it is worth the effort. This is so rich and succulent that it is impossible to forget!
Boeuf Bourguignon Soup
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living December 2010
- 6 bone-in short ribs (2 inches thick, 2 pounds total)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
- 3 carrots, 2 finely chopped and 1 cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 3 shallots, minced
- 3 strips bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 cup dry red wine, such as Burgundy
- 8 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium beef stock
- 2 cups water
- No Yolk Egg Noodles, for serving
Season ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Trim white fat. Coat with cornstarch. Heat oil in a large heavy pot (preferably enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat. Lightly brown ribs on all sides, about 6 minutes.
Transfer to a plate.
Add mushrooms to pot.
Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add cubed carrot.
Add shallots, bacon, and chopped carrots to pot.
Cook until caramelized, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.
Return ribs with plate juices to pot. Add thyme and bay leaf. Raise heat to high. Add wine.
Cook, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add stock and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Remove ribs. Separate meat from bones; discard bones and any pieces of fat left on the beef. Cut meat into bite-size pieces; return to pot. Add reserved mushroom-carrot mixture.
Bring to a simmer; cook until cubed carrots are tender. Skim any remaining fat off the top of the soup. Season with salt. Ladle soup over bowls of egg noodles and serve.