A weird thing happened this January. The snow melted. We had a run of fifty-degree days and those wonderful piles of snow just faded away into a few white patches here and there. We’d had a bunch of snowy days and one blizzard so there was a nice foundation out there, even after some melting, of about a foot and a half. Only then, way too fast, it looked like an ordinary spring day before the leaves come. Hillsides were running with streams. Muddy marble sidewalks dotted the village.
Today is another ordinary day only now the temperatures have dropped back down to a regular January twenty something and it is snowing softly again outside. This snow probably won’t amount to much. Like the early snows of November the ground was warm and it will take a few colder days before these snowfalls start to mount back up. Unless we get a good growly storm.
In the meantime we have this gentle snow. It is like a winter’s song. I can almost hear the melody. In it’s refrain is a reminder that the ordinary is lovely and sweet and not to be missed cause we get a whole lot more of the ordinary than anything else. If we miss the good stuff here our pleasures might be few and far between.
Violet, our snow loving Bernese Mountain Dog, ran out this morning all wags and celebration. She dipped her nose into the new snow and rolled around … the very picture of dog joy. She gets it.
Winter is not for everyone. But when you have chosen to live in a place that has a lot of it you better learn to find joy and beauty in the array of January landscapes that might just keep coming right through Easter. It wouldn’t be the first Easter Egg Hunt in the snow.
And meanwhile cook up a comforting batch of short ribs. Braise them and let the winey smells fill up your house and your heart.
It’s winter after all. A time for slow cooking and celebration of an ordinary January snow.
Braised Short ribs
I often buy three pounds and have the bones removed. That means the butcher starts with five or six. But the bone in is also very good. They just take a little longer to cook to meltingly tender.
Rough cut two or three onions. Set aside
Coat short ribs with your favorite rub or a generous mix of salts, garlic, tarragon, and peppers.
Sear them first on high heat in a little olive oil.
Cover them with a deep flavorful red wine and simmer with the onions, about a half or three quarters of a cup of dark cocoa, a few red pepper flakes, a bunch of garlic, a quarter cup or so of honey, plenty of salt, and bunches and bunches of tarragon.
Simmer until the fork makes them fall apart.
Make a batch of cheddar grits with scallions and serve the short ribs on top with a wilted spinach salad.
Your family will love you to the moon for this snowstorm supper