Monday, December 17, 2012

Yes, Cleveland, There Is A Christmas Unicorn

I don't normally write about music and concerts, I leave that up to my very capable husband over at Guy About Cleveland - however last night we went to a concert that was so spectacular and so wonderful in every way, that I feel compelled to write about it.

Last night at the Beachland Ballroom was the Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long: Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice, featuring one Christmas Unicorn, AKA Sufjan Stevens.

You're a Christmas Unicorn too. It's alright, I love you.

First of all, I have to say that I love my city and I love the people in it - including the visitors! While we stood in line we met and spoke to a couple of women from Columbus who had driven up for the show. The camaraderie that developed between total strangers over the course of one evening made the show even better.
The majority of the music was Christmas/Holiday related with sing-a-longs interspersed. The songs we sang (the audience and Sufjan) were chosen by the spinning of a Wheel of Fortune-style wheel that extended from the floor to the ceiling of the ballroom. Inflatable Santas and unicorns were flung about the room throughout the show while streamers, confetti and tinsel were also thrown around the stage and audience.
There were times where the show took a more serious and sacred tone, with four-part harmonies of old hymns being sung by Sufjan and his band acapella. Those moments caused the hair on my arms to stand on end - and at times I would look to either side of me and observe the rest of the audience standing in quiet awe, in reverence of what was happening before them.
At a climactic point or two in "The Child With The Star On His Head", a bubble machine started - filling the room with even more whimsy and excitement. At the end of the set, white paper confetti shot out of an air cannon for several minutes, blanketing concertgoers with Cleveland's first accumulating snowfall of the 2012 holiday season. The performance was over the top and exceeded my expectations in every way.
What we were party to last night, was a musical and theatrical performance of sorts, led by a man who loves music, loves Christmas, and loves to delight people - who wasn't afraid or ashamed to bare his soul and passion in a magnificent and flamboyant display.
The encore was made up of non-holiday themed songs - all but the final two being performed by Sufjan alone. The night ended with Sufjan's "Chicago" which as an added bonus, happened to be the song we played as the recessional for our wedding in 2011. I ran the gamut of emotions at last night's concert, but ended invigorated; with happy tears in the arms of the man I married.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Food Porn - Braised Short Ribs (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

We have been experiencing unseasonably warm weather here in Cleveland, but it doesn't stop me from getting into the holiday spirit when it comes to food. For me, this means baking bread and cookies, and making food that perfumes the house with its wonderfully comfort-foodie smells all day long, because it takes hours to finish.
As I took pause to gaze yearningly at the snow falling during the Packers/Lions game, something was happening in my kitchen. I started prep for the braised beef shortribs around 2:00, hoping to have dinner around 7.
I chopped the mirepoix and put it in the refrigerator. I set the stock to simmer on the back burner of the stove, and set the container with the seasons ribs on the counter to come back to room temperature. Once the ribs were back to room temp, I seared them and set them aside to rest. The pearl onions went on a baking sheet and into the oven while I cooked the mirepoix. The caramelizing vegetables made the house smell WONDERFUL.
Once everything was put together it pretty much became a waiting game. I started the potatoes and veggies (I made asparagus instead of swiss chard) about 20 minutes before the ribs came out of the oven.

Here's the end result:

I substituted Greek yogurt for creme fraiche in the horseradish cream. I used a 2% yogurt to give it a little more body, but I don't think there would have been anything wrong with using a 0%. The finished product was well received and there was a ridiculous amount of braising liquid/sauce left over. I suppose you could shred the beef and use the sauce as a jus of sorts and make a sandwich the next day!

For those who are curious, here's the recipe. SK is often my go-to for yummy recipes. I've never had a bad meal/dish from the site.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Alive and Kicking!

I realize that every now and again, I return to this blog and lament that I am an absentee blogger. It's true, I lack the dedication that many of my fellow Cleveland bloggers have when it comes to posting.

There has been a lot going on in my life, and I mean a LOT. I've changed my diet a lot due to a medical condition I've been diagnosed with, and have been exercising more. This means, less time spent on the computer, and fewer restaurant trips. In addition to all of that, I just moved!

This blog isn't going away, it's just going to change a bit!

I try to tweet whenever I can - so if you're not following #GirlAboutCLE on Twitter, you might want to start!