How bout them Super Bowl commercials? Pretty great, eh? Almost as great as how much talk there is about them. It must be nice to work for an advertising agency and you just film a kangaroo dancing for 30 seconds and CNN reports it as news. "Wasn't that Pepsi frog funny? You are in the Situation Room."
I think the best thing about the Super Bowl commercials is the many surprises. What will GoDaddy do this year? It could be anything! Will there be at least ten commercials where men look like idiots? It could be more! I wonder if there will be a commercial with that talking baby? You never know! Even though there has been a commercial with the talking baby for the last decade or something, maybe this will be the year they switch it up?
Thankfully it was not the year, because that dumb baby just never gets old, just never ever ever gets old, literally and figuratively. I can only hope that when I'm 90 that baby is still on television being an ass, because how else will I know what company to use for whatever it is that baby is selling, I forget. If only there could be an ad where that snarky baby is riding a Clydesdale to visit the Coca-Cola bears one of whom is voiced by Betty White. Then all of our favorite things that never get old will be in one commercial and it will surely be the best commercial ever made (although Betty White does get old - that's the whole hilarious joke, that she is old and says mildly ribald things; good job advertising companies, just a very good job).
Did you see the preview for Transformers 8Independence Day Battleship? Normally I would not go see that movie, but since I know the board game the movie is based on (Battleship) I am already comfortable with the brand so presumably there will be less of a learning curve so now I will definitely go see that movie on opening day. I only hope that the plot of the movie is the same as the game (to sink the battleship). But wasn't there aliens in the commercial? It was hard to tell because everything was covered in explosions, but it seems like there were aliens, which I don't remember from the game, but maybe I've been playing incorrectly. Maybe they are playing battleship with aliens? Twist! Anyways, as long as there is a cocky-yet-likable hero fighting the maybe-aliens and a ridiculous amount of CGI destruction with a minor romantic subplot involving the hero and a pretty-yet-vacant young actress and at the end everyone wins (except the hundreds of thousands of people who are killed in the destruction), then it will be everything that a movie needs A+.
As for the Bowl itself, I wasn't sure who to root for this year because on the one hand I moved to Boston and it seems like I should want the Patriots to win and a lot of people who live in the same general area as me like that team but on the other hand it doesn't really matter. I still have to wake up and go to work on Monday. Who I really want to win is baseball.
Is it still cold by you? Was it ever cold by you? Where do you live? If it is cold by you, this is a nice warm-your-bones meal. If you live in Boston, it might snow on Wednesday, so that's a good day to make it.
Pat the 2 pounds of beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, sprinkle half of the beef over the bottom of the pan in an even layer, with plenty of space in between. Brown the beef well on all sides and transfer to a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and meat and also set aside.
In the same pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the diced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes. Add the tablespoon of tomato paste, four chopped garlic cloves and tablespoon of chopped rosemary and cook until just aromatic, about 1 minute.
Increase the heat back to medium-high. Add the 1 1/2 cups of red wine and scape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits. Continue cooking until the wine has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved beef and juices, bay leaf, 3 chopped carrots and enough beef broth to nearly cover the beef and carrots. Cover.
At this point you can either braise it in a 300 degree F oven for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours or simmer it on a low heat on the stovetop for about the same amount of time, stirring every so often. At 1 1/2 hours, add the chopped celery and continue uncovered. At this point, start checking the meat for fork tenderness and the liquid level (you only want a small amount of liquid left at the end - if it starts reducing too much you can put the lid back on or add some more beef broth and if there is too much liquid left at the end you can reduce it on the stovetop). Taste for salt and pepper (it's best to taste at the end because the sauce reduces so much).
Serve over orange zest pappardelle (recipe below) with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
+ 2 pounds boneless chuck or other braising/stewing roast, cut into 1-inch chunks
+ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
+ 1 large onion, peeled and chopped into small-dice
+ 1 tablespoon tomato paste
+ 4 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
+ 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped finely
+ 1 1/2 cups red wine
+ 1 bay leaf
+ 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch long pieces
+ 1 to 2 cups of beef broth
+ 2 stalks of celery, chopped into thin-to-medium slices
+ salt and pepper to taste
+ Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve
Orange Zest Pappardelle
Mix the 1 3/4 cups of semolina flour and 1 3/4 cups 00 flour together and pour into a pile on your counter or a large cutting board. Make a well in the center and add the 4 eggs, orange zest and teaspoon of salt. Using a fork, start to beat the eggs together, gradually incorporating flour from the edges, until the liquid has worked into enough of the flour that you can start kneading.
Use your hands to knead the dough for 10 minutes, until it becomes more pliable (you can add more flour or water as necessary). Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for 30 minutes under a towel.
Set your pasta machine up and set it to the widest setting. After 30 minutes, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Working one at a time (with the reserved dough balls under a towel), flatten the dough into a rectangle, flour it and pass it through the machine twice. Fold the dough in half and pass it through again. If the dough becomes too long to work with at any point in the process, cut it in half and work with each piece separately. If the dough starts to stick, flour it. Now adjust the machine to the next-narrowest setting and pass the dough through twice. Continue this until the dough is just see-through (but not paper-thin), about setting four or five (you want a nice, thick piece of pasta). Cover the length of dough and set aside. Complete with the remaining balls of dough.
After you have rolled and flattened the dough, roll each length of dough up into a cylinder. Cut the dough in 2/3-inch intervals and unroll. Set the long strips aside, covered.
To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring every so often, until al dente - fresh pasta will only take a few minutes.
+ 1 3/4 cups semolina flour (I like Bob's Red Mill)
+ 1 3/4 cups 00 flour (Antimo Caputo is good)
+ 4 eggs
+ zest from 2 small-medium oranges
+ 1 teaspoon of salt