I knew that September would bring a lot of changes, in fact I called it THE BIG CHANGE in our life. Change, no matter how big or small, brings in a lot of layers of emotion. No matter how planned and anticipated it is, it still needs a lot of getting used to. I don't even know how to begin to tell you how I truly feel about being an empty nester (at a very young age) and how moving to a place where you don't have any family and friends nearby.
But I guess the best way to ensure a smooth transition is to accept change and embrace it. It makes you realize that change can be good. In fact these days with the popularity of social media, you remain connected with friends and family, making coping with change much easier... I'm grateful too that the company that my husband joined gives us every resources of support. As his spouse, one of the perks I enjoy is having a transition coach. "Call me for anything" my coach told me when I had my first session with her. Her words were comforting and I knew she was sincere. We are provided too with a relocation specialist and temporary but comfortable corporate housing, to make the move as smooth as possible. One of the relocation specialist told me that her objective is simple - that is to make the wife (that's me!) happy. A happy wife makes a happy husband and a happy new employee! It made perfect sense.
"Go to the Central West End where you will enjoy its charm and the casual vibe" my coach suggested. She got me at charm. Indeed, St. Louis has its charm. Although we've only been here a week, I've been to a few places. Downtown is being revived as an urban enclave. The highly European influenced architecture of the buildings have the old world charm splashed with a contemporary flavor. The first time I walked trhough the streets, my camera didn't stop clicking.
The Roman-Byzantine inspired Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis where we went to church last Sunday swept me off my feet. It is grand. Breathtaking! The intricate designs of the mosaics all over the church glowed, it was as if I stepped into a magical place. And the services were so traditional. It was refreshing to see the priest climbing up the robust stone lectern. I felt transported to a different time.
St. Louis exceded my expectations beyond its signature Arch. The city offers so many exciting places and activities and not to mention dining options. Over the weekend when we arrived, the annual balloon race took place. The Balloon Glow had hundreds of hot air balloons illuminating the sky. Definitely a festive mood to start our honeymooon with the city. This coming weekend will be another big event, one of the most celebrated culinary events in the area, the Taste of St. Louis, and we're excited to take part of it.
"Open the shades to enjoy the sunlight and the view", my husband told me as it was dark in our loft when he stepped in from work. As I was rolling the shades up, the view from our large windows lent me a a spectacular view of Forest Park with the sun's late afternoon rays shining through the windows. Similarly, my soul opened up to this change. Yes, I welcome THE BIG CHANGE with loving arms. Here's to a new chapter in our lives. Cheers!
Nothing epitomizes the Big Change we're undergoing than the recipe I am sharing with you in this post. Bulalo is a clear broth based soup made of beef shanks and characterized by flavors from the bone marrow. For this recipe, I cooked it with tomatoes! It's a big change and a different take yet it gives the same hearty comfort as the original bulalo dish... enjoy!
Tomato Simmered Bulalo
3 large Beef Shank
3 riped tomatoes, chopped
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup flour
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium size onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tsp oregano
Using a kitchen twine, tie each beef shank. This is not to physically damage the beef. Combine flour and garlic salt in a dish. Coat each shank with the flour mixture. Dredge excess flour.
Heat olive oil on a thick pan. Brown all sides of the beef shanks and set aside.
On a stock pot, saute garlic and onions with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes become limp and wilted Add celery. Pour tomato sauce and add oregano. Add soup stock. Simmer until all the flavors are fused in together.
Add the beef shank and let it boil on high. Adjust the heat to medium and let it simmer for 2 hours or until the shank are tender. You may have to add more soup stock in case the meat needs more cooking.
Serve it hot with white rice... enjoy!