Michael’s family owns a beautiful, little farm near Hallettsville, Texas. It’s not too far from Houston, filled with lots of exotic deer and fun animals, and basically the perfect spot to get away for the weekend. It’s very well loved, so we jumped at the rare chance to have it all to ourselves for the weekend. We packed up the puppy, lots of wine and good food, and invited a couple of our best friends out to join in our good fortune. The farm has always held a special place in Michael’s heart. He spent a lot of time there with his grandfather growing up, feeding the donkeys, riding “Tubby” the pony, and taking dips in the swimming hole. It was also one of the very first places he took me when we were dating, so I’ve always really loved it too. I can’t remember what he cooked that first weekend, but we spent hours drinking wine on the porch swing under the tree in the front yard, and I remember thinking, “This will do just fine!” It’s a pretty special place, and we had such a great time visiting this weekend.
Friday night it was just the two of us, so we played dominoes…
…had a really easy dinner…
…and hung out with our best pal. We may have had a little dance party for two on the back porch too. No pictures of that one though!
Saturday morning, Michael got up at 5 AM to go dove hunting. Kaiser and I slept in, and got breakfast all ready for us.
Sweet Potato Hash Browns
For the hash browns, cut two strips of bacon in 1/4 inch slices and saute in a heavy cast iron skillet until crispy and brown. Remove the bacon pieces and set aside. To the pan, add one half of a chopped yellow onion and saute until translucent. Add two sweet potatoes cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes and saute until brown and crispy. If you need more grease, add a touch of butter. Once the potatoes are all cooked, add back in the bacon, season to taste and finish with the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme. Top with a fried egg, sunny side up!
We spent the rest of the day getting ready for our friends to arrive and visiting all the animals on the farm. They have a wild game area with all sorts of cool, exotic deer. We even found a baby deer who couldn’t have been more than a few days old. Liz and David arrived just in time for lunch. We picked up a ton of BBQ at this little place in Hallettsville. It was as old school as BBQ joints come, but it was delicious. After lunch we all jumped in the Gator and went to visit the rest of the animals.
For dinner on Saturday night, we decided on Braised Short Ribs. They always turn out pretty amazing, and it’s one of those things that you can spend an hour or so getting ready, put it in the oven, and then forget about it for the rest of the afternoon. Here it is just about ready to go in the oven.
The next time I even thought about it, I opened the oven, and it looked like this…
We made some easy parmesan polenta and green beans as our sides. Turned out to be a pretty tasty evening at the farm!
You can find the recipe for the short ribs here. I would hardly change a thing about it. I tend to cook ours for about 3 hours though. I’ve served them with the sauce strained as the recipe calls for, but I’ve also served them with the vegetables in the sauce. It looks a little more rustic, and tastes just as good, so that part is just a matter of preference.
For the Parmesan Polenta, boil 3 cups water and whisk in 1 3/4 cup polenta. Once you see it starting to come together (about 10 minutes), turn off the heat and add in 2 tablespoons of butter, about a half of a cup of grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover until you’re ready to serve.
For desert, we made s’mores by the fire. No recipe needed!