Oxtails in coconut milk… and the art of slow living

Sitting at my dining room table with my pile of cookbooks, I make the menu for the coming week. My mind is racing, there’s work, deadlines, tonight’s dinner, swim class, gym class, the bank, the store… It’s already 6 o’clock, where did this day go?

Then I grab a cookbook from the pile, Art of the Slow Cooker, and the tagline reads: “Good things come to those who wait.” Oh, crap. That’s right, I’ve got to slow down, focus and enjoy the present task, the rest will get done. Somehow.

Time, time, time. Such a precious commodity. Seems to become even more precious (and rare!) when you have children. Life can be such a juggling act sometimes, a whirlwind, a whoosh. It’s scary, gives me vertigo. I have to pull on my own reins and stop to enjoy the present moment. A few seconds cheek to cheek with my son. Looking at fesh produce at the farmer’s market. Enjoying a meal with friends and family. Notice the beauty of a blue sky. Of a white sky. November is upon us, Thanksgiving around the corner, so it’s pretty a good time to be particularly aware of things we’re grateful for. The big, and the little things.

In these moments of stress and struggling to get everything done, time somehow becomes the enemy. How crazy is that? Time is our life. Time is our present. Time is all we’ve got. When we’re out of time, well… that’s it. Time should never be the enemy. It is our most precious possession. So in these whooshy whirlwind-of-life moments, I try to remember that, in a screeching-tire-smell-of-rubber brain moment. And I look down at what’s in front of me: oh yeah. Crock pot recipes.

I discovered the time-saving wonders of the crock pot a few years ago. I talked about how to get organized for a sit down meal in my Anatomy of a French four-course family meal, and the crock pot sure makes that much easier. Spend 20 minutes early in the day for a little prep, and when dinner time comes, serve and enjoy! You only have the vegetable starter to think about.

This is my favorite crock pot recipes (this crock pot recipe book, by the way, is worth checking out, so many wonderful, easy yet fine cuisine recipes in it). This dish is so exotic tasting and delicious, makes great use of these spices you may have lying around in your cupboard. The meat is so tender, the sauce so “parfumée”, as the French would say, literally “perfumed”, meaning complex with many flavors and scents to it. Yet there really isn’t anything complicated about the recipe. It’s one of those dishes that gets a lot of “wows”, yet I never feel I should get much credit given the simplicity of it. Somehow the simple process of marrying these ingredients with time brings a wonderfully complex chemistry of flavors in the plate.

Hope you give it a try and the time of one scrumptious bite of this dish, your life can slow down just a little bit and precious seconds can be enjoyed for all they’re worth.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Oxtails in coconut milk… and the art of slow living

  1. OMG, Helene, this looks so good. My husband convert me to an Oxtail fan (I had never had it in Japan before) and I love putting it in stew etc. I'm leaving for Asia in a few days, otherwise I'd make this right away! I'm going to make this for sure when I return. I'm SO excited already just thinking about the flavor. I especially like that you added coconut milk in this. Never combined oxtail with coconut milk. Love this recipe!!!

    1. Sorry, replying a bit late after the Thanksgiving craze… I think you will love this, I've made it a number of times and it's never failed me… Let me know how it goes 🙂

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