You might recall from my post a week ago that John and I were taking a day to ourselves. A day to spend outdoors surrounded by food (go figure), to eat seasonal snacks (go figure), and then to gorge on a “special occasion” meal for dinner.
We did what any smart New Yorkers would do as they leave the city and drive into Jersey: we stopped for gas. For those “in the know,” it’s no surprise that gas in Jersey is usually a full $0.40 – $0.50 cheaper than here in NY. I pulled off to one of the first stations I could find, handed the attendant my debit card, and asked him to fill her up on regular. (Jersey is full-service only.)
Nothing out of the ordinary happened during those next few minutes, but as the pump halted to a stop, I peered over at the display and casually mentioned to John how thirsty my car was (something I say often when I realize my adorable mini SUV is actually a gas guzzler). After a moment of calculating the final cost versus the amount of fuel my car just took, John looked confused. Apparently the attendant decided to pump mid grade instead of regular.
I know what you’re thinking. “No big deal. How much more could it have cost you?”
Well, it cost us an additional $4. Nothing to cry over, but what’s infuriating is how this situation was dealt with.
First, I call over the attendant who, mind you, has been talking on his cell phone throughout this entire interaction. I tell him in a less-than-friendly tone that he pumped the wrong gas in my vehicle. He stares at me with a look on his face that makes me think he doesn’t understand English.
I tell him again.
This time he arches his shoulders and raises his hands (still on his cell phone) as if to say, “Do I care?”
John is now becoming increasingly angry. I’m staring at him in disbelief of how little this guy cares about fixing the problem he caused. John tries to talk to him (and even asks him to get off his cell phone), but he’s having none of it.
And with that, John went inside to speak to a manager.
End of story. Problem resolved. Right? Wrong.
Mr. Hot Shot Manager responds to the situation by saying, “No problem. Let me call someone to come and pump the gas out of your car, and then we’ll replace it with regular.”
I’m sorry, what? You want us to sit in your tiny gas station for a minimum of 45 minutes (though probably much longer) so you can pump gas OUT of my car? Not happening. Not now, or ever.
To prevent a long story from getting too long, I will conclude by saying yes, we did win the battle. We were reimbursed for the attendant’s mistake, but this seriously put a damper on our morning. I couldn’t believe how rude and dismissive these men were to us.
Moral of the story? There isn’t one. Mostly I wanted to share my frustration with an audience that would listen and see if my feelings of frustration were warranted.
This is where you tell me I’m not crazy.
Now for some good news! I made a fantastic meal of short ribs and bleu cheese mashed potatoes that anyone (anyone who likes meat, that is) would love. It made me completely forget about how angry I was earlier. That’s a good sign, right?
Preheat an oven to 325 F. Heat a few tablespoons of oil over high heat. Season 1 lb of short ribs generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
Brown each side for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the pot and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium-high, then add diced onion. Season with salt and pepper, then let cook for a few minutes.
Add sliced carrots and celery…
…then deglaze the pan with red wine and beef broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release any bits of ribs that are stuck.
Throw in some thyme and tomato paste.
Stir to combine, then add the short ribs back in. (If the liquid is too low — aka: not 3/4 of the way up the ribs — add more water or beef broth so they’re mostly submerged.)
Cover and cook in a preheated oven for 3 hours or until short ribs are tender and fall off the bone. I served mine with bleu cheese mashed potatoes (recipe below).
And perfect for fall!
Missing something green? Serve ‘em up with some delicious brococlini.
At the end of the day, I’m not going to sweat the small stuff. I’m going to try and let the minute details of the annoying gas attendant (and other areas of my life) roll off my back. I’ve got short ribs, after all. I can think of worse ways to end a day.
Short Ribs with Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Yields: 6-8 servings
Time: 20 minutes, plus 3 hours cooking time
For the ribs:
- 1 lb short ribs (on the bone)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 1 cup red wine
- 3-4 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- A handful of thyme leaves (maybe 8-10 sprigs)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
For the mashed potatoes:
- 2-4 lbs yukon gold potatoes
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2-4 oz bleu cheese, depending on how strong you like it
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon milk
- For the ribs: Preheat an oven to 325 F. Season both sides of the ribs generously with salt and pepper. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Right before the oil begins to smoke, add the short ribs and brown on all sides for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium-high, then add two cloves of chopped garlic. Add onion, carrots, and celery, season with additional salt and pepper, then sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of dry red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove all the bits of short ribs that are stuck. Pour in 3-4 cups of beef broth, then add bay leaves, thyme, and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
- Place short ribs back in the pot. If the liquid does not come up 3/4 of the way on the ribs, add more water or beef broth.
- Cover pot and place in a preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours, or until ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve with bleu cheese mashed potatoes (or whatever your favorite flavor is!).
- For the mashed potatoes: Cut potatoes into small cubes, place into a large pot, then cover with water. Bring to a boil and let cook for 10-12 minutes, or until fully cooked.
- Drain potatoes, then mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper, then add butter, bleu cheese, and a splash of milk. Stir to combine.