When I was growing up we spent many Christmas' in Tahoe. My dad would wake us up early on Christmas morning and rush us through opening Santa's presents, load us in the car and make the drive to spend the day skiing. When the ski lifts would begin to shut down and we were wet, cold and exhausted we would get back into the car and drive all the way home. It is not common for restaurants to be open on Christmas night so our dinner consisted of Denny's where my brother and sister and I would feast on a grilled cheese sandwich. We still talk about it 30 years later laughing about it and I wouldn't change it for the world but at the time what we really wanted was to wake up on Christmas, open our presents and enjoy the day playing with our new toys and end the night with a normal Christmas dinner.
For the majority of my twenties I lived in Tahoe and that meant combining those childhood memories with what we actually wanted at the time. One year stayed in Reno and went out for a nice dinner. My dad ordered shanks for dinner and still to this day talks about how that was one of the best meals he ever ate. When my parents recently came to visit us I knew I had to make him shanks. I was so excited and the pressure was on for the perfect recipe. When I told him he then just talked about how the Reno dinner was the best and nothing could top it. The challenge was on! That night I created one of the best meals I have ever made and for weeks every time I talked to him on the phone he brought it up. This recipe is not hard or super time consuming and it doesn't call for technical fancy cooking techniques. What makes it fabulous is the quality of ingredients. With the wine use a wine that you would enjoy drinking. Fresh local vegetables, quality meat and good conversation around the table will give you a meal your family or friends will be talking about for a long time.