Monday, February 24, 2014

Everything Old Is New Again!

Growing up one of the things I learned from my Mom was cooking with 'different' cuts of meat.  Lamb Shanks was one of them  Over the years I have prepared them in many ways. She always roasted them while I have learned that braising them in a variety of liquids was my favorite.  When Mom lived in an assisted living apartment, I would bring a braised lamb shank and mashed potato dinner and we would have it together in her apartment.  This week is a celebration of that meal with a new twist.

In a heavy pot thoroughly brown the shanks with salt and pepper and set them aside.  In the dripping saute chopped carrot, celery, onion and garlic until softened.  Stir in some tomato paste, salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Add some hearty red wine and bring to a simmer.  Add browned lamb shanks back to pan and add beef stock to cover, bay leaves and several sprigs of fresh thyme..  Place covered in a 400 degree oven and cook for a couple of hours turning the shanks half way through. Check every 45 minutes or so and if liquid is low, add more stock. When shanks are tender remove from heat and serve with the gravy over your favorite potatoes or try the following.

Everyone loves mashed potatoes, and there are many recipes.  Using different kinds of potatoes and additions; hot buttered milk, cream cheese, and mashed cooked garlic. Skins on or skin off. Lately I have read about substituting  mashed cauliflower.  I found an interesting recipe that I tried. Clean the cauliflower and separate the florets..  Clean and smash several garlic cloves and cook with the cauliflower in a small amount of water.  I cooked the mix in the microwave so I didn't need a lot of water, just enough to steam and soften them. In a bowl, mash the cooked garlic cauliflower mix and stir in some sour cream and plain Greek yogurt. Salt and pepper to taste.I think this will be a new favorite.

I served the shanks over a mound of the mashed cauliflower and topped it with a gremolata. Gremolata is a mixture of orange and lemon zest, minced parsley, garlic and a spoon of prepared horseradish.

Loved this brought back a lot of memories.

See you next week. I hope to find some inspiration at the market.

Friday, February 7, 2014


I have been lax in keeing up with the blog....I apologize.  Today I plan to 'catch up'.  First is the last class at the French Cooking School.  The best of the 4 classes.  I have learned so much about food and wine parings with the instructors.  Last Tuesday we made a lamb dish with a wine paring. It was amazing and very simple.  The Ratatouille was simple but carefully constructed.  First in the pot are chopped tomatoes, then green peppers, zucchini, eggplant and onion is similar size pieces.  A bay leaf, garlic, Italian seasoning ( no rosemary) and olive oil are added to the pot.  Cook on high for about 15 minutes.  Gently stir and reduce heat to simmer an cook for another 45 minutes to one hour until cooked.   Add salt and pepper.  Garnish with grated parmesan and minced flat leaf parsley.  I chose lamb chops instead of cutting a rack of lamb.  Rub chops with EVOO, S&P and Italian seasoning (no rosemary) Grill 3 - 5 minutes on each side. Serve with a dish of Ratatouille and a glass (or two) Puech-Haute Shiraze.  Excellent!

In the last weeks I have prepared several dishes that were excellent and some......not so much.  I will send the successes.  First for Super Bowl I made a fabulous chicken wing dish.  Most wings are served with BBQ /hot sauces.  This one does not. These wings are basted with a mixture of vegetable oil, garlic powder, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, honey and Siracha sauce. Baste and turn twice.  Serve with a dipping sauce of: chopped shallot sauted in melted butter. Stir in  Apple butter, plain Greek Yogust, Dijon mustard Apple cider Vinegar,  salt and pepper.  This is my new favorite.  I will try this again with boneless, skinlees chicken strips.

The previous week I prepared a Panko crusted salmon.  The crust is Panko, minced parsley,  grated  lemon zest. The fillets are brushed with a mixture of EVOO and Dijon mustard. Pat the Panko mixture and saute  on bottom side. Finish in oven at 425 degrees for 5-7 minutes.

The last dish is a Warm French Lentil Salad.  The recipe had one error in it and the first mixture needed to be dumped.. One sliced leek and one diced carrot are sauted in EVOO..  Add minced garlic, cook 1 minute and set aside.  The recipe calls for French Green lentils, not sure why they are different except they are smaller.  Simmer the lentils in water and add a whole onion studded with cloves and half a turnip. lower heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are almost tender.  Remove onion and turnip.  Drain and toss with cooked lentils.  Dressing is EVOO, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, S&P.  Mix and serve warm.  Excellent.

I hope not to get so far behind again, however,  I plan ton keep up.  Stay tuned to the next weeks.  I have some graeat meals planned. Stay tuned.. I do take requests  for recipes.