I think this is the second time I’ve ever made lamb. This was really good!
4 lbs lamb breast, separated into two pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, basil)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
- Whisk olive oil, salt, cumin, black pepper, dried Italian herbs, cinnamon, coriander, and paprika in a large bowl until combined.
- Coat each lamb breasts in the olive oil and spice mixture and transfer to a roasting pan, fat side up.
- Tightly cover roasting pan with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, about 2 hours.
- Remove lamb from oven and cut into four pieces.
- Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place lamb pieces on it. Brush the tops of each piece with fat drippings from the roasting pan.
- Bake lamb until meat is browned and edges are crispy, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine chopped parsley, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, garlic, honey, red pepper flakes, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Increase the oven’s broiler to high and brown lamb for 4 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Serve lamb topped with parsley and vinegar sauce.
Mushroom Mashed Potatoes
6 yukon or red potatoes, quartered
3 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sour cream
Boil potatoes until soft, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute onions and mushrooms until tender.
Mash with a potato masher (or bottom of a drinking glass).
Add onions, mushrooms and remaining ingredients and stir into mashed potatoes.
Garlic Green Beans
Good, but was missing something. Next time I think I’ll add sliced almonds or something.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb green beans, trimmed
2 cloves garlic, sliced salt, to taste
Blanch the green beans: Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add green beans. Cook green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain and run cold water over the beans.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic. Once garlic is fragrant, add the beans and salt and saute.
Noah recently bought a cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe. It’s really cool – they test out all the factors that go into making each dish and share with you their process and results. For example when making chocolate chip cookies, they test how brown sugar vs white sugar affected the taste and texture, along with different ratios of ingredients, what type of baking sheets work best, etc. They even sometimes test out various brands of butter or some other ingredient.
Anyway, we’ve used a few of their recipes since, and last Friday Noah fried up some wonderfully crisp and light catfish using our new cookbook. It was really good, but we did think it was a bit wasteful. You end up using a lot of oil and flour, but maybe it was worth it?
The weekend before we had invited some friends over for a clambake (also using the cookbook, but we thought the recipe was just ok), and I used the leftover juices to make a soup.
Pan Fried Catfish
To minimize splatters and maximize safety, use a Dutch oven with sides at least 5 inches high (instead of a regular skillet) when frying the fish.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
- 2 catfish fillets (about 12 oz each), skin and dark fatty flesh just below the skin removed, fillets cut in half lengthwise
- lemon wedges
1. Place 1/2 cup of the flour in a wide, shallow dish. In another wide, shallow dish, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and the cayenne. In a third shallow dish, whisk the eggs with 1 tbsp of the oil until combined.
2. Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper to taste. Drop the fish into the flour and shake the dish to coat. Shake the excess flour from each piece, then, using tongs, dip the fillets into the egg mixture, turning to coat well and allowing the excess to drip off. Coat the fillets with the cornmeal mixture, shake off the excess and set aside.
3. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 400 degrees. (The oil should not smoke, but it will come close.) Place 2 catfish fillets in the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 mins. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil between 385-390 degrees. Remove the fillets from the oil with a slotted spoon and lay them on a plate lined with several layers of paper towels; blot to remove any excess oil. Set aside. Bring the oil back to 400 degrees and repeat the cooking process with the remaining fillets.
4. Serve the fried fish immediately with either lemon wedges or dipping sauce.
Ok, so this isn’t really a recipe, but it was my first time making soup from leftover broth. Basically, add whatever you want, but make sure there’s enough liquid to boil everything.
I had about a cup of clam broth leftover, so I added 1 cup of chicken broth and boiled some diced potatoes and leftover shredded carrots. Before serving, I topped it with sliced scallions. It was super good!
When it comes to deciding what to cook, lately I have been absolutely out of ideas. So, last Friday, I decided to make what I thought the husband would enjoy, and shepherd’s pie came to mind. When Noah saw all the potatoes, he got his hopes up that I was going to make latkes, but in the end, both of us were pleasantly surprised at how soothing and perfect the shepherd’s pie turned out. I also added mushrooms to the mashed potatoes, which I wholeheartedly recommend!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 large celery, chopped
- 1 pound ground lamb (or substitute half with another ground meat)
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry rosemary
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 pounds yukon potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3/4 cup mushrooms, quartered
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, celery and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour the mixture into a pie pan or other dish; set aside.
5. Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain.
6. Mash the potatoes with the butter, mushrooms, milk, sour cream and salt.
7. Spread them over the meat mixture.
8. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
I’ve been reading the book Four Fish (subtitled “The Future of the Last Wild Food”) by Paul Greenberg, which gives a history of salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna and of course details the environmental aspect of eating, fishing and farming all of them. As someone who loves fish and the ocean, I actually find it riveting. It really makes me wish I stayed an extra quarter to get that minor in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Perhaps that teeny credential would have come in handy now as I contemplate switching careers in the veeery long term future. I just finished reading the section on sea bass, and the author describes the delicate, white, tender flaky meat of sea bass to explain why it’s so popular. Did you know sea bass has many names, which if you live in New York City, you most likely have seen: branzino, loup de mer, bar, spigola. My mouth immediately began to water, and I continued reading as he details the highly complicated human engineering that goes on in the farming of sea bass, as well as the accompanying pollution and disease. He achieved his intent of making me feel guilty for wanting sea bass. But, then in the last few pages of the chapter, he mentioned a new kind of sea bass whose natural biology is conducive to being farmed, and therefore it’s sustainable and not detrimental to the environment — that sea bass is called Barramundi! Naturally, this would be my next meal.
I headed over to the Lobster Place, where I knew for sure they must have this Barramundi. Sure enough, they even had Barramundi from the same “farm” in Turner Falls, MA where the author had done his research. I had intended to buy a filet or two, but the whole fish was 1/2 the price (per pound), so I got that instead. The entire fish wouldn’t fit in the pan, so I tried and then Noah succeeded in chopping off the fish heads (sorry to you sensitive readers out there, but this is just how your food gets to the plate).
I proceeded then to adapt this recipe for Barramundi. The recipe has you make a sweet potato puree and brussel sprout chips (from each leaf), but I opted for the easier task of simply chopping and roasting them together. I also made the vinaigrette called for in the recipe, but I think the fish tastes great simply just pan fried with salt and pepper. So, I saved the vinaigrette for a future salad. Also, during this adventure, I learned how to beautifully pan fry a whole fish – so easy and so delicious! The skin is so yummy and crisp.
Pan Fried Barramundi
2 barramundi fish, cleaned (or 4 5-6 oz filets)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts
salt + pepper
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes. Cut brussel sprouts in halves. Quarter and slice sweet potato into 1/2 inch pieces. Combine vegetables in baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vingegar, salt, pepper, dried rosemary and thyme. Mix to combine. Arrange brussel sprouts with cut side down. Bake in oven for 30-35 mins.
We used the rest of our ingredients from the Irish stew to make Boeuf Bourguignon in our slow cooker. I was out that morning, and Noah stayed home sick again, so he was in charge of assembling the ingredients. Not to point any fingers, but someone mistook our corn starch for flour, so our stew had a lot of… gooey clumps on the bottom. I also don’t think the recipe was quite right – the wine didn’t quite infuse with the rest of the flavors and it tasted like beef stew with some wine dumped in. I am not a fan of this recipe. But, then again, we didn’t quite follow the recipe entirely. Beef and Guinness stew ingredients differ slightly from Boeuf Bourguignon, so that may have been the problem.
This was the pretty picture of the weird-tasting stew:
The following Wednesday night, we brought out our slow cooker for the first time this year. I had found a recipe for “Beef and Guinness Stew” in The Gourmet Slow Cooker that my friend Jenn had given us as a wedding present. It instantly made me think of the Irish stew I had eaten on my first night in Ireland, sitting inside a slightly deserted Irish pub while I also had my first ever Harp and Guinness. All of which was so pleasing and satisfying on a cold, rainy night.
This concoction was not exactly what I had envisioned, but it was still good nonetheless. I did some research after the fact, and this “Beef and Guinness Stew” is not a true Irish stew. Apparently, in an Irish stew you never brown the meat. And, in this recipe the meat is browned. I’m not sure how much of a difference it makes, but next time, maybe I’ll see what happens without the browning of meat.
Since I was leaving the house extremely early at around 7:15 that morning, I pre-chopped all the veggies and also floured the beef the night before and stored it all in the fridge.
3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 1/2 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into cubes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1-2 sprigs thyme (I used dried thyme from our spice rack)
2 cups Guinness or other dark, hearty beer (I actually used one of Noah’s home-brewed ales)
1 tsp salt
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Using a resealable plastic bag or bowl, coat beef pieces with flour.
2. Brown the meat with the oil until browned on all sides. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
3. Place beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and thyme in the slow cooker and pour the beer over the top. (If you prefer the veggies with more texture, let the stew cook for 1 hour before adding them.) Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat is very tender. Season with salt. Remove and discard the thyme.
4. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley.
I think the beef was a little overdone, and it definitely needs the addition of lots of salt, but still a great dish. Oh, and I also added some mushrooms during the last hour of cooking. We served this with some multi-grain baguette from Whole Foods and shared our meal with wonderful neighbors Grace & Elby.
Wow, October is practically gone! I’ve been cooking and taking pictures, but sadly, not posting a single thing. So, here is the first of many belated posts.
The first half of this month I had a hankering for lots of red meat. So, week 1’s meals were all made with hanger steak.
Here is our oh-so-simple meal of steak and potatoes.
Noah seared the hanger steak and seasoned with just salt and pepper.
I made some baked potatoes (wash, poke holes with a fork, rub with olive oil and salt, cover in foil & bake for 60 mins at 350). We topped it with onions, white cheddar, butter, s & p.
And then we had some regular old salad on the side, with some really old dressing that tasted a little… well, old. Oh, and Noah fried up a tomato real quick. YUM! (aside from the old dressing)