Lamb, Main Dishes, Recipes

Spring Lamb Stew

Spring Lamb Stew

Spring can be a bit unpredictable. Just last weekend it was 80 degrees in Brooklyn. Followed immediately by a blustery 50 degree day. The variability is actually one of my favorite parts of spring. It opens up a full spectrum of dishes to try. Some days it’s warm, and you feel like grilling. But on chillier evenings, you can still enjoy maybe your last bowl of soup until fall comes around.

Last year for Easter, I felt the need to make lamb. It’s just so traditional. Considering I’m not a huge fan of lamb, it’s not something I cook often, with the exception of my at least once-a-month lamb with peas rotational dish. I wasn’t about to invest in a while rack of lamb. There’s nothing worse than splurging on a fancy cut of meat, only to mess it up. I did not want to risk an overcooked lamb dish. So instead, my mind shifted to stew.

Like many braises, it’s a dish that can be cooked well in advance, letting you spend your evening with your guests, rather than holed up in the kitchen. Slow stewed lamb, crisp asparagus, tender carrots and fresh herbs come together in this spring-on-a-plate dish. True when I made this dish, it was too early for local asparagus, so I had to fudge things a bit. But any day now, we should see those tender stalks shooting up at farm stands. A perfect mother’s day supper, me thinks.

Spring Lamb Stew with Green Herbs (adapted from Cooking Light) Serves 6

  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 4 c chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 lb lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bottle fruity white wine (I used gewürztraminer)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • A few cranks of fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano, mixed together
  • 1/2 lb turnips, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and cut into 2-inch pieces

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic to pan and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Spoon onion mixture into a large bowl. Add half the lamb to the pan and saute until browned. Remove from pan and add to the onion mixture. Add the remaining lamb to the pan, brown and add to onion mixture.

Add wine to the pan, scrapping the pan to loosen the browned bits. Return lamb mixture to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add half the herb mixture and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and summer for 90 minutes, or until lamb is very tender.

Add turnips and carrots. Continue to simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add asparagus and cook until asparagus is bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining herb mixture. Serve aside roasted new potatoes and plenty of bread to soak up the sauce.

Cookies, Dessert, Recipes

Pignoli Cookies & the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Pignoli Cookies

I dare you to come up with something better than coming home after a long day of work and horrible commute to find cookies on your doorstep. This may be the season of giving, but I equally enjoy the giving AND getting part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. This brilliant (global!) blogger party is hosted by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. Each blogger is assigned three recipients to send cookies to (no communication pre-cookies! Bake a dozen and send them off then one day in the not so far future–*BAM!* cookies on your doorstep. I was super excited to participate in my 2nd cookie swap, though this year was a bit different as it was my first time baking gluten-free.

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Recipes

Spooktastic Halloween Recipe Ideas

 

Happy Halloween (12)Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. I guess it still is, but I feel like holidays have taken a backseat to my crazy, disorganized life lately. Can you believe Christmas is in 2 months? Thanksgiving even sooner? And what’s up with Hanukkah being pre-turkey day? Weird…

In our new apartment, Halloween is being downgraded. No decorations–not sure what box they’re in. Maybe a few spooky cupcakes, if I can find the right tools. At the very least, there will be some holiday cartoon specials going on. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Any takers? Though just because moving has interrupted my holiday, doesn’t mean you all need to suffer. Below are some of my favorite Halloween recipes I’ve come across this year. Some are super tasty, others just too cute to pass up. So take a look, find your favorites, cook and share so I can live viciously through others’ celebrations. Boo!

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Menu Ideas

The Holiday Shuffle

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I always knew getting married would mean compromises, especially when it came to family.Ever since I was a little kid, missing Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter was a big no-no. Birthdays could be shifted around a bit, and long periods of non visiting were acceptable (particularly when I lived in Philly) but nothing was more important than celebrating with family on these three days. When I got married to, not my high school sweetheart, but still a friend from my hometown, I thought how great life was. Both sets of parents lived within 10 minutes of each other. There was no need to travel halfway across the country, decide whose parents were “more important” to visit for each holiday, then switch it up the next year. It was all well and good in theory, but not so much in practice. Instead of splitting and alternating like many couples, we double celebrate each holiday. That means two Christmases, two Easters and yes, two very filling Thanksgivings. Two food centric events on the same day.

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Cupcakes, Dessert, Recipes

The Ultimate Irish Dessert: Car Bomb Cupcakes

CarBombCupcake

By now you should be very familiar with Smitten Kitchen and her glorious Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. If not, you may be living under a rock or are not seeking enough creative ways to get your daily servings of booze. Both are unacceptable. I was first introduced to Smitten Kitchen and her boozy cupcakes at a friend’s St Patrick’s Day party. I’ve never done an Irish Car Bomb. After dropping in a shot of Jameson and Bailey’s, you need to quickly chug the beer before the Irish Cream curdles. Considering my idea of downing a beer still takes a good half hour, while others have already moved onto a second round, I don’t think the concept would work too well. Nevertheless, when my friend added cupcake to the end of the description, I was already in love.

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