Lamb Stew

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Do you like lamb? I’ve found that lots of people I know don’t like lamb. Although, I would definitely choose a fish dish over lamb chops at a restaurant, I actually crave this stew at least once a month in the winter and spring. The tang from the olives and the sweet, roastyness from the red bells perfectly compliment the slightly gamey shredded lamb.  Mmmmm. Before I was glutenless, I would serve this with Israeli couscous and a side salad. Now, the gluten free Barilla penne will have to do. 

  
Lamb Stew

  • 2 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBS corn starch slurry (2TBS corn starch and 2TBS water mixed)
  • 1/2 cup pimento green olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup red bell pepper, roasted and sliced
  • 1 TBS parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 TBS oil until shimmering. Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to pan in batches. Do not over crowd. You want to wear all sides to a pretty golden brown. Remove to a plate and continue until all the lamb is browned. 

Add onions, celery and carrots to pan and turn down a bit. Cook until tender. Add tomato paste and cook until paste is slightly browned. Add wine and deglaze, scraping up brown bits. Stir constantly until wine is evaporated. Add water and bring to boil. Add lamb and any juices from the plate. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until lamb is fork tender. (Be sure to check the pot after about 2 hours and every half hour after. Add more water if it’s starting to get too dry)

Shred the lamb. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil on the stovetop to thicken (stir, stir, stir). Add olives, pepper and any addition salt and/or pepper to taste. 

Serve over favorite noodles or Israeli couscous. Sprinkle with parsley. 

Enjoy!!

Eggs in a Spinach Nest

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Make this! Make it just for yourself or make it for a family gathering. It is so delicious and comforting and simple and lovely. It says “spring time” on your plate and delivers sunshine to your belly. 

  
Eggs in a Spinach Nest (adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen)

• 12 eggs

• 2 lbs fresh spinach

• 1 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced

• 8 roasted garlic cloves in oil

• 1 shallot, sliced thin

• 4 TBSP unsalted butter

• 1 cup heavy cream

• a pinch of salt

• 1/4 cup grated parmesean 

Add a bit of olive oil to a large frying pan. Heat and add half of your spinach and wilt, about 30 seconds. Add the rest of your spinach and wilt again.  Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Then chop.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in frying pan and cook shallots and mushrooms until soft. Stir in cream, salt, and chopped spinach. Remove from heat and place in 9×13 baking dish. Stir in parmesean.  (You can cover and put this in the fridge to cook the next morning or go ahead to the next step if you’re eating it today.)

Make 12 wells in the spinach/mushroom mixture. You’ll crack each egg into each well. 

Straight from SmittenKitchen: When you’re ready to bake the dish, or about 30 minutes before serving, put oven rack in upper third of oven and heat oven to 450°F. Crack an egg into each well. Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still runny. Takes anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. The range is long due to different ovens and baking vessels. It’s better to have to check more often than to let them overcook.

[Cooking note: It is nearly impossible to get all 12 eggs to cook evenly. The ones in the center will be more runny; at the edges, they’ll be more firm. But don’t fret. I’ve found that almost all people have an egg preference (more runny vs. more firm) and each egg manages to find the right home. Just ask people their preference as you serve them.]

Remove dish from oven, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, plus grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Everyone loved this one!!

Gluten-free Breakfast

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I think the worst thing about trying to be gluten-free is breakfast options. I was a pastry every day girl. Now? Well, now it takes a bit more effort. But in truth, it’s delicious. Like cold cuts, pickles and hard boiled eggs. Or yogurt with granola and chocolate sprinkles. But this has to be my favorite concoction. It’s a little like chiliquiles and huevos rancheros. It’s super satisfying both in taste and texture and is so darn delicious even my gluten-full family members love it!   

 Gluten-free Cal-Mex Breakfast

  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 1 egg, fried
  • 1 slice of bacon, fried and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans, heated
  • 1/2 zucchini sliced and cooked with a bit of cumin and olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • A dollop of salsa
  • Chopped cilantro

Tear apart the corn tortilla and put on the bottom of a plate. Add beans then bacon then zucchini. Top with your fried egg then salsa and avocado and cilantro. 

Enjoy!!

 

A trip to Germany Inspires

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i just got back from an extremely spontaneous and short trip to Berlin. It was amazing! 

While there, we ate at two really great restaurants, Hasir (Turkish) and Schogl’s (German). I loved every bite. 

Now that I’m back, I wanted to share that yumminess with my family (really, I had to recreate the deliciousness before my needy stomach put me back on a plane for more!)

Here’s what I ate in Germany 

  Amazing Turkish meal at Hasir in Berlin.   
This crazy smorgasbord of schnitzel, sausage, fried meatballs, and currywurst. 

 I was so sad I couldn’t finish every bite. 
 
One day soon, I’ll try to make all the amazing Turkish dishes (there were 12 not including the grilled meats that came next). But this time, I just tried to tackle the lamb meatballs in sauce, taziki and roasted eggplant with yogurt and tomato salad. The meatballs were spot on. I’m still working on the eggplant. How do they get that warm yogurt so fluffy?

   
 Turkish Lamb Meatballs

1 pound ground lamb 

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 medium onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint 

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Mix bread and egg together in a small bowl to soften the bread. In a large bowl, combine the lamb, onion, mint, cumin, salt, pepper and allspice. Mix with your hands until well combined. Then add in the egg and bread and mix thoroughly again. Shape meat into walnut size balls. Put olive oil into a large frying pan and put in meatballs. Brown on one side and then the other, then remove from the pan and put on a plate. Reserve drippings for sauce.
Sauce for Meatballs

1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes. 

1/2 medium onion chopped fine

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

2 Teaspoons sugar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Reheat the drippings in the skillet and add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, sugar and allspice to the pan, mixing thoroughly. Taste for sweet sour balance adding more sugar if necessary. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan. Blend about 3/4 of the sauce. Return to pan and add the meatballs. Simmer slightly covered on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes. 
Eat with lavash and taziki. 

Taziki

A couple scoops of Greek yogurt

A squeeze of lemon

Sliced cucumber

Fresh mint

Salt

Mix together and season with salt to taste. 

So, I didn’t try to fry a whole bunch of meats for our German meal recreation. Although, my hubby would’ve loved that!! Instead, I went for just the currywurst. How the heck haven’t I had that before??

Currywurst (a better looking recipe is here but I haven’t tried it yet. Mine is made up)

1/4 cup Catsup

2-3 tsp Curry powder

A few dashes of Worcestershire

Mix together, heat and douse over bratwurst. Serve with pan fried potatoes, sauerkraut and pickled beets. 

  
Yum. Yum. Yum. 

Pho – the easy peasey non-authentic but hecka good kind

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i have been cooking a ton lately and was looking through pics realizing that I haven’t been archiving some major successes. 

The deluge of recipes are coming. 

This one is perfect for this time of year. It’s freshness matches the first blushes of spring but the warm broth and hearty meat keep you cozy on our still cold nights. And it’s a perfect weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy – especially the kids because it’s all about making it your own. 

Pho

* 1 1/2 box of beef broth (or 6 cups of beef bone broth if you’ve got some in your freezer)

* 1/2 lb of rib eye or strip or any other easily sliced beef (bonus if you can get your butcher to thinly slice it for you)

* 2 limes

* 2 TBSP fish sauce

* 2 TBSP soy sauce, plus more on the table for garnish

* jalapeño sliced

* bean sprouts

* basil leaves

* cilantro

* sriracha

* 1 package of thin rice noodles

Being the broth to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the packaged instructions. Add the fish sauce, soy and squeeze of lime to taste. Turn off the heat and add the meat. The meat will cook in the hot soup. 

Assemble all the other ingredients on your table and serve the soup in bowls. 

Slurp and enjoy. 

  

Mom’s Pancit

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This turned out so good that my Filippino husband said it tastes just like Mom’s. So, of course I had to post it. 

If it’s your birthday or new year, it’s tradition to eat long noodles for a long life. And if you’ve been to any Filippino family gatherings, pancit is a staple. 

  
It’s one of those dishes that tastes so good and comforting and is amazing as leftovers. Omit the baby shrimp if you have any allergies. 

Mom’s Pancit

* 1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut on the bias in bite sized pieces

* 2 celery sticks, sliced

* 2 carrots, julienned 

* a handful of green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half

* 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

* 1 small onion, sliced

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 package of rice noodle

* 1 box of chicken broth (or homemade) 3 cups

* soy sauce

* salt and pepper

* lemon

Sauté garlic, onion until fragrant. Add chicken and veggies (carrots, celery, green beans, cabbage) and cook until just tender. 

You can use a separate pan or remove the veggies and chicken and add the stock. Boil then cook the noodles in chicken stock until just tender. Drain. Then add soy sauce, salt, pepper to taste.  Then mix it all together gently so you don’t break your noodles.

Add baby shrimp if you like. Serve with lemon wedges. 

Eat for days. 

Mom’s Pancit

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This turned out so good that my Filippino husband said it tastes just like Mom’s. So, of course I had to post it. 

If it’s your birthday or new year, it’s tradition to eat long noodles for a long life. And if you’ve been to any Filippino family gatherings, pancit is a staple. 

  
It’s one of those dishes that tastes so good and comforting and is amazing as leftovers. Omit the baby shrimp if you have any allergies. 

Mom’s Pancit

* 1 boneless skinless chicken breast cut on the bias in bite sized pieces

* 2 celery sticks, sliced

* 2 carrots, julienned 

* a handful of green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half

* 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped

* 1 small onion, sliced

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* 1 package of rice noodle

* 1 box of chicken broth (or homemade) 3 cups

* soy sauce

* salt and pepper

* lemon

Sauté garlic, onion until fragrant. Add chicken and veggies (carrots, celery, green beans, cabbage) and cook until just tender. 

You can use a separate pan or remove the veggies and chicken and add the stock. Boil then cook the noodles in chicken stock until just tender. Drain. Then add soy sauce, salt, pepper to taste.  Then mix it all together gently so you don’t break your noodles.

Add baby shrimp if you like. Serve with lemon wedges. 

Eat for days. 

Sir Wraps-a-lot

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I am craving one of these sooo bad! I’ve been gluten-free all month and it’s wraps and morning pastries that I miss the most. The gluten-free thing isn’t going as good as I hoped. I am trying it for better joint health but have felt no improvement. I think I’ll try adding more gelatin to my diet next. But while doing this, I have definitely started some great non-bread and pasta habit that I’ll try to keep. But the minute I decide to add more gluten, I’m having a wrap. 

I usually pick up a package of lavash and just have it around to make leftover wraps. It is one of my favorite ways to recreate leftovers. All you need is a spread (hummus, pesto and hummus, cream cheese, dressing, anything really), some greens (I love spinach, arugula or super greens), a cheese (feta or goat are preferred), a meat (steak, turkey, chicken, tofu) and addition fun stuff (peppers, avocado, cucumbers, red onion, cranberry sauce). 

This one was a great use of leftover turkey dinner. 

Let me know what are your favorite combinations. 

   
 

Sunday Browns

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One of my absolute favorite one pan breakfasts – this is Sunday Browns. Not only is it delicious and filling, its a great way to clean out the fridge of leftovers or those last 5 cherry tomatoes. 

All you need are potatoes, onions and eggs as your base. Then get creative. I like to sauté my onions, add some peppers, potatoes and ham (or bacon or chicken or steak). After its all a bit brown, add greens, tomatoes, herbs. 

Plop it in a bowl with a dallop of sauce (pesto, tomato, cheese) and then a fried egg. 

Yummmmm!! 

   

Cranberry and Pear Pie

This pie has become a Thanksgiving staple. It has even (gasp!) replaced my pumpkin pie. It’s the perfect amount of tart but not too sweet compliment to ending a rather filling meal. 

I know that it’s January but I didn’t get a chance to post this in November. I did see cranberries at the grocery store. If not for this month of gluten-free trials, I would be making this right now. Oh, and it’s delicious for breakfast the next day!

  
Cranberry and Pear Pie (recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

* 2 rolled-out rounds Pie crust

* 5-8 pears, peeled, cored and cut into slices 

* 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

* 1/4 cup  granulated sugar

* 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

* 1/4 tsp salt

* 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

* 1 tsp. grated orange zest

* 1/4 cup cornstarch

* 1 TBS Brandy

* 1 TBS grenadine (cherry or pomegranate)

* 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

* 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

* 2 tsp. turbinado sugar

Fit 1 dough round into a 9-inch pie dish and gently press into the dish. Trim the edges flush with the rim. Prebake for 10 mins with pie weights in a 400 degree oven. 

Using a ruler as a guide, cut 10 strips of dough of varying widths from the remaining dough round. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

   
    
 To prepare the filling, in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stir together the pears, the brown and granulated sugars, the cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, orange zest and cornstarch. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are just tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their ripeness. Uncover, stir in the brandy and grenadine and let cool to room temperature.

Stir the cranberries into the pear mixture and pour the filling into the prepared pie dish.

To create the lattice, lay 5 strips of dough spaced evenly apart on top of the pie filling. Fold back every other strip halfway and lay down a strip perpendicular across the unfolded strips. Repeat to place 5 strips of dough evenly across the top, folding back the alternate strips each time. Pinch the lattice strips onto the dough on the rim of the pie dish to make sure they bake together. Brush the lattice crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling has begun to bubble, 45 minutes to 1 hour; check the pie after 30 minutes and cover the top and edges with foil if they become too dark. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 2 1/2 hours before serving. Serves 8.