Friday, November 27, 2009

The ThanksGiving Results

Well, our questionnable cut of lamb turned out good if a bit overcooked by me. After rubbing it with chopped rosemary, crushed garlic, fresh ground pepper, and olive oil, I trussed it tighter than Scarlett O'Hara's corset and roasted it at 450 for 30-40 min. Next time I will start at 450 for 20 minutes, then reduce to 350 for a little more so I achieve the med-rare I was hoping for. It was accompanied by amazing spinach artichoke casserole (to be re-posted at another time when I get the recipe), holiday favorite green bean casserole, and roasted root vegetables. The sauce for our lamb was a port reduction with lamb stock and rosemary.

A few photos were taken before we attacked everything, and I managed to get the pumpkin bread pudding dessert (thanks again Kitchen Witch!), which turned out just delicious. I think that concept could be applied in a french toast setting too, I might try that soon.

Though we lacked a turkey, I feel the Wild Turkey that I laced the dessert's icing with was sufficient to ease our pain.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Plans THWARTED

I think I've been had. I'm pretty sure my comedic buddies of no habla ingles at the carniceria have provided me part of a shoulder and ribs of a lamb. along with a tib/fib that yielded almost no meat.

I had a helluva time getting the bones out and I'm worried it might already be disaster.

Thanksgiving Plans

My family has a tradition of cooking Duck a l'Orange for Thanksgiving, but since this is the first year I can remember when I'm not working the last Thursday in November, Rick and I decided to do our own. Here's the plan, and afterwards I'll post the (hopefully non-disastrous and non-food-poisoning) results.

First, leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic, served with a port wine rosemary sauce. The rosemary I planted in our front yard is sourced from Jesus's own garden and actually almost smells like dark chocolate to me. Being from Jesus's rootstock, I think it's appropriate for the lamb.

On the side will be a spinach-artichoke casserole, roasted root vegetables, and something else.

For the dessert, I found this recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding (thanks Kitchen Witch! Hopefully it doesn't make us behave like grumpy old men!) which I plan to top with icing laced with whiskey.
borrego (illustration by 6 yr old me)

The interesting part is the lamb, which I bought from the carniceria where the butchers no habla inglese, so I searched lamb on the interwebs and asked them for la pierna de cordero, except I said cordoro, and additionally Rick says I sound like an Italian mobster when I try to speak Spanish. Too much accent. In any case, they understood me (after me and 3 butchers made sure I said "lamb" and not "ham") and gave me borrego. I'm also pretty sure they gave me some insults, judging by the laughter and joking amongst the butchers. But hey, 7 lbs of bone-in for $15? Plus a bag of produce for $4? I'll weather the embarrassment being laughed at, if in fact I was.

According to another interweb check, borrego is yearling lamb or maybe just sheep. So my move to be all support-your-local-butcher-austin-granola-extra-crunchy may actually lead to some tough chews, but hopefully not. Now to debone a leg and make my own stock!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rainy Day Ravioli

Weather's drizzly here and Rick's got a busy important new job so I decided to do something I'd been planning for weeks: make a bunch of fresh ravioli and freeze it for dinners. I wasn't exactly the barefoot contessa at this, but I was barefoot, with quite a nice pedicure.

I started with the plan of mushroom ravioli, but ended up doing some butternut squash ravioli too. And then I went crazy and made walnut pate and put that in ravioli too!

I won't go through the pasta recipe--that can be found on my very first post. But for the mushrooms, I threw 16 oz of fresh shrooms in the processor and then sauteed them down to about 2.5 cups (seasoned with fresh garlic also and a dash of balsamic vinegar).

Next time, I think I will roast the mushrooms first, because they ended up being soggy and having to cook down for a while.

For the butternut squash filling, I roasted a split squash at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, then scooped it into the processor and pureed it with more fresh garlic.

My favorite was the walnut pate-- toasted walnuts, olive oil, a spoonful of cooked mushrooms, and fresh garlic. Salt and some parlsey and...vegetarian gourmet!A fantastic appetizer on toasted baguette. Almost too good to put into ravioli. Almost too good to let anyone else share...but I started to get really bad garlic breath after eating these four myself, so it went into the ravs.

First I laid pieces of flat pasta down, spooned the filling on them, and sealed them closed before cutting them with a pizza slicer (into the squares at top, the ones in front of the toes).

But that wasn't as pretty as cookie-cutter-ing circles and then sealing them up.
Let me just note here that in my opinion, dogs in the kitchen mean the food will taste better. I realize the health department doesn't always agree with me on this, but what do they know?

Then, following advice from a recent article I read, I let them chill in the freezer for ~15 minutes before throwing them in a bag. I meant to do 4 bags, but 2 seemed like enough and that gave me leftover pasta dough.

This hermetically sealed bag was closed with the advanced technology I call "Close the bag most of the way and then suck the air out with your mouth."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New England Vacation

We enjoyed a very long holiday seeing Manhattan, upstate New York, then traveling to Portland Maine and down the coast through Portsmouth, Salem, Hyannis Port, Newport (RI), then back through Long Island before heading home. The foliage was great, the towns lovely, the history a little lacking, and the food expensive. Here's half the total photos capturing a fraction of our fun.