Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Fry By Night Scheme

If you follow Joanne's tweets you'll know that frying can be a very dangerous ordeal. Perhaps that's why we never made our own fried chicken at home. That and the fact that fried foods tend to be a little unhealthy. Frying was absolutely reserved for latkes at Chanukkah.

Which is not to say we never had fried chicken. But when we did, it was the kind that came in a bucket and made with 11 magical herbs and spices.

I haven't lived at home in (mumble mumble mumble) years and in that time period I've experimented with many different kinds of fried chicken. Because all fried chicken is not created equal. For instance the fried chicken most of us are familiar with is the southern fried chicken - covered in gravy and served with biscuits. And those biscuits and gravy certainly make a wonderful day after breakfast.



But I also adore a beer battered fried chicken. Think fish and chips, but with chicken instead of yucky fish. This might be Thatboy's favorite type of fried chicken too. And probably the most unhealthy because this is a nice thick batter.



If you're not in the south, a lot of us Yankees add some breadcrumb into the flour coating for a nice crispy crust.



Since it's summer, it's the perfect time to experiment with different kinds of fried chicken. Picnic season, lunches on the beach, and no oven heating up your house. So what do you think, what's YOUR favorite type of fried chicken?




Southern Fried Chicken
4 pieces chicken (you can pick your favorite. I like breast, Thatboy likes drumsticks)
milk
a little over 1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
canola oil

  1. Rinse the chicken and dry thoroughly. You want the chicken as dry as possible. Put them in a pie pan and cover with milk. Refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a brown paper bag. Add the chicken and shake shake shake senora.
  3. Pour a 1/2 inch of oil into a skillet (cast iron would be best) and heat to 375.
  4. If you're cooking anything other than breasts, put them in first and put in the breasts 5 minutes after (dark meat takes longer to cook).
  5. Fry 25 minutes, turning often.
  6. Drain on paper towels before serving.


Beer Battered Chicken
1/2 cup flour
1 egg white
1/2 Tbsp melted butter
salt
1/4 cup beer
4 pieces chicken (see above recipe)
canola oil
  1. Combine flour, egg white, butter, salt and beer in a blender until smooth. Let batter stand for 4 hours to get nice and thick.
  2. Rinse and dry chicken pieces getting them as dry as possible.
  3. Pour 3 inches of oil into a skillet (cast iron would be best) and heat to 365.
  4. Dip the chicken in the batter and submerge in the oil.
  5. Fry 15 minutes.
  6. Drain on paper towels before serving.




Crumb Coated Chicken
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg white
4 pieces of chicken (pick your favorite parts)
canola oil
  1. Mix flour with salt and pepper and place on a shallow dish. Place bread crumbs on another shallow dish. Place the egg white in a shallow bowl with a tablespoon of water.
  2. Rinse and dry the chicken pieces, getting them as dry as possible. Roll the chicken in the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
  3. Pour a 1/2 inch of oil into a skillet (cast iron would be best) and heat to 365.
  4. Fry chicken for 20 minutes, turning often.
  5. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Loafin'



They say marriage is a partnership, but no one ever tells you it's a 50/50 deal. It's not. Inevitably one partner will be far more involved than another. But the thing about that is, this overachievement goes back and forth between the couple.

For us, it's been like that since the beginning. We take turns taking care of each other. Putting in the hard work, putting forth more effort into keeping the wheels turning.

The original plan for moving was for me to do some packing every night. "Don't worry about it!" I told Thatboy. "I'll just take one area at a time. We'll be done in no time." Except life, as usual got in the way. And somehow that " I'll pack every night" turned into " Both of us packing as much as possible on the weekend." And that was really "Thatboy packing as much as possible on the weekend" with "Thatgirl trying on every article of clothing she owned to see how funny it looked on her giant belly" and "Thatgirl looking through old pictures" and "Thatgirl playing with stuffed animals." Yep, I'll admit it, I totally slacked on my duties and Thatboy took care of the brunt of the work. With applomb.

So I've been trying to make up for it this week. I've spent all of my lunches running all over the county dropping off donations of computers, clothing, and books. I scheduled an appointment to take Thatdog in for his vaccinations. And I've even made one of Thatboy's favorite meals - meatloaf.

I'm not a huge meatloaf fan, but I'm trying to make this not so much about me. And meatloaf with mashed potatoes is one of Thatboy's favorites. (And not just any mashed potatoes, I make his favorite - which I don't think says much since last time we had dinner with his parents where mashed potatoes were served I saw a giant box of instant flakes beside the stove.) Like most of my meatloaves I used a mixture of meat. I like the beef for flavor, and the veal and pork for a little extra moisture/fat. The red bell pepper was a last minute addition - and really it was more about color than anything else. I thought it would add some sweetness, maybe it did, but not noticeably so.

But then again, I'm so sweet, it's hard for any meal to compare.


Red Pepper Meat Loaf
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Press into a loaf pan and cover. Bake 40 minutes.
  3. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Curried Away



Happy Monday everybody! Check me out - actually remembering Monday! And this was a busy one. I spent my lunch running about doing some errands, ended up working later than I was expecting, which was especially devastating because Thatboy ended up getting out of work early. Of course that kind of stuff always happens, doesn't it?

This week on Eat.Live.Be. we're discussing our tips and tricks for when we're "too tired."




Today I'm in a really good mood, not tired. Maybe because it's the beginning of the week? Who knows. Which is not to say I never get tired. And some days are worse than others. Honestly, this is one of the reasons I run in the morning. Because frankly, by the time I get home the LAST thing I want to do is work out. Because I'm tired. In the morning, I have to get up to walk Thatdog anyway, so there's really no option. I guess that's solution number 1 - get a dog. No no no, I'm just joking about that. Really it's find a schedule that works for you.

But for the past few months I've been working out after work too - when I can get home before Thatboy. And that's where solution 2 comes in - find an easy alternate. For me, that's my prenatal pilates video. It's in 10 minute segments. Even if I don't want to work out. Even if I don't want to go to the gym, it's not hard to convince myself to stick in a 10 minute workout.

Solution 3 is all about cooking. In generally, I try to keep weeknight meals easy - 20 minutes or less. Unfortunately, I'm not always great about remembering to prep some of my meals. Which means very often I realize that I have not soaked my beans right about the time I want to make a dish with beans. So I always have a backup in the freezer. Which is very helpful except right around the time we're moving.

This is a very quick curry meal for when you're too tired to cook. I made it with lamb, but as usual, you can easily use it with any cooked meat or leftovers you have on hand. Ready in under 20 minutes!



Curried Lamb with Apple
1 chopped onion
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup cooked lamb
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tsp curry powder
1 apple peeled and sliced
1/2 Tbsp raisins
salt and pepper
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the onions until they are translucent.
  2. Add the lamb and sprinkle flour over all.
  3. Add the broth, stirring until thick.
  4. Add the curry, apples, raisins, salt and pepper and cover. Simmer about 8 minutes, until the apples are tender.
Don't forget to check in with the other bloggers:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Burger Frites



I spent the day today cleaning out the freezer, the fridge, and the pantry. Everything went into 3 categories: Will be used this week, too precious not to move, and trash/donation (I guess technically that makes four categories huh?).

In order not to be too wasteful, I tried to use up as much foodstuff as I could. For instance, I pre-make baking mix to keep on hand. Cheaper and easier than bisquick (and I feel better using it). But really, I'm not going to move a bag of flour and baking soda (etc.). And I can't really donate a big bag of white stuff anywhere. So this morning we had pancakes for breakfast, and then I used the remaining mix to make biscuits we could use in place of bread with our dinners this week.

Cleaning out the freezer revealed some frozen pie dough, which I used to make a quiche for lunch this week (and an excellent way to use up some broccoli, turnip, spinach, and mushrooms I had that were also not going to get moved). And then a pie (filled with cherries and peaches - also probably not worth moving. Although I could probably finish all our fruit fairly easily).

The freezer also revealed a bag of frozen french fries. Between you and I, I don't even know how old this bag of fries is, but I can guarantee they're not recent. I know this, because I used to purposely keep frozen bags of fries for when I was drunk and snacky. Much safer than trying to cut my own potatoes. And the last time I was drunk was in January.

Fries are usually easy to use up. They go with just about anything, right? I especially love premade fries or leftover fries for steak frites. I like homemade ones better as a side dish. But we're all out of steak. We did have some ground beef in the freezer, and burger is really just ground up steak anyway, right? So why take your typical burger and fries and reinvent it as steak frites? I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this twist, and I know I won't be the last to enjoy it.



Burger Frites
1 lb ground beef
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup sour cream
Your favorite french fries of choice
  1. Combine beef, salt and pepper, lemon juice and egg and form into 6 small paties
  2. Melt butter in a skillet and brown the patties on each side.
  3. Remove the patties from the skillet and remove the skillet from the heat. Whisk the sour cream into the dripping and re-heat without boiling.
  4. Place the patties on your french fries and pour the sauce over.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Lazarus Rice Cooker



I have a deep, dark, kitchen secret. I probably have more than one, but the one I'm referring to is my complete inability to cook rice. I'm not sure what it is about it, not that it's that difficult, but it either comes out a soupy mess or it burns to the pot.

When Thatboy and I were married, we registered for a life-changing device. (Other than the Kitchenaid, of course). I'm talking about a rice cooker. This thing is a godsend. I honestly can't mess up rice in this thing. Not only that, but it also works as a steamer and a slow cooker. (I did say it was life changing.) I haven't messed up rice in almost 5 years!

About a month ago, I went to make rice for dinner. I poured in the rice, the water, and plugged in the rice cooker. Nothing. No helpful light, no indication that the thing was on. I was devastated. I mean, for electronics 5 years is a good stretch, but how on earth was I going to survive if I have to make rice on my own?

Given the move, I put the rice cooker up on a high shelf with plans to dump it before our move. And then, since most of our other appliances were already packed, last week I decided to give it one last go before bidding a fond farewell. And you'll never guess what happened. That's right - lights, action, rice cooking!

I can't even begin to tell you how much this made my night, my week, and obviously, my dinner. Which meant today I had to find a box to put the rice cooker in, but well worth it. I'm sure you'll agree.


Lamb and Rice Casserole
1 cup cooked lamb
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp onion, diced
1/4 cup chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup cracker crumbs (I'm really into the all bran crackers right now, but you use what you like)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Combine the lamb, rice, onion, chicken broth and lemon juice in a bowl.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Place in casserole.
  3. Combine the melted butter and cracker crumbs and sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Service for Two



I think I've mentioned before that Thatboy LOVES when I make pot pie. It's not the most healthiest dish ever, and as anyone who has ever made pie or quiche before knows a pie feeds a lot more than 2 people.

The solution to this growing up was Stouffer's individual pot pies. But those are even worse in terms of healthiness.

Now that I'm older, wiser, and more experienced in the kitchen I've come up with some of my own solutions. Which are healthier than frozen meals, even if it's not going to show up on any Weight Watcher Meal Plans. For a long time I made my own individual pot pies. This works especially well if you have biscuit dough on hand. Simply pour the filling into large ramekins/small bowls and place the biscuit dough on top and bake.

I like this solution because it also cuts down on the amount of dough. I mean really, do you NEED the bottom crust? Thatboy however finds the biscuit version to be less slightly satisfying. He really likes the pie crust aspect of pot pie.

Which brings me to my mini-pot-pie, or pot-pie for two. I make it in a teeny little casserole dish. Really, this still serves more than two, but not too much more. Meaning there isn't pot pie for days. I can still get away with only putting on a top crust because it uses my all time favorite pie crust recipe. Flakey, buttery, nothing for Thatboy to complain about.


Pot Pie for Two
3/4 lb steak, chicken, turkey, or meat of choice, in chunks
1/4 cup sliced onions
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig parsley
3 crushed peppercorns
dash of mace
3 Tbsp pancetta
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
pie crust dough
  1. Place the meat, onions, carrots, bay leaf, parsley, peppercorns, and mace in a pot and cover with cold water. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Remove the meat and boil down the broth until about 3/4 of a cup is left. Strain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425. In a skillet, melt the butter and blend in the flour. Slowly add the strained broth and stir until thickened.
  4. Add the meat and pancetta and simmer 5 minutes. Pour into a 1 qt casserole.
  5. Cover with the pie crust dough. Cut vents in the crust and bake about 20 minutes until golden.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Macaroni



Last night when I sat down to post a new entry I was honestly pretty excited that I'd been able to get in 3 days in a row. That's A LOT of free time my friends. Free time which seems to be a luxury right now. Speaking of - hang on a sec while I go and throw another load in the washer.

Okay, back. Anyway, as I was saying, I was so excited about having a moment to myself that I COMPLETELY forgot that it was a Monday. I know - who forgets Mondays? Mondays are the days you dread. When you have to get up early and spend a whole day at work after having the weekend to spend however you want.

Mondays mean Eat.Live.Be..



I know it's Tuesday. Heck, in some parts of the world it's Wednesday already! But enough about days of the week, unless you're Rebecca Black I have a pretty good feeling most of you know what day comes after what. And I have an even better feeling that you'll forgive me for posting a day late. This week we're discussing wake up calls. What brought you to the light?

For me, there were a lot of "wake up moments" that I just didn't see. Or I saw, and I ignored. They say that it's difficult to train a dog to stay out of the trash because it's a self-rewarding behavior. Unhealthy behaviors can be self-rewarding too. When I was throwing up outside the gym in bushes it should have been a wake-up call. But it wasn't. Because my unhealthy behaviors also made me feel like I had control over my life, my body, and myself.

I wish I could point to a moment of revelation, a wake up call, but I can't. At one point I just decided that this wasn't good for me and I needed to scale back. And frankly, maybe it's because I'm missing that moment that it's a constant, almost daily struggle. Picking good behaviors over bad isn't easy, and it's much easier to slip into old habits. Especially when life gets crazy - and unless you're a new reader, you know my life is typically crazy.

Next week we're discussing simple solutions for when you're just too tired. Perfect for Mondays, right? Now check out how the other bloggers are faring:

I warned you that you'd be seeing more macaroni recipes coming soon. I think I may have even warned you about using macaroni with the steak in my freezer. So it should come as no surprise to you to see this next dish. Today was a run all over town kind of day, so it was nice to be able to make something quick when I came home.



Macaroni and Steak

2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup currant jelly
1/4 tsp ground mustard
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 lb cooked steak, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups cooked macaroni

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet and stir in the vinegar, jelly, mustard, and cayenne. Cook until the sauce is smooth.
  2. Add the steak to the skillet, coating it in the sauce.
  3. When the steak is heated through, pour it over the macaroni.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Saying Goodbye for a Bit



Do you form unnatural attachments to your kitchen appliances? You know, give them names, say goodnight before going to bed, things like that? I have that kind of relationship with my Dutch Oven, Lise.

Well, this weekend Lise got tenderly wrapped in paper and bubble wrap. Then I gingerly placed her in a box with some of her friends. Before all that, I wanted to give Lise one last hurrah. Something to remember me by for these next couple of dark weeks. When Lise and I get together we love to make stews - something about her perfectly enameled sides just lends themselves to browning meats and veggies.


Veal Stew
1 lb stewing veal
3 small white onions
1/2 medium onion, stuck with cloves
1 carrot, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 egg yolk
juice of 1/2 lemon
nutmeg, salt, and pepper
  1. Put veal in pot and cover with cold water.
  2. Add the small onions, clove studded onion, carrot, bay leaf, and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for 1 hour.
  3. Remove meat and strain broth.
  4. Melt butter in a sauce pan and stir in flour. Cook, stirring, then add 1 1/2 cups of the veal broth. Continue stirring until thick and smooth.
  5. Beat the egg yolk with the lemon juice. Temper the egg mixture by stirring in a spoonful of the hot sauce into the egg and mixing.
  6. Stir the egg mixture into the remaining sauce.
  7. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste and pour over meat.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Macaroni and Lamb



My husband may be the only person who drinks wine out of a giant plastic tumbler covered in pictures of giraffes. Of course, his choices are rather limited given that our kitchen and dining room are officially packed.

We've kept out very little, which means doing dishes has become far more important than ever before. And I'm going to be limited over the next couple of weeks on the meals I can make. I kept out a pot, pan, and baking dish, and just about everything else is in a box.

I've made a meal plan for the next couple weeks and there's a lot of pasta on it. Not only because I need to use up what's in our pantry, but because pasta requires very little in terms of cooking and serving. In fact, just in case, I spent all morning making spaghetti, so we should have more than enough to last us!

When I make any kind of noodles Thatdog situates himself right under the chair where I hang them to dry. He knows that anything that hits the floor is fair game for him. And he knows that while I'm pulling apart strands there are quite a few strands that hit the floor. It makes him a very happy dog.

These are obviously not homemade noodles. I can't make macaroni. I'm very talented but not THAT talented. But we do have a lot of boxed noodles I'm trying to get rid of and frankly there's a limit to how much mac and cheese someone can eat. Time to get creative. I know many people like hot dogs cut up in their mac and cheese, but the idea is highly unappealing to me. Throwing in some actual cooked meat, however, doesn't sound like such a bad idea. I used lamb in this, but it would be equally delicious with ham, and I expect it to be reincarnated over the next couple weeks with some steak we have in the freezer!


Macaroni and Lamb
1 cup cooked lamb
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp onion, diced
1 Tbsp celery, diced
1 cup macaroni
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Mix the lamb, salt, pepper, onion, and celery in a bowl.
  2. Place the macaroni in a layer on the bottom of the baking dish and spread the lamb over top.
  3. Beat the egg, egg white, and milk together and pour over the lamb and macaroni. Bake 35 minutes until firm.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Race Report? Really?



I know, it's shocking really. I mean the last race I ran was in January, and while I was pregnant at the time, I certainly wasn't sharing the fact! I had planned to run two more races, a half and a four miler, but both sold out before I was able to sign up.

So I had pretty much resigned myself to no races until next January and just kept up with my daily runs. And then on Wednesday I was looking over my Twitter feed and saw mention of a 5k taking place Thursday night. I thought the idea of a night race sounded kind of fun - because goodness knows my weekends right now are filled with boxes.

A quick poll of my friends made it seem like I wasn't totally out of my mind for considering the idea, and so Thursday after work found me making my way to the race.

Since pregnancy, my running speed has substantially slowed down. Which is frustrating. I knew that I wouldn't be breaking any records with this 5k, and I was okay with that. My "heart" goal was 45 minutes, about a 15 minute mile. Which is pretty close to my current speed. My "head" goal had me closer to 55 minutes, because really, it's been 7 months since my last race.

When I arrived to pick up my bib I was informed that my entrance fee paid not only for the race, but also a burger after the race and beer from Firestone Brewery. "But when it's gone, it's gone" said the guy behind me in line. "So make sure you run fast." I turned to him and placed my hand on my stomach, telling him that I wasn't too concerned about making sure I got beer. He got very excited. "I can drink yours for you!" It was a kind offer, but Thatboy was more than happy to take advantage of my all-you-can-drink ticket.

I stayed toward the back of the field as the race started, so I wouldn't hold anyone back. Everyone took off and there were about 6-7 people behind me. As we rounded the first corner, most of those people passed me, leaving me second to last. After about half a mile, the last person passed me, leaving me as the caboose, bringing up the rear.



Races are such head games. The walls we put up, the games we play with ourselves and other runners, etc. etc. etc.. Like the two women in front of me who would walk until I passed them, and then start running. I knew they were playing the "don't let the pregnant girl be faster than us" game. Being the very last person in a race does not feel good. And I started getting down on myself. I decided this would be the very last race I ran pregnant. I felt so slow, I was last, and it was just too discouraging.

And then I started passing people. First I passed those walk/runners and they didn't start running again. Then I passed a group of three. I wasn't last anymore! I came close to passing another 2 walk/runners, but then they cheated. Instead of turning at one point, they cut across, lobbing about a quarter mile off the 5k. I didn't care enough about passing to cheat like them.



Thatboy was waiting for me at the finish, and when I looked at the timeclock I looked over at him and called out "That can't be the right time, can it?" He looked at me and nodded. It read 38:00. I ended up crossing the finish at 38:41, a far cry from the 45-55 minutes I was shooting for.

We hung out after the race, eating burgers and drinking - beer for Thatboy, water for me. But in honor of my run with a little something inside, I present to you a meal with a little something inside. Veal stuffed with celery and breadcrumbs. I'm fairly certain the growing, kicking, pushing, digging thing inside me isn't celery and breadcrumbs, but I won't be able to tell you for a couple more weeks. I can tell you that stuffing and rolling veal and baking it will make your insides happy too.



Stuffed Veal
1 lb veal cutlets
2 Tbsp butter
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 tsp chopped onion
1 sprig parsley, minced
2/3 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup chicken broth + 2 Tbsp
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet. Stir in the celery and onion and cook over low heat until translucent.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, crumbs, 2 Tbsp chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pound the veal until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the celery mixture down the center and roll. Tie with poultry twine.
  4. Melt the remaining butter and oil in a sauce pan and brown the rolled veal.
  5. Transfer the veal to a casserole dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining chicken broth over, cover, and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cream and cook uncovered for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Simple Shepherd Supper



Thatdad had a very different culinary upbringing than I did. There are stories told of frozen tuna sandwiches, sloppy joes, fluffernutters, and shepherd's pie. I didn't grow up with most of those dishes. Every now and then, when Thatmom would go out of town Thatdad would make us fluffernutters for lunch. And I think maybe once or twice Thatmom indulged him and made us sloppy joes. But mostly I grew up on roast chicken, broiled shrimp, and Peking duck.

I remember the first time I made a Turkey Pot Pie and it quickly became one of Thatdad and Thatboy's favorite meals I made. A definite throw back meal that wasn't a household staple for me, but easy enough with leftover Thanksgiving meat. I mean really, all you're doing is making a bit of a stew and covering it with pie crust.

I was under the impression that Shepherd's pie must be something similar, but I never made the elusive dish. I stuck with my pot pies. Even after I learned that it's a different creature in that it's covered with mashed potatoes and not pie crust.

And then I tried it. It was at an Irish pub - a great place to try new foods. And it seemed like such a fantastic concept. First of all, who doesn't like mashed potatoes? Especially when they're baked and golden. A cross between a mash and a hashbrown. Over a lamb stew? It seems like such a simple concept, but at the same time ingenius.


Shepherd's Pie
1/2 cups ground lamb, cooked
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1Tbsp flour
1/4 cup beef broth
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Mix together the lamb, garlic, onion, and rosemary and pulse in a food processor until combined.
  2. Melt butter in a skillet and stir in flour, stirring until blended.
  3. Add the beef broth and cook until you have a thick gravy.
  4. Add the lamb mixture, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pie dish and spread the mashed potatoes over top. Bake about 40 minutes, until potatoes have formed a golden crust.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Old Favorite



It's not secret I'm less than patient. I get annoyed easily. And am constantly amazed by other people - and not in a good way. Today was just full of me being annoyed with others.

It started this morning when I was listening to the radio. There was an announcement about a missing 11 year old girl in the area. Which is scary and heartbreaking. The police were involved, had brought out dogs, and were doing reverse 911 calls in the area to try to find her. They got a little into the meat of the story and said that the girl had "left her family's apartment sometime yesterday with a friend and didn't come home last night." And that's when I got a little annoyed. She left the house "sometime yesterday"? When? How would her parents not know when she left? And who was this friend? And where were they going? What 11 year old girl is allowed to wander town on her own? I remember being 11, and younger, and there was no just leaving the house. My parents knew where I was and who I was with every minute of the day. If I went to a friend's house, I was either escorted, or watched from the window till I got there.

There was an update a few hours later...turns out the little girl was at her friend's place. She had spent the night there. It was an apartment in the same complex where she lived. SERIOUSLY? I think about the cost and the resources that went into this search and can't help but shake my head. How easily this could have been avoided. Obviously her mom and dad didn't even know who this friend was she left with, or that would have been the first phone call they made. And what's up with friend's mom not calling and saying "hey just wanted to doublecheck that you knew little Jasmine was spending the night here?"

But that wasn't the only thing that got under my skin today. This past week I've switched my schedule around a bit. I've been going in to work earlier so I can leave early and hit the gym. Which is nice because I'm usually the only one there. Except this week. This week I've had a companion at the gym. He comes in, turns the tv to whatever channel he wants to watch, and then sits on the Swiss ball and watches tv. The entire time I'm there. Now, at first I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was doing crunches or curls during the commercials? Maybe I just kept catching him between sets? But nope not a single ab exercise done the entire time. I think he must think the gym is his living room. (I mean, he does come in barefoot before putting his shoes on for some swiss ball sitting). Why not at least walk on the treadmill while watching his stories? I mean, we are AT A GYM.

Okay, I feel better - do you? And I realized that with all these veal recipes I've been posting, I have yet to post the classic of all classic veal dishes. Veal Marsala. Which is Thatboy's favorite veal dish. And it's probably the easiest veal dish to make, all it takes is a little cheese and a little wine. I'm so remiss. And I didn't want to leave anyone hanging, so without further ado, I present you with:


Veal Marsala
1 lb veal cutlets
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup marsala wine
  1. Coat the veal in Parmesan cheese on both sides.
  2. Melt the butter and oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and the veal.
  3. Brown the veal on both sides and remove the garlic and veal from the skillet.
  4. Add the beef broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook 1 minute, then add the marsala. Cook another minute before pouring over the veal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moussaka-shaka

Have I told you how much I LOVE summer? This week on Eat.Live.Be. we're sharing compliments. One of my most recent compliments I attribute largely to the fact that it's summer.



When we were in Tahoe, Thatmom told me she was very impressed by how "healthy" I've been this pregnancy. This means a lot to me given that I really struggle with being healthy during this period. I asked her what she meant, and she told me that I've been doing a great job of not overindulging in foods.

But the thing is - I do overindulge - in summer fruits and produce. I have a theory about pregnancy "cravings." (But take this with a grain of salt since I haven't had a single one) I completely believe in food aversions, but cravings? I don't necessarily buy that they're related to pregnancy. I mean, we all have cravings. Mine really kick in during Passover when I want things I NEVER want to eat - like doughnuts, or cheese-its. But on a day to day basis I'll see a commercial and think "Wow, I could go for a double cheeseburger right now." Except 99% of the time I follow that with "But really, how healthy would it be to indulge in every craving you have?" I think most women are like that. We're so conscious of everything we put in our body since society, and of course, we ourselves, are our biggest critics. But during pregnancy you're SUPPOSED to gain weight. I mean, you're going to get a belly anyway, right? So women let down their guard, and when that same nagging "Wow I could go for a double cheeseburger right now" feeling comes along, they don't follow it with the second thought. Instead they follow it with "Baby must want a double cheeseburger."

My eating habits haven't changed at all since being pregnant. No cravings, no food aversions, but because it's summer, I keep my body fueled up with all the best nature has to offer. Take a look at my stash from this week's farmer's market:


A bag of mixed greens
fresh baked ciabatta bread
basil
tomatoes
figs
cucumbers
bell pepper
strawberries
plums
and Mexican Sour Cucumbers

Most of these are for snacking. Although the figs became dessert last night. Today in fact I snacked on cantaloupe, cherries, cucumbers, and those strawberries you're looking at right now.

Summer produce means I also get to make use of beautiful eggplants and tomatoes for dinners. Both of which play a large role in the creation of the classic Greek dish of Moussaka. The beautiful and talented Elly has a traditional recipe for Moussaka. This is not that recipe. Instead here are a couple variations on the dish.

Align Center
Layered Moussaka
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 eggplant
1 egg
2/3 cup half and half
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet and cook the onion until soft.
  2. Add the lamb and cook until browned.
  3. Add the allspice, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining Tbsp of oil in a skillet. Cut the eggplants into 1/4 inch slices. Brown each side of the eggplant in the oil and then pat dry.
  5. Mix the egg, half and half, parsley and half of the breadcrumbs.
  6. Put a layer of of eggplant on the bottom of the casserole and spread a layer of lamb on top of it. Continue layering, ending with the eggplant.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over all of it. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top and drizzle butter over.
  8. Bake 40 minutes.



Wrapped Moussaka
1 eggplant
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 cup cooked ground lamb
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig of thyme, crumbled
1 sprig of rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup tomato sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a cake pan with cooking spray. Slice the eggplant in half and make several deep gashes in the flesh. Rub the surface with olive oil and place skin side down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. While the eggplant is cooling, mix the onion, lamb, mushroom, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  3. Scoop out the eggplant flesh, chop it, and mix into the lamb mixture.
  4. Line the cake pan with the skin of the eggplant. Place the lamb mixture in the center of the eggplant skin and fold the skin over top to create a little eggplant bundle.
  5. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven.
  6. Heat tomato sauce and pour over the moussaka.
Next week we're doing wake up calls. Not the ones in the morning, but the ones that make you get serious about something. Now check out how the other bloggers are faring:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ta-HOE!



I'm sure most of you don't read Thatmom's blog, but if you did, you would know that she tends to get depressed in the summers. As professors, Thatmom and Thatdad had a lightened schedule in the summer. They still taught, but less, and used that opportunity to travel a lot. Since his death, Thatmom gets especially sad as her coworkers and friends take off for the summer. It doesn't seem to matter that we usually travel at the end of May and during the early fall, it's those middle months that bum her out.

So last year I suggested that we plan a trip for the Fourth of July. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure at how we arrived at Tahoe as our destination of choice, but we did.

When traveling with Thatmom and Thatboy, I try to balance their needs. I knew Thatboy was really looking forward to hiking, and Thatmom isn't always the outdoorsy type. So I planned a hike to a specific location I knew Thatmom would enjoy.

Thatmom and I put on our trusty hiking shoes.

How cute are we? I was a little nervous about using these for hiking, since I usually wear actual hiking shoes, but these were so much lighter and easier to pack. And they worked out great - we went for miles and miles without so much as a blister.

Our destination? Emerald Bay.



Specifically, Vikingsholm - Lora Knight's home built to look like a Viking Castle.




I knew Thatmom would like a "castle" built by a widow after her enjoyment of Craigdarroch Castle.



And I was right. Thatmom enjoyed the castle tour, and even Thatboy got into it. I think he went back to look at the living room about three or four times. I have fears he is planning on decorating the new place with similar dragon beams.



And check out this kitchen! Swoonworthy indeed. The cook and assistant cook were the only two members of staff with their own personal bathrooms attached to their room. Having my own room with a private bath, on a house on the lake, with a kitchen like this to cook in? Sign me up.



There was also a beautiful writing room that looked out over the lake. Built without a single nail. Crazy, right?



Pushing our luck as much as we could, we brought Thatmom along with us as we ventured on another trail that went along Eagle Falls waterfall.



I love my artist in action shots.



Because of the extreme heat, the waterfall was especially full. I love being able to see that. Whenever we're in Yosemite the falls are almost measly because it's just not the right time of year. Sometimes that happens with Hawaii too. Full waterfalls are my favorite.




And of course there were ginormous redwoods everywhere. One of the benefits of Northern CA.



Because Thatmom was such a good sport about the hike, Thatboy thought nothing of stopping for her favorite treat afterwards.



It doesn't hurt that Thatboy is a big fan of ice cream too. Thatmom says this was the best ice cream she had on the trip - and we had ice cream every day.



I had arranged a paddle boat cruise on the Lake for us the next morning. Which was mostly a disaster and poorly run.



But it did give us some gorgeous views.



I thought we'd do another hike following the cruise, but Thatboy requested we head to the beach instead. And I am nothing if not accommodating.



The lake is always freezing cold, so I waited out on the beach while Thatboy went for a swim. He swam allllllll the way out to a dock and I watched as he helped others get up. I didn't watch as he jumped off one of the support poles into the water.



Eventually it got so hot on the beach that I couldn't take it anymore and went into the water - past my knees! Thatboy was very impressed since I usually do not go in the water anywhere on the West Coast. It's freaking cold water people. The current comes from the Arctic Circle.

That night, Thatboy and I headed back to the beach around sunset. We got some more views of the lake at night, and tried to catch the fireworks on the opposite shore. We could see them, but they were so tiny. Luckily, we landed back home on July 4, just as the fireworks were starting, so he got to see them in all their glory.



Our last day in Tahoe we took the Gondola up to Heavenly.





There was still snow up on top of the mountain! LOADS of snow to play in. Which was fun because it was over 80 degrees up there, so warm and snowy. How often do you get to play in the snow without a coat or gloves?


Waterfalls, hiking, beach, AND snow? That's Americana.