Lamb Ragout


Today being Sunday, we just ate something.  Recycled lamb from yesterday.  I won’t tell you how Le Parret acted about there being only this.

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Herb Roasted New Zealand Lamb


Back to the freezer.  Wondering around the supermarket one day, who knows when, I saw a fantastic sale on New Zealand lamb, grabbed a leg and wedged it into the freezer.  In keeping with “vide congelateur”, I un-wedged it on Friday to thaw and invited 5 friends to lunch on Saturday.  Mah-ve-lous!  We began with smoked salmon from my fishmonger, L’Ambiance des Halles, on a bed of mixed salad with capers, creme fraiche and chives.


I decided to go with herbs and olive oil for the leg and, a la Jamie, jam large pieces of fresh bay leaf from M. Parret’s garden into the assertive stabs I made with the knife.  I then wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator overnight to mature.


Making the vegetables, I ignored one of my, my mother’s, my grandmother’s and probably her mother’s life long maxims; you can never make too much, but you can, to your everlasting discomfort, make too little.


Of course no one said so, but they wanted MORE!  Herb roasted vegetables are so simple to make, yet so delicious!


I did make a big old bowl of tzatziki for the lamb.


Like Goldilock’s porridge, it was just right!


Big thanks to Thierry for his masterful carving of the lamb and to Arielle in her role as conseiller technique.


Thanks to Tonio for his ability to sit still when his picture is being taken :)  But most of all for his sang-froid when after my camera  fell, stopped functioning and I was ready to go to bed or worse, in pointing out that the hood was blocking the lens.


Thank you always to Chantal who hates to see a dish unwashed or a surface left unwiped :D  And sincere appreciation for her constant support and understanding.


And of course all my love to Le Parret who, with his meal long running commentary, never let me forget that he was French and that I was not :D   Thank you, Cherie.


It was good and I had a good time making and sharing it with friends.


Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb

1 leg of lamb, violently stabbed all over with a knife

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tbsp rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1/4 cup olive oil

2 fresh bay leaves, broken into pieces

Mix together the garlic, thyme, rosemary, pepper, cumin and olive oil.  Rub this mixture into the lamb leg.  Insert pieces of bay leaves into the the knife slits, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the oven to 425 F and roast the lamb for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 F and continue to cook for 1 hour.

Wine suggestion:  Cremant de Bailly Chardonnay, Pouilly Fusee, Morgon


Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Greek, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Bar aux Crevettes


Mind snatched by the lovely, lightly steamed shrimp at the fish monger, I bought some knowing that they would have to be de-headed, shelled and deveined.


I usually buy shrimp deheaded and cleaned and ready to cook, but this time I thought that maybe cleaning the shrimp myself might be therapeutic.  What a fool!  At least I had sense enough to have the fishmonger remove the central bone in the bar (sea bass) and prepare it for cooking!


It was a little strange.  I thought he would remove the bone by cutting the belly but he cut through the back, which made a substantial receptacle for the stuffing.


Not professional nor patient enough to fight the night time artificial light, I put the camera on automatic for the table pictures.  There was really no way to make a pretty picture but at least I got this one before we really started eating and things got really ugly when everyone had a different idea of the utensils we should use for the fish service.  The large cooking spoon was M. Parret’s idea :D


Really, the only reason I’m posting this is because the fish was delicious!  I made a lemon sauce to pour over the top and served it with a side of sauteed spinach and tomatoes. Really, really good.

Sea Bass Stuffed with Shrimp with Lemon Sauce

2 tbsp butter

2 shallots, chopped

2 tbsp parsley leaves, chopped

3 tbsp bread crumbs

3 tbsp mayonnaise

1 lb shrimp, lightly steamed, head, shell and vein removed(or just buy them that way), chopped

Salt and pepper

1 sea bass, large central bone removed and split for stuffing, salted inside and out

For the lemon sauce (can make ahead and reheat) 

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup cream

1 1/2 tbsp butter

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Salt and white pepper

Saute the shallots in the butter until soft.  Remove the pan from the flame, then add the parsley, bread crumbs, mayonnaise and shrimp.  Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Put the stuffing inside of the prepared fish.

Roast the fish in a 425 F oven for 30-35 minutes.  Remove and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes for prettier cutting.

To make the lemon sauce, reduce the wine in a sauce pan by half.  Stir in the cream and simmer until thickened.  Add the butter, lemon juice and parsley, cook and stir until smooth.  Add a little salt and white pepper.

Wine suggestion:  Macon Village

Posted in American, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Scotch Woodcock with Bonnet

IMG_9468b I first heard of and made scotch woodcock from Jamie Oliver’s magazine, faithfully following the unfamiliar recipe. Today I just pleased myself.  And I did have another goose egg :)

Scotch Woodcock with Bonnet

1 knob butter

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 celery branch, thinly sliced

1 goose egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

Scotch bonnet, sliced into strips

Melt the butter in a saute pan, add the scallion and celery, then sweat for 5 minutes.  Add the egg to the pan, salt and pepper, than soft scramble. Serve over toast, sprinkling with the scotch bonnet.

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The Perfect Goose Egg


Today’s inspiration comes from,  I’ve forgotten who, a blog (give me a shout out) that had pictures of big eggs, duck or goose, I can’t remember.  It was Marcus.  Anyway, they were big and I wanted one.  Before today, I had never eaten duck or goose eggs.


Yesterday I didn’t go to coffee but instead cleaned the house.  Boy, do I hate that!  But it had to be done and I always feel better afterwards.  Still, it wasn’t an uplifting day :(


Today I went to coffee, talked to people, went to the fishmonger and the farmers’ market where I saw some goose eggs at the cheese stand.  The lady at the counter, underestimating American common sense, told me that they had to be cooked longer than regular eggs.  “Really”, I said, all big eyed.  “Thank you!”  And then amused myself by calling her unattractive names in English as I walked away :D  Determined to stay out of the house, I had a dangerous third coffee, went to the pharmacy for unneeded vitamin C and then visited M. Parret for the latest zin.  Zin is Haitian Creole for gossip.  I’m not sure of the spelling.


I was very nervous about cooking my goose egg.  Normally, if I boil a large hen’s egg, I put it in cold water over the flame and when the water boils, if I boil it for 8 minutes, this gives me a soft, non-runny yolk.  Well, I looked on the internet and times varied.  I wanted a thick, runny yolk.  Exasperated with my timidity, I decided to boil the egg for 9 minutes, “Come Hell or high water”, as my grandmother used to say :)


I found some very pretty spinach at the market today.  I usually go for the baby spinach but this spinach looked so good!  Shiny dark green leaves and juicy looking stems; adolescent spinach maybe :)  Wilted spinach with lardons and shallot topped with a perfectly boiled goose egg.  Living the life!

Goose Egg with Spinach

1/4 cup lardons or diced bacon

1 tsp butter

1 shallot, chopped

1 big handful of adolescent spinach, stems removed and leaves torn

White pepper

1 goose egg

Brown the lardons in a saute pan, then remove and set aside.  Add the butter to the pan and melt.  Add the shallot and saute until soft.  Add the spinach and wilt.  Put the lardons back in the pan, sprinkle with the pepper and remove from flame.

Put the goose egg in water over a flame.  When the water comes to a boil, simmer it for 9 minutes.  Remove the hot water and run cold water over the egg.  Peel, cut in half and serve with the spinach.

Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Black Angus Steaks with Mushrooms


In keeping with the “vide congelateur”(empty the freezer) movement, bored with the things in the kitchen freezer, I went outside to the freezer in the garage and discovered that my husband had left me a gift from the American Commissary in Stuttgart; 2 Black Angus steaks, his favorite.  Thanks Dear :D


I decided to share with M. Parret and he thought the meat was good, that it tasted almost French :D


I had over-bought(1 of my minor sins) mushrooms for whatever it was I made the other day, so had plenty for the steaks.  I also had some exhausted cherry tomatoes whimpering in the fridge.  You’ll like this Frugal darling; whenever I have tomatoes unfit for salads, fighting off my natural instincts, I find a way to cook them instead of throwing them in the garbage bin where I think they belong :D  Anyway.


The lovely Cecilia at Kitchens Garden sent me a wonderful care package that included lovely smelling, homemade soaps of eucalyptus and lemon eucalyptus.  This reminded me of one of my favorite books, Eucalyptus by Murray Bail.  A gift that keeps on giving! Thank you C.  I’m re-reading that tonight!


Happy and energized by my wonderful gifts, I decided to use my Le Creuset, coastal blue grill pan with a pannini press top to cook the steaks.  I sprayed Pam on both the pan and inside the top, heated them together, outrageously hot, then added the steaks.  Perfectly cooked; nicely seared on the outside and bloody inside.  When I cut into my steak, it was past picture time :)


Black Angus Steaks with Mushrooms

2 Black Angus steaks

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 shallots, sliced

1 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Season the steaks with salt and pepper, then set aside.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter, add the shallots and cook until soft.  Add the mushrooms and brown until they begin to release their juices.  Add the tomatoes and stir together over the flame for a minute or two.  Add salt and pepper, then set aside and keep warm.

Grill the steaks anyway you like and then eat with the mushrooms.

Wine suggestion:  Julienas


Posted in American, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Soy Ginger Sea Bream


This dorade royale, or sea bream, kept reproaching me everytime I opened the freezer.


It’s darkened, glacial eye a testimony to it’s “past the due date” freshness and it’s probable dry, tasteless flesh.  Still, it worried me that I had not cooked it and, not able to take it anymore,  I wrenched the ******* from the freezer and tried to think of something to do with it.


My head a perfect vacuum, I went to the Rasa Malaysia site and found this.  My recipe is not accurate but close enough.  For instance, I added some strips of pretty yellow chillies that were beaming at me from the refrigerator and didn’t peel the ginger strips.


Worst of all, I sprinkled the fish with fleur de sel de Guerande, before cooking.  Yes, yes I know, you salt connoisseurs and professional chefs are tut, tutting that fleur de sel is a finishing salt.  Me for the guillotine.  Still, it’s my kitchen :)


When we were shopping in the only store worth a shopping trip in Stuttgart, Fresh Paradise, I bought a fish pan whose price so offended my husband that he was definitely unfriendly for about 3 days :D  I used it to deep fry the fish today and it is perfect!

I ate this plain.  It was flavorful and the flesh was not dried out, but fresh is best.  Still, you might want to make some steamed rice to go with.  One less thing in the freezer, one less worry.

Soy Ginger Sea Bream

1 fresh sea bream, cleaned, scaled, etc. or let the fish monger do it

Fleur de sel de Guerande or sea salt

2 inches fresh ginger, cut into strips

1 tbsp peanut oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Sake

4 tablespoons water

2 dashes white pepper powder

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons sugar

Peanut oil for deep frying

1-2 large scallions, cut into strips

1-2 yellow chillies, cut into strips

Slash the fish 4 or 5 times diagonally on both sides, then sprinkle with the salt.  Set aside.

Fry the ginger strips in the peanut oil until brown, remove and set aside.  Pour the soy sauce, sake, water, pepper, sesame oil and sugar into the same pan, bring to a boil, then keep warm.

Deep fry the fish, place in a serving dish, pour the soy sauce mixture over the fish, then garnish with the scallions, chillies and fried ginger.

Posted in Asian, Cooking, fish, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments