Happy New Year 2017

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We’re invited over to a neighbor’s tonight at 10:00 p.m. for a New Year’s celebration.  Our refrigerator is choked with leftover odds and ends.  I’ll be cooking again tomorrow, a boneless lamb roast from New Zealand, and thought I could make a little room by boiling up the leftover goose, fresh uncooked squash and the usual soup enhancers.  My husband made himself a liverwurst sandwich to go with.

Happy New Year my friends and courage to you in surviving the upcoming hell hole we’re walking into on January 20th.  Yes, I said it 😀

Posted in American, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Soup | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Christmas 2016

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We had Christmas on Christmas Eve this year because the weather is threatening the day after Christmas and we wanted our son to be back home in Maryland by that time.  His visit was quite short, Friday-Sunday, but we managed to work in the usual Christmas movies and pastimes.  Tradition!

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The 3 resolute carnivores and the 1 vegetarian wannabe all voted for goose for Christmas.  No easy matter in our region of the country.  I finally found a frozen specimen at Wegmans in Scranton, not daring to look at it’s provenance and possibly ruining the occasion for everyone.

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This goose looked a bit different from the one I bought in France, not as robust/fat?

In any case, I stuffed the cavities with apples soaked in Calvados and with the turkey wing broth gravy, it was okay, if a bit rustic 🙂

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Everyone loved the Food and Wine Magazine inspired vanilla bean butter, roasted squash. I used acorn, butternut and a small pumpkin.  Delicious!

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The apple stuffing was also nice.

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As were the goose fat roasted, fingerling potatoes.

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We had a local, homemade apple pie for dessert but it was practically inedible, so we didn’t 😀

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Hot Italian Sausage Soup

 

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Frightened to drive in the snow and ice, I’ve been staying close to home cooking from the freezer and listening to music.  This is one of my favorite Ray Charles’ videos, featuring Billy Preston on the organ.

My husband will be flying in from Haiti tomorrow and won’t be arriving until around 9 or so.  The prediction is that the high will be 22F and the low 3F.  Of course he doesn’t have a coat because it’s 85 – 90F in Haiti.  The boy will be cold 🙂  And as he’s flying Jet Blue into JFK, he’ll probably be hungry and thirsty.

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I collected the usual things from the refrigerator and vegetable bin to make a soup.

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There’s an elegance to Le Creuset pots and pans that goes beyond their superior ability as  frying, sauteing, roasting and braising cookware.  I like to look a them 🙂

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I’ve been meaning to use ditalini pasta in a soup but always forget to get some when I’m in the store.  Oh well.  I had fusilli in the pantry and that was that.

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He’ll like this; sausage chunks, big pasta, spinach, carrots, celery and leek.  Poor thing, probably been starving to death 😀

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Hot Italian Sausage Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 lb bulk hot Italian sausage or links with skin removed

1 onion, halved and sliced

1 leek, thinly sliced

2 carrots. diced

2 celery branches, sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried thyme leaves

3 quarts chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 cups dried pasta

3 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large stove top casserole or stock pot, add the sausage and saute until the pink is gone.  Add the onion, leek, carrots, celery and garlic, then continue to saute until the onion and celery is soft.  Stir in the thyme, bay leaves, chicken broth, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Bring the soup back to a boil, add the pasta and cook for about 11 minutes.  Remove from the flame and stir in the spinach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Spicy Thai Eggplant with Lamb

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My husband will finally be coming home next week and I will be over glad.  I imagine my Asian food obsession will be somewhat curtailed to occasionally in order to make room for the stews, meatloaves, mashed potatoes with gravy and the roasts that he loves.  Winter food.

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In the meantime, I made a dish of my own winter food, Asian style; Thai eggplants with lamb and udon noodles.  These golf ball size eggplants are so cute and good!  If they still have some left when I go back to the supermarket, I think I’ll try roasting them whole.

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I wonder where the line is drawn between American lamb and American mutton, at what age?  As soon as this ground meat hit the skillet, I smelled mutton and believe me I’m practically an expert on mutton, having attended hundreds of mechouis (whole mutton roasts) in West Africa.  In addition, the fat that accumulated in the pan was also an indication of oldish sheep.  If you find yourself with mislabeled lamb, pour off this fat before continuing with the recipe.  Or if you don’t want to risk it, use ground pork, veal, chicken or turkey instead.

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I used dried udon noodles for this recipe because I didn’t have any more fresh udon.  One of the differences between fresh and dried is that the dried udon cooks up as a flat noodle, while the fresh is more rounded, creating a more slurpable surface.  Since eating freshly made noodles at an outdoor worker’s stand in The People’s Republic of China, I’ve been difficult to please 🙂

Spicy Thai Eggplant with Lamb

2 -3  tbsp sambal oelek

2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp sake

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp peanut oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

6 multicolored mini bell peppers, cut into squares

1 lb ground lamb

2 tbsp peanut oil

8 Thai eggplants, quartered

Mix together the sambal oelek, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar.  Blend well and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of peanut oil in a wok, add the garlic, ginger and peppers, then stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the peppers are crisp tender.  Add the lamb and saute until the meat is no longer pink.  Drain off all the fat, remove the meat and vegetables from the wok and set aside.  Wipe out the wok with a paper towel.

Add 2 tbsp of peanut oil to the wok, add the eggplant and saute until the eggplant is lightly browned.  Stir in the meat mixture and the sauce, bring to a boil, cover, then simmer for 6-8 minutes.  Serve with rice or noodles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes, Thai | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Veal Shoulder and Bok Choy Stir Fry

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East and South Asian cuisine seem to be an obsession with me lately.  I’m craving color, flavor and vegetables.  Maybe to balance the dreary weather or maybe because I like East and South Asian food, not to the exclusion of other cuisines but available ingredients also dictate what I’m willing to make 😦   Isn’t that a pretty plate?  I found it in a Main Street antique store.

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If I can find them, I prefer baby bok choy but this bok choy was fine and the stems gave me that crisp tender texture that I like in a stir fry.  And by the way:

I found this veal shoulder at Wegman’s and it had a nice pink, young veal look.  It was also the last one, so I took it because.

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Delicious!

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Veal Shoulder and Bok Choy Stir Fry

1 tbsp peanut oil

1lb veal shoulder, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 tbsp Tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp lime juice

3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp peanut oil

2 large garlic cloves, slivered

4 slices of ginger

3 mini bell peppers, cut into strips

3 bok choy, bottoms sliced off and separated

Brown the veal in the tablespoon of peanut oil until brown but still pink inside.  Slice thin and set aside.

Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, chilli sauce and sesame oil together and set aside.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a wok or large skillet, then add the garlic, ginger and bell peppers, sauteing until the peppers are crisp tender and the ginger and garlic are fragrant.  Add the sliced veal and saute for about 1-2 minutes.  Add the bok choy and saute until mixed well with the other ingredients.

Pour in the reserved sauce, stir, cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with rice or noodles.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Irish Thanksgiving

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I saw a gorgeous bacon roast on Bord Bia, the Irish food board, months ago and vowed to make it for Thanksgiving.  The side dishes were traditionally Irish; potatoes and cabbage.

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Because this wasn’t to be the typical Thanksgiving feast, I set the table lackadaisically with Haitian ceramic figures, assorted soup bowls from my photography collection and conversation provoking salt and pepper shakers.

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We began the meal with a modified soupe joumou or pumpkin soup from Haiti.  Instead of pumpkin I used butternut squash and a mild chilli instead of a Scotch bonnet.

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Of course, nothing says soupe joumou like Maggi cubes 🙂

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A nod to traditional Thanksgiving, I used 2 turkey wings to help create the flavorful broth.

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All the makings went inside of my new large, oval Le Creuset that a bought to supplement the one I left languishing in France.  I also knew that I would be taking this gratuitous picture  😀

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As the afternoon wore on, our natural lightening started to fade, but our son was able to get this picture of his superb slicing with his i-phone.

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This meal was pretty good with Irish champ (mashed potatoes with scallions, butter and milk) and creamed cabbage flavored with a bit of the pork glaze.

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We ended our meal with espresso, chocolate topped macaroons and white chocolate panna cotta, topped with a blueberry compote.  Photo resentfully taken with artificial light.

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I hope your celebrations were the best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Dessert, Food and Wine, Haitian, Irish, Soup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Bhindi Curry

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There is no Indian restaurant in Honesdale probably because there are no Indians in Honesdale 🙂  There is the Himalayan Institute and Retreat about 5 miles away that practices Eastern based yoga, meditation, spirituality and holistic health.  But they probably don’t care much about food 😀

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I found one of the last packages of okra at Wegmans in Scranton.  No, they weren’t that attractive nor young, but some okra is better than no okra, and I had some unattractive, aged tomatoes in the refrigerator that were eager to meet up with a member of their peer group  🙂

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I know that many of you avoid okra because of the slime factor.  Nobody, except maybe Nigerians, like slimy okra.  My grandmother and mother always cooked okra and it was never slimy.  Don’t boil it, saute it and you will like it.  Also, try to get young okra.

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So.  There you go vegetarians and others who like a good curry.  Add more chillies if you like it spicier and use as a rice topping.  Flesh eaters will love this as a side for seared Canadian salmon rubbed with smoked paprika and olive oil.

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Bhindi Curry

1lb okra, ends removed and sliced

2 tbsp ghee

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 green chillies, seeded and chopped

1/3 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

1 cup of seeded and diced tomato

2 tbsp lemon juice

Saute the onions, garlic, chillies, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and salt in the heated ghee until the onions are soft and golden.

Add the okra and stir fry for 5-8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, lemon juice and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Indian, Main dishes, Recipes, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments