Saturday, August 27, 2016

Curried Lamb Neck Meat

I just picked up a new cut of meat (new for me) from the Manager's Special (Translation: Needs to go today, and you'd better cook it today too!) case at Safeway.

It's lamb neck meat, which I'd never bought before, although I may have had it at my sister in law's place in Australia, given that they are sheep farmers.

Anyway I figured it would have to be cooked long and slow, and sure enough, my research efforts came up with only a few ideas, all stews or ragout. But no curries, and since that is my favorite, I decided to give it a go.

I didn't take a picture, but the meat was in big pieces, with quite a bit of fat and bones. I cut off as much fat as I could, and was left with about 3 pounds.

Anybody who knows me, knows I don't really measure when I cook, but I'll try to give you an approximation of what I used. Remind me to tell you what I do with garlic and ginger. And tomatoes.
Along with the 3 pounds of lamb neck meat, cut into smaller pieces if you can get through the bones:

  • 3  medium onions
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • About the same amount of grated fresh ginger
  • Cooking oil or ghee (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • Curry powder (about 5 Tablespoons)
  • Garam masala (1 teaspoon)
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar (about 5 Tablespoons)
  • Salt
  • 3 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped. Or a can of tomatoes.
First I seared the meat in my electric frying pan. This was to get some of that fat, to use along with the oil. Then remove the meat to a plate, pour the oil into the pan, and add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook on medium until the onions are translucent, then sprinkle the curry powder over the mixture, and stir it all together. Add a splash of water if you need more liquid. Cook it stirring for about a minute, then add the lemon juice or vinegar, garam masala, and salt to taste. A teaspoon, maybe? You can always add more later. Add the meat, and stir it around until it is coated with the onion mixture and browning a bit, then add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 2 hours, covered, stirring and turning the meat occasionally, and adding a splash of water if necessary. It's done when you can easily pull the meat off the bones.

Remove the bones, cut the meat into smaller pieces, and serve over basmati rice. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My staple- oatmeal!

I have never been a fan of sweet breakfast foods.

Many years ago we lived in Southern Africa, where maize meal is a staple food called mealie meal. I was delighted to discover that they often serve it at breakfast time as a base for a delicious "relish" of stir-fried onions and tomatoes. Most people enjoy their breakfast of mealie meal with milk and sugar, as with oatmeal in our culture.

But since my days in Southern Africa, I have been eating oatmeal with salt and pepper, chili sauce, and maybe a sprinkling of cheese.

Recently having a house guest who liked oatmeal for breakfast, I dug out my Costco sized bags of oatmeal. I have been trying to lose a few pounds, and I thought, what if I served my favorite "relishes" over oatmeal instead of rice, or potatoes or other starchy comfort bases?

And guess what? It's working! Not only is oatmeal lower cal, it makes a delicious creamy base for curry, veggies, Mexican- everything I've tried. And it is so filling!

Tonight's experiment:

I started with leftover oatmeal, added chicken broth from a carton, then chopped onion, minced garlic, and chopped carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and spinach. Simmered it all together until it was like a hearty stew.

Add salt pepper, and a sprinkling of shredded cheese, chopped coriander and chili sauce if desired!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Karen's Kitchen


I just love the way they grow up all curly and twisted. And how you can eat the green stems, or as you shall see, turn them into pesto. Best of all, when you let the heads go to seed, then break them open and dozens of teeny garlic cloves tumble out!

So, I discovered this summer that garlic scape pesto is a thing. My sister had a lovely jar from a friend, and after displaying these fat and luscious scapes as a flower bouquet, I decided to use them in pesto, along with some basil from our own garden. 
1/2 c chopped scapes
1/2 c basil*
1/2 c walnuts
splash of lemon juice
salt and ground pepper to taste
good quality olive oil

Puree in food processor. Add oil while processing.

*During the summer when the basil is growing like crazy, I am continually trimming it. Rather than gather together all the ingredients for pesto, I blanch it to keep it's lovely green color, and store it in the freezer in olive oil in a ziplock bag. When I need it, Hey Pesto, it's ready to go!

I'll add the cheese when I am ready to eat it. Maybe a slice on a sandwich or sprinkled on pasta.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birds Nest Alley

There is a veritable nature center on our front porch! 
First a robin laid three little- SURPRISE ALERT- robin's egg blue eggs! In the petunia plant right outside our living room window! 
So I was able to get some great photos, either through the window, or on her few trips off to feed her poor little self. Prepare to be swooped though!
She also did an admirable job fiercely defending her nest from a cowbird who tried to steal it. That one slunk away with her feathers between her legs!

 First Day
 Second Day
 What's for lunch?
A monarch butterfly pupa I believe!

They never give up!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still no winter

Looks like there will be no skating on the lake this winter. We went out on the boat though one freezing day. A. brought her room mate, an old family friend, whose parents had been out and she really really wanted to go. We kept telling her how cold it was out there, and she thought it was only an issue with us old fogies. She found out the truth:-)

Meanwhile there have been more mild days than not this "winter" and we haven't been out on the boat. We really need to figure out how to live on the lake!

Friday, January 20, 2012

We started looking at this house in winter. We had no intention of moving, but there was some sort of  magnetic pull that kept us coming back. I was fascinated with the kids playing hockey on the frozen lake... how was the ice not cracking and swallowing them up? Brave, brave children! Hubby even stepped off the sea wall and stood there while I furiously clicked a picture... maybe I was secretly hoping he'd fall in; that would have made a really swell pic, and it's not that deep, he would not have drowned! I mean this is Northern Virginia... it's not cold enough to play hockey on lakes!
Anyway daughter P is home from San Francisco. She really, really wanted the lake to freeze while she was here. Funny because she really, really loved it in summer, when she'd go out on the little fishing boat and jump in again and again. Of the three kids, I think she loves it the most. She is my Lakesprite Junior.
We just spent 3 weeks in Australia, and marvelled over the white sandy beaches and clear azul water. We landed back here as it was beginning to snow... the next day there was still snow on the ground, and I thought... "another winter on the lake"... but it's not going to freeze any time soon. It started, but got rained away... but I never tire of the changing ripples.