I haven’t been writing too often lately – For the past 10 days (2 weeks?) I’ve been going through some sad times…..my grandfather is in palliative care at home and I’ve been lucky enough to be there as support. There isn’t really much I do – except make sandwiches for whoever is around, offer drinks to the amazing nurses who drop in like kind angels and make food for my grandmother’s freezer because that’s all I can think to do that might be helpful. The other day was really bad – stayed late and on my way out Joyce handed me a casserole a neighbour had made for her and ordered me to eat. Someone else’s food tasted so delicious and the kindness of it made me cry. I’m pretty emotional right now.
Anyways, that’s I really wanted to say. Thanks for kind neighbours and their wonderful lasagnas, noodles and cookies. Food that you don’t have to make or think about is such a kind comfort.
In an earlier blog I talked about a good lamb dinner I had made (last week? time flies) Thought I’d share the recipe. I love cooking ROL. It’s one of my staple entertaining dishes because cooking it perfectly is basically a no-fail formula: 25 min. in a hot oven and I have the peace of mind that it always turns out. On top of that – the shape of the meat creates interest on the plate – the chops look fantastic with the height of the bones. I like to cut them into double chops so it doesn’t look skimpy.
My secret for the topping is Parm and gremolata – 2 of my favourite flavour boosters. The cheese melts and helps the crust adhere to the meat and the gremolata gives a garlicky oomph. Anyways….quick and easy – here goes:
1 rack of lamb (about 8-ribs)
1 tbsp Dijon
3 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley or cilantro (or a mix)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp finely grated orange or lemon peel
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
If there is a thick layer of fat on lamb, score with a knife. Sprinkle with generous pinches of salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 min.
Spread Dijon over fat side of lamb. Mix herbs with garlic and peel. Use your fingers to evenly distribute and mix. Sprinkle over Dijon, then cover with cheese. Lightly tamp down with your fingers.
Place in a foil-lined baking dish or baking sheet and roast in centre of preheated 425F oven for 25 min. if you like it medium-rare. Let stand 10 min., then slice into thick double chops.
Yes, I am one of those who love Brussels sprouts. Smallish group, from my rather unscientific approach of soliciting friends, family and co-workers. After years of writing about them and shooting them as part of Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners, I remember one of Chatelaine’s previous art directors referring to them as “budgie heads”. However I remain loyal to those cruciferous delights.
I will admit that they can be nasty when overcooked but I’m assuming that’s a myth from the past – way back when the Sunday Dinner’s veggies went in at the same time as the roast. Times have changed – and smart, healthy and downright delicious vegetable cookery is now part of most our dinner routines.
My favourite way to make sprouts? I shred ‘em……and the mandolin works wonders:
If I have more time on my hands and want a fanciful way of showcasing them, then I trim the bottom cores and lovingly (read painstakingly) peel off all the leaves – trimming the core as needed. Then I call them “baby cabbages”. Whatever the prep, I then stir-fry the sprouts in a mixture of oil/butter with a generous pinch of caraway seeds and raisins (or currants are good too). Fantastic….not a mushy mouthful and the caraway is strong enough and a great match for that green, almost coppery, taste. Bon Appetit.
I love leftovers…..and the rice cooker too. I’m hooked now. The convenience, the perfectly cooked fluffy grains. I can’t stop making rice – have almost cleaned the cupboard out. The cooker has pride of place in the kitchen now – thought it would be banished to under the stairs in a matter of weeks. How wrong I was! Anyways, I digress, as usual.
Leftover rice is my new source of happiness. Today’s lunch was 2-day old red rice heated with last night’s roasted squash, green beans and onions. I threw in a handful of grated old cheddar and a blob of mayo stirred with about 1 tsp ground cumin, then rolled the whole thing up in a whole wheat tortilla. Ugly, but so comfortingly delicious. I know the concept of warm/hot mayo turns a lot of people off, but really, it’s very good – so creamy, so tangy! And it binds everything together nice ‘n snug so the rice and other bits don’t fall out when you roll it up.
And remember, I did say it was ugly…. behold the glorious leftovers!
And lastly….thanks to Chris, who left a really delicious-sounding recipe on last week’s entry. Am already anticipating pulled pork and rice wraps. Heavenly.
Good evening to all,
Food budgets and how to eat well, but without emptying the wallet have got my wheels turning. Tonight I was testing recipes for EAT magazine. It’s for the spring issue and my topic is brunch – can’t spoil too much, but the main dish is a potato tortilla topped with smoked salmon. Basically it’s a lot of potatoes cooked in a little egg and garnished with piles of pink smoked salmon.
Here’s the rough breakdown:
4 Yukon Gold potatoes – $2.86
8 eggs – I used organic – about $3.84
1 onion – $0.42
1/2 170g pkg smoked salmon – $5
add on an additonal $2 for olive oil and dried seasonings
Grand total: $14.12
Not too bad – serves 6 – as long as there’s a side dish – otherwise 4 hungry people could easily devour it.
Now, where am I going with all of this…..
Due to the nature of my job, I often get to shop and cook on someone else’s dollar. While I do keep cost in mind, it’s different than spending your own money. But after the coke vs milk article I’ve really been paying attention.
I’d like to know….what do most people spend on making a typical weeknight dinner for 4? Is $15 reasonable? Is $20? What about $25 to $30?
Once we figure out the bottom line – why don’t we put out a recipe challenge?
Please give me your feedback.