Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lamb on a stick

Lamb on a stick aka Shish-ka-bob

This is a dish we make for Memorial Day weekend.. You must be a lamb lover to enjoy this wonderfully stewy dish! You'll need to make this two prior to cooking it.

At your grocer get a leg of lamb.. fresh New Zealand spring lamb and have the butcher bone it for you & cube. Once you get it home..cube it even smaller into 1 inch cubes.

Chop up 5 good sized onions... at least 5 garlic cloves... & a few shallots. In a large bowl add your cubed fresh lamb.. and this mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper.. NO SALT!! Then cover all with vegetable oil.. yes cover all the mixture in oil. Cover tightly and give a good shake. Refrigerate it for two days. Twice a day.. take it out of frig & shake again.

The day you will be serving this.. skewer up the lamb pieces on skewers... alone. On separate skewers put quartered tomatoes... and on yet another skewer put cut up green peppers. Cook all on grill.. slowly cooked. I cook my meat first.. then the peppers.. then the tomatoes lastly.. they cook the fastest. As the meats are cooked.. slide them off the skewer & into a large pot.. do the same with the peppers..& tomatoes.. add all to the pot. Now.. the reserved oil & onions you had the lamb marinating in for two days.. toss also into the pot. Put the pot on the grill.. or cooktop... & slowly cook on lowered heat. It will become a thick stew in no time.

Now for some some rice pilaf:

Simmer 2 pads of butter.. add some Orzo or chopped up spaghetti.. not much.. a handful of Orzo... lightly brown. Once browned.. add 2 cans chicken broth.. & 1 1/2 cups Uncle Bens long grained rice ( NOT minute rice).. bring to rapid boil & then turn down very low & just simmer..covered..til all juices are gone.. don't overcook this rice.. leave a bit of juice in bottom of pan.. it'll absorb lastly & keep the pilaf nice and moist. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh parsley.. Serve rice.. & ladle on Lamb on the stick.. Scrumptious meal!! Serve with Syrian bread.. or some folks can get pita bread & a hearty tossed green salad. Enjoy and Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spring Rhubarb

I found my pie plates!! [Though my favorite mixing bowl has yet to be found..ugh!] Move over asparagus and fiddleheads.. it's time for dessert!
One of my favorite desserts of Spring is strawberry rhubarb pie. Yesterday while visiting my friend Bill at Fern Cottage Gardens farm to dig up some echinachea plants, I spotted a huge rhubarb patch!

I've always loved the look of this marvelous plant with it's brilliant magenta stalks and breaking off that first spring stalk to taste that wonderful tarty flavor. But moreso I love how versatile rhubarb is, paired with other sweet fruits.. apples, strawberries, or blueberries along with a bit of sugar and some cinnamon. In crisps, pies, cobblers, jams and tartlettes.. it's a favorite, hands down in our house. So after I finished all my digging, I grabbed enough of these beauties to bring home and bake a pie.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pastry for 9-inch double crust pie or a ready made pie crust in your grocers freezer

Pie filling:

2 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced into 1/2 inch chunks
2 cups strawberries,cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cornstarch
1 pad, butter
1 tsp cinnamon sugar
2 tsp strawberry rhubarb jam (opt)

Mix above ingredients and let sit about 10 minutes. Put the bottom of the crust in the pie plate. You can do a simple lattice or just do a whole second crust on top.

This a juicy pie, so be sure to line it with a baking sheet to avoid oven spillage. Brush the crust lightly with milk & egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!

Thanks again Bill, for my new additions to the perennial beds and for sharing your lovely rhubarb patch with me!

Beef with Oyster Sauce

Where does the time go? As I've been doing nothing but unpack in the last few weeks, I came across some old notes I had tucked away for 'safe keeping'. These days we seldom eat beef, but this was such a great dish that I just had to make it last night. The sweetness to this dish gives it a slightly different and distinctive flavor from the classic.

1 lb flank steak, cut across the grain in thin slices
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 TBLS cornstarch
1 TBLS soy sauce
1 TBLS water
2 TBLS peanut oil

Mix the marinade thoroughly until the sugar disssolves. Add it to the sliced meat, stir and set aside for an hour.

3/4 lb broccoli, fresh or frozen
1 TBLS sherry
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 scallions, sliced
3 slices fresh ginger root
4 TBLS peanut oil

Prepare broccoli & drain well. Heat wok or fry pan until hot, add 2 TBLS oil, and toss in cooked broccoli. Stir fry a few minutes, add wine, salt, sugar. Cover & cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and lay on a plate.

Seasoning sauce:
2 TBLS oyster sauce
1 TBLS lite soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TBLS cornstarch dissolved in 1 TBLS water.

Heat the remaining oil to your pan, add marinating beef and stir fry for 2 minutes or so. Add ginger slices and scallions and stir fry 2 minutes more. Now add in the seasoning sauce, stirring quickly until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and pour over broccoli & serve with white rice. Enjoy!