Adventures in Food

for those of you whining to me about my food posts taking over the mo&co posts, you can move on to the next post...

i am becoming more and more comfortable with cooking these days as seen by the increase in food photos.  i am truly proud of my progression in the kitchen.  actually "complete awe" is a better term.  making this a goal in the first place was a goal i never thought would pan out, much like every new year's resolution.  the fact that i have actually been following through and have arrived at a place where i've gained enough momentum and enough confidence to keep going rather than become intimidated and slink back is quite an achievement for me.  

i am doing what i set out to do: using easy recipes, i have gained a feel for the basics and have been able to apply them to other recipes.  i am less frantic and more patient.  one of the things i have learned to really love, is that many recipes have points where you need to wait which allows time for washing dishes which in turn saves me from a bunch of dirty dishes at 10:30pm.


so.  i really hate eating lamb.  but i made a lamb dish.  kevin bought it and it has been in the freezer a few weeks.  we had fresh mint from Westham Island and when it comes down to mint i have two associations: (1) MOJITOS (2) LAMB.  

with no rum in the house, it was lamb.  and though it made me sad to be mixing ground baby meat in my hands, these meatballs turned better than i could have imagined, better than the Tana Ramsay recipe i tried.  probably because the recipe called for parmesan as part of the mix and the fact that they were rolled in panko crumbs.  the kids ate them up no problem, and kevin kept grunting like the caveman he is over how good they were.  i spoke to the lamb many times in my head, pleading for forgiveness and expressing my full gratitude.  sigh.

i did my first home-made tzatziki with 1 shredded cucumber, strained through cheesecloth with 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp chopped mint.  chopped up some crunchy sweet yellow and red peppers and threw everything on some rice.

(see recipes below)



indian again!  kevin is becoming pretty good at the gluten-free naan.  here, the eggplant curry i usually make has been kicked up a notch with peas and paneer.  $8 for a block of paneer about the size of your normal tofu.  it works perfectly!  cut up the paneer into tiny blocks and fry in a pan before adding to the simmering curry.  

the butter chicken turned out better than usual.  tomato sauce/paste usually works better than canned/fresh tomatoes in terms of consistency, and all out of plain yogurt i decided to use the coconut krema we had available.  i have yet to try making butter chicken from complete scratch, for now we use the Asian Home Gourmet paste with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup yogurt (or cream), and 1/2 cup tomato paste and 1 chopped onion.  Cook the onion for 5 minutes in 1 tbsp oil.  Add sauce ingredients followed by 1 lb chicken.  Simmer for 20 and it's done!  With a little bit more time and effort, the difference in taste is well worth moving on from the jar sauce.



this is so gweilo of me, but i did a teriyaki chicken.  using 1/2 cup Mirin and 1/2 cup soy sauce with 2 tbsp of cane sugar, simmered until thick, i made my first teriyaki sauce!  yup, so simple, i know, but i have to start simple!  boiled some carrots and green beans  for veggies and threw everything on top of steamed rice.  topped with green onions, toasted sesame seed, and seaweed.  

with an extra eggplant, i had another try with the Miso Glazed Eggplant.  i think my third time will be the charm, because although this one was good and although i put them in the oven instead of the toaster oven, they still were not creamy enough.  and when i tried to cook them longer, i had already put the miso on and i forgot about them, so they burned a little. hahahahha. 



Lamb Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1 whole egg
  • (no eggs?  no problem! i replaced the egg using 2 tbsp water + 1 tbsp oil + 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder ( I used 1 minced garlic clove )
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, divided

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine lamb, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic, salt, and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Place the remaining bread crumbs into a small bowl.  Using your hands, shape the meatballs into small balls 1 1/2" or 3cm rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs onto baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over for another 10-15 or until golden brown.  Makes about 20-25 meatballs.


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