Friday, April 29, 2011

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks in Bordeaux

For Easter dinner, I decided to tackle lamb for the first time. It was a trial-and-error recipe, mixing different components I'd seen. What I liked least about the lamb were the cuts themselves; the lamb shanks were super fatty and by the time you cut all the fat out, there wasn't much meat left. However, I threw them in the slow cooker for the afternoon and they were cooked perfectly. Our side dishes were great (baked sweet potato and freshly made dill biscuits) and Dylan and I picked up a cannoli and a lobster tail from Mike's Pastries, one of the most famous food stops in Boston. All in all, the not-so-perfect lamb wasn't a huge disappointment, and throwing it in the slow cooker gave us time to dye eggs and enjoy the beautiful weather! I'd say that's a successful Easter.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks in Bordeaux
Serves: 2  Prep: 30 minutes  Total: 5 hours 30 minutes

2 lamb shanks*
Salt and pepper
1/2 yellow onion
4 carrot sticks
6-8 cloves of garlic*
1 tbs rosemary
2/3 cup Bordeaux
~3 cups water
3 red potatoes
1 red delicious apple

*If I tried this recipe again, I would suggest using a lamb shoulder and omitting the garlic. It combated with the Bordeaux, but might be nicer with a milder wine like Sherry.

Press salt and pepper into both sides of the lamb shanks. Set aside.
Chop the onion into long strings and layer at the bottom of your slow cooker. Cut carrot sticks into 1 1/2 inch chunks. Place the lamb shanks on top of the onions in the slow cooker and add the carrots and whole garlic cloves around them. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of rosemary on top of the lamb.
Add 2/3 cup of Bordeaux wine into the slow cooker, then add water until the lamb shanks are just covered. Cook on high for two and a half hours.
At the halfway point add your red potato, chopped into quarters, and turn your heat to low. Cook for another two hours, then add cubes of apple and cook for a final 30 minutes.
Optional: Take 1/2 cup of juice from the slow cooker and heat in a small skillet on high for 5 minutes. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of flour to thicken and serve over lamb shanks.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Artichoke and Sweet Potato Fries with Tangy Chile Aioli

This was my first time ever eating boiled artichoke, and maybe it was because of the delicious chile aioli, but I was impressed! Enjoy this veggie combination as a mid-afternoon snack or a light meal. I made it for dinner earlier this week and finished off some leftover duck I had from my favorite Cambridge restaurant, Henrietta's Table, using the aioli as a dipping sauce. While I'm pretty much a fan of any mayonnaise-based dip, this aioli is the perfect pairing for sweet potato fries. I loved it so much, I'm actually making it again tonight!

Artichoke and Sweet Potato Fries with Tangy Chile Aioli
Serves: 2  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 45 minutes 

2 artichoke hearts
1 sweet potato
Olive oil
Sea salt and coarse ground pepper
1/2 cup mayo
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp chile powder
2 cloves garlic

Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Trim the tops of the artichokes and cut the stems so they can stand upright. Place the artichokes in boiling water and cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until they can be easily poked with a fork.
Slice your sweet potato vertically into thick strips, then the other way to create thick fry cuts. Toss the fries in a glass baking dish with olive oil, sea salt and coarse ground pepper. Bake in the oven at 425 for 30-40 minutes or until crispy on the outside.
While the artichoke and sweet potato fries are cooking, make the aioli sauce for dipping by combining the mayo, lemon juice, and chile powder in a small bowl. Dice two small garlic cloves or push through a garlic press and add to the mayo mixture, stirring well. Add more chile powder to taste.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Prosciutto Ciabatta with Fresh Mozzarella and Fig Preserve

I think it's pretty clear that I'm a girl who enjoys food. Ergo, I love brunch. It's a smorgasbord of exciting and taboo food combinations: pancakes with your pasta, salmon with your cereal, and eggs with your ice cream sundae! (Don't even get me started on the All-You-Can-Eat variety.) Brunch incorporates all foods suitable to eat before 5 pm, and it's the perfect solution for someone who doesn't like breakfast.

I tend to opt for the savory brunch dishes but always crave a little bit of the sweet; this sandwich gives you both. A few weekends ago I discovered this fabulous dish while eating brunch at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. I was in the city with my family celebrating my mother's 50th birthday, and it was the perfect last meal before our separate departures.

I ordered their prosciutto sandwich with mozzarella and fig spread and it was heavenly. This meal was possibly the best brunch food I've ever had, and it completely satisfied my craving for savory with a little sweet. Here is my recreation of this sandwich on a garlic ciabatta served with a side of light arugula salad. Bon appetit!

Fresh Mozzarella Prosciutto Ciabatta with Fig Preserve
Serves: 2  Prep: 10 minutes  Total: 20 minutes

1/4 pound prosciutto
1/2 loaf fresh garlic and herb ciabatta
3 ounces fresh mozzarella
2 tbs fig preserve
1 cup arugula
3 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse ground pepper

Preheat oven to 225. Cut the ciabatta loaf horizontally into two roll-sized pieces, then again through the middle so you have two tops and two bottoms. Lay the ciabatta slices face up on a baking sheet and place in the oven until warm, about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, slice the mozzarella into thin cuts. Remove the bread from the oven and spread each slice with half a tablespoon of fig preserve. Lay the prosciutto on the bottom slices, and place the mozzarella on top of the prosciutto. Set in the oven open faced until mozzarella melts, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with arugula salad.
Arugula salad - Combine lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and coarse ground pepper in a small bowl and whisk until the oil and juice are completely incorporated. Pour over arugula and toss well before serving.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Skittles Cupcakes with Citrus Buttercream Frosting


I whipped up these cupcakes as part of a gift exchange for someone who loves Skittles. Of course, getting a giant bag of Skittles wasn't creative enough in my mind, and since I've been on a cupcake kick recently Skittles cupcakes were naturally my first thought.

To avoid making these tooth-achingly sweet, I created a simple buttercream frosting and added half a teaspoon of orange extract to incorporate the candy flavor without causing a sugar overload. The citrus buttercream was spot-on and I will absolutely use it again! The crushed Skittles candies in the batter turned out to be an excellent addition, giving these cupcakes a great candy flavor with the appearance of pretty homemade Funfetti. If you're a candy lover, this recipe is a must-try.

Skittles Cupcakes
Makes: 12 cupcakes  Prep: 30 minutes  Total: 1 hour

3/4 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
3/4 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup Skittles, crushed
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange extract

Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix for several minutes until light and fluffy. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In a third small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
Add eggs into the sugar mixture one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the dry and wet ingredients into the same mixture, with the dry bowl in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, mixing the whole time.
Measure out 1/2 cup whole skittles and pour into a small sandwich bag. Seal the bag and pound the candy with a meat mallet until broken into small pieces. (If some candies do not break this way, take them out and cut them in half with a large kitchen knife.) Pour candy pieces into the batter and mix well.
Pour the batter into a greased cupcake tin and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove and cool.

Citrus Buttercream Frosting:
Beat the butter in a medium bowl until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and milk in 2 additions each, starting with the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and orange extract and blend until smooth. Top each cupcake immediately before serving. Garnish with additional Skittles candies.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Turkey Burger with Apricot Mustard and Gorgonzola

I took a trip to Washington, DC this past weekend for the Cherry Blossom Festival, and pretty much ate my way through the city in the process. My favorite spot was a gorgeous gourmet market called Dean & Deluca in the middle of Georgetown. They have a deli with THE BEST sandwiches I have ever tasted! If you know me, you know my favorite food is not a fancy entrĂ©e, or a decadent dessert… but a turkey sub. I split two sandwiches with my boyfriend. (He got the club sandwich, which weighed 1.25 pounds!) They both had this amazing apricot mustard spread on top that I just had to recreate. With a craving for turkey burgers and a desire to recreate this delicious spread, here is the result.

Turkey Burger with Apricot Mustard and Gorgonzola
Serves: 2  Prep: 10 minutes  Total: 40 minutes

1 pound ground turkey meat
1 egg
Salt and pepper
2 tbs grainy mustard
2 tbs apricot jam
½ cup Gorgonzola cheese
1 tomato
2 hamburger buns

In a small bowl, mix mustard and apricot jam until blended. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix ground turkey meat with egg and season with salt and pepper. Add Gorgonzola cheese into the ground turkey and mix well. Mold into two large burger patties. Grill patties until the insides are no longer pink.
Grill the hamburger buns on each side for one minute. Spread the top buns with a generous helping of apricot mustard. Place the turkey burgers on the buns and top with remaining Gorgonzola cheese and sliced tomato. Serve with pickle and a side of crispy potato chips.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...