March 24, 2008

Herb and Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb

I was less than enthusiastic when my in laws decided on lamb for Easter dinner. I don't like lamb, I don't know why I don't like it. According to my mother, I ate lamb chops as a child (at least once a week), but must have had a bad experience with it somewhere along the line. I don't even want to smell it cooking. Fortunately, leg of lamb is completely different from lamb chops, and this is the perfect recipe.

For a 5 pound leg of lamb:
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
Stir ingredients.

Rub on lamb.

Place in 325 degree oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees for medium rare or 155 for medium. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let sit for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.

I dare say this smelled heavenly as it cooked, and took approximately 2 1/2 hours. Everyone dug in, and absolutely loved this lamb. I had an obligatory bite, but I just can't get past the idea of it. I normally have an adventurous palate- and eating lamb isn't what I would call being adventurous! There was no lack of delectable side dishes- baby new potatoes boiled in lemon water and coated in melted butter, lemon zest and parsley, fresh green beans and a salad with candied sliced almonds and mandarin oranges worthy of its own blog post.

For anyone looking for an easy recipe for leg of lamb, try this. It is a beautiful dish and helps make for a festive meal. I hope you all had a happy Easter, and enjoyed some time with family and had a bite or two of something new or different...and the eggs.

March 20, 2008

Onion-Cheese Puffs!

For a quick, impressive and savory appetizer, try these puffs.

1 cup water
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 eggs
3/4 cup shredded swiss or mozarella cheese
1 small bermuda onion, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat water and butter to rolling boil. Stir in flour, salt and garlic powder.

Stir vigorously over low heat for 1 minute, or until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Stir in onion and cheese.

Drop dough by scant teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake until puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.

The recipe, from Carnegie Cooks: Delicious Food and Delectable Facts from the Volunteers and Staff of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, (thank you, Colleen, er, um, I mean Santa!) includes a few ideas for variations. Place pimento stuffed olive or 1/2 inch square cheese slice (1/8 inch thick) on each puff. Bake as directed. For filled puffs, place one of the following on each puff and then top with enough dough to cover: salted peanut, 1/2 inch ham or bologna cube or 1/2 a pimento stuffed olive. I made these plain, since I had all of the ingredients on hand.

This recipe makes about 6 dozen puffs. We had them along with a few other appetizers one recent Saturday afternoon as an impromptu tapas-style brunch. These little warm, golden, cheesy, oniony treats go fast. Enjoy them while they're hot...and the eggs.

March 18, 2008

St. Patty's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage!

I'm baaackk. Finally among the living, after an illness which took away any desire to think about food, much less write about it. But I'm better just in time for one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick's Day!! This corned beef and cabbage recipe is slow cooked in Irish beer and spices, and will give your home such a wonderful aroma that you will hardly be able to wait to eat!

Corn beef brisket, 4 - 5 pounds
4 bay leaves
5 peeled garlic cloves
2 carrots, cut in half and sliced
Unpeeled red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half (I cooked my potatoes separately)
1 large head of cabbage chopped roughly
1 bottle or can of Irish beer
1/2 can of chicken broth (7.5 oz.)
6 cloves
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
Seasoning pack that came with meat

In a large slow cooker, pour in beer and chicken broth.

Stir in cloves, peppercorn, seasoning pack, bay leaves and garlic (smash garlic). Place beef brisket in the center of the pot (fat side up) and stuff carrots around it. Add potatoes now if you want to cook them with the beef. Add enough water so that liquid goes 1/3 of the way up the side of the cooker.

Put on low heat for 8 - 10 hours. After the first 4 hours, add chopped cabbage and recover. If you have to remove some liquid, do so now. The liquid will continue to rise.

After 8-9 hours (I had a 4 pounder), it's done. Remove cabbage and carrots and then remove and slice corned beef!

Discard bay leaves, and serve! I boiled small red potatoes and then smothered them in butter, kosher salt and parsley and served them on the side. This made enough for 5 hungry people the first night, and small-ish leftover plates for 4. It was fantastic, smelling the corned beef cook during the last couple of hours will really get your mouth watering. I also made a loaf of Irish Soda bread in the bread machine- perfect to go with this meal. So drink some green beer do a jig! Everyone's Irish on Saint Patrick's Day...and the eggs.

March 7, 2008

The Best Glazed Ham or Have You Ever Seen a Rabbi Carve a Ham?

Now you have. We told him it was roast beef. My kitty-mom and Paula Deen make this glaze, I am not sure which one made it first, so I give them both credit. It's unbelievable.

3-4 lb. boneless ham
1 cup white wine
2 1/2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons molassas
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups ginger ale
2 Tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and place ham in roasting pan. In a saucepan, combine everything except the ginger ale and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add ginger ale, pour some of the glaze over the ham. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Increase oven temp to 325 degrees. Bake for 1 more hour, basting ham every 15 mintues. Brush the ham with honey. Bake, basting every 15 minutes, until the ham is well glazed, about another 30 minutes. Slice and serve.

I do make a couple of hams a year, and I will never make another one without this glaze. It enhances to flavor of the already lovely ham. I also wanted to share what I'm guessing would be your first time seeing a rabbi carve one of these bad boys. It was surreal even for me...and the eggs.

March 4, 2008

New Post on People + Food

Zelma Blachman Goodman Rivin

Fritz & Franz Bierhaus - Coral Gables

We've moved to different locations in and around Miami, but always go back to the Bierhaus in the Gables. The menu is full of traditional German fare, including marinated herring, Liptauer cheese and wiener schnitzel. The service is friendly, prices reasonable and the schnapps are chilled and varied. First, the appetizers:

Sausage Sampler: Bratwurst, Knockwurst and Smoked Bratwurstover with Harald's legendary potato salad. So good that we discussed our next trip and how we should eat just plates of these.

The liptauer, a mixture of cream- and cottage cheese made spicy - it's served with warm bread and it's gooooood.

The special for Thursday nights: Goulash!

It was rich, fragrant, hearty and delicious- spatzle on the side.

Breaded pork scallopini with roasted potatoes, fried egg and anchovies. My father ordered this, and thought it hit the spot.

My plain old schnitzel- sans anchovies but avec Harald's potato salad. Fantastic dish, the schnitzel is tender inside, crispy outside, the potato salad is warm and vinegary- really great flavors.

White cabbage salad, warm red cabbage salad- both make your mouth jump for joy! I'm serious! The red cabbage has to be my favorite thing on the menu.

We had eight in our party, but everyone had what is pictured above or variations on the same. After dinner, we indulged in a schnapps or two. It's not the syrupy schnapps you buy in the bottle, it's a homemade clear type of fruit brandy. This is the house schnapps, apricot flavored. We also tried apple schnapps. It went down easily, perhaps too easily... we could have sat around and sampled more, but it was getting late, and it was a work night.

We vowed not to wait so long before our next visit. For something fun and different, try a German restaurant. You can either order side dishes and eat tapas-style, or go for entrees. It would be a great place to go for happy hour- there's a beer list instead of a wine list! So...mach schnell! Find the German restaurant in your city, there's bound to be one...and the eggs.

Fritz & Franz Bierhaus Austrian-Bavarian Restaurant & Bar in Coral Gables

March 2, 2008

Garlic-Mustard-Grilled Beef Skewers

I have some cooking to make up for, so this weekend it was time to do just that. It's a real luxury to have a day to plan, shop and cook, and I loved every minute of it! Grilling was in order because this was one heck of a beautiful day, so I consulted my newest cookbook, Bobby Flay's Grilling For Life, and decided on a beef tenderloin recipe.

Garlic-Mustard Glaze

1/4 cup whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours before using.

Grilled Beef Skewers:

2 pounds beef tenderloin
Twelve 6-inch wooden skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes

Heat grill to high. Cut tenderloin lengthwise in half, then cut the halves lengthwise in half again. Slice crosswise to make 24 equal pieces. Skewer 2 pieces of beef onto each skewer, keeping them together at one end of the skewer. Place them in baking dish and pour half the glaze over the meat, turning to coat.

Grill the meat, turning once and brushing with the remaining glaze, for 4 to 6 minutes until golden brown, slightly charred and cooked to medium-rare. Transfer skewers to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

Place them on platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

This recipe is all about the glaze, which gets brushed on right before grilling and once during, so it's super simple and the taste is outstanding. Garlic, rosemary and mustard, along with the honey infuse the tenderloin -the meat picks up the nuances of the flavors in the marinade. The flavors were perfection. Despite soaking the skewers, they became charred, I'm not sure how to conquer that except to use metal. The tenderloin was the star of the meal, so I made some great side dishes that we already know and love.

Oven roasted baby red potatoes:
2 pounds baby red potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
generous pinches of kosher salt

Put it all together on cookie sheet or flat pan with raised edges and coat with olive oil and nice pinches of kosher salt. There were a few potatoes which were over 1 1/2 inches in diameter, so I sliced those in half. Put potatoes in oven preheated to 450 degrees for one hour. Voila.

I also made pan-sauteed baby asparagus, using the simplest of ingredients- a few shakes of cayenne pepper, a few shakes of white pepper, a bit of kosher salt and threw it all in a sizzling pan of olive oil for a few minutes (4 but not more than 5) until the asparagus just starts to cook- we like it al dente. As soon as it was ready, I threw it on a platter and dinner was served...which is why I forgot to take a photo of it. The beef, potatoes and asparagus, along with a glass of Shiraz, made for quite a meal- and was the perfect amount of food for five of us.

After eating, we went back outside to enjoy the evening- lit a log in the fire pit, picked out constellations (it was a very clear night) and finished our wine. A lovely end to a much-needed leisurely day...and the eggs.