Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin stew with lamb

I love pumpkin as pie, but love savory pumpkin even more.
This was a test which came out very different, but very good
(I have thrown out other experiments that did not go so well)
Do NOT expect a traditional pumpkin flavor!

§       2 lamb chops, leave the fat
§       1 medium to small pumpkin
          (best to fit in a cast iron Dutch oven,
          but I have done this in a 9 x 9 glass baking tray)
§       1 medium union, sliced into strips
§       5 mint leaves
§       2 teaspoons black pepper
          (to add a bit of kick, but reduce to one if you do not want much kick)
§       1 to 3 cups of rose or white wine
        (depending on the size of the pumpkin)
§       2 teaspoons lemon
§       1/2 teaspoon salt

Remove the top of the pumpkin and hollow out the stringy stuff and seeds
(but save the seeds for roasted pumpkin seeds)
place the lamb chops on end inside the pumpkin with the mint, lemon
cover with the onions
cover the onions with wine
cook at 275 for 3 hours or until the pumpkin is soft

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I have always been afraid of baking bread

till yesterday at least,  when i decided to go for it.
I always thought that it required to much time and i have been an impatient man,
but everything came together and this is what i went with

No-Knead Bread
makes 1 loaf
·       3 cups all purpose flour
·       1 packet active dry yeast
·       1-1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
·       1-1/2 cups water
·       1 tablespoon olive oil

Add flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.
Add 1 1/2 cups of warm water (between 90-100 F and mix.
This should be a thick, gooey dough.
Cover with a damp towel and leave it in a warm spot in the house.
Let it sit for 3-4 hours until dough has doubled in size.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle flour on it.
Knead two or three times to form it into a ball.
Coat with a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent sticking, and place back into the bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes covered.
Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
Place a Dutch with the lid on in the oven and allow to heat up for 15 minutes.
Uncover the dough just before placing it carefully into the heated pot.
You will hear a sizzle, this forms a crust on the bottom of the loaf. Cover the pot with a lid and bake undisturbed for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes until it’s beautifully browned on top.
Remove pot from oven and carefully shake to loosen the loaf before tipping it out onto the counter, then cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bolengese sauce to die for

This sauce takes time, but is not difficult

·       2 - 32 ounce cans of your favorite tomato sauce
·       1 - 32 ounce can of either crushed or petite diced tomatoes
          note each canned variety is different
-        Hunts adds sugar and a bit of sugar mixed is not always a bad thing
-        Red Pack, Cento and Tuttorosso is just a good, ripe tomato
-         San Marzano tomatoes are not worth the extra money
-         Muir Glen Organic tomatoes are worth the extra money         
·       1 tablespoon dry oregano
-        dry oregano is stronger than fresh
·       2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade them
·       1 tablespoon black pepper, course
·       5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
·       2 cups wine, red or rose
-        but i prefer rose for a bit of sweetness
·       1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, dry
·       1/2 cup ricotta cheese
·       1 lb ground pork
·       1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
·       1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (come on shred your own favorite)

I always start by cooking the meat to slightly brown and removing excess fat
the last ground pork i bought had no fat (probably from pork loin) and used some olive oil
when brown and the fat remove, add the garlic, dry spices and 1 tablespoon basil
as soon as the garlic is just hot, add the wine
when the wine begins to boil add all the tomato sauce
rinse the cans with water to thin the sauce slightly
bring to a low simmer, cover and leave for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally
stir in the ricotta cheese and continue to simmer another hour
mix the remainder of the basil and the parsley and set aside
prepare your favorite pasta in salted water.
After draining the pasta always add some of the sauce to the pasta to "wet" the pasta
serve with your favorite shredded cheese and the basil/parsley mixture on top