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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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January 30, 2011

I Guess When It's Cold Outside, I Cook!

Cause that sure seems to be about all I've been doing.  Nothing too exciting although I did try a new recipe tonight which involved my first lamb shank ever.  More about that later.

I finally got around to using up the leftover meatball mix that was in the freezer and had spaghetti and meatballs (of course) one night and then a meatball sub with roasted cauliflower another night.  And it dawned on me I've never posted the meatball and sauce recipe so now I have and here's a link to that:  Spaghetti and Meatballs.   Don't know why I took pictures of both those meals cause they mostly just look like a mound of tomato sauce but I wanted to have a picture to put with the recipe so here they are.

You can see it makes a pretty thick sauce.  At some point I started making pasta with tomatoes (canned or fresh) chopped up, adding a little tomato paste to get the sauce good and tomato-y, and usually some sauteed veggies - zucchini, yellow crookneck, maybe broccoli, maybe mushrooms, etc.  And I really like that type of sauce now.  But when I make my good ole Mama Mia's Spaghetti and Meatballs, I still love it too.  And since it's not my own recipe, I'm allowed to say the meatballs are the best I've ever had.

And this is the meatball sub with the roasted cauliflower.  I forget now what prompted me to make the cauliflower - oh, I saw one of those bags of already chopped up cauliflower florets and they were still so nice and white looking I decided to get them and then had to decide what to do with them so this was a result of that.  I think I had copied out a recipe for roasted cauliflower with garlic and parmesan cheese so I adjusted a couple of things and it was quite delicious.

Then one night I did that business of cooking a little can of baked beans that I gussied up and baked in my miniature iron skillet and served with two blackened hotdogs.  Only thing is, this time I cooked the beans a little too long or hotter or something and they were pretty dried out.  But I'll just be more careful next time cause even dried out, it was still a fun dinner (if you like hotdogs!)  So no picture of that.

Moving right along, my next meal came about because I was wandering through the grocery store and saw a new product.  Our stores have always had those real thin, oblong packages of various Italian meats - prosciutto, salami, capacolla (not sure of the spelling).  Well, now they've come out with a baked ham that's been roasted with rosemary and garlic and, of course, I had to get that.  I decided I'd make that egg strata thing I made once before so I did and I'll be updating that recipe with a few changes I made.  So here's the new ham:

And here's the second strata:

I liked my first attempt, but I liked this one better, so I've updated that recipe (Easy Egg Strata)  I also used this ham in a sandwich one lunch time and still have some left that I think I'll use to make a carbonara type spaghetti sauce.

And that brings me to the Moroccan lamb shank tonight.  The seasonings in it were a lot different than what I normally cook with - at least in this combination - so that was fun.  Here's what all the main recipe called for:  paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and kosher salt.  Along with the onion and carrot.  I'll probably post this recipe too although lamb shanks aren't always available at our stores - I don't know about other places.  And when I DO post it, I'll be adjusting a few things.  So here are my pictures from tonight's episode of Mary Lynne in the Kitchen. :)

Here are the onions and carrots waiting to be added back in...
And here's the lamb shank browning in that almost syrupy mix from all the spices mingling with the oil...
And here's the finished product with the nummy sweet potatoes.  My only complaint about this recipe is trying to get the meat separated from all it's "stuff".  The shank, being the bottom of the leg, has a lot of sinews, connecting tissue, etc.  But the meat was very tender and tasty.  It would be interesting to try a different cut but I think the slow cooking really permeates the meat (and any veggies) much more than it would with a more tender, quicker cooking meat.

So that's it for now - I'll post the spaghetti and lamb recipes shortly.

2 comments:

Christopher said...

Mmmm mmm, they all look delish! The picture of the lamb shank in the skillet almost looked like a game hen or something similar...! Definitely gives me a hankerin' for the spaghetti & meatballs!

vrmichie said...

Just read your strata recipe and like your changes -- makes me much more inclined to give it a try as does your pic of the end result. Very attractive. The lamb shank looks tasty delicious so guess you'd better make it again with your variations so we can give it a try. And where does "nummy" come from? Could one of your children not pronounce yummy? It's snowing here. AGAIN. The weather says another 5 to 9 inches. And just when we had the driveway almost free of ice.

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