While we like a lot of the same dishes and flavors, Selim and I approach cooking in completely different ways. He likes to combine flavors and add a pinch of this and a dash of that, until he ends up with a delicious end result. Frequently (and unfortunately) this doesn’t lend itself to sharing on our blog, because by the time he reaches his final dish, he’s forgotten or can’t figure out exactly the amount of different ingredients that he’s used. Now me on the other hand, I’m way less creative. I like to find intriguing recipes and use them as a guide, makes tweaks here and there for our personal tastes. But tonight I pulled a Selim! I completely winged it for this dish and am pretty proud of myself. I think next time I would do do it with a lamb shoulder instead to have a little less fat.
In terms of flavor, the meat, carrots, and broth have a very meaty flavor, but the blood orange “gremichurri” as we called it (halfway between a gremolata and a chimichurri) really is the fun and bright flavor counterpoint here! It’s a great option for winter – heavy, hearty meat dish to stick to your bones and warm you up, topped with some brightness of winter citrus.
Blood Orange Lamb
2 tsp neutral oil
4 lamb shanks
Salt & pepper
1/2 red onion, chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cups beef (or lamb if you so happened to have it!) stock
~20 baby carrots
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 blood orange, zested and juiced
1/2 – 1 tsp olive oil
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Season the lamb shanks liberally with salt & pepper. Sear on all sides for just a minute or two (may have to do in batches). Then remove the lamb to the side.
Add the onions to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. Follow with 6 cloveds of minced garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the bay leaves and all of the spices and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Return the lamb to the pot. Pour in the beef stock and the carrot. Nestle everything under the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil.
Lower back to a light simmer and cover. Braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, chop up the the leaves and tender stems of the parsley. Combine this in a small bowl with the remaining clove of minced garlic , the zest and juice of the blood orange, and the olive oil to taste.
At this point, the meat should be very tender and falling off the bones. Remove the lamb and carrots to the side. Increase heat to a vigorous simmer to reduce the liquid by half. Pull the meat off the bones and shred into bite-sized pieces.
Serve over rice or couscous, topping the starch with lamb, carrots, and then the reduced sauce.
Tonight’s recipe is our second effort from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi. Our first attempt was the super unique Eggplant & Mango Soba Noodles, which we loved! I love all things carbs, so a dish of not one, but two types of potatoes is right up my ally. We enjoyed cooking with curry leaves for the first time – so fresh and almost citrus-y! We got to explore a nearby Indian grocery a little more for some of these ingredients too, so that was fun! I expected this dish to be a little spicier (that’s what I think when I hear “vinadloo”), but it only has a mild spice to it. It is very spicED, but not spicY. So this lead me to research vindaloo a little bit. Turns out that ‘vindaloo’ comes from the Portuguese ‘carne de vinha d’alhos,’ which translates to ‘meat in garlic wine.’ This was a dish eaten by Portuguese sailors on the voyage to India because the meat was preserved. In India, the wine was replaced with vinegar, spices were added, and the name evolved to ‘vindaloo.’ So cool! I love the history of food!
We enjoyed this as a side dish (with scallops, so probably not a super common pairing 😂), but certainly it is meant to be a vegetarian main dish.
(Adapted from Plenty by Ottolenghi)
2 tbsp neutral oil
2 shallots, diced
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp paprika
2 cinnamon sticks
1 dried red chilli
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or chopped
25 fresh curry leaves
3 medium tomatoes
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large red bell pepper
1 large Russet potato, diced
1 large sweet potato, diced
Heat the oil in a large heavy pan or a dutch oven. Cook the shallots, mustard seeds, and fenugreek over medium-high heat, for 4-5 minutes, until shallots are browned and seeds are popping.
Add the next nine ingredients (spices through curry leaves) and cook for another 3 minutes.
While those are cooking, blitz the tomatoes in a food processor. Next, add the tomatoes, along with the vinegar, stock, sugar, and salt to the dish. Bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the potatoes and peppers and continue cooking at a simmer, covered, for 45 minutes (or more, until potatoes are tender).
Once the potatoes are tender, remove the lid and simmer for another 10 minutes so the sauce thickens.
Remove the chili pepper and cinnamon sticks. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.
In case you thought we hadn’t shared enough pies recently… here’s the THIRD of the pies I made for Thanksgiving. I was eyeing the Cranberry Crumble Pie from Sister Pie, but when I read it in more detail, it just had a few too many steps for me to tackle along with the other pies. But the idea of cranberry pie really appealed to me and then lo and behold, Bon Appetit magazine’s Instagram account goes and posts this recipe for Cranberry-Lime Pie! It was fate! We had to make it. A little less traditional for Thanksgiving, but delicious none the less! Flavor-wise, it reminded everyone of a key lime pie – sweet and sour! The color screams cranberry, but honestly the lime flavor comes through the most. I think my family was a little skeptical at first (they don’t always embrace change so well…), but it ended up being a hit! This pie was also the easiest of the three I made, with a super simple crust and a filling that set in the freezer. And the candied whole cranberries on top might have been my favorite part!
(Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine – Nov ’16)
4oz gingersnap cookies
1 cup pecans
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp brown sugar
16oz fresh cranberries, divided
2 1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
2 limes, zested & juiced, divided
Pinch of salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grind cookies and pecans up finely in a food processor. Add the butter and brown sugar and pulse until combined.
Pour into a 9 inch pie dish and using your fingers, press into the bottom and up the sides of the dish.
Bake for just 10-15 minutes until darkened slightly.
Bring 12oz cranberries, 1 cup sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens.
After the mixture has cooled, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Now whisk together the cranberry puree, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lime juice, salt, ½ cup sugar, and zest from 1 lime. Place this mixture in a glass bowl.
Bring water to a simmer in a pot of a size that matches your glass bowl. Set the glass bowl on the pot, above the water. Stir the mixture frequently as it thickens, for ~ 10 minutes.
Now beat the butter into the mixture with a hand mixer. Once well-combined, pour into the crust.
Place the pie into the freezer for ~2 hours.
Meanwhile, combine another 1/2 cup of sugar with a 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, dissolving the sugar. Then add the remaining 4oz of cranberries. Cook for just 2-3 minutes, until the cranberries have started to soften, but aren’t bursting. Transfer the berries to a wire rack to cool.
Now zest the remaining lime into the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Once the berries are cool, toss them in the lime sugar until well-coated. Top the pie with the sugared cranberries. Keep chilled until ~1 hour before serving.
We’re baaaaack! Very sorry for the lack of recipes for the past few months! The dates of our blog absence directly correlate with the first and early second trimester of Ally’s pregnancy with our first child!! While this is spectacular news, our blog did suffer for awhile there. Ally has been fairly sick for the first trimester and generally hated everything about food for a few months there. For awhile, she wouldn’t eat any of the following: meat, seafood, “sweet things,” “heavy things,” or pretty much anything you might think of to make for dinner. So honestly, there wasn’t really a whole lot to blog about for a good length of time! (Unless you’re really interested in meals consisting of Cheez-its and pickles – you just let us know next time! 😉) Thankfully, all of this is starting to improve greatly, though she still randomly will refuse certain foods out of the blue, and we still haven’t made it back to seafood yet!
But don’t you worry – we have an amazing recipe to share today for our welcome back. Last spring we shared Prosciutto & Basil Topped Lemon Ricotta Pappardelle and a rave about the blog where we found the recipe inspiration. Well tonight’s source recipe comes from the same place – truly I think this is my favorite food blog and one I keep returning to again and again. The original recipe is here – our main change was to double the meat and triple the sauce, to make it more appropriate for the five diners we had for this meal. I highly recommend utilizing the sauce to meat ratio we’ve created here, not because I think our idea was superior, but because the sauce is SO DELICIOUS. I was licking the plate. Literally. Not joking. [Pregnant women are allowed to do that. It’s a law.]
A lot of our family and friends think because we have this food blog and enjoy ‘fancy’ dinner date nights, that we only eat complex, homemade dishes for every single meal. Hate to burst the bubble, but that is far from the truth. We obviously do love experimenting with new recipes and tend to take a little longer to prepare some complicated dishes than others might… but this is not every single day for us. We have a deep love for boxed Kraft mac & cheese, get giddy about our occasional trips to Taco Bell, and eat Trader Joe’s frozen pizza roughly once a week. And I (Ally) loveCampbell’s canned soups. Go ahead, judge me, I don’t care. One of my all time favorite Campbell’s soups is Beef Barley. Since it’s getting to be quite chilly around here – it’s been below freezing a few mornings this past week! – I decided we definitely needed soup for dinner tonight. Beef barley just sounds so hearty, warm, and filling to combat the chill today!