Calder Is In Japan

This is a continuation of my previous post where I was trying to write a Goodbye of sorts to my son who moved to Japan for 2 years to study Japanese and the Japanese culture. I was attempting to do this a few weeks before he left but it was way too difficult a task. The excitement and joy for him was completely overshadowed by motherly angst, fears and panic. You always know when you have a child that they will leave you one day and truly if they didn’t that would be kind of like telling me I was going to live forever instead of die. We think we want to live forever, but do we? The finality of it all puts us into the circle of life orbit and I think as humans we like a beginning, a middle and an end. That’s kind of another story.

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Little Side Shrine off Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto, Japan

If someone told me that my son would never stop being a child and would live with me until I died I might rethink having children. The beginning is having a child, the middle is raising that child, and the end is them leaving to find their own way. Of course it is not the end of the relationship, but more like a new beginning, a new cycle. This is where I am with Calder, the beginning of our new cycle.

I could never think of him as not living in our house. He was part of everything every day for the past 18+ years and I couldn’t think past that. I could only imagine feelings of what it would be like with him not sitting with me in the kitchen while I cooked, or him helping or him sleeping in his bed or sitting in the car going somewhere. Imagined feelings are awful and I felt sick every time I looked at him and thought about not being able to do that. I mostly seemed to dwell on the moment myself and my daughter Íde (we were both going to Kyoto to “drop” him off) boarded the plane for home without him, and then walking into the house after getting home. I knew I was going to strip the sheets from our beds before leaving and wash them so our travel-worn bodies could sleep in perfect cotton crispness, but I couldn’t stop imagining how Calder’s bed would be stripped and then left like that. It was stupid and overly sentimental but I get like that. I get wrapped up in the feeling and all I could think about was this loss and me pining away without him. The last few weeks were the worst because both he, and his sister would either be afraid to mention anything about him leaving for fear of me busting into tears or they would talk about it on purpose just to see me busting into tears (their sick way of making me laugh at myself, and it worked sometimes).

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 Bamboo Forest in Saga-Arashiyama, Kyoto

So, I decided to put off writing about Calder and his big adventure away from home, and from us, until I got back. And now here I am writing, and not a tear is being shed. I imagined all sorts of scenarios, but I never imagined what is actually happening: me being able to cope, and not just cope, me being happy, without him. 

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It was Cherry Blossom Season

I realize now that my feeling of panic and sadness was not really about him being gone, it was about him being unhappy. I can see now that when I got upset I was imagining him being far away from home feeling lonely, or scared or regretting his decision because his idea of what Japan was like in his head was completely different and disappointing. To my greatest relief, it was quite the opposite, which showed me once again that worrying about something is such a waste of time and energy. I need to remember that when my daughter leaves for God-knows-where next year!

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Monkey Park in Saga-Arashiyama, Kyoto

We were in Japan for 10 days and in that time Calder moved into his cool new digs with a bunch of international students like himself, started classes, and literally… disappeared. It was like a magic trick where I tapped him on the head with my wand and said: “You are going to love it here and we are going to be ok” and it happened, just like that. I cannot even explain it. My friend Kristen said it best when I came home and told her of his transformation. “He found his people”, she said. And that’s it really. He found where he wanted to be right now in his life, and immersed, body and soul. 

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Calder has been sending me pictures of the dinners he makes. sitting in the kitchen with me all those years has paid off!

 

How could I be sad? How could I want him back? We text, talk or video chat every day for just a little bit. We promised that we would and we said if we didn’t make it into a big deal, taking up tons of time (unless we can), it should be easy to keep up…and it has.

The only “Japan” thing I want to talk about is the place I mentioned in my last post: the Fushimi Inari Shrine 

Two years ago I knew for sure that my son, who was in High School at the time, did not want to go to college right our of school, but wanted to go to Japan and to live there and experience all the things he had been reading about since he was very young (the movie Totoro was the beginning of his obsession!). He and I began looking at how to make this happen and found a great language and culture institute with a campus in Kyoto. We had no idea how to proceed but over the course of the his last year in high school we got his application in and went through the arduous tasks of getting a visa and everything squared away. 

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Still from the movie Totoro

I did all this without really knowing if I could swing it financially. I have never let the lack of money stop me from at least trying to do the things that I want to do. I figure if I go ahead like everything is going to work out, at least I have the opportunity to do that thing if it miraculously does. I am a total optimist and it’s a blessing and a curse. Not everything works out but the odds of good things happening are better if I activity work on them. A couple of years ago I made something that might be corny to some but it is something that has helped me: A Vision Board. I am a big believer in visualization, not only for grandiose dreams like Calder’s but for small things too. My vision board contains just the pretty big things that I want or care about and one of those things was an image of a shrine in Japan to represent what I wanted to happen for Calder. I didn’t know anything about the shrine, or even where it was at the time I pasted it onto my board. I just knew it was something beautiful that said Japan to me. 

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Well, this place turned out to be a few train ride stops away from where Calder lived and the day before we left him, we made our visit to the Fushimi Inari Shrine (read a tidbit about it here). I was really overcome with the place and seeing it, after looking at it everyday for two years on my little board, was like a real dream coming true. I linked Calder’s arm and walked through the first pillars with him, a physical affirmation that was the beginning of his own new life and of my new life cycle with him . Both of my kids knew this was a big sappy moment for me and they let me have it, tears and all. I will never forget it. When I came home the first thing I did was put a little ✔️ by the dog-eared picture of the shrine on my board.

I will write some posts about some of what I absolutely loved later but for now it is enough to say that the time I spent there with my two kids doing something really important and exciting is something that I will treasure forever. And the feelings I felt are not the kind that will fickly fade into the recesses of my memory. I will hold onto them because it was magic. 

Thank you to everyone who made it possible for Calder to go to Japan, to my family and friends who I love so much and am forever grateful

 

Goodbye Calder

This is the place that I have written about food, well kind of about food, but truly more about me, buried under the “food” banner.

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Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

It definitely started out as a place to write down recipes and served as the platform to make me write more regularly. I have always loved writing, but clearly, not enough to call myself a writer, or even a blogger. But blogging is hard because the means: blogging, is supposed to have an end. Well the end is that everyone reads the posts and you become famous or something like that…and if that’s the aim then I have failed miserably. I didn’t go by the book and write catchy posts or drop the F bomb or I don’t know, didn’t do whatever it takes to become popular.

So what did I get, or am I getting out of spending hundreds of hours at this point writing in a public way about what I deem as important? Well, even though I have failed in the blogger superstar sense, I have totally succeeded as I am still writing when it is important, to me.

At the beginning, everything was important, but right now, I only write about whatever matters to me, so I can read it later and recall those feelings. Your feelings right in those moments are real and even when you look back and maybe have regrets or doubts, or are proud, the feelings in that moment go away. And, you even forget how you felt. We live every day and we change I suppose. But do we really change? I have no idea. When I meet people who I haven’t seen in years or even decades, they say to me, “you haven’t changed a bit”. This is supposed to be a compliment of sorts, like we are still ourselves or still genuine, but at the same time it is a baffling thing to hear. Wow, is this the me I was 20 years ago after all that has happened or after all I have been through? It is a weird question to grapple with, especially since my life, to me, seems to have changed a lot.

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This place (Fushimi Inari Shrine) is important to the story I will tell)

But before I say how my life has changed I want to thank this blog of mine for saving some of the things that I felt important enough to write about that I know for sure I would have forgotten. I might not have forgotten the day, but I most definitely forgot how I felt in that moment. It is why I am writing right now. I have to recall this moment because tomorrow it will just be me trying to remember how I felt, as opposed to right now, writing about the exact thoughts and feelings as I am experiencing them. And who will read those thoughts are just people like me who read a couple of blog posts a few times a week and in that moment are moved or interested, but mostly the content is lost and you only remember the things that you connected with etc etc. I am writing this to me because I have found if I write with an audience in mind I am not as honest or as free.

Dinner is over and in the past it is a dinner I would have written about. It is Easter Sunday and as I have never gone along with traditional meals for the occasion, I was thinking about making Chicken And Waffles. I don’t even know for sure what that is but my son, Calder (ah the blog is about him, Not Thee Calder!) had been talking about them for a while now. He has always loved giving me suggestions or requests of what to make for dinner and he must have read about it or seen it somewhere while watching something on the internet.

But I do have to tell you that what I did make was very good actually. We had fried  Salmon which was  marinated in a lime soy sauce mixture on a bed of Festival rice (our version of this tonight was rice and fried vegetables, which consisted of whatever I had in the fridge: onions, lacinato kale and mushrooms from a local farmer, and yes, that sounds uppity and pretentious but the kale is my go-to green and the mushrooms were a surprise, given to my kids from a farmer they visited).

Well I never owned a Waffle Iron and it is such an American gadget to me, it never occurred to me to own one. But now I wanted one because there was an urgency to please my son. I started looking at them over the past few weeks but I couldn’t justify buying a cheap crappy one but also couldn’t really afford to go all out for a really good one, especially if it was going to end up being one of those space-wasting things that never got used.

My decision was made for me when I happened upon a store-wide liquidation sale and got a fairly decent one for 80% off. It was meant to be.

It was meant to be because I was counting down the days to the 6th of April when myself and my daughter would accompany Calder to his new home for the next two years: Kyoto Japan.

Well the waffle iron got used and we made the long-awaited trip to Japan and I couldn’t finish my account because before the trip it was too difficult to get a handle on all of those cursed feelings. Mostly though, I was so overwrought by worry, I couldn’t find the perspective I was looking for. This was a good thing and I didn’t want the protective mother that I am color everything I wanted to say about my beloved son Calder and his amazing adventure. 

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Now I feel ready to write the goodbye I had in mind.

Stay tuned…

Another Great Dinner with Eggs as the Star!(serves 4)

Sometimes I wish I was one of those women I see in the supermarket (sometimes men, but truly not very often) pushing those giant shopping carts overflowing with a week’s worth of groceries. They usually have a big list and a pen and industrially check off whatever it is they tip into the basket as they go. Why can’t I plan ahead like that?

This is not me!

Well I just can’t because it is not me.  And now I know that it is ok and that my spontaneity when it comes to cooking a dish is why it is good. If I did plan a week ahead, would I lose that excitement about cooking? I don’t know for sure, but this particular dish would not have been made if my cupboard was overflowing with ingredients for my set menu plan. And that would be a tragedy because, this delicious feast was born out of happy desperation and was amazing!

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My Lovely spontaneous Dinner

The desperation was that I only had protein in the form of eggs and three thin slices of bacon, and cilantro was my green vegetable (actually the only vegetable, besides garlic, which I view more as a condiment so it is always on hand in my kitchen, much like salt). The only other thing I can safely bet on always having in my pantry is pasta of one kind or another. In this case it was spaghetti.

So, if you only have eggs in your fridge and you have to make dinner, try this, and breathe a sign of relief as you whizz by the supermarket on your way home!

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If you have Parmesan cheese, that is an added bonus!

You will need:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive oil (5-6 tablespoons)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped(as much as you like really. If you adore garlic, use more!)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro OR Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped (the bundle you get in the supermarket is good but if you have less, use whatever you have on hand)
  • 3-4 slices bacon, cut into pieces (optional). If it is very fatty, trim it a little
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional, but amazing addition)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 lb pasta..so not the entire box (spaghetti works best but penne or any other pasta you have will work)

Method:

boiling spaghetti

Put pasta on to cook first (see Instruction 1. below)

1.Put pasta water on to boil and cook pasta according to instructions while you continue with the rest of the dish (the pasta should be ready right when everything else is done if you time it right. So take into consideration how long the water takes to boil and how long the pasta will take to cook and use that to gauge when you think you will have completed the rest of the dish. This is ready in 20 mins from start to finish if you are efficient)DSC_0353

2. Put big saute pan on stove top on medium heat and let it warm up for a minute. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and after it warms add the and cook until it begins to get a little crispy. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and swirl everything together. Cook for about a  2 minutes before adding the chopped cilantro. Saute until the cilantro wilts into everything. Turn heat down to low and set aside.

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3. While the pasta is cooking and the rest of the dish is waiting in the big pan, start frying the eggs sunny side up in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to start (for two eggs) and add more as needed (it should be a generous amount  – look at photo above. My eggs are swimming in lovely oil!)

4. In the meantime, when the pasta is cooked, drain (do not rinse!) and toss directly into the saute pan with the garlic mixture. Toss everything together adding a little more extra-virgin olive oil if you like. Taste at this point for salt and pepper. Divide into bowls and as the eggs are done, place on top of the pasta and serve. If you have fresh Parmesan cheese: Splendid! You may drizzle with more oil or toss some fresh cilantro on top and a sprinkle of finishing salt

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Total Yumminess

 

 

Time To Make & Steam The Christmas Pudding. Nov. 12, 2017🎄

It’s time for you to get your Christmas Pudding made and steamed if you want it to taste luscious on December 25th! This has been a fun little process of building up to the actual making of the pudding (check out this and this and this and this).

chocolate toffee pudding with fresh cream and toffee sauce

Christmas Pudding with rum butter sauce and Fresh Cream

This is what I did yesterday at about 5pm. It is totally easy (even though the list of ingredients and instructions look crazily daunting!) and requires only that you stick around as it steams. I made dinner (and ate dinner) while hanging around the stove last night.

The recipe is below and it has some options. I decided to be a little adventurous and added an element of chocolate to my pudding mixture this year. I have no idea how that will turn out but it’s chocolate: how can I go wrong!

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 I chopped 4oz of a good quality dark chocolate bar in my food processor

I also used a sherry I never tried before ( pedro Ximénez) and as one of my dried fruits, I used blueberries. 

I cannot wait to see how it turns out and I love and hate that I will not know the answer to that question until I bite into my dessert on December 25th! I will be sure to write about it and let you know!

Walnut-Nutella Torte for Christmas Party

Totally tacky and wonderful Reindeer!

 

You will need:

  • 3  cups dried fruit of your choice: I used 1 cup each of dried blueberries, cherries and currants. But you can also use, figs (cut up), prunes (cut up), raisins etc
  • 1/2 cup of liquor such as good quality sweet sherry or golden rum
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • t tbsp unsweetened cocoa (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp All spice or mixed spice or Pumpkin Pie Spice mix
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (you don’t have to go out and buy breadcrumbs. simple toss a slice of bread in your food processor and blitz into crumbs or great the bread by hand with a cheese grater)
  • 1 medium apple – peeled (grate into mixing bowl when instructed below)
  • zest of an orange (zest the orange straight into the mixing bowl when it’s time to add it)
  • 4 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa), crumbled in a food processor and chopped into little pieces (Optional)
  • 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp brown sugar (dark brown sugar is best, but don’t go buying it if you have the lighter version)
  • 10 tbsp (5oz) vegetable shortening (such as Crisco) OR Beef Suet
  • 3 large eggs, beaten in a separate bowl (just beat together with a fork)
  • Vodka (about a 1/2 cup but you only need this on the day you serve the pudding  – it is to flambé to serve)

Method

Soak the fruit in the liquor overnight but for up to a week. cover the bowl and store in a dark cool spot. (look here if you want more detailed instructions on this)

Dried Fruit for Pudding

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  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon or a hand whisk (flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, spices, sugar, salt, cocoa powder (if using), chocolate bits (if using)
  2. grate in the apple and zest the orange into the mixture and mix

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    Add the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients

  3. mix in the shortening in little blobs, along with the eggs into the bowl. Stir everything together really well

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    I asked my daughter to stir the ingredients together just so she was part of this grand event.  And she, like most young people think this pudding is disgusting. Ah…they have a lot to learn about true deliciousness

  4. Butter the inside of your pudding basin/tin and add the pudding.
  5. cover the top of the pudding with some wax paper (I cut a bigger round than the diameter of the top of my pudding tin and made a fold in the middle and it also went up the sides a bit. Put the pudding lid on securely.

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    Cover pudding with Wax paper before adding lid

  6. Cover the pudding basin with tin foil to seal it completely.
  7. Place a large pot on the stove top  (big enough to hold the pudding basin with about an inch to spare at the top) and put the pudding basin into the pot. Add water until it comes about 1/3 way up the pudding basin( a little higher is fine too) and turn heat to high until the water comes to a boil.
  8. cover pot with a tight-fitting lid and turn heat down until water is at a gentle steady boil.

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    Cover pudding basin with foil and place in pot, top with pot lid and boil gently for 4 hours

  9. Boil for 4 hours, topping up the water level as needed. You will need to keep checking this and add water at least every hour.
  10. Turn off heat and remove pudding basin from water and when it has cooled completely, unwrap the foil and remove the wax paper. Put the lid back on and store in a cool dark spot until Christmas day.CHRISTMAS+PUDDING

ON CHRISTMAS DAY YOU WILL NEED TO DO THE FOLLOWING (about 5 hours or more before serving):

  1. Re-steam the pudding for three hours – look above for steaming instructions, as a reminder (it is not as stressful as it seems as it needs no real attention).
  2. When it has steamed again, let it cool and then remove it to your serving plate.
  3. Right before serving, pour about a 1/2 cup of vodka into a pot and bring to a low boil. when it is boiling, set it alight and when it is flaming, pour it over your pudding.

It will be lit up and you need to rush it to the table so everyone can see its grand entrance!

 

 

Christmas Dinner Prep Nov. 2, 2017. Time to Soak the Dried Fruit for the Christmas Pudding. Please make this. It is easy and amazing, and…there is still time!

Christmas Pudding has the reputation for being stodgy, heavy and full of unappealing dried fruit, and in general, it is true. When I was growing up I tasted many truly terrible puddings. We would be dragged to relatives houses over Christmas and sure enough a cup of tea with a slice of pudding would be set in front of me. There were the aridly dry ones that would crumble in your mouth and I would need to drink two or more cups of tea to help wash them down. Next most awful were the  puddings that were chock full of candied mixed fruit peel. The luminous artificial dye in the peel would run into the cake part and the taste was tinny and chewy in a very unpleasant way. Horrible pudding memories!

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This lovely pudding was made by Darina Allen, an amazing Irish chef, food writer and founder of the famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland

I steered clear of making Christmas pudding for years, but, when one year I decided to try my hand at making one, I realized that Christmas pudding didn’t have to be heavy, stodgy and unpleasant. My pudding was rich and intensely flavorful but with a wonderful sticky pudding moisture that was addictive. Yes I am praising my own pudding, but my effort came with lots of help from taking a large portion of my mother’s Christmas spirit and combining it with the things I liked and a hefty dose of advice from various cookbooks and cooking gurus. 

Pedro Ximénez Sherry (sweet sherry is used to soak the dried fruit for your pudding)

My pudding is a little different every year and the main difference is I change the liquor I used to soak the dried fruit and, I change-up the dried fruit I use. I have used conventional fruits like currents and prunes to things like dried blueberries and figs in my pudding. This year I want to try a sherry that Nigella Lawson swears by for her pudding and use dried cherries as one of my fruits. I also think I want to add something from the chocolate family, be it cocoa powder or actual dark chocolate pieces…I haven’t decided yet.

soaking fruit for christmas pudding

I don’t always use sherry to soak my fruit. One year I used rum and it was amazing too (so don’t run out and buy sherry if you have something else that might work in your liquor cabinet that has sweet notes)

Today all I am going to do is get my fruit soaking for a few day (up to a week), in some delicious sweet sherry and make my mind up over the next few days.

If you are going to try your hand at this pudding along with me, you will also need to soak your fruit. For this stage you will need:

  • 1 cup Good Quality Sweet Sherry. If you know nothing about sherry, just get a recommendation from where you buy it. (I am using Nigella Lawson’s recommendation of Pedro Ximenez Sherry. She waxed on about it, so I believe it must be good. It is also used by Darina Allen for her pudding so I don’t think you can go wrong here. It is expensive though…close to $30 for a bottle, so if you plan on buying this, just know that it is great for sipping and can be added to plenty of other desserts).
  • 3 1/2 cups GOOD QUALITY dried fruit (choose 3 or 4 that you like…such as: currants, golden raisins, dried cherries, dried blueberries, figs (chopped), prunes (Chopped).

Method for Soaking Fruit:

Put fruit in a bowl and add the sherry. Stir. Cover and place on a shelf or cupboard somewhere for a few days. Give the mixture a quick stir every day (if you remember).

Dried Fruit for Pudding

This year I am using currants, dried cherries and dried blueberries

IN A FEW DAYS YOU CAN MAKE THE PUDDING!

*And if you are just discovering this recipe or feel in the mood to try this, you will also need a Pudding Basin*

 

 

 

 

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

I am reposting my most searched recipe as I have updated it with a little more information on this curious cut of flavorful meat, (as well as tweaking the recipe). Hopefully this will prompt you to try it out now that the weather is getting colder and we are craving more luscious comforting food.

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew

The picture of this dish says it all. Just looking at it makes me want to run to the butcher shop for some luscious Irish lamb chops! I may be bias, but at this moment I have to announce that there is absolutely no better lamb in the world.

The Most Beautiful Train Trip Ever

Fields and fields of sheep with their lambs. They can be seen everywhere munching down on the famous green grass in Ireland. (Woolly sheep happily grazing in County Wexford)

I grew up eating the best lamb stew in the world and only realized that fact when I moved away and could not find lamb that equalled it anywhere.

The cut of lamb that I prefer for lamb stew is the gigot chop, and if you can find them, you are on your way to making something fabulous.

What is a Gigot Chop?: It is a cut from the leg of an animal (I usually think of lamb but gigot pork is also a common cut). This chop has a small bone in the center helping provide a wonderful sweet flavor to a dish like a stew or any type of slow braise.

Lamb Gigot Chops

If you cannot find gigot chops, a good alternative is a cut from the shoulder.

Gigot Chop or lamb shoulder chop stew

Yum

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You will need:

3 tbsp extra-virgin or regular olive oil

4 to 6 lamb Gigot chops (if they are large, use 4. If you cannot find gigot chops, use a cut from the shoulder)

coarse sea-salt or kosher salt to season chops (about 2 tsp)

Several grinds of black pepper (optional)

10 small onions, halved

4 medium carrots, cut into thick diagonal slices

4 medium potatoes, washed & quartered

2 parsnips, peeled & thickly sliced

3 or 4 small/medium potatoes, cut into 4 wedges each (I used golden or yellow potatoes as they have a nice creamy sweetness and hold up well to long cooking)

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp coarse sea-salt (I use Maldon sea-salt flakes)

several grinds black pepper (optional)

1 cup white wine

4 cups veggie or chicken broth (or 1 good quality bouillon cube & water)

Method:

Preheat oven 450*

1 – Season the chops with salt (and freshly ground pepper if you like), and sear in large saute pan on high heat in olive oil. Make sure to cook in one layer at a time, adding olive oil as you need it. Transfer to plate as you go and set aside.

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

sear chops

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the onions and rosemary and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

saute onions and rosemary

3 – Add carrots and parsnips and continue to saute for another 5 or so minutes, letting them take on a little brown color. Add the flour and stir into veggies. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

add carrots and parsnips

4 – Add the wine and stir to a thick paste. Next, add the broth (or water & bouillon). Turn heat up to high and stir everything together. Let the liquid come to a boil. When it bubbles, turn heat off. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper if it needs it (until you are satisfied)

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

add liquids, next meat and top with layer of quartered potatoes

5 – Add the chops back to the pot in an even layer (meat will overlap slightly and that’s fine). Next scatter the quartered potatoes on top of the lamb. Cover with a lid.

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

top with potatoes and cook in hot oven

6 – Place in preheated oven and cook undisturbed for 1 1/4 hours. Remove from oven and leave to cool down and settle for 10 minutes.

Gigot Chop Lamb Stew (serves 6)

serve

Divide chops between six plates or shallow bowls and top with lots of vegetables and broth. You can also serve with other things such as rice, pasta noodles, bread, cooked greens or leafy side salad.

My Easy Dinner: Pizza with a Fried Egg…Seems so Obvious Now

I know its hard to make dinner after a long day, but… if you don’t make it a monumental task, it can be done! I am one of those people who really likes a little activity in the kitchen in the evening. I have to smell something cooking to feel that “Ah, I’m Home” feeling. Last night this is the quickie dinner I came up with. Why didn’t I think about doing this a long time ago.

Pizza Fried Egg

I had the amazing luck to live in Tuscany, Italy a few years ago and obviously fell in love with the food. I finally tasted authentic Italian pizza and one that stood out to me was a pizza topped off with a fried egg. Eggs are poached and fried and featured as a sort of garnish in all sorts of not-so-obvious dishes…in ramen noodle soups, salads, Mexican dishes, middle eastern dishes…the list is endless. So why not Pizza!

Pizza in Rome

To see how to do it right, check out my post  Pizza in Rome This pizza is called the Montecarlo and it is from an amazing pizzeria in Rome called La Montecarlo

The one thing that can be frustrating  is ordering a pizza that will satisfy everyone. There is the squabble over meat or veggies, black olives or mushrooms and the person like me who wants onions! I solved that one a long time ago by getting a plain pizza and then adding whatever anyone wanted that happened to be in the fridge or pantry. The ONE THING I always have on hand is pesto. Pesto is as common in my fridge as ketchup or mustard. I make a batch of pesto as soon as it runs out. We use it on toast for breakfast, in sandwiches, quick pasta dishes, and you guessed it, on my plain pizza!

fried egg on pizza

Well last night I brought home a large plain pizza and discovered that besides my trusty jar of pesto, there was not much else to scrounge from? Then I remembered my pizza in Italy and problem solved. I warmed up the pizza, slathered on pesto and topped each slice with a softly fried egg, (the egg can also be poached instead of fried). I drizzled a little good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of pepper flakes on my egg and it was complete heaven.

Of course you can do what you want. If you have leftover mushroom pizza, or a meat pizza….any pizza can be warmed up and topped with a fried egg and you too can transform the hum-drum into an unctuous delicious meal!

Pizza in Rome

La Montecarlo Pizzeria, Rome