whee!

Braised Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta

April 4, 2014 - Written by Diana

Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta - Cookerati

The lamb neck is often an overlooked piece of lamb that people don’t ask their butcher for. I went to a lamb cutting class and when asked which part of the lamb was the favorite, I don’t remember what my response was, but I remember the response of another person, because he said lamb neck.  The butcher said it was one of the lower costing and under-valued. My Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta is a delicious way to prepare this under utilized part of the lamb that is so delicious.

Lamb neck is a very fatty piece, with a lot of bones, because of this the meat is full of flavor. It also means, that it’s more of a stew piece instead of a steak or thick roast. After you cook it, you have to wade in with your fingers, pull the meat out and the bones and also drain all of the grease to get to the flavor filled stock.  It’s a bit of work, but really worth it. I served it over polenta this time, but a nice root vegetable mash or potato mash would be great. Serving it over a nice thick Sourdough would work well for sopping up that great gravy.

This is not a quick and easy worknight meal.  You can put it into the crockpot, but the meat has to cool, so that you won’t burn your fingers. The gravy will need to cool a little also before you whirl it around in the food processor.

Braised Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Lamb Neck is an often forgotten but very economical piece of meat that is great for stew.
Author:
Recipe type: Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lamb neck
  • 3 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp paprka
  • 1 pint lamb or chicken broth
  • 4 carrots sliced into 3 inch pieces
  • 2 large turnips quartered
  • 3 large tomatoes (or a can of stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • (as needed)
  • 1 cup of water
  • cumin
  • all spice
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • paprika
Instructions
  1. Using a dutch oven, heat the cooking oil.
  2. Sear all sides of the lamb neck.
  3. Throw onions, garlic, sprinkle with cumin, all spice, ginger and paprika.
  4. When the onions are soft, add 1 pint broth and simmer for about an hour.
  5. Add in the carrots, turnips and tomatoes and simmer until the vegetables and soft and the meat is ready to come apart.
  6. Place the meat on a plate to cool so that you can work with it.
  7. Place the cooked vegetables (except tomatoes and onions) in a bowl with a cover.
  8. Drain the stock into a gravy separator.
  9. Using the wine deglaze the dutch oven and turn the heat off.
  10. Pour the gravy without the grease into a food processor along with the tomatoes and onions or use an immersion blender to make the sauce smooth.
  11. Add water to thin and spices to taste and return to dutch oven if you used a food processor.
  12. Pull the meat off the lamb neck and discard the fat and bones then add the meat to the dutch oven.
  13. Slice the turnips and carrots into smaller bite size pieces and add to the dutch oven.
  14. Simmer on low the vegetables, lamb neck meat and sauce.
  15. Prepare the polenta.
  16. Boil 4 cups water.
  17. Add in cornmeal.
  18. Stir until the cornmeal seems suspended and no longer falls to the bottom of the pot.
  19. Place lid on and give it a stir every so often until thickened.
  20. Ladle the polenta into a bowl, place a serving of lamb neck stew over the center.

 

Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata

March 23, 2014 - Written by Diana

Uncooked Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata - Cookerati.com

Spring is officially here, and the time has come to change things up from the vegetables and fruit that overwinter in the basement to the freshly growing like asparagus.  Red pepper isn’t too local right now, but the southern states have a little coming ripe right now.  This Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata is light, but full of flavor.  It’s great for Sunday Brunch or even for a quick worknight dinner.

<Click here to get the recipe. >

Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata - Cookerati.com

Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata

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Deviled Green Guac Eggs for St. Patrick’s Day

March 13, 2014 - Written by Diana

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and Green is the color of choice (or if you are anti-green, then it’s orange but that’s a different story).  Deviled eggs are great for any gathering and with the help of Wholly Guacamole, my Deviled Green Guac Eggs are a fast way to put together an appetizer for your St. Paddy’s Day gathering. I put my own ingredients together along with a sample of Wholly Guacamole that I received and when my son saw what I was mixing up, he was intrigued and delighted.  He said that it had to be healthier than mayo, and I had to agree.  My husband had a taste when he came home from work and he was equally delighted. We all agree that this makes a fantastic bite.

Deviled Green Guac Eggs - Cookerati

You can find Wholly Guacamole in the refrigerated produce section of the store. If you have more time, you can make up your own guacamole using avocados, garlic powder and lemon or lime to keep from turning brown. If you wish for a little more heat use the Spicy Guac or add some hot peppers.  More Wholly recipes can be found on Pinterest – and if you like discounts check out the coupon tab on their Facebook Page.

Green pea shoots make a great 3 leaf cloverish like green to sprinkle around the eggs and give it a little Irish flair on your serving plate.

<Click here to get recipe.>

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Scrambled Egg and Black Bean Soft Taco

February 15, 2014 - Written by Diana

So breakfast this morning uses up the black bean dip that I made last night.  I’ll get that recipe in here too, but I wanted to show off my soft tacos that we had this morning.  It was fast and easy to put together and eat – before heading out to shovel more snow.

Scramble eggs, throw a soft tortilla spread with black bean dip (or refried beans if you like) and some swiss cheese (or cheddar or your favorite) onto a cookie sheet with a silicon sheet lining it into the oven.  Top with some quick guacamole made with chopped up avocado and minced shallots.   Fold it up and eat.

<Click here to get the recipe. >

Scrambled Egg and Black Bean Soft Taco - Cookerati

Scrambled Egg and Black Bean Soft Taco – Cookerati

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Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

February 5, 2014 - Written by Diana

I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl.  We brought this  – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup.  We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes.  We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).

I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market.  We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement.  The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad.  This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out.  I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.

Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked.  I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up.  I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way.  And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it.  This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.

Ingredients:

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Low Sodium Cauliflower-Potato Bites

January 23, 2014 - Written by Diana

Cookerati - Low Sodium Cauliflower and Potato BitesWhen thinking of appetizers, cauliflower and potatoes smashed together make a great combination, while adding a little more nutrition. Your family and friends may figure out that there is something a little different about the potatoes, but only a little different. I went a little further to make it healthy, by cutting down on the sodium. I added a little chevre, some herbs and bread crumbs.

Bread is one of the worst when it comes to sodium, and regular bread crumbs are really bad. In order to still have a breadcrumb that works, I buy my own low sodium bread (there are a couple of gluten-free rice bread brands that work), and then make my own breadcrumbs. Bake the bread on low until it hardens, and then using mini-blender or smoothie maker grind the toasted bread into crumbs.

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Low Sodium Chicken Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

January 22, 2014 - Written by Diana

Jalapeno poppers – done right are not super hot and just have a little bit of a bite.  I wanted to create something low sodium for my husband that has that bite because a lot of low sodium foods are flavorless, but this is not.  We’re using goat cheese and swiss cheese in the stuffing because they are lower in sodium and in the list of acceptable cheeses to use.  The chicken and goat cheese mixture can be prepared a day or so in advance, placed into a zippered plastic bag, and then refrigerated overnight.  To pipe, just cut off the corner of the bag you have already filled. We tried the poppers two ways. Whole, they were filled and stood up to bake melting the cheese inside. The cream cheese mixture stays warm inside and falls to the bottom as you eat because it is so soft. The other way was to slice the pepper in half and have a jalapeno boat. You can toast the top better that way, but you are getting more cream cheese and less pepper. We couldn’t decide which we liked better.  The boats had quite a bit of cheese, but it covered up the pepper taste more.  I guess it depends on how much heat you like.

Don’t forget to scroll down after looking at the recipe for the giveaway information and a list of other great appetizers.

Low Sodium Chicken Jalapeno Poppers - Cookerati

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Low Sodium Swiss Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms

January 21, 2014 - Written by Diana

Low Sodium Swiss Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms - Cookerati

I am working on low sodium appetizers for this season’s Superbowl gathering (that so far we haven’t received an official invitation to).  My husband is on a low sodium diet and while I can make something for everyone else, I find that unless I bring those dishes that Mark can eat – he might not get much to munch on. Other people may be in the same boat and I’m sharing what I’ve figured out. You can add sodium to the dishes by adding salt, or soy sauce, or even by changing the cheese.  Other cheeses have much more flavor but pack the sodium in. Today, I introduce you to low sodium swiss cheeseburger stuffed mushrooms.  My husband wasn’t a fan of mushrooms but I’ve converted him by using fresh crimini mushrooms, perfect for stuffing and accent the beef flavor wonderfully.  This is a pretty fast appetizer to make, but make plenty because they quickly disappear.

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Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Vegetables

January 19, 2014 - Written by Diana

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Vegetables ~ Cookerati

 

 

 

 

 

I like spaghetti squash, it’s one of my favorite vegetables, but I’m not a fan of covering up it’s flavor and texture with spaghetti sauce.  To me, it’s not a replacement for spaghetti, it just mimics the texture but it’s so great tasting and yet low carb. When Filippo Berio sent me samples of Olive Oil, I ran to my cold food storage area (aka the unheated basement), and brought up the spaghetti squash. Squash is a great long storing vegetable, so for us right now this dish is very seasonal and from the local farm market.

My son assisted me in cooking this day. I was covering for someone on vacation all week, so I appreciated his help. Funny note: in my directions I told my son to cut the squash in half – which he did – staight across instead of lengthwise. He scooped it out to look like a bowl. Along with the squash, he roasted turip, carrots fennel and onion, all found in our marketbag. When I came home and checked on everything, we recut the squash lengthwise si it cooked more evenly.

After we removed the vegetables from the oven and let cool just enough to handle, we scraped the squash fibers out to look like spahetti, then sliced the other veggies snd tossed. For a little lightness we added fresh parsley and cut up some pea shoots and tossed along with the juice of a lemon.

PS – don’t forget to enter the giveaway…  Filippo Berio Giveaway

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Roasted Beet, Carrot and Orzo Salad With Orange Dressing

December 30, 2013 - Written by Diana

At one family gathering, I brought a salad with beets.  My husband’s Aunt upon hearing there were beets in the salad asked if they tasted like dirt.  I responded that they had an earthy flavor, and she said, ” Well, they taste like dirt to me.”  Orange pairs well with beets, and helps to give the beets a less earthy flavor, as evidenced by my daughter’s statement when she tasted this year’s beet salad.  I handed her a plate and told her the beet salad was my offering.  She took a bite and said she liked it because, “it doesn’t have that really rustic flavor that beets sometimes have. ”

Roasted Beet, Carrot and Orzo Salad
Roasted Beet, Carrot and Orzo Salad

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