Monday, April 22, 2019

Dolmades - Stuffed Grape Leaves

The appetizer for our meal the other day were dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). Set aside adequate time to do the dolmades justice. For these I used cooked rice mixed with lemon and chopped fresh mint. I cooked them open side down in chicken stock. The recipe said to cover them with stock, wonder if they could be steamed? Unfortunately I used too much filling for many which came apart. I made tzatziki which was refreshing and delicious with fresh dill, lemon juice and cucumbers. I had chopped the cucumber fine, next time I'll shred the cucumber. Gary loved these immensely.

I cooked all the fat from the lamb and added chopped onion, celery, carrots, and fresh parsley. What looked like all fat turned out to be a small amount of fat which I discarded. One of my readers said they freeze fat for the birds in winter. Wish I had thought of that. I am left with a large amount of rich gelatinous broth. I'll freeze in small containers ready to be used when I make soup or beans.

After two nights in the upper 30s we're expecting to reach 80 F today. Some critter ate all my baby spinach leaves right down to the nubs. All the other vegetables are doing well. Both home depot and walmart have switched suppliers of vege plants. I want my Bonnie Plants back. I haven't checked at lowes yet. I read bears will be especially hungry this Spring, so keep an eye out. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Persian Lamb Stew

Some long lost friends were nearby so I decided to splurge and make Persian Lamb Stew. Oh my such goodness, another dish to add to my long list of recipes to keep forever. But I'll only make this for special occasions since it takes an abundance of prep and cooking time, not to mention the cost of the lamb.

My local grocery only had leg of lamb so I purchased a boneless cut. When I unwrapped it I noticed it had a ton of fat. I'd made my choice so I made a go of it. I sliced the leg into one inch slices and then trimmed the fat off of each slice. I wouldn't be surprised if one quarter of the leg of lamb was dense fat. I was dismayed at the pile of fat when I finished, and decided to set it aside for some future use, perhaps a stock? Then I cut up each slice into bite sized pieces. Cutting off the fat and cutting up the lamb alone turned out to be a time consuming effort. If you can get lamb stew meat at your butcher for this recipe, do that.

Saute the lamb meat in olive oil till browned and set aside. Next saute one onion till soft, add three stalks of chopped celery and two carrots chopped fine. Next add a teaspoon each of cardamom, anise, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, salt and pepper.and chopped fresh mint. Add 2 cups of pomegranate juice and 1/4 cup of molasses and 1 cup of chicken stock, Simmer for several hours. I cooked this for several days the day before and then reheated the next day which enhances the flavors. The next day I added half a cup of chopped fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and a can of chickpeas drained. I cooked the stew another hour. Meanwhile I cooked some saffron basmati rice. Keep an eye on the rice because it cooks much quicker than brown or the usual white race.

Serve the Persian Lamb Stew over the saffron basmati rice and top with fresh pomegranate seeds. Unfortunately our friends couldn't make it due to the storms and heavy rainfall, but the anticipation of their visit seemed to sustain us. Of course the exquisite flavors of the Persian Lamb Stew enhanced our day oh so well. Up next all about those dolmades (stuffed grape leaves also on the plate). Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Mountain Laurel

Keep your eyes peeled in the forest, soon the mountain laurel will be blooming. Sometimes I make one of a kind pieces like this asymmetrical wall pocket. Later I find the item isn't practical to carry to the Saturday farmers market due to the fragility of the piece. The wall pocket looks nice displayed on the acrylic plate stand. However, I'm sure once it was on someone's wall it wasn't fragile any longer.
In other news we survived the big storm, I can hear the wind is really blowing this morning. We spent yesterday Spring cleaning. Many boxes were packed for the trash to treasures sales Gary goes to on Fridays here in town. Lots of experimental pots were smashed and more are to go as well. Gary calls me a hoarder. He said hoarders will clean up one day and go back and bring the items in the next. I'm actually thinking I need to keep a few more plate stands to display tiles on rather than have him sell them. Ha. Thanks for reading and for all your comments..

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Flowers and Leaves

two tone tulip in a vase
 Pink Dogwood
is covered in flowers this year
 Hosta and Yarrow
switching potted plants to perennials instead of annuals
 Scillia buds
these were planted by a previous occupant
 Golden Threadleaf False Cypress
these have grown a foot a year
they're taller than I am now
 Scillia blooming
 Cilantro and Dill
feathery and flat leaves
 make a nice contrast planted side by side
 Crabapple petals
dotting the driveway and the mint beds
 Red Romaine Lettuce
can't wait to taste this variety
 Rosemary flowers
first time for blossoms on the rosemary
variegated Yucca
I love variegated leaves
I see native dogwood in bloom in the background
Spring has sprung here
yesterday we had thunderstorms and some hail
thanks for reading and for all your comments.