Lamb stew

8 04 2015

just sent my father a note about what I did with the leftovers from Easter:

I made lamb stock yesterday with the leg of lamb.  Stuck the bone in the le cruset and filled it with water and let it simmer all day. Let the stock cool and put in fridge.  Today I skimmed all the fat off of the top of the stock and did the onions in it. Carrots, the lamb meat, some fresh rosemary (I realized after it went in I should have done dried and then some fresh at the end…). Let it simmer for a couple of hours.  Dumped in some sliced mushrooms.  Then about an hour ago I chunked some potatoes into it.  The house smells great and will warm my wife’s soul when she walks in the door. 

   

 





Twists and turns of life

28 03 2015

life with three kids is never boring.  Three kids who have three different ideas of what is edible is a whole other story.  

Sofia is pretty good about trying everyrthing.  Andrew eats some carbs, lots of fruit and drinks water (dislikes milk).  Jack likes certain french fries, occasional Ritz crackers, and pretzels.  And milk.  Lots of milk. 

And now that we have gotten an autism spectrum disorder (High Functioning Aspergers) diagnosis for Andrew, we have been trying to navigate figuring out how to help him. Learning tools to make his life easier, more understandable and calmer.  

Before the diagnosis, I had read about how food dyes and other additives to our foods, can be detrimental to kids.  To the point that if you take all of te food dyes out of a child’s diet, it can make real improvements to their energy and anger levels. 

Now we’ve been talking with parents of other special needs kids, asking for their advice and guidance through this tough transition from “neuro-typical” family to “neuro-typical  & special needs” family.   Several people (parents of NT & Special Needs kids), therapists, as well as trustworthy research, have led me back to diet. 

So now I’m going to try to reduce and eliminate the following:

  • artificial Food dyes 
  • Fake sugars
  • Artificial flavors – especially “vanillin”
  • TBHQ, BHA & BHT preservatives

So that all being said, one food that has helped Andrew calm himself down is Popsicles.   Obviously they are filled with sugar and fake sugars, dyes etc.  

so I took it upon myself to make some natural freezer pops for Andrew.  

Three ingredients – a bag of organic frozen fruit from BJs, orange juice (with no added sugars etc) and a tablespoon of agave nectar (had no honey in the house).

Ran it all through the cuisinart and then used a Baggie to pipe it into the tubes.  

We are currently waiting for them to freeze but I have fingers crossed that he will enjoy them.   I’ll update when he has eaten one (or all)!

  

  

     





Been a while

31 08 2014

Summer always crushes me. With the kids and work etc nothing gets done. Including this.
Yesterday I got back into the swing.
Of things. Took a roasted turkey breast, slow simmered it and got a nice amount of turkey stock. Took the turkey and chopped into big chunks, added it to some Pipette pasta, tossed with olive oil, fresh basil from the garden, some freshly grated parmigiana – delicious dinner !

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quick bite: Moody’s Delicatessen and Provisions

8 04 2014

Ditto !





BLT & A

23 02 2014

Put together a pretty simple but incredibly tasty lunch today – BLT & A

Ingredients
Good bread (I used Stop & Shop Brick Oven Pane Tuscan)
Bacon (I used regular sliced from BJ’s)
Greens (I used greens from the S&S escarole blend packages salads)
Tomato (S&S again)
Avocado (S&S again!)
Mayo
Freshly cracked pepper
Freshly cracked sea salt

Make the sandwich. I spread a thin layer of mayo, then greens. Cut tomato into thick slices. Cracked salt on them. Then sliced avocado. Crack pepper on the avocado. Pile the crispy bacon on top. Put a top piece of bread on and enjoy.
For Karin I made a sandwich – for me I made two open faced…
Every single bite was perfect !

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Moody Provisions

21 12 2013

I was fortunate enough to have Thursday off this week – and among the items on my list was to finally get over to Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions. It is a beautiful space with amazing food that is produced all in house by New England Charcuterie. I wrote in an earlier post about them. Now I’ve been here and can tell you this – it is meat heaven !
I ordered a sandwich using what I call the “Chez Pascal method” – [derived from many experiences at Chez Pascal and being waited on by Roger – the consummate waiter – close your eyes and touch the menu – it’s a no lose situation]. I digress.

On the menu for hot sandwiches they all looked amazing. The sandwich that I wanted least was the Cuban. But unable to make a decision, I was left with the CPM. Sure enough it was the Cuban. Additionally I picked up a bag of their house made truffle chips.
I also bought a 1/4 pound of mole soppresatta. Made with mole, chocolate, ancho chili and GHOST peppers. It is delicious. Spicy but not lingering and not dangerous.
Ok -so I took my leave and started driving home. On the way I dipped I to the bag to see how the truffle chips tasted. They tasted like slivers of heaven, with truffle essence and salt. Somehow the entire bag disappeared before I got home ! Note to self – get more chips next time.
Got home took out the sandwich and thought – kinda small.
Then I took a bite and fell in love.
Not only was it delicious – each bite had layers of perfection – the size was right too.
After I was done – I literally walked around the house laughing. It was by far the best sandwich I had ever eaten !

I can’t say enough about the quality of the products of the that they offer.

I realize that they haven’t been open too long and are working out some kinks. They either need to embrace selling a solid selection of cheeses – perhaps only from Massachusetts’ cheese makers (or New England) or none at all. The selection of cheeses are haphazard at best. Likewise – a selection of 6 or 7 winning side salads/dishes for the case would round it out better than what is in the case now.
When I worked at the now-defunct Wickford Gourmet in RI, they had 140 cheeses, 25 kinds of meats, 16 types of olives in those great tall white crocks on the counter, and the salads. They had the visually and palate pleasing orange lentil salad; the pasta salads and interesting slaws, not to mention the tarragon chicken salad.
These so take time and effort – but I think more people will come often if they can purchase more of what they need at this one spot.

Twice in 3 days – I will go back again and again. It is my kind of place.

Please go and enjoy it too.

Address is 468 Moody Street in Waltham Massachusetts. Parking is on street or around back next to Tedeschi’s. Pricy but worth it.

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A truly Happy Thanksgiving

29 11 2013

So much to be thankful for this year, this season, this month ! With an important exam for work out of the way, I was able to concentrate on food again ! One week after the exam was Thanksgiving, and so planning was fast and furious. We hosted for the first time – it was awesome ! We got a beautiful bird from Russo’s and made a good amount of food. Not too much and enough turkey leftover for sandwiches and soup.
I made creamed onions for the first time – and they were a hit ! At no point did I feel rushed, out of control or worried about the food.
With a new table able to fit 6 adults and 3 kids comfortably, we sat and said grace, and ate and ate and drank and laughed.
After dinner we sat in front of the fire, sipped some Allagash Victoria Ale, watched some football and told stories that made us cry with laughter.
All in all a great day. This morning found me up with the boys, making Uncle Phil’s great popovers. I took one out and split it with our daughter – light airy crunchy and delicious. Even plain. However, with butter and some fresh berry jam…
Off to make soup and entertain another day !

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Maine Beer Co

6 11 2013

Absolutely love Maine Beer – Lunch is impossible to find.

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Oktoberfest

21 10 2013

So we are always looking for a reason to fill our yard with people, and feed them.  This year we went with an Oktoberfest celebration.  Many friends with their kids were invited.  We rented a bouncy house for the kids, and started planning this party.

We were dressed in appropriate garb – I was shocked at how comfortable the lederhosen were !    It was really a blast.

Here’s the menu we came up with:

Cambozola  & sliced German meats

Pretzels & mustard

Weisswurst

Coarse Bratwurst

Knackwurst

Smoked Bratwurst

Sauerbraten

German Potato Salad

Blaukraut

Spätzle/Sauerkraut/Bratwurst casserole

Pickles

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And we had two kegs on tap to offer:  Harpoon Oktoberfest (http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/beer/13/Octoberfest)  & a non-Oktoberfest beer, but one that I am quite fond of,  Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union (http://jacksabbybrewing.com/).  Both are local beers, both made within 20 miles of our house.  Both are ridiculously fantastic.

My week started out marinating the brisket to make the sauerbraten.  It turned out great.  Here is my recipe, and I kept it simple

Edible Table Sauerbraten:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 juniper berries or 6 teaspoons of gin
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 beef brisket (5 to 6 pounds)
  • 15 gingersnaps

Heat water, red wine, cider vinegar, onion, cloves, bay leaves, salt, pepper,  juniper berries/gin and mustard seeds in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.   Allow marinade to cool and pour into a resealable plastic bag.  Season the beef with salt and pepper, and then add to bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal it. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days, turning the roast twice a day.

After 3 days, place the roast from the marinade, and put in slow cooker.  Add onions, carrots, celery and marinade in on top of the roast.

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Cover and cook roast on Low for 8 hours. Turn slow cooker off. Transfer roast to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Strain cooking liquid into a saucepan on medium-high heat.     This cooking liquid will become the gravy.  Crush up the gingersnaps and slowly whisk them into the pan, until thickened to your desired level.

Slice the meat, plate it, and pour theg ravy over it.

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Sauerbraten gravy & Spätzle cooking on the stove (see the Spartan Pure bottle in the background !)

NOTE:  I sliced the meat, put it back into the slow cooker, poured the gravy on top, put it back on low for a bit to keep it warm and then brought the removable dish to the table.  Easy easy.  All you need is time.

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The sauerbraten went quickly.  People were taking the rolls for the wursts, and putting sauerbraten in, with some of the blaukraut – it was a great combo.

I can’t thank Karl’s Sausage Kitchen (http://www.karlssausage.com/)  in Peabody for the amazing wursts.  They were made on Wednesday, shipped on Thursday and we received them on Friday.  While Peabody isn’t that far away, with work and kids, the opportunity to drive to Peabody and peruse and buy and come home was WELL worth the $12 fee for overnighting the sausages to my haus.  Granted, that is the price for in-state, but still was truly a blessing and time saver.  The person that I spoke with on the telephone helped me narrow down what I was going to get, helped plan the menu with me, and was frankly wonderful.  Can’t wait for the holidays to get all the Swedish sausages that they make.

We had a great group of people, ages ranged from 5 weeks to “over 40.”  One of our friends mentioned to his neighbor that he was going to an Oktoberfest celebration, and his neighbor told him of his time spent in Germany, and wondered if there was any way he could join us.  Hey – the more the merrier !  So the neighbor and his family joined us, and he made a large portion of German Potato Salad that was and continues to be delicious.

The first guests showed up around 2pm, and the last guests departed at around 9:30pm.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday, with friends, family and authentic German cooking.

This just about sums it up:

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Kids lunches & my lunch

15 10 2013

Just a quick shot of today’s lunches for the kids. Slipping some matzo balls into one lunch – see how that goes. My lunch is the rest of the matzo balls and the delicious soup that goes with it !

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