Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lamb Shanks with Gremolata Winter Food with Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Lamb Shanks are a delicacy which is often forgotten about by home cooks. Not as common as other stewing meat options they are not to be missed. They were my choice this year for Christmas dinner replacing the rib roast we normally have and everyone agreed it was a good idea!

They need some time and attention and are not a really super meaty but they are very tasty and make a stunning visual impact on the table. In this recipe I paired them with simply pan fried or roasted Brussel sprouts.  Simply place the brussel sprouts cut in half and seasoning with salt pepper and garlic powder, face down in a oiled frying pan. Cook over med heat till browned and caramelized. They will still have a little crunch.

The lamb shanks are stewed then the sauce is reduced and thickened. The shanks are placed back in the pot and when ready to serve a parsley and lemon zest gremolata is sprinkled over the shanks giving some citrus and herbal freshness to the dish and cutting the rich sauce.

Make these while the weather still makes you crave some rich comforting food to fill your belly and warm up your spirits.

Lamb Shanks with Gremolata

4 to 6 shanks from your butcher
1 cup each of finely chopped onion, celery and carrots
1 cup red wine
3-4 cups of beef broth just till the shanks are almost completly covered
1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
10 cloves garlic whole
2 bay leaves
1 small can tomato paste
3 Tablespoons of flour
Zest of one lemon
3/4 cup coarsely chopped parley leaves
Sea Salt


Place some oil in a large heavy bottomed stew pot and bring the temperature up. Salt and pepper the shanks well and then brown all over in the oil. You might have to do this in batches.

Remove from the pot and add a bit more oil and then the vegetables. Cook them stirring constantly till soft but not browned. With the flat of your knife smash the garlic till it cracks open then add whole chunks into the pot. Cook for about 2 or 3 mins. or until the garlic blooms. Add the spices and herbs and stir a minute or so.

Add the wine and the tomato paste and stir is up till the tomato paste is disolved. Now add the shanks back to the pot and nestle in the vegetables,  then add the stock just till it almost completely covers the meat.

Cook over medium heat at a slow simmer for about 1 and half to 2 hours. When the meat is tender remove from the sauce carefully. Fish out the bay leaves and then bring to a boil till reduced by a third. Combine the flour and remaining stock or some water in a small bowl and stir till smooth. Slowly stir into the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. Place the meat back in the pot and gently rewarm the meat till ready to serve. Place on a platter or on plates and sprinkle with the parsley and lemon rind and then season with sea salt.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The California Dreaming Salad - Holiday Eats redone at home

I read someone recently write that they could not seem to eat a salad that did not have as many calories and as much fat as a Cheeseburger and thus salads were never really a healthy alternative for them. This seems to be my burden as well. Try as I might I have to make things taste good or I just don't like them.

Now that's not to say I haven't eaten my fair share of awfully healthy meals when trying to improve my diet or lose weight in the past. But I have come to a place in my life where life itself seems a little more fleeting in the wake of my brothers illness and all. In fact, right before this happened to him, we were having a discussion about how one really needs to enjoy one's time here. Because let's face it, we never know when we will no longer have the chance to enjoy life and the ones we love.

As such and in that vein I offer up to you a recipe to remake maybe my favorite restaurant entree salad of all time. I mean, I love a Brown Derby Cobb Salad, and to say that the Hillstone Thai Steak and Noodle Salad would not also find itself at the top of that list would be silly (See Food and Wine Magazine article online for the restaurant's own recipe printed up in an article celebrating my favorite restaurant chain and favorite go to eatery in NYC.)

But the California Dreaming Salad stands on it's own as a miracle in modern American restaurant recipes. It's beautiful and it's served with a freshly baked croissant slathered with honey butter. It's dressed with a hot sweet and sour bacon dressing and topped with everything an old fashioned chef's salad should be. It is an a word perfection. Doubt it? Visit any California Dreaming restaurant and try this salad and write me back it it isn't De#uckingliscious! Sorry about the swearing but I am that passionate about this salad.

Of course you don't have to travel from where ever you are to make this salad because I am about to give you the golden ticket to make this on your own. Now I've done my research and I have supposedly gotten all the scoop on the ingredients. If I'm wrong please let me know but don't write nasty things about my research and how I don't know what I'm talking about. Just make the salad and then shut your mouth cause, it's that good! Try this and be the hero. Feed your loved ones and friends some salad tonight. You can feel "kinda" good about it. But they will just love it. I promise.

The California Dreaming Salad- A T&T Home Version
(makes 4 servings of entree sized salads)

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce shredded
1/2 head of Romaine chopped
1/2 small red onion finely diced
3 eggs boiled and finely chopped
12 oz. of Armour 1877 Ham cubed and then chopped in the food processor to shred
12 oz Smithfield Smoked Turkey chopped into thin thin strips
8 oz of Armour Smoked Bacon cooked crisp and finely chopped (Grease held in a dish)
2 Medium tomatoes seeded and diced
6 oz of finely shredded cheddar cheese

Frozen Croissants baked and slathered with honey butter.

Hot Bacon Dressing (This is the good stuff, but it's not necessarily good for you...but's short)

1/2 cup warmed bacon drippings
1 large or two small shallots very finely minced
3/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon or brown mustard
1 tablespoon mayo
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix everything really well except the bacon drippings
The right before serving mix together and dress salads

To make the salad

Dress greens with dressing till wet. Portion out to into 4 bowls.  (Put extra dressing in a bowl on the side)

Layer on the toppings artistically starting with the cheese or mix and mound on the top leaving a few pieces to use as garnish, like tomato pieces and ham and maybe some egg.

Serve this salad with the croissants. Enjoy!!

Please feel free to comment I'd love to hear from you.