Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Attempt at Lamb with Country Vegetables

Cooking magazines never tell you how hard it's going to be to find the ingredients.  I went to four grocery stores to find "lamb shanks."  I had no idea what I was looking for. I had to google image it just to have a clue :)  Eventually, my husband stopped at a distant meat market on his way home from work and brought home the bacon baby :) I mean the lamb shanks :)    
So this is what a lamb shank looks like :)

Right after this picture was taken, the fire alarm went off and the burglar alarm company called to see if our house was on fire.  The kitchen was full of smoke from the vegetable oil getting too hot.  I told the alarm representative that I was trying a new recipe and felt compelled to tell him what I was cooking. I don't think he cared.  He said he'd ignore the alarm for the next 30 minutes to give me a chance to get the smoke out of the house.   Thank God he did not send the fire department....because I would have to explain that really the Guiness beer is for the lamb and the Irish whiskey is for the cookies. 
After the smoke cleared, here's one of the shanks browned. Does anyone else think it looks like a little pig's snout and head? Looks sort of cute. I should have stopped here but no......
Then came the boiling and the slow simmer in Guiness beer, beef broth and onions.  This looks like the result of oil spill in need of a clean up!!
Then I added the "country vegetables" which in this recipe is code for vegetables you don't normally eat.  The parsnips went limp in one day and were so bendy, it was almost unpeelable.   
I was worried the meat would be tough....I may have overcooked it because I'm pretty sure there should be meat attached to this :)  And then during the last 10 minutes of cooking, I added the prunes!  Yes that what's this mess is screaming out for..."Prune Me" 
At this point, even the cat is laughing at this mess.
This was as "pretty" as one of the shanks was going to get.  I wouldn't make this recipe again.  It was okay except for hunting for edible meat among the fat and bones. Of course my husband ate it and said it was wonderful...what does he know? He's been to military survival school and has eaten bats and tree roots  (or maybe they were "country vegetables") so he doesn't have the most decerning tastebuds.  Next St. Patrick's Day, I'll try bats and tree roots in Guiness :)

Lesson learned: If it provides me with yarn, don 't eat it. :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day

May you never find trouble
All crowdin' and shovin'
But always good fortune_
All smilin and lovin'.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Carrot Casserole

Servings: 6


5 cups sliced carrots
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cubed processed cheese
2 cups seasoned croutons
1/3 cup melted butter  (I used 3 T.)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender but still firm, about 8 minutes; drain.
3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Saute onions and stir in soup, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir in cooked carrots. Transfer mixture to prepared dish.
4. Toss croutons with 1/3 cup melted butter; scatter over casserole.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through.

My Geraniums

My three year old geranium plant sits on the front porch railing during the summer.  For two winters, I kept it in the did not do well.  This winter I propped it up on some firewood in the sunroom and it thrived.  Hurry up spring and get here :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Keepsake Quilting's version of Irish Soda Bread

A bit different than mine and I haven't tested it yet.

Image from Keepsake Quilting website The Hungry Quilter

4 cups sifted flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1-1/2 cups dark raisins (optional)

2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)

1-1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk

1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine the flour, baking soda, sugar, salt and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the raisins and caraway seeds and mix well. Add enough buttermilk to make a dough, mixing with a fork until the ingredients are moistened.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes or until well mixed. Shape the dough into a large ball and place on a well-greased baking sheet. Flatten the dough into a 7-inch circle and cut an X that is 1/4-inch deep in the center of the circle.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when rapped with knuckles. Remove the loaf to a wire rack and brush with the melted butter. Let stand until completely cooled before slicing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

When Good Knitters Go Bad :)

Sure just a little inconspicuous outfit to wear to the grocery store so as not to draw attention to yourself in the produce
department :)

Springing into Spring

Saw this in the March 2011 Country Living magazine and thought I'd give it a try.  Tossed in probably too many "old fashioned garden mix" seeds.  They are now in the garden window behind the kitchen sink and we shall wait and see :) 

Found this on the internet. I'd be happy if they turned out as good as this :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

St. Patrick's Day main course

This is what I'm attempting on St. Patty's Day if I can ever find lamb shanks. I've been to three grocery stores and so far zip, nada, zilch :(  I might need a bigger Dutch Oven. I love my Dutch oven. I should have bought one years ago!! On the rare occasions when my husband drinks beer, he likes Guiness.  I'm sure he'd be more than happy to lend me two bottles so I could make this :)

Lamb Shanks in Guinness with Country Vegetables

Ireland's famous Guinness stout adds deep flavor to this hearty stew. You will need a very large Dutch oven to accommodate all the lamb and vegetables.

6 servings
Recipe by Gerri Gilliland fron Bon Appetit

From Bon Appetit website


•6 tablespoons vegetable oil

•6 lamb shanks (about 6 pounds total)

•1/2 cup all purpose flour

•5 cups chopped onions

•4 cups beef stock or canned broth

•2 12-ounce bottles Guinness stout

•4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

•2 large parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

•2 rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

•1/2 cup pitted prunes


•Heat 6 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Coat lamb with flour; shake off excess. Reserve excess flour. Add lamb to Dutch oven in batches and brown well. Using tongs, transfer lamb to bowl. Reduce heat to medium. Add 5 cups chopped onions to Dutch oven and sauté until transluscent, scraping up any browned bits, about 5 minutes. Add reserved flour and stir 1 minute.

•Return lamb shanks and any accumulated juices to Dutch oven. Add beef stock and Guinness. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until meat is almost tender, about 1 hour.

•Add carrots, parsnips and rutabagas to Dutch oven and simmer uncovered until meat and vegetables are tender and stew thickens slightly, about 40 minutes. Spoon fat from surface of stew. Add prunes and simmer 20 minutes. DO AHEAD Stew can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Rewarm stew over low heat before serving.

Lola's Spring Sweater

TheTiny Top Down #608 by Cabin Fever Size 6 made  Yarn Bernat Softeen Baby DK weight

The best thing about this sweater is there is no front or back.  They are exactly the same.  Also with my color choices, a kid could spill any number of flavors of sherbert on it and it would go completely un-noticed :)