Saturday, April 24, 2010

Little 500

We have HDnet and got to watch the Little 500. What an incredible event. Breaking Away is one of my favorite movies so watching this race was so cool. If I had an opportunity to go back to college, I would go to IU, just to race in the Little 500.

We missed the beginning of the men's race but as we watched the women's race yesterday, they listed the riders names with their major of study. Just kick ass as 33 teams of four women relays raced on single speed Schwinns on a dirt track. We need a dirt track like that in Lancaster, PA, for all kinds of fun.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Double Shot

I stop in the Chestnut Hill Cafe to drop off brochures and I can't just walk out so I bought a shot of espresso. Or as I call "expresso"~not sure why I can't prounce it properly but that's how it comes out. Anyways, the barista (with the dogs) said a "double cost as much as a single". And I asked; "Will it make me bounce off the wall more than a single?" He shrugs his shoulders and I said oh, hell why not?

Now I know the answer. Even though I haven't eaten any breakfast yet, the caffeine is not ripping my stomach apart but I am sure bouncing off the walls!! Hopefully I get a lot of work done today. If not, I surely will be chatty.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I broke down and have become a lamb eater. Baaaa! I think lamb is an acquired taste so I am not sure if I am sold on lamb. I found two recipes that I melded together along with some of my usual improvising for good and silly reasons and luckily, the meal turned out just fine.

Improvising for good reasons: No Rutabagas so I substituted Turnips, lazy with buying cumin and coriander seeds because I already had the ground versions, too cheap/lazy to buy tomato paste so I squeezed and squished a tomato into the caramelized onions/shallots/wine broth, bought a boneless leg of lamb instead of lamb shanks (economizing) which proved to be the bomb.

Silly improvs: Did not use the full amount of red wine because I did not want to open another bottle because I am low on red wine for drinking, don't know why I didn't use the full amount of beef broth-I guess because I cut back on the wine.

I bought the needed root vegetables at market this morning, the lamb at Costco. I asked advice from another customer about cooking the lamb as I have never cooked lamb before. I whipped out my recipes from and ask "oven or crock-pot" since I am not doing the shanks. She recommended "oven" but I was set on the crock-pot because of squeezing in a long bike ride tomorrow. The recipe reviews recommended crock-pot cooking (4 hrs) for the shanks, too. But a boneless leg of lamb could get over cooked, especially when I could not estimate the cooking time for the crock-pot and I would not be home to save it. In the end, our Sunday guest could not make it so I switched dinner to tonight and choose the oven as I estimated that the lamb would take under two hours to cook at 400 degrees in a covered, dutch oven (20 minutes per pound).

I marinated the lamb in a fantastic rub for at least three hours (overnight would have been best but little time to marinate because of the change of plans). I caramelized the onions and shallots while I prepped the potato and root vegetables. Then I cooked the potatoes and root vegetables in the oven at 400 for an hour while I did some yard work. I thought we could have them on the side like roasted vegetables but because I pretty much cooked them without any water or oil, they seemed too dry so I did what the recipe called for - mashed 'em. I finished up the lamb base by boiling the wine and broth in the caramelized onions and shallots (pan: 6 quart, 13" Calphalon similar to this one but paid a lot less 6 years ago and my lid has a higher dome so the lamb fit perfectly).

The Rub:
1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds (grind 1 tbsp of each seeds in a spice or coffee grinder)
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all (don't forget the seeds) with the oil. Rub the meat with the mixture; place in a glass or ceramic dish and cover with plastic wrap.

The Base:
Caramelized onions & shallots (2 medium onions sliced, 5 shallots sliced)
1 3/4 cups of dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
smashed and squeezed 1 tomato (I did not put the tomato skins in the mix)
2 bay leaves
The caramelized the onions and shallots sat for an hour while the vegetables cooked. When I was ready to cook the lamb, I poured the wine into the onions and shallots and brought it to a boil, then added the broth, squeezed the tomato and added the bay leaves. When I placed the lamb on the pile of onions and shallots, I poured all the extra oil and herbs into the mix with two rosemary sprigs on top. I cooked five+ pounds of lamb in the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 400 degrees.

The Mash:
8 red potatoes, quartered
4 turnips peeled and quartered
6 small parsnips peeled and chopped
Cooked at 400 degrees for an hour. Then mashed with salt, pepper, olive oil and butter (about a 1/2 stick!). I covered the mash and kept it on the stove over the oven vent to keep it warm.

Start time: around 2 p.m. with dinner ready at 6 p.m.