Sunday, September 12, 2010

papatouille's peachy lamb

Buwahaha! When the cat's away, the Papatouille mouse will post on her blog.

OK, well actually, Mamatouille asked me to post this one. Actually, she has been asking me to make this recipe for a long, long time. Approximately 9 years in fact. Or, to put it another way, the temporal distance from our Ireland honeymoon to now.

So, after 9 years of begging, ol' Mama T boxed me into a corner by buying me two of the crucial ingredients - lamb and peaches. What could I do? I couldn't let the lamb die in vain.

All I had to do was to remember the recipe itself. Ah, yes. The other indispensable factor - which I could not remember. You see, when we were in Ireland (near a tiny dot-on-the-map of a place called Dunmanway), I just made it up as I went along. Okay, so I will throw out a small crumb of credit to my darling mother, who I am sure made something like this in the long-distant past of my childhood. But even then, all I was really going on was the lamb and the peaches.

So that is where I started tonight - with a slab-pack of stewing lamb (3/4 lb - or 0.34 kilos in real money), and two peachy peaches.

What to add to recreate the romantic dinner of yore?

Well, if you ever get to see any more Papatouille posts (which is about a 50/50 chance at this stage of this post) you will know that the big P does not let such things as recipes hold him back. The key is to see what you have, and then try to figure a way to blend it - tastefully - together.

A quick raid of the fridge and the pantry resulted in the following haul:
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1/2 an orange bell pepper
  • A bottle of red wine (a bit excessive to use the whole bottle, so we will try to restrain ourselves and just use a splash)
  • Some salt
  • Some rubbed sage
  • Some garlic in a toothpaste tube
  • A pack of couscous
  • Some Tuscan butter with garlic and Italian herbs
So, without further ado, let's cut to the (food) chase and , in the immortal words of Mrs. M, "Do this":

Slap some butter in the pan and get it sizzling nicely. Now, dump the lamb in and get it nicely browned on all sides. (Don't go too nuts with this. The center does not have to be well-cooked as it will get done as the evening progresses.)

Remove the lamb to a separate plate, and now it is the turn of the veggies. In go the onions and bell pepper. Toss in the bay leaf, a pinch of salt, some Worcester Sauce (oops, forgot to mention that in the list) and the sage. Stir it up until the vegetable matter is slightly browned and soft.

Now the lamb can skip back on in. Throw in a large dash of the red vino and a squeeze of garlic toothpaste and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. Last to go in are the two peaches, peeled and cut up small.

The interesting and mysterious thing is that, for some inexplicable reason, the arrival of the peaches results in a welcome thickening of the sauce. Another 15 minutes of slow simmering, and the peaches are blending in and looking less like fruit salad.

The Peachy Lamb has reached its peak and is ready to be consumed.

And so you sit down to enjoy your lamb and.... couscous. At which point, you realize you have completely forgotten about that little detail. Fortunately, couscous is deadly simple to prepare, even if it does require the tedious process of actually reading some instructions on a box and following them. No room for ad libbing there, I'm afraid. Sorry about that. But at least you can get it done quickly.

So what are you waiting for? Run along and do that before your lamb gets cold.

Waits. Twiddles thumbs.

You're back? Great. Serve the lamb over the nice, fresh couscous and enjoy.

Bonny appetite, as they say in Scotland.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

zucchini-lime quick bread

Though I've only got a small veggie garden in the backyard, the zucchini seems to enjoy it here in the Pacific Northwest and went a bit mad on ye olde multiplying. I made up my own zuke smoothies the other day and have tried out all sorts fun-ness, including my own take on a traditional quick bread.

You can find a zucchini quick bread recipe anywhere online (I used one from my favorite cookbook, More with Less) and instead of adding the staple spices (cinnamon, etc.), I zested and juiced two limes. (I also used half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose.)

My two favorite little beans helped me put it all together and of course they've also been helping me nibble on it. I like mine with cream cheese! Maybe Mamatouille's a bit cheesy after all. (We knew that.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

zuke smoothie

It's so much fun heading out to my wee garden in the backyard every day and finding hidden treasures (such as this 10-inch zucchini!).

I thought this one was cute.

I have loads of new zuke recipes to post, but for now, I will leave one of my latest smoothies with you: Blitz 2 bananas, 1/2 fresh pineapple, 1 cup frozen blueberries, toasted wheat germ, flax seed meal, lime juice, 1 zucchini, 2 carrots, 2 celery sticks, a huge handful of spinach, and some plain yogurt. Enjoy in a glass with a straw (somehow I can drink a green smoothie quicker with a straw than without).

View from my kitchen window. Stones courtesy of Deception Pass, Whidbey Island.