Friday, April 30, 2010

April 30th - Sesame Wonton Triangles with Smoked Salmon and Wasabi

WASABI: It'll clear all that up!

Good Lord! These little suckers today pack a punch!  (My sinuses have never been this clear.) Someone has got to put a warning label on this recipe!  DANGER:  MAY CAUSE FIRE IN THE NASAL CAVITIES!

There is entirely way too much wasabi paste in this recipe.  You only need 1/2 teaspoon (not the 1 1/4 teaspoon recommended).  I followed the recipe to a T and I can't taste the smoked salmon at all.  (Which is too bad because smoked salmon ain't cheap).  This recipe would also be good with some really nice fresh, raw tuna (if you're into sushi).

I think the little wonton triangles themselves are my new favorite thing.  They are so simple and look so hoity toity.  You could put all kinds of stuff on these things (with or without sesame seeds): crab salad, cheese, salmon mousse, pickled carrots, smoked trout, ceviche, texas caviar, etc, etc.  Just make sure they crisp all the way through or you'll be left with a soggy center (from experience).

Sesame oil: had
Egg white: had
Wonton Wrappers: $1.99
Rice vinegar: had
Chives: had (from my herb garden outside)
Wasabi paste: $1.99
Ginger: $0.89
Smoked Salmon: $5.99
Watercress (for garnish): had

Total: $10.86

FAST:  Not too bad.  The triangles take 13 minutes to bake, but you've got to do the eggwash/fold technique first, which will take you about 5 minutes.  While the triangles are baking, you can get the wasabi mixture done.  So, you can have these little guys done in about 20 to 25 minutes.

EASY:  The triangles can be a bit tricky.  I found that the best way to brush some of the egg wash mixture onto the wontons, was to use my clean hands.  It eliminates a brush to wash, and I had more control over the amount of sesame oil/egg white on the wonton.  The wontons I got didn't fold in half neatly.  There was some extra wonton hanging off the end.  I just took a knife and cut that off.  Otherwise the wasabi sauce and assembly were pretty easy.

FRESH:  I bet, if the wasabi wasn't so powerful. 

OVERALL:  If you follow the recipe, all you'll taste is wasabi and experience nothing but pain.  It's a great idea, but needs to be tweaked a little.

For the weekend??  A little fruit dessert...that's all I'm saying.  See ya then!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29th - Grilled Veal Chops with Warm Tomato Olive Vinaigrette

The Veal World - Chicago
Yes, we have no veal chops, we have no veal chops today....

So I didn't get the veal for this recipe.  I, instead, got steaks.  I don't know if Chicago has become anti-veal or what, but I went to 3 grocery stores and could not find veal chops.  So, I gave up (because it's so easy to do).  My militant vegetarian pal, Lauren, would be estatic that I'm not participating in the slaughter of baby cows; but, I'm sad to say, it is by sheer laziness and not by some political agenda that I make this choice. 

Deliciousness descends in 3..2..1..


Meat: $5.29
Oil: had
Garlic: had
Tomatoes: $1.19
Kalamata olives: $2.12
Basil: $1.99
Red wine vinegar: had

Total: $10.59


FAST:  Cooking your meat will take you anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes depending on how you like it.  The vinaigrette will take about 7 minutes (including prep time).  So, you are looking at about 15 to 20 minutes total.

EASY:  Removing the seeds from the tomatoes will be your most difficult part of the process.

FRESH:  Nothing like good, fresh basil to help out a recipe using not-in-season tomatoes.

OVERALL:  I really like the recipe.  The vinaigrette was simple and good with the steaks (who needs veal, right Lauren?) This would be a good recipe to try with garden fresh tomatoes.  I would even like to put in a few chopped up green olives in this and maybe a sprinkle of some parmesan cheese.  

Diagnosis: If your sick of boring steaks, I would definitely recommend trying this new twist!

Tomorrow we've got some pretty interesting appetizers.  See ya then!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28th - Peas with Roasted Onions and Mint

I woke up bright and early this morning to make some peas, one of my favorite veggies.  I debated whether or not to plant them this year, but decided against it.  Pea plants often suffer from root rot and my thumb isn't green enough to deal with that.  Also, you need to blanch fresh peas right away otherwise the sugars they contain turn to starch.  That's a bit much for me, so I'll stick to the frozen variety. 

I've always heard that fresh mint and peas are a flavor match made in heaven.  This was my first time eating the two together and I have to say that I quite enjoyed it.  I think later on down the road I'll make some fresh pea and mint ravioli with a light cream sauce.  Maybe even saute up a little shrimp to go with it?  Mmm...I'm getting hungry.


Onions: $0.69
Oil: had
Salt: had
Peas: $1.00
Mint: $1.19
Pepper: had
Sugar: had

Total: $2.88


FAST:  The roasting of the onions took a little less than 20 minutes in my oven.  (Some of the onions on the outer edges were turning black.)  Boiling the peas takes only five minutes and you can have the mint chopped while waiting fo the onions.  So, you're looking at about 20 to 25 minutes for this entire recipe.

EASY:  Roasting onions is quite simple, as is boiling peas.  There really isn't too much difficulty in this recipe.

FRESH:  Utmost.  Again, the combination of fresh mint and peas is quite tasty.

OVERALL:  I liked the roasted onion, but I think I'll saute them next time.  They'll have a more carmelized flavor which will add to the sweetness of the peas.  Also, I really don't need to cut the onions into rings again.  It makes for big chunks of onion which is an odd contrast with the the size of the peas.   Anyways, I think this recipe would be a good filling for the ravioli I mentioned above or as a good side dish alternative to just boring peas and butter.

Tommorrow we've got some red meat!  See ya then!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 27th - Three Cheese Spinach Calzones

MMM...calzones.   Basically a pizza folded in half for your eating convenience.  I love me a good pepperoni calzone, but I'll take this vegetarian option.  And, yes, they do have calzones in Italy.  Although they seem very simple, like this recipe, they are a filling "pick up and go" lunch item.  I've snacked on my fair share during my time out there.  (Hee rhymes.)

I was in a quandry as to what to do for the pizza dough.  I DID NOT want to buy an already prepared  dough from the grocery store (they didn't look very healthy).  Trader Joe's wheat  pizza dough was my stand-by, but I wanted to try something different.  So I saw this pizza dough mix and gave it a shot.  It is very simple and very good.  It even has parmesan in it (so technically this was a four-cheese spinach calzone).  Yeah, it was a little pricy, but it came with two packs of mix, so I'll save the other one for another time. 

As far as the cheese goes, I mixed things up a little.  I used a firm ricotta cheese (not your typical cottage-cheese looking kind) because I didn't want my calzone to get soggy.  Also, I used a soft Fontina cheese to help the filling develop an oozing factor.   Finally, I decided to stick with the recommended Gorgonzola because I found a great deal at the grocery store.

Spinach: $1.00
Green onion: $0.59
Ricotta Cheese: $2.49
Gorgonzola: $2.97
Fontina: $3.10
Pizza dough mix: $8  (I know.  I decided to splurge...crazy, eh?)

Total: $18.15

Sure a touch pricy, but the results are actually worth it.


Fast:  Well, my pizza dough had to sit out for an hour, so it really wasn't that quick.  I suppose if you use the kind that comes already done in a tube, this recipe could take you about 25 to 30 minutes.  NOTE:  Make sure you put your spinach in the fridge the night before in order to defrost in time.  Otherwise, you'll have to use the microwave and could possibly end up cooking your spinach (like I did). 

Easy:  The filling part of this recipe is super easy.  As far as the dough, I suppose pre-made dough is pretty much a no-brainer (just read the instructions).  If you're making your own dough, that gets a little more advanced.  The most difficult part of this recipe is the actual assembly of the calzone.  Make sure you pinch the edges of your calzone to seal them.  I like to make a little twist on the end not only for looks, but to make sure it closes properly.  Also, DON'T forget to make the three slits on the top to let the steam escape.  Otherwise, you'll have some soggy-bottom calzones.

Fresh:  The spinach and green onion are the driving "fresh forces" to this recipe. 

Overall:  Be careful that your filling doesn't get too salty.  The instructions say to add salt and pepper to the filling after the first five ingredients are blended.  My firm ricotta was really salty and had enough sodium in it to flavor the filling (I only added pepper to it).  I recommend tasting your filling before adding the salt!  Finally, my calzones were done in 12 minutes (not the 15 it said in the recipe).  So make sure you check them after 10 minutes. 

I really liked this recipe.  It definitely should be served with some red sauce or pizza sauce on the side.  I suppose you can get a little less fancy with the cheese to save $$, but keep the spinach and green onion to give it a fresh kick.

Tomorrow we've got peas!  See ya then!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 24 & 25 Blueberry Crisp with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

On our trip to Nebraska last weekend, Brian and I were able to get some Rhubarb from Brian's childhood home.  Brian figures that rhubarb plant has to be at least 50 years old.   Having held onto it all week, we decided it was probably best to make something out of it.  So I took half of it and made a Rhubarb-Apple Crisp.  Brian took the other half and made a rhubarb/ginger/organge sauce for ice cream.   Both were really good (but not pretty enough to take pictures of).  So suprise, surprise the dessert for this weekend was another crisp...only this time blueberry.

I did not buy fresh blueberries for this recipe.  That would have run me about $14.  Instead, I found frozen blueberries for $7.  Its early yet for blueberry season in the midwest. 

Speaking of crisp, it's a little wet, cold, and damp out, so a hot helping of this with some icecream is just how I want to spend my Sunday. 

Blueberries $7.00
Sugar: had
Flour: had
Walnuts: had
Brown Sugar: had
CInnamon: had
Salt: had
Butter: $2.29
Ice Cream: $2.99

Total: $12.28


FAST:  Prep will take you about 10 to 15 minutes, baking will take you another 45, and then you'll need to let it sit for another 10 minutes.  So you're looking at about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.

EASY:  The streusel topping can be a little difficult if you don't have a pastry cutter. 
I recommend getting the blade kind (as shown above) and NOT the wire kind.  A pastry cutter makes quick work of cutting in butter (or shortening) into flour.  It's great for many things such as pie dough, biscuits, and streusel topping.  Its one of those tools everyone should have in their kitchen (I tell my baking and pastry students that they should get one to make life easier).  If you don't have one, you can always use two knifes to cut in the butter or even a fork (my mom used to do that until I got her a pastry cutter). 

FRESH:  When it comes to baking fruit, I have no qualms about using frozen berries (it's when fruit is to be uncooked that I shy away from the freezer section).  The cinnamon in the streusel topping adds a little pop and makes the frozen blueberries taste fresher. 

OVERALL:  This is your standard crisp recipe and I don't mind it.  However, I always add a little lemon juice or lemon zest to my blueberries to perk them up (I didn't for this recipe).  I will definitely stick to that rule from now on (to me it tastes like something is missing).  If you've never made a crisp before, I suggest using this recipe.  Also, it'll look like there is way too much streusel topping, but DON'T BE FOOLED.  You will need all of it because most will sink into the blueberries.  Also, I recommend spraying your glass 13 x 9 with Pam (or any other brand) spray to make clean up a bit easier.

Ahh...a much needed break from this blog is coming tomorrow.  I need to recharge my batteries if I'm going to get through this next week.  Lots of projects to get done!  Hope you have a great Monday!  See ya Tuesday!

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23rd - Crostini with Burrata Cheese, Pink Pepper, & Arugula

A Constant Search
First off, I have no idea where you can find burrata cheese.  I have looked at an Italian deli, 3 grocery stores, and one specialty cheese shop.  All of whom said they don't carry it and when I asked if they knew of anyone that had it, they said NO.  Since burrata cheese is similar to fresh mozzarella, that's what I ended up getting.  

Second, I honestly feel bad sometimes that I can't make Bon Appetit's true recipe when I cannot find an obscure ingredient like this.  At the same time, I cannot spend 5 hours looking for one cheese.  Sorry guys.  So, you'll have to pardon the substitution.  If you live in an area that has the burrata, I suggest trying it in this recipe.

Pink peppercorns, on the other hand, are now quite easy to find.  Pink peppercorns are "the dried berries of the Baies rose plant grown off the coast of Madagascar.  Their distinctive flavor -- pungent and slightly sweet -- invites experimentation in cooking.  A wonderful complement to cheese, poultry, and seafood dishes, the rose-hued berries also make a beautiful garnish" (off the bottle of Willliams-Sonoma Pink Peppercorns).

The Recipe

Baguette: $1.59
Garlic: had
Arugula: $2.29
Mozzarella Cheese: $3.19
Pink Peppercorns: had
Sea Salt: had

Total: $7.07

The Results

FAST: After toasting the bread (which will take 3 minutes), the rest of the ingredients get mounded on top.  Depending on if you have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or not, the little crostini will take only a few seconds to assemble.  You really can have this recipe done in about 5 minutes.

EASY:  Don't walk away from the oven when you put the bread in.  It only takes a minute or two before these guys brown.  Any longer and you'll be smelling burnt bread for the next hour or so.

FRESH: The play of bitter (from the fresh arugula), garlic, creaminess (from the cheese), and sweet pungency (from the pink peppercorn) work really well together.  Just make sure to give it a drizzle of olive oil to compliment the whole thing.

OVERALL:  These are a quick and easy appetizer to serve.  You can substitute a variety of cheeses...I would maybe like a blue cheese?  Just make sure not to cut the bread too thick and that you toast it well.  I'm sure, some day, I will probably run across burrata cheese and have to give this one a try again. 

Blueberry crisp for the weekend!  See ya then!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22nd - Spicy Grilled Chicken and Green Onions

So, I've gotten more than a few e-mails and phone calls from friends and family asking about rice being a PHF (potentially hazardous food).  Let me explain. 

PHF's are foods which can promote "rapid and progresive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms" (FDA Food Code) if not taken care of properly.  PHF's have moisture, protein, and are slightly acidic.  They include foods such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk & dairy products, raw sprouts, tofu & soy protein foods, untreated garlic and oil mixtures, and heat-treated plant food (like cooked beans, vegetables, baked potatoes, and cooked rice).

You can make sure that you don't get sick off of these items by:

1. Keeping them out of the temperature danger zone of 40 F and 140 F.  (That means either keep it below 40 or higher than 140).

2. (In the case of cooked rice) Not keeping them too long as pathogens will begin to multiply exponentially the longer it sits.

I hope that clears up things a bit.  I don't know the chemical make-up/science behind rice so I can't get much more detailed than that.  Just make sure to not eat really old fried rice and you should be fine.


Veggie oil: had
Hot pepper sauce: had
Honey: had
Paprika: had
Green onions: had (from yesterday's recipe)
Chicken: $3.39

Total: $3.39

It's time to bust out the barbecue.  We traded in our gas grill for a charcoal one.  We don't use it that often, so I'm not worried about the whole carcinogen/charcoal debate.  This recipe kind of reminds me of the sauce you make for hot wings.  It's usually a stick of melted butter combined with Frank's Red Hot sauce.  This has some honey in it, so I'm thinking it will have a great glazing effect to the chicken.  Let's find out....


FAST:  My chicken breasts were a little fat, so I split them open so they wouldn't take as long to cook.  Marinating takes 10 minutes, cooking another 12, and then a few minutes of rest.  So you're looking at about 25 to 30 minutes total.

EASY:  The marinade is super easy.  Grilling chicken is pretty easy too (especially if you have a gas grill).  The hardest part of this recipe is to not get the marinade all over your kitchen floor (like I did).

FRESH:  The grilled green onions are a must with this recipe.  They provide the freshness to the dish.  Otherwise, you'll just have some chicken that tastes like buffalo wings.

OVERALL:  I like this recipe.  The marinade is quite simple and easy.  It would go well with some blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce.  The grilled green onions also compliment the chicken well.  Make sure you don't skip them.  I would make this again and use the chicken for sandwiches.

See ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21st - Rice Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Mint, & Lime


Rice salad?  Really?  Sounds like it would be interesting, right?  Wrong.  Not so good (therefore, I'm not going to spend a lot of time today talking about it).  I also have a problem with this recipe in that cooked rice is a potentially hazardous food (PHF: restaurant term for something that can give you food poisoning).  Make sure you don't leave this salad out for a long time and that it's not in your fridge for more than a day or two.  (Also, I really recommend not keeping cooked rice from your Chinese take-out because it's a PHF).

I decided to use a brown basmati rice instead of white to be a little healthier.  


Salt: had
Rice: $1.99
Snap Peas: $1.49
Mint: had (from yesterday's recipe)
Green onions: $0.88
Olive oil: had
Limes: $0.49
Sugar: had

Total:  $5.62


FAST:  The rice needs to cook for 15 minutes and then cool for another 15 minutes.  So this recipe will take you at least a half hour.  You can get all the chopping done while the rice is cooking/cooling.

EASY:  Yeah. The rice cooking/cooling is the hardest part of this recipe.

FRESH:  The mint, snap peas, and lime really perk up this recipe, but it can't save it.

OVERALL:  I really didn't like it.  The salad was kind of blah.  It seems like it needs a better combination of ingredients.  Tomatoes?  Garlic?  More lime juice?  Peas?  It was really lack luster.  I'd rather have made tabbouleh.  Oh well.  I just hope we can eat most of it before I throw it away on Friday (it made a lot). 

Grilling time tomorrow!  See ya then!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20th - Spiced Lamb in Pita Bread

Welcome Back Deliciousness
I am so excited to be eating lamb again.  Ever since I made the roasted leg of lamb recipe a few weeks back, I've been craving it.  (It's just too bad it's always on the pricy side, or I would eat it more often.)   Brian doesn't care for lamb because of the gamey taste.  I actually enjoy it.  There is just something about lamb and fresh mint that work so well together.  Maybe because they are both such strong flavors?  Whatever the case, I'm just glad it's back.

As you'll notice in the recipe, it calls for ground lamb.  Around here, not all the grocery stores carry ground lamb.  So, you sometimes have to be creative.  Granted, I only went to one grocery store, but I didn't feel like hunting for something (and using up a lot of gas) that I could easily do myself.  So, I bought lamb rounbone chops, deboned them, cut them up, and threw them in the food processor.  Since these are just lamb patties, it didn't really matter that it wasn't store ground.  It worked and tastes delicious.

Lamb: $4.55
Onion: $0.76
Mint: $1.99
Oregano & Cumin: had
Salt & Pepper: had
Cinnamon: had
Pita breads: $1.49

Total: $8.79


FAST:   Chopping up the onion and mint will take about 3 to 4 minutes, throwing the patties together will take another 3 to 4 minutes, and frying will take about 6.  So, if you buy ground lamb, this recipe should take you no longer than 15 minutes to do.  Grinding up the lamb myself, took about 7 minutes.

EASY:  The hardest parts of this recipe are the chopping (of the onion and mint) and the shaping of the patties (I suggest using slightly wet hands so the meat doesn't stick all over you).  

FRESH:  The fresh mint is the star of this recipe and makes the lamb pop along with the cinnamon and cumin.

OVERALL:  Yummy in the tummy.  I really like this recipe.  I like to think of it as a lamburger.  The patties were very juicy on their own, but I wanted some sauce with my lamburger so I made a throw together yogurt/sour cream sauce with lemon juice, dill, and garlic salt.  Perfect!   If you're looking for something different for dinner, I suggest giving this a try.

Tomorrow is a rice salad.  Hmmm, not sure what to think of that....  See ya then!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 17 & 18 - Strawberries with Lemon Sugar and Lavender Syrup

Lavender is such a great spring/summer flavor.  I used to make lemon and lavender tarts, lavender panna cotta, and lavender anglaise all the time at my old restaurant gig (not all at once).  One patron commented that my lavender panna cotta tasted like France!  I'm assuming that was a good thing. 

Lavender might be hard to find for some.  I know you can try growing your own and dry out the flowers, but luckily Chicago has some great spice shops where lavender is pretty common so I don't have to go to such extremes.  Besides being excellent for cooking, dried lavender is good to steep with some camomile tea (or to put in some cheesecloth to freshen up your delicates...I saw that on Martha Stewart). 

Sugar: had
Lemon: had
Honey: had (I used the last of my awesome greek honey)
Lavender: had
Strawberries: $2.00
Sour cream: had

Total: $2.00

I didn't buy creme fraiche because I needed to buy sour cream for the crappy crabby tostadas from Thursday.  It was good with the sour cream, but I think the creme fraiche would have been more delicate with the lavender, honey, and strawberry flavors.


FAST:  Not too bad.  Cutting the strawberries takes about 5 minutes.  The syrup takes about 10 (including a little cool down time).  The lemon sugar is about another 2 minutes.  So overall, about 17 - 20 minutes for this simple dessert.

EASY:  Yeah.  Grating the lemon peel and cutting the strawberries are the hardest tasks here.

FRESH:  Almost heavenly.  Summer berries would make this even better.

OVERALL:  I like this recipe.  The lavender syrup would make some great cocktails.  The only thing I didn't like was the lemon sugar sprinkle.  I would next time skip the extra sugar (extra calories) and just add a little grated lemon straight to the berries.  Can you imagine this on top of some great pound cake or sponge cake?  Yum!

Alright folks, it's been a fantastic week.  I need a day off.  See ya Tuesday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 16th - Delano Caipirinha

So you may or may not be aware of last year's trend in cocktails, the caipirinha.  It is made with Cachaça (ka-SHA-sa) liquor which is from Brazil and manufactured from sugarcane.  It's similar to rum only a bit crisper. 

I remember seeing cachaça in our house as a kid back in the 80's. (My mom was raised in Sao Paolo.)    Of course, I wasn't yet the drinker I would come to be, so I wasn't too interested in it.   I do recall my parents making these on occasion because I wanted to muddle the lime with the sugar.  It looked like fun.  Did I get to do it?  No.  Man, why did I have to be born to good, responsible parents?
Well, fast forward 25 years and here I am making my own caipirinha in my own home.  Who knew this foreign alcohol from my childhood would become so trendy?  (When I told my mom about the trend last year, she was like "I was drinking those when I was 14".  Nice Mom.)  I haven't heard too much about them this year though.  Like the mojito, I think they're becoming less popular. 

Anyway, they make different flavors of cachaça now.  But, I stuck to the original.  There are several different brands to choose from too if you go to a larger liquor store.  I liked this one because I knew the bottle would fit in my bar.  It's good.


Lime: $0.69
Sugar: had
Cachaça: $23.99
Lemon juice: had
Ice: had

Total: $24.68


FAST:  You can have some cocktail bliss in less than 5 minutes. 

EASY:  Almost as easy as drinking the cachaça straight from the bottle.

FRESH:  Lime juice and booze.  What else could be fresher?

OVERALL:  The caipirinha is like a macho version of a mojito without the fresh mint to hide behind.  It's strong, in your face, and ready to punch ya if you get out of line.  You may or may not like these.  I like drinking straight gin (Brian calls it rubbing alcohol), so these are right up my alley.  If you're more of a fruity person, I'd go with the flavored cachaça.  The weather is warming up so this would be a great summer refresher!

My favorite, lavender, is back for the weekend dessert recipe.  See ya then!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15th - Crab and Avocado Tostadas

Hope y'all got your taxes done.  Overachiever me got mine done back in late February and the refund is already spent.   I heard on the radio that 1 in 5 people wait until today to do them.  That's crazy.  I'd hate to be working at the post office tonight. 

This recipe is a lot of work for something that didn't turn out so great.   I highly recommend using fresh crab meat (not canned) if you want to attempt this.  Or, skip the crab meat all together and use either a cooked white fish or chicken.


Sour cream: $1.29
Canned chipotle chiles: $2.99
Tomatoes: $0.79
Onion: $0.66
Limes: $0.50
Cilantro: $0.63
Jalepeno: $0.44
Crabmeat: $5.98
Avocadoes: $1.19
Tostada shells: $0.59
Romaine lettuce: $1.17

Total: $16.23

So, I used canned crabmeat which was a big mistake.  It had such a tin/bitter flavor that ruined the whole thing for me.  I should have searched out other crabmeat (or frozen crab), but I was a little lazy.  Also, they don't sell small cans of chipotles in adobo sauce.  So, I pureed the whole can and put the leftovers in the freezer.  I figured I can scoop some out every once in a while to use in other recipes (otherwise the whole thing is going to mold over in the fridge and I'd end up throwing it out).  

Also, frying up your own tortillas in a little bit of oil is a lot cheaper than buying tostada shells.  If you want to stay on the healthy side, like I'm trying to do, skip the tostada shells and just put corn tortillas under the broiler.   Yeah, it's more of a taco, but it's going to be less time on the treadmill in the end.


FAST:  This recipe is all about prep.  It took me about 20 - 25 minutes to get everything all chopped up, pureed, mixed together, and assembled. 

EASY:  Nothing too crazy (unless your frying your own tortilla shells).  It's mostly just chopping and mixing together. 

FRESH:  Yes, once you get past the tin taste of the crab.  With different crab or a different meat, this would have been a great, fresh recipe.

OVERALL:  Where to begin?  I guess by now, you know you shouldn't use canned crab meat.  Second, there is way too much lime juice in the recipe (it overpowers everything).  Cut it back to a tablespoon and a half.  I would also add a small clove of garlic (finely chopped) to this.   Maybe even garnish with some chopped cilantro?  I didn't use crema mexicana because at the store it was $4 and I didn't feel like driving to the Mexican grocery store.   The sour cream/ chipotle mixture is good, but be sparing with it.  It has a tendency to overpower the rest of the flavors as well.    This recipe was kind of a hot mess.  I can see what they were trying to achieve, but it seems that the balance of ingredients needs to be tweeked a little.   I don't think I'll ever make this again.  I'd rather spend the effort making enchiladas.

Tomorrow is cocktail time!   Yummy!!!  See ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14th - Herbed New Potatoes

So this year, I will be growing garlic, leeks, and fennel in the yard.  On the patio (in pots) I will be growing lettuce, tomatoes, dill, chervil, chives, parsley, and basil.  I want to try growing some hot peppers, but it'll have to be indoors (the seeds should have been started 8 weeks ago).

I though this year I should try and grow things that are a little more costly in the grocery store (like leeks and fennel).  Also, I can never find a grocery store that sells chervil.  Its a wonderful herb (used mainly in French cooking) that has a slight licorice flavor and goes perfect in omelets or with chicken.  It looks like mini-parsley, so its wonderful for garnishing.

This recipe is a good one to hold onto when your herb garden starts blooming.  I actually have some chives that have come back from last year and are ready to use.   I'd also like to try this with the chervil (if it works out).


New potatoes: $1.99
Olive oil: had
Garlic: had
Parsley: $0.59
Dill: $0.89
Chives: had

Total: $3.47

I used a mixture of parsley, dill, and chives.   I chopped up the leftover dill, put it in a glass mason jar with a lid on top, and stuck it in the freezer. My mom used to do this all the time and we'd have fresh dill year round.  Just make sure your dill is dried well with paper towel.  (I also do this with my chives because the darn plant just keeps getting bigger and bigger).


FAST:  Steaming takes about 10 minutes and then you cook them again in the oil/garlic/herbs for another 8.  So maybe 20 minutes tops?

EASY:  Not having to peel the potatoes makes this recipe a cinch.  Chopping your herbs will be the most difficult part.  Make sure you use a sharp knife or you may bruise your herbs and loose the bright green color.

FRESH:  It's fresh...fresh - exciting.  It's so exciting to me.  It's fresh...fresh  - exciting.

OVERALL:  Simple, easy, delicious.  Not overly complicated.  The more herbs you use, the more dimension of flavor you will get.  Just watch that you don't over cook your potatoes.

Tomorrow is Tostada Thursday!  See ya then!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13th - Sesame Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry

Stir Fry and Me
I love a simple, good stir-fry.  It's one of those meals you can do to clean out the excess veggies you have in your fridge.  Plus, you don't need to have a whole lot of meat on hand to do it.   (You can stretch even a single chicken breast for a stir fry for four if you cut it thinly enough.)  Serve either with some rice or cellophane noodles, and you're good to go. 
Another reason why I like stir-fry is that it can be really healthy (if you don't put too much soy sauce in the sodium!).  All you need is just a tablespoon or two of oil for cooking (vegetable or peanut) and that's it.   For the sauce, you can do what this recipe says and mix some hoisin sauce with water or you can just throw in some broth (chicken, beef, or veggie) and thicken it with some cornstarch and water (what we chef's call a slurry).   Real simple. 

Hoisin is pretty easy to find in any grocery store now-a-days.  It's a thick Asian sauce made from soy paste (soy sauce), garlic, chilies, spices, vinegar, and sugar.   I've seen it referred to as "Chinese Barbecue Sauce".   Watch the sugar content on the back.   Sometimes it and the sodium content can be quite high.   That's why its generally a good idea to thin it out with some water (your canned broths and stocks will increase the sodium content unless you use the low-sodium kind).


Sesame seeds: had
Beef: $3.29
Veggie oil: had
Red onion: $0.89
Asparagus: $1.99
Hoisin: had
Sesame oil: had

Total: $6.17

As you can see, I used black sesame seeds in my recipe.  They taste the same, they're just a different color.  I somehow ran out of regular sesame seeds...strange.  But, I luckily had these so I didn't need to run out to the store.   I toasted them in a dry fry pan for a few minutes until they became a little fragrant.  Then immediately, dump them onto a plate (otherwise they'll continue to cook in the pan and burn).

Also, I bought steak from the grocery store that was marked "steak for sandwiches".   It was cut really thin and pounded out.  It was perfect for the stir fry because I wanted thin strips and all I had to do was cut it (no extra work!). 

Finally, I had some left over broccoli in the fridge, which I added to the stir fry (it's not in the recipe).  You can blanch and shock it ahead of time (which means cook it for a minute in boiling water and then throw it in an ice bath to stop it from cooking) or you can stir fry it raw.   I prefer stir-frying it raw. 


FAST:  Toasting the seeds took 5 minutes.  Cutting everything up will take you about 10 to 15 minutes.  Cooking will take you maybe another 10.  (Make sure you have everything cut up and ready to go first before you start cooking.  Once you start, there is no stopping.)  So you'll have stir fry in about 30 minutes (or less).

EASY:  The hardest part of this recipe is toasting the sesame seeds.  Everything else should be pretty easy.

FRESH:  Yes.  The more veggies you put in your stir fry, the fresher it will taste.  I added a sliced up green onion and threw it into the stir-fry when it was done. 

OVERALL:  Go a little less on the water.  I added the 1/3 cup and my sauce never thickened correctly.  I didn't want to let it boil too long or the veggies would get soft.   Also, make sure to season with salt or pepper.  You can use soy, but use a light hand.   This recipe was good.  I'm going to chill the stir fry and make a cold salad out of it with cellophane noodles.

We've got potatoes tomorrow.  See ya then!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April 10 & 11 - Coffee, Chocolate, & Marshmallow Sundaes

I am a sucker for marshmallows.   Whether an easter peeps, a fire-toasted marshmallow with chocolate and some graham crackers, or the little mini ones in a nice cup of hot chocolate, nothing beats a great marshmallow.  And in my current health-kick phase, I should give them up (like the hotdog).  But it ain't going to happen.  I owe too much to the marshmallow.

Back in the days when I was a restaurant pastry chef, I would make homemade marshmallows all the time and stick them in a slew of different desserts.  (There is something about a marshmallow that makes you feel like a kid again.)  Oh and believe me, it is so easy (and messy) to make them!  They would be a fun project for older kids, but you have to be careful because the sugar syrup you make is dangerous.    The process is pretty fun to watch.

So here is my recipe that I found on the internet for marshmallows that I used to use.   They store pretty well in an airtight container.  The best thing about homemade marshmallows is that they taste much better than store bought and they don't contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives.  I hope you give them a try!


Ccombine 3 tablespoons of gelatin (a professional-grade concentrated gelatin would be a good choice, but generally is available only to the food industry) with 1/2 cup of cold water and let it stand for an hour. In the meantime, heat 2 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil and cook until the firm-ball stage (244°F; 117°C). Remove from the heat and pour it slowly over the gelatin, beating it constantly in a stand mixer. Beat it for a good 15 minutes. When it’s thick but still warm, add 2 tablespoons of vanilla or other flavoring (mint, strawberry, orange, flower water, etc.), if desired. Spread the mixture in a pan that has been lightly dusted with cornstarch. Let it dry for 12 hours, then cut it into squares with scissors dusted with cornstarch, and store them in an airtight container.


Whipping Cream: $1.29
Marshmallow creme: $0.99
Bittersweet chocolate: $1.19
Coffee Ice Cream: $3.99
Almonds: had

Total: $7.46


FAST: The sauce takes at least 20 minutes to make (10 minutes for prep and 10 minutes to let it cool enough to put over the ice cream).  I let my sauce cool for 25 minutes so that it wouldn't instantly melt my ice cream.

EASY:  Peesy.  Can you simmer and melt stuff in a saucepan?  Then, you can make this sauce.

FRESH:  Does it taste as fresh as a salad of garden vegetables?  No.  But it is a fresh take on the classic chocolate sauce (and ice cream sundae).  

OVERALL:  OMG BTW IMHO THIS ROCKS!  Yummy goodness is all I can say.  The coffee and the chocolate/marshmallow sauce are divine together.  Add some marshmallow cream and some toasted almonds and you've got a bunch of different textures working on this one.  I love it.  You could serve this with some graham crackers and do a "smore" thing.  It reminds me a little of tiramisu.  Maybe a sprinkling of cocoa powder on the top of the marshmallow creme and a lady finger to stick out from the top?  I wouldn't mess with this recipe too much.  It's great the way it is.

So, I'm off to eat the rest of this beautiful creation and read the Sunday paper.  Tuesday we've got a stir-fry.  See ya then!

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9th - Herbed Goat Cheese with Roasted Chiles and Olive Oil

It's Brian's birthday!  Yippee!!  So, in honor of this great day, I'm not going to blog very much so we can go and celebrate the day. 


Chiles: $2.10
Garlic: had
Goat Cheese: $3.99
Cilantro: $0.69
Oregano: had
Olive oil: had
Bread: $1.99

Total: $8.77

I didn't use Anaheim chiles (I couldn't find them).  So instead, I used poblanos.    Also, I didn't use fresh oregano (I used dried). 

When I roasted the peppers, I just wrapped them in foil (I didn't use the paper bag technique) and let them steam.  It worked fine.  I was able to peel them no problem.  When you're peeling the peppers, make sure that you don't rinse the peppers under running water (as you might be tempted to do).  It gets rid of that roasted pepper taste and makes the peppers just "meh".  Instead, try to wipe off the outside with a paper towel (I learned this in my restaurant days). 

I really like blanching garlic.  It's a great way to get a mellower garlic flavor into things.  I often will blanch garlic and put it into salad dressings or even on vegetables such as green beans or in mashed potatoes.  Great technique to remember!

FAST:  Umm...not so much.  The roasting of the peppers will take about 15 to 20 minutes by itself.  In the meantime, you can blanch the garlic and chop the cilantro.  Then, all the flavors have to sit for an hour before you can serve it.  So you're looking at about an hour and a half before this is done and ready to eat. 

EASY:  Umm...not so much.  The roasting of the peppers can be a little difficult (especially if you haven't done it before.)  The blanching of the garlic is pretty easy (just drop in boiling water).  The rest is just chop and mix.

FRESH:  Yes.  Absolutely.  The cilantro and oregano give the goat cheese a nice flavor.  The roasted peppers and blanched garlic also help pep up the recipe. 

OVERALL:  I really like this recipe, although its a little hard to serve.  Next time, I will chop up the peppers smaller (the strips are kind of awkward) and sprinkle them over the cheese.  Also, I think I would form the cheese into a ball or a more solid structure.  The crumbliness is messy when you try to pick it up with a spreading knife.  I can see that being a hassel when serving this to company.   Otherwise the flavors are great!

Tomorrow is an ice cream dessert.  Yummy!!!  See ya then.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8th - Asian Seared Tuna Pepper Steaks

A Ho-Hum Day
The weather is so gloomy today.  It doesn't excite me or motivate me.  It just makes me want to sit around and do nothing.   Maybe curl up on the couch with a blanket and watch some Judge Judy?  But, alas, I cannot because I have a recipe to do.

And then I looked at the recipe for today.  It matches the weather outside.  Boring and ho-hum.  It was so "meh" that I made rice to go with it.    That's about the extent of my creativity today.

You'll notice I did not do Ahi tuna.  All the markets I went to had sad (very sad) looking tuna steaks.  I wasn't going to spend my hard earned money on yucky tuna.  However, I did find swordfish!  I figured since I was on this "trying new things" kick, I would try swordfish.

The recipe suggest oven roasted sweet potatoes with this dish, but I just did a plain rice.   You could make a nice vegetable fried rice to go with the fish.  But, it will definitely need something flavorful to be paired with it.  Maybe a pickled salad of some sort (cucumber)?


Fish: $7.89
Pepper: had
Sesame Oil: had
Soy Sauce: had
Dry Sherry: had
Green Onions: $0.99

Total: 8.88


FAST:  This recipe takes no time at all.   I think I was done with the fish and the sauce in like 7 minutes.

EASY:  There is really nothing to chop except the green onions (for optional garnish).  Do, however, have a lid or a splatter screen handy when you add the liquid to the pan.  It will sputter everywhere and make a big mess (you've been warned).

FRESH:  No.  It's blah.  There's no taste except for soy and pepper.  Yes, they're suppose to be peppered steaks, but that's all it is.   It's one-dimesional.

OVERALL:  I don't know what to think of this recipe.  There are so many other good fish recipes out there.  Even if I didn't feel like cooking (which I really don't today) and had to throw something together for dinner, I would be a lot more creative than this.   Sorry Bon Appetit, this is a big FAIL!

Tomorrow is a goat cheese spread (and Brian's birthday).  Yum (and fun).  See ya then.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 7th - Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Butter

I can't believe this is my first time ever working with fresh artichokes.   You'd think we would have worked with them in culinary school, but we didn't.   Needless to say, they look a little intimidating.  But really, they're super easy to prepare.   I used this video from the wonderful website OCEAN VIEW FARMS.  They have all the information you need to know about artichokes

Then on youtube I found this video on how to eat an artichoke.  I like it because the woman gives the camera a crazy look.

Another tip I picked up is to season the water you are either boiling or steaming the artichokes in.   You can add a bay leaf, whole cloves of garlic, some lemon pieces, peppercorns, etc.  It imparts flavor into the artichoke.
I had a really hard time finding fresh artichokes.  I ended up going to 4 different grocery stores in search of them.  Luckily I was able to pick up the last 2 in a shop on my fourth try.  I don't think I'll need to make these again.  They were good, but they're a lot of work to eat (and to find).   I suppose, if you're up for a culinary challenge pick some up and give it a try.
Artichokes: $5.29 (yeah, pricey)
Olive oil: had
Garlic: had
Thyme: had
Lemons: $0.39
Butter: $1.79
Total: $7.47
FAST:  Not really.  The artichokes take 45 minutes to steam.  You can get the butter done while it's cooking.  Prep could take you about 10 minutes so you're looking at close to an hour before this recipe is done.
EASY:  Again, if you follow the Ocean Mist Farms video, prepping the artichokes will be really easy.
FRESH:  Fresh artichokes taste wonderful, but the lemon garlic butter makes them even better.
OVERALL:  This was a great learning experience.  I'm glad I got to try something I've never done before.  It really builds up your confidence.  Yeah, I didn't rub the cut artichoke with some lemon so it discolored while cooking.  Yeah, I tried to reheat Brian's artichoke and it got really mushy.  But I made it and it tasted delicious.
Tomorrow we've got fish on the menu.  See ya then.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6th - Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Arugula, Capers, and Olives


Yesterday was opening day for our Chicago White Sox.  (Please, don't get the impression that I am a baseball fan.)  The reason I'm bringing it up is that it officially begins HOTDOG season!  I LOVE me a good hotdog. 

So yesterday, while I'm grocery shopping, I decide that as a treat I should buy some hotdogs.  Have you ever picked up a pack of hotdogs and actually looked at the nutritional information?  OMG (or oh my gosh for you non-texters).  I was shocked!  And it must have showed, because an old lady scooting past with her cart says to me "those things are no good, honey".  A whopping 19 grams of fat per hot dog?  Made with processed chicken and pork "pieces"? (I'm not kidding, it really said pieces).  Oh, my beloved hotdog.  Say it ain't so!  Needless to say, I didn't buy any hotdogs. 

As I wandered around the grocery store in half shock and sorrow, I noticed that a lot of the food items that were cheap and fast were also the most unhealthy for you.  Mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, taco shells, canned chili, spaghetti-o's, microwave popcorn, jarred spaghetti sauce.  Reading the back of the box/can/jar became the judas kiss for me.  They were full of fat, calories, salt, and sugar.  I will probably never eat those things again!  Oh my poor hotdog.  I'll miss you!


Tomatoes: $1.79
Kalamata Olive: $1.10
Arugula: $2.99
Olive oil: had
Capers: had
Garlic: had
Crushed Red Pepper: had
Pasta: $0.99

Total: $6.87

I love super easy pasta recipes.  It reminds me of my time living in Italy.  Pasta was super cheap, so we'd stock up on it.  We'd go to the market, buy some fresh veggies, and just toss them into some pasta and olive oil.  It was a quick meal that filled us up and kept costs down. 


FAST:  The recipe calls for letting all of the ingredients (except the pasta) sit in a bowl (at room temp) for 30 minutes to let the flavors mesh.  Add the pasta boiling time (15 minutes) and prep time (10 minutes)  and you're looking at about 55 minute before dinner gets on the table.   Not so quick.

EASY:  Super E.  Just chop and toss.  Boiling the water for the noodles will be the most difficult part (unless you bought kalamata olives that weren't I did...BUY THE PITTED KIND!)

FRESH:  This recipe is the epitome of fresh.  Salty olives and capers with the sweetness/acidity of tomatoes, the bitterness of arugula, and the creaminess of olive oil.  Delicious!

OVERALL:  Loved it.  I added some leftover basil, asparagus, canned artichoke hearts, and chicken that I had in the fridge.   Simple, fresh, and full of healthy veggies.    This is one of those recipes you can use to clean out the fridge/pantry. 

Alright.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  I will be cooking fresh artichokes for the first time ever!  Exciting.  See ya tomorrow!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 3 & 4 - Mixed Berries with Mascarpone Limoncello Cream

Hoppy Easter!!
Well, one of my favorite food holidays is here!  Brian and I are headed to my parents house for the afternoon to eat and hang out with the family.  My family has the traditional Polish Easter food:  ham, Polish sausage, sauerkraut, grated beets with horseradish, lots of rye bread, and cheesecake.  My grandma will bring her potato salad and my sister will bring her cheesy potatoes.  Although the food is the same every year, it's good.  I think one year we'll have to switch things up and have a turkey.   Mmmm....turkey!

So last night Brian and I sat and decorated sugar cookies for 3 hours for his people at work.  I think they turned out pretty cool.  Here's a pic:

And now, I will partake in one of my favorite parts of Easter...the decapitation of the chocolate Easter bunny.  Yum!!



Whipping cream: $1.29
Mascarpone cheese: $3.99
Sugar: had
Limoncello: had
Fresh berries: $2.00
Raspberry preserves: had
Lemon peel: $0.59

Total: $7.87

I finally used up the last reminder of my time in Italy, the limoncello.   I bought it while I was out there (2 years ago) and it's been in my fridge ever since.  

The recipe calls for fresh berries and I found some great strawberries for $1 a pound.   


FAST:  Cutting up the strawberries was probably the longest part of this whole recipe.  The cream whips up pretty quick.  I would say this recipe took about 15 minutes total.

EASY:  The cream was really easy, it's just throw everything in a bowl and use a hand beater to blend.  Washing and cutting the strawberries was the hardest part.

FRESH: The lemon stands out from the cream and really gives it a punch.  You could make this even more fresh tasting with some fresh mint garnish.

OVERALL:  The strawberries worked really well with this cream.  Although I try to stay away from mascarpone because its not really good for you, I would make this recipe again (but with cream cheese).  Also, mascarpone can be hard to find (and expensive).   Not bad for a throw together dessert.  This would be a great topping for a lemon cake with berries.

Okay, this was really a quick entry, but I've got some chocolate bunny to eat.  Tomorrow is my day off, so I will see ya Tuesday!

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2nd - Asparagus Soup with Lemon Creme Fraiche

Good Friday To You
What a crazy day.  Put in a 5 hour shift at my part time job (people are so crazy), picked up my car from the auto body place (it was making a wierd noise), made the recipe for today (Brian did practically most of it), and started Julia Child's tripe recipe (I'm making it for Easter.  Yeah, a little wierd). 

Now, I'm ready to sit down with a bottle of wine and unwind.

So, let's get on with it...



Butter: had
Shallots: $0.89
Asparagus: $2.98
Ground coriander: had
Veggie broth: $2.00
Sour Cream: had
Lemons : $0.59

Total: $6.46

I like to peel my asparagus  whenever I have to use it in a recipe.  I learned this from my restaurant days.  We used to do a chilled aparagus salad and peeling the asparagus got rid of that bitter taste and that husky texture that asparugus sometimes has. 

Start by cutting the asparagus near the bottom (you want to cut between where the hard stalk ends and the tender asparagus begins...for best results bend the asparagus and it should snap at that point) usually it winds up being the bottom 2 inches or so, it will vary with the type of asparagus.  Then take a peeler and holding the head (top) of the asparagus, lightly brush the peeler over the stalk to take off the outer skin.  Don't push too hard or you'll cut into the tender flesh of the stalk.  You just want to take off of the "leaf" looking things on the stalk and the skin.

Also, instead of buying creme fraiche (which can be a little pricey), I used some sour cream I had at home.  I think it was just fine, especially because you add lemon juice and lemon zest to it.

FAST:  This recipe is really quick.  It took about 15 to 20 minutes total from start to finish.

EASY:  Since this soup will be pureed, you don't have to worry to much about your cuts.  Also, I used an immersion (hand) blender to puree it rather than a blender.  It works great and you don't have to worry about the blender exploding with hot liquid.

FRESH:  Most definitley.  The asparagus and the lemon sour cream work well with eachother. 

OVERALL:  This is a really easy and delicious soup.  Yeah, kids won't probably go for it, but adults (and company) will love it.  I'd garnish with some croutons to give it some crunch. 

This weekend is a really simple dessert with fresh berries.  I picked up some great strawberries for this recipe.  Oh, how I can't wait for the summer berries to return.  See ya tomorrow (or Sunday...depending on how I feel).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1st - Mint Marinated Leg of Lamb

Happy Birthday to Me!!
It's my birf-day.  It's my birf-day.  As a birf-day gift to myself, I am not going to blog very much today so I can spend a wonderful day outside!


Olive oil: had
Red wine: $4.99
Mint: $1.99
Garlic: had
Bay leaves: had
Lamb: $18.00

Total: $24.98

First off, good luck finding a 5 lb leg of lamb, boned and butterflied.  This was next to impossible to find.  I searched everywhere again, even middle eastern grocery stores.  I finally came across a 4.5# lamb rump that had a bone in it.  Which I then removed and butterflied myself.   Also, lamb is not cheap.  $18 for lamb? I think that's the most I ever paid for meat in years.  But, it's my birthday and I thought I should treat myself.  So, to balance that off, I bought a huge bottle of cheap wine.

I would like to suggest adding fresh rosemary to the marinade.  There is just something about rosemary and lamb that work well together.  Also, I'm excited to have some cold lamb sandwiches tomorrow!  I'm going to make Julia Child's herb mayonnaise and have some sliced lamb on French bread and a little watercress.  Yummm!!!


FAST:  The lamb took a lot longer than the 35 minutes it says to cook it.  It actually took about 55 minutes.  Make sure to have a thermometer on hand, that's really the only way of checking to make sure this thing is done without overcooking it.   Also, make sure to let the lamb rest for at least 10 minutes so the juices redistribute.  Finally, the lamb also needs to marinate for 4 hours to overnight.  I did the overnight method.  So in reality, this is not a fast recipe.

EASY:  Trying to find the lamb for this recipe was not easy.  Boning out the lamb rump was not easy.  Everything else was super simple.  It's just marinating meat and throwing it in the oven.

FRESH:  Very.  Again, I should have added rosemary to the marinade.  It's good the way the recipe tells you to make it, but the rosemary would have added more depth to the flavor.

OVERALL:  If lamb wasn't so expensive, I would make it more often.  I really do like it.  I'm glad to have the leftovers too for sandwiches!   Overall, a pretty good recipe, but the key is to have that thermometer.  Overcooked lamb is chewy and too lamby tasting.  Plus, you don't want to ruin a $18 cut of meat.

Yippee.  Brian's and I are going to head into the city today to bum around.  It's going to be such a nice day!!  Tomorrow is soup.  See ya then!