Julia had a little lamb…..

16 Oct

…and it was tasty. Sorry for all you animal lovers out there, I made the most delicious dinner tonight featuring lamb, apples, and hard cider. It was a perfect fall meal. I served it with mashed rutabaga and carrots and roasted asparagus.   After a recent trip apple picking, I had an abundance of apples.  I had originally wanted to make an apple desert, but when searching for a recipe, I stumbled on this one for braised lamb with apples and I knew that I had to make it. I don’t eat too much meat because I am not a huge fan, but boy do I love lamb. It’s just so tasty. This recipe is pretty easy and not too labor intensive, and it features lots of fall ingredients. Its from Eating Well, which has awesome healthy and tasty recipes.

Here’s what you’ll need: (serves 4)

2 large lamb shanks

6 whole shallots, peeled

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 12 oz bottles of hard cider (I used Woodchuck Fall)

2 small apples, peeled and sliced

2 springs rosemary

oilve oil

all purpose flour

kosher salt

pepper

cheese cloth and butcher twine

Here’s what to do:

Sprinkle shanks with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat olive oil over high heat in a sauté pan. Brown the lamb on all sides until it’s brown and has a nice crisp, about 15 minutes.

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Remove the lamb from the pan. Add more oil.  Then add the onions and garlic and brown on all sides. 

Once the onions and garlic are browned, remove from the pan and put them in a dutch oven. Add the cider and bring to a boil over high heat. Add one sprig of rosemary, tied in the cheesecloth in an herb bouquet.  Add lamb and turn heat down so it is at a constant simmer. Cover and cook for about 1 1/2, until the lamb pierces easily with a fork.

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Once the meat is done, remove from the Dutch oven and set aside on a plate.  Remove herb bouquet. Bring the sauce to a boil for about 5 minutes. It will start to reduce and get thick. Add the sliced apples and another herb bouquet with one sprig of rosemary,  and cook for an addition 15 minutes, or until the apples are tender but still retain their shape.

Now add the lamb back to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce, and heat the lamb, about 2 minutes.  Once the lamb is heated throughout, remove the herb bouquet.

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To serve remove meat from the bone and serve with plenty of sauce. I served mine with mashed rutabaga and carrots and roasted asparagus. Twas  delicious. It would also be good with any sort of potatoes and fall vegetables. I would serve it next time with roasted brussel sprouts.

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Enjoy this delicious fall meal!

Greetings from Hungary!

4 Oct

parliament

Only kidding….I’m not in Hungary! But, that’s where my inspiration for this next recipe comes from. I spent some time living in Budapest, Hungary and one of my favorite memories was going to this local restaurant and ordering a huge plate of mushroom goulash with a pint of beer. Nothing was better on a cold winter afternoon. Costing under $6 for this enormous plate of food (price includes the beer and a side) wasn’t bad either. I don’t know where you can eat that good and cheap here. Boy, I miss Budapest.  Anyways, back to the recipe.

I would usually order this dish with either parsley potatoes or galuska. Galuska is basically like  Spätzle which is basically an egg noodle. Since I just purchased some fresh eggs, I decided to make galuska to accompany my goulash.

We will start by making the galuska. This makes enough for 2 very large servings.

Here’s what you will need.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 eggs

about 1/4 cup water

pinch of salt

Mix together flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs together in a small bowl. Add the the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Add water a little bit at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. The dough will be veryyyyyy sticky and hard to mix. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and there are no lumps of flour left.  Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 45 minutes.

After letting it rest, bring a pot of water to boil with salt and oil in the water. Oil a cutting board and roll the dough out onto the board. Use your hands for this because the dough is too sticky to use a rolling pin. Stretch it to about a 1/4 inch thickness.

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Once the water is boiling, hold your cutting board with the dough on it and knife above the pot. Cut a piece off the dough with your knife that is about 1/4 inch wide and drop it into the pot. The dough may stick and not cut easily, so drag it across the cutting board with your knife until it plops in water. Repeat this with until all the dough is used up. You may have to cook it in batches if your pot is small. The galuska are done when they float to the surface.

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Remove in batches as the float the surface. Top fresh galuska with butter and then serve with goulash. I cooked the galuska after the goulash was finished, then just reheated the goulash when the noodles where done.

Now lets make mushroom goulash, or gombás gulyás in Hungarian. It makes 2 very large servings.

Here’s what you’ll need:

10 oz mushrooms, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 white onion, diced

1/4 sour cream (optional)

1 1/2 tbs Hungarian paprika (more or less depending on how much you like the spice)

1 tbs tomato paste

spash of vegetable broth

Olive oil

Butter

salt and pepper

parsley for garnish

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Note: There are different types of paprika. If you can get it, I strongly encourage you to use Hungarian paprika because it will make the goulash so much better. I brought a few different types of paprika back with me from Hungary. The one pictured above is the one that I used in the recipe. It is called Édesnemes which means noble sweet. It has a mild flavor with a little bit of spice. It is the most commonly imported type of paprika from Hungary and commonly used in goulash.

Heat pan and add olive oil.  Cook onion until soft. Add pepper and paprika. Cook until soft.

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You may need to add more oil to keep the spices from sticking. Add mushrooms and a pad of butter. Cook about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and a splash of vegetable broth. Simmer until the mushrooms are tender and the sauce is thick. At this point you can stir in the sour cream, but make sure you take the pan off the heat or else the sour cream will curdle.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I added Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because I always substitute it for sour cream.  It was still delicious with the yogurt, but I liked the flavor of the goulash without it. Feel free to leave it out or put it in.

Top the noodles with the goulash and garnish with parsley.

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This is the first Hungarian recipe I have made, but look for more in the future! It might not the prettiest looking thing you’ll eat, but it sure is a delicious and comforting meal. I hope you enjoy!

PIZZA!

30 Sep

I’m back…with pizza! Tonight I transformed that dough I made yesterday into a delicious pizza.

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Mmmmmmmm pizza!

So here’s how it starts. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Take your dough (if you’re making it just for yourself I suggest taking just a small hunk of dough) and roll it out onto a floured surface until it reaches your desired thickness. I like mine very thin.

Below: The piece on the right is what I used to make my individual pizza. The rest will be frozen for later use.

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Below: after the dough has been rolled out.

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Now it is time to put your dough onto a pizza pan and load it with toppings! I suggest sprinkling the pan with corn meal. This way the pizza won’t stick and it gives the crust a nice crunch. You could also add sesame seed the the crust as well. Once the dough is on the pan, start with sauce then add toppings. I usually drizzle the crust with olive oil then spread just a basic tomato sauce on it. Today I added some roasted garlic to the sauce. At this point I pile on whatever vegetable I have on hand because I love veggie pizza. Then I top with cheese. I don’t put tons, but I usually do fresh mozzarella and some aged parmesan because those are always staples in my fridge. I then top with herbs and salt and pepper. If you are adding basil, I suggest you add it right when the pizza comes out of the oven, otherwise it will turn black.

Feel free to get creative with you pizza because those are always the best ones. I love goat cheese and shrimp! Or maybe you’re feeling a white pizza. Or maybe you’re feeling extra fancy and want to do a prosciutto, date, and blue cheese pizza. Go crazy!

Here are my ingredients and my pizza before it went in the oven:

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OK, now that your pizza is assembled, its time for the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes on the middle rack until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is begin to get brown and crispy. If you are having trouble getting a crispy crust, the last few minutes of cook time you can turn up the oven a little bit (don’t go past 475) and put the pizza on the bottom rack.  This should get your crust nice and crispy. Allow pizza to cool a few minutes before slicing and eating. Enjoy!

Worlds Best Pizza crust!

29 Sep

Ok…so that may be an overstatement but it’s pretty darn good (and I’ve been to Italy and tasted authentic pizza) I have searched for years for the right pizza dough recipe and have tried many bad ones, some ok ones, and then this ONE. Yes, it is the ONE. When my dad tasted this pizza crust he claimed that he was never getting take out pizza again because nothing will be as good as this. Quite the complement if I say so myself. But, I can’t take all the credit myself. This recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health, one of my favorite cookbooks to date. (more on cookbook reviews coming later) What I like about this recipe is it uses whole wheat flour and is healthier than traditional pizza dough. The recipe in Moosewood says that it makes enough for one large pizza that feeds 4-6, but I make 4 normal sized pizzas from the dough. I make my pizza extremely thin and I suggest you do to because that’s what makes this recipe a winner! Its thin, crunchy, and has almost a nutty flavor. Basically you need to run into you kitchen and make it right now!

So here’s what you’ll need:

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar or 1 tsp honey

1 c warm water

1/3 c oat flour/ or soy flour

1 ¾ whole wheat flour

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

And here’s what to do:

Stir yeast and sugar into warm water and set aside until the yeast has dissolved and is bubbly. Stir in the flours, oil, and salt. Cover with a wet dishrag. and place in warm place to rise for 45 minutes.

At this point you can either proceed and make the pizza, (the post tomorrow will cover this step) Or you can stick it in your freezer and use in the next couple months. Just take it out of the freeze the morning you want to make it and allow it to defrost. Then proceed with your pizza making.

Ingredients:

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Left: water mixed with honey and yeast, Right: flours, salt, oil

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Frothy yeast!

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Adding wet to dry.

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All mixed up!

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Dough ball.

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Getting ready to rise.

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Final product.

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Just a few tips. Use a good yeast and make sure it isn’t old. I like Red Star but Hodgson Mill’s also makes a good one. If you are going to freeze the dough, dust it with flour, wrap it in plastic wrap, then seal it in a freezer bag. Tomorrow we make pizza! I hope you enjoyed your first glimpses of my beautiful spacious kitchen!

greetings from my tiny kitchen!

28 Sep

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog! My name is Julia (as you probably guesses from the title) and I have a tiny kitchen, but I love to cook. This is where my blog comes in. I will show all of you how to cook all those gourmet meals you’ve been dreaming of with limited space and limited equipment. Sometimes it is challenging and requires you to get a little creative! But hey, wouldn’t you rather be eating beef bourguignon then a lean cuisine straight out of the microwave? I think the answer is obvious.

So welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy it! I will post my first recipe tomorrow! Hint: it is a staple in most Americans diets. See you back here tomorrow!

Hello world!

26 Sep

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

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