" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Delicious Deal

I am a bargain hunter. Everyone who knows me, knows this.

I love to scope out the best deals on everything. I will wait until something is marked way down before I buy it. If it is gone then I guess it was not meant to be.

Markdowns of food is a wonderful way to save money and also try out things you wouldn't normally pay full price for. Quite often meat and bread are marked down long before their best before date.
Yesterday I stumbled upon lamb shanks for half price at the grocery store. I quickly scooped up the last two packages and headed home excited about the prospect of making something new that I haven't made before.


After consulting a few cookbooks and the internet I discovered that pretty much the sky is the limit when preparing these. You can go with an spicy ethnic flair or keep it simple. I chose the latter for my first attempt. This dish pairs well with cous cous, rice or potatoes.
A simple mix herbs and butter rubbed on the shanks followed by 2 hours of simmering in a white wine broth resulted in a meal so succulent my family was darn near licking the plates!

Who says you cant eat well on a shoestring?

Basque Style Braised Lamb Shanks

  • 4 lamb shanks
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp each rosemary and thyme
  • ~olive oil
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1 head of garlic peeled and separated
  • 8 carrots peeled cut into diagonal pieces
  • handful of cut chives
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 bottle of white wine
  • salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F

Soften the butter and mix with the rosemary and thyme.
Rub all over the lamb shanks and set aside. You can also insert some between the bone and the meat if you wish.

In an oven proof dutch oven heat the olive oil and cook the onions until soft.
Add the lamb shanks and brown on all sides.
Add the carrots and chives and toss to mix.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil.
Cover and place in oven and cook for 2 to 21/2 hours until meat is tender.
Remove the cover for the last half hour of cooking to reduce liquid and allow to caramelize.


Wine Suggestion: Beaujolais or White Burgundy

Cheers!


Mango Tango

Canada's food guide says that we are to have 7 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
That seems like a lot doesn't it?
I am embarrassed to admit this but I am not huge fan of raw fruit.
I mean I know fruit is good for you and all that but honestly, with the exception of bananas I just don't like the texture and taste. However I just love fruit when incorporated into main dishes. Favorites that come to mind are Apple Pork Chops and Peach Chicken.

Mangoes are an extremely versatile fruit. They go with just about any meat, seafood and quite a few vegetables. This salsa is a great accompaniment to grilled meats or fish or is great just on its own with pita or tortilla chips.
I placed some on top of Rainbow Trout as pictured here and baked it it the oven.
The flavors really blended together beautifully.


What a great way to fit in those 7-8 servings of fruit and vegetables.


Mango Salsa
  • 2 ripe mangoes peeled and diced
  • 1 ripe tomato diced
  • 1/2 red or Spanish onion diced
  • 1 tsp each of minced garlic, basil, parsley, sugar and chili powder.
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let stand for 15 minutes to let the flavors blend. Serve as a condiment or spoon over meat or fish and bake in the oven.

Cheers!

Get Grillin'

Across the country this weekend barbecues will be fired up grilling classics like steaks, beef burgers and hot dogs.
Why?
Because the first long weekend of the summer finally is here!
In Canada it is Victoria Day weekend, in honor of Queen Victoria's Birthday.
Many also refer to it as "May 2-4" as it quite often falls on the 24th of May but the nick name is given more for the fact that many cases of 24 beers will be consumed by Canadians this weekend.

Hamburgers are classic long weekend fare.
I prefer homemade beef burgers to the frozen commercial variety, which I find taste bland and dry. You can add just about anything to vary the flavor such as barbecue sauces, ketchup, onions, garlic, different herbs and spices.
This is my version this year.
I kept it simple as I prefer to garnish my burger after it is cooked. I just used herbs and
Worcestershire sauce.
Choose lean beef as extra lean beef tend to be too dry for grilling. Whole wheat buns keep it low fat and healthy.
Add my Classic Caesar Salad, a glass of red wine and settle back... unwind.

Enjoy your long weekend everyone!

Ultimate Beef Burgers
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp each of basil, black pepper, thyme and oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1lb lean ground beef
In a mixing bowl combine the first 7 ingredients. Mix well. Add the ground beef and mix well.
Form into 4 patties.
Place on grill and cook until no longer pink in the center. Place on a bun and garnish with condiments.


Wine Suggestion: Shiraz

Cheers!





Wrapped Up in Love

This weekend it is Mothers Day.

A time to remember Mom and thank her for all she does with a great brunch or dinner.

Last year I posted a recipe for a seafood crepe recipe that was baked casserole style in the oven. This year I am updating it to a stove top fresh made-to-order version. You can use fresh crab meat or canned.

A flat low sided style pan is best for thin even crepes.
Add a tossed garden salad and a glass of sparkling wine and you have an elegant meal fit for a queen.

Happy Mothers Day!


Crab and Scallop Crepes

Crepe Batter (for 6 crepes)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 6 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Combine above ingredients in a bowl and whisk until mixed .
Spray a small nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat medium high. when hot pour in about 3 tbsp of batter ..swirl pan until coated. Cook until sides start to lift slightly then flip over with fingers or spatula. When lightly brown invert on to a plate.Place cooked crepes between sheets of wax paper to keep them from sticking together. Repeat process until batter is gone. Keep crepes warm

Seafood Filling
  • ~oil
  • 1 cup of cooked crab meat
  • 1/2 pound bay scallops
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • salt and pepper
In a frying pan heat the oil and add the onion and pepper. Cook until softened. Add the scallops and cook until opaque. Mix in the crab and seasonings.
Place filling in the center of a warm crepe and roll up.


Cream Sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp dill(optional)
  • salt and pepper
Place the butter in small sauce pan and heat on medium. Add flour, whisk to make a roux. Slowly pour in cream while whisking. Simmer on med low heat while stirring till thickened. Add seasonings Ladle sauce over crepes on plate. Serve immediately.

Cheers!