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indian lamb shanks

12 Feb

paleo indian lamb shankGuess what. I’m doing newyearnewyou. I’m afraid to search my blog history ’cause I can only assume I’ve done it every year of this damn thing. And it’s just so cliché but then again, I do love celebrating dumb holidays. And Januarys are kinda like perverse, not-so-fun holidays in which I embark on an umpteenth Whole30 (+ raw milk, shut up I told you it’s my umpteenth) and alienate myself from my friends because who wants to hang out with a water-drinking, bunless burger-ordering wet blanket. Not me. But fuck you friends, ’cause I don’t wanna hang out with your over-exuberant, blathering drunk faces either! Yes I do. I’m sorry. Please invite me somewhere. It’s February now, I’m considering being fun. Or, closer to fun than other, more normal friends you might have.
chiles indian homemade chile chili powderSo the new-to-me car idea came to a head. Mostly because I couldn’t stand bothering with my poor, rusted out Suby anymore. It doesn’t like starting much. I guess that was the main issue, ’cause that kinda sucks. Then two tires went flat within a couple days of each other. It was sweet. But am I lazy? Am I undeserving of a car? Dammit. Let me be lazy in one area of my life, please. I can’t even sit still for a movie. Have to do a chore. Gotta make tea. Then stir some food that’s inevitably on the stove. Then make more tea. And oh wait, now I have to pee. Hold please. But a car? I forget it exists as soon as I get out and shut the door. Which isn’t helpful when you desperately need to go to a mechanic but are only in the car when you’re rushing to work. Which reminds me, I need to get my bike fixed. Blaahhhhhhh help meeee. So yeah, bought an old Volkswagen. Golf TDI. It’s nice. It’s got the dopiest headlights; I swore I’d never ever get this car because of them. Goddammit.
indian ghee clarified butter lamb shanks pastured grassfed I don’t know what this dish is. I got started looking at rogan josh recipes. But it’s not rogan josh, or least I didn’t do any research to confirm or deny that statement, so I’m just sticking with it. Plus, generic blog post titles are seemingly my forte now. For the chiles in this I used ancho and these other strange little ones I had. Obviously, your chile choice has a big impact on flavor. Maybe spending thousands of dollars in cash on a car that has the dopiest headlights has made me give less of shit what kinds of chiles you use. Maybe it’s that I was running myself ragged on a Sunday making this after spending the best part of the beautiful sunny day stuck inside at some stodgy luncheon for gardeners whom I’m sure I would have hated if I was to even have bothered talking to anyone besides Maria. I guess the world will never know. In any case, make this with what you’ve got, or if you can find Kashmiri chiles, use those. Or use those smooth chiles that I’m drawing a complete blank on the name of and oh man am I getting tired right now and don’t want to look it up. It’ll all be good. Just don’t use all chipotles. Barf.
fennel cumin cinnamon cardamom indian rogan josh spice mix As for the spices in this recipe – I always like to use whole seeds, as I’m sure you know by now. But sometimes you just find yourself in a world of suck and don’t happen to have green cardamom pods lying around and the thought of going to the grocery store makes you want to cry. Don’t be a dummy, just use ground. Don’t have ground spices? Well then don’t be a dummy, just go to the grocery store. I’m sorry if this recipe is a pain in your ass. You could be lazy and use all ground spices, buy ghee, not brown the meat…you’ll be dead to me, but then again I’m weary of myself just writing out the steps to this damn thing.

indian lamb shanks
6 dried chiles
black cardamom pods
(green cardamom pods…I used ground)
fennel seeds
cumin seeds
a real cinnamon stick
saffron (optional, I know it’s mucho expensivo)
a large onion
4-6 lamb shanks

1. Heat a large dry skillet over medium low heat. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and rip them into large pieces so they’ll lie mostly flat in the pan. Flip them around frequently, making sure they don’t burn. You want them to toast a bit and mostly to dry out. Once they are very fragrant and crispy maybe like 10 minutes, grind them in a spice grinder and set aside.

2. Keep that same dry skillet over medium low heat, maybe turning it down a bit since the pan will keep getting hotter. Smash 5 black cardamom pods (and 8 of those green ones if you are smarter than me) with the back of a chef’s knife. Measure out 2 teaspoons fennel seeds and 2 teaspoons cumin seeds. Add the crushed pods and the seeds and crumble 1 stick of cinnamon into the pan. Stir around everything frequently until very fragrant, several minutes. Grind these spices in a spice grinder and add to a small bowl.

3. Add a tablespoon and a half of the chile powder, 1 teaspoon of asafoetida, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom (if you are as smart as me), and a teaspoon of saffron to the bowl of the ground spices and mix.

4. Make ghee…I sorry. You might just want to buy some, but to make it – heat butter over medium heat till boiling, then reduce heat to low. Let it simmer for like 8 – 10 minutes, till it’s golden. Then strain it with cheesecloth or skim the milk solids off the top. Sweet, done.

5. Chop the onion, mince about a tablespoon of peeled ginger, and mince 6 garlic cloves. Set aside.

6. Heat a few tablespoons of ghee over high heat in an oven proof pot. Add the lamb shanks in batches to brown, several minutes per side. Salt and pepper them. Put to the side when they’re browned.

7. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chopped veggies. Sauté until nicely browned. Add 2 cups of water or broth, the spice mix, and salt and pepper. Stir to mix, then add back the lamb shanks. Add additional water to mostly cover the shanks.

8. Preheat the oven to 225. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then put in the oven for 5 – 6 hours.

Holy crap. Okay. Well, to finish it off, put the pot back on the stovetop and boil to reduce the sauce. Garnish with cilantro. Goodnighty.


lamb tagine

31 Oct

paleo moroccan lamb tagineAfter what I feel was a pretty damn decent representation of Ethiopian food, here we have what I think is maybe a bit of a misnomer. Not that this isn’t good, of course. It’s just…that there is no tagine involved. Like tandoori chicken with no tandoori. What other foods are named after their cooking vessel? Casserole. I don’t know. Aside from that, and maybe aside from the sweet potato, this is still a nice, long-cooked dish with lovely spices and tender meat. I didn’t take a lot of liberties. Though, I had also told myself that the next time I was to make Moroccan food I was going to have made preserved lemon. I didn’t. And I made this anyway. I’m such a let down. Lamb tagine…Moroccan lamb? Sure, whatever. Just make it.
lamb shoulder blade chopsbrowned lamb shoulder blade chopsI just realized that I thought I had only posted two African recipes in my blog’s existence. How incredibly embarrassing to admit that it was because I sometimes forget to think of Morocco when I think of Africa. I’m a bad person. Egypt, too. I don’t even know much how to differentiate Egyptian food from other Middle Eastern cuisines. I would like to be more cultured! Maybe that area should get their shit together so I can go visit and eat their food. Idiots. Oh and visit the Egyptian pyramids. Ohhhhh man do I want to do that. I used to be obsessed with Ancient Egypt. I had a Learn to Write in Hieroglyphics! set when I was in elementary school. Pretty, pretty, prettyyyyy cool.
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braised lamb shoulder blade chops + parsnip potato mash

18 Mar

I supposed I could blame my lack of gusto for producing this post in a timely fashion for St. Patrick’s Day on the glorious bout of 70+ degree weather we’ve been having. Burgers and guacamole and grilled veggies have been more on my mind than root vegetables and braises more suitable for brisk 40s-50s spring-ish weather. So maybe just bookmark this for next year’s celebration. Oh wait, and the corned beef recipe I have coming up too. Dammit. Maybe you’ll just have to pretend you’re Irish just a little bit longer. Keep that Erin Go Braughless shirt out for another go around.
I took care of a dog. I have a nascent interest in possibly wanting to want a dog. I thought maybe babysitting one for a day would help me want to want one more. I think I really just want a dog to be a cat that I can take with me on a run and go backpacking with. Or, what I want is a mountain lion that wants to bite me less. Even though I’m pretty convinced all dogs want to bite me just as much as a mountain lion. I think my muscles didn’t relax all day of dogbabysitting. Gotta prepare yourself for that inevitable chomp. Why hasn’t anyone worked on breeding a cat that loves you like a dog, is as big as a dog, and that likes to obey you like a dog? But that still looks like a cat (because duh, they’re way cuter), purrs like a cat, doesn’t wag its tail like an idiot, and does all those cut little rubby things that cats do? Bleh. Maybe it’s just like babies – like they’re alright and pretty cute and stuff, but you don’t ever like someone else’s baby like you’d like your own. So what I need to do is get a little puppy and then next thing I’ll know is that I have a big dog and that I love it because I’ve hardly noticed it transitioning from a lovable cat-sized creature to a big horrible, slobbery, biting, terrifying monster.
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shakshouka with lamb meatballs

21 Jan

I had wanted to wait to make this until I found merguez. There are actually some promising locations that I’d like to scout out at some point, but none of them are particularly close by and the other day I was feeling frazzled about what to make and I couldn’t think of anything else but this, so I just decided to make do without driving all the way across the city. I was also briefly obsessed with trying to make this one Maharashtran Curry recipe. I just knew that if I settled on making that, that I’d spend hours hopping from one Indian grocery to the next in the vain hopes of finding obscure spices. Then I’d come home, headachey, crabby, having wasted all of my good daylight for taking pictures, and then still have nothing to show for it. I’ll just have to casually stop by if ever I’m in any of those ethnic, uh, sections of Denver. I’m sure they’re very nice. I have eaten at a few Ethiopian places to maybe know otherwise. (But OMGOMGOMG I love Ethiopian food.)
You know what else I love? Getting my hours at work cut, and finding out about it by being flippantly handed a new printed-out schedule as the last item at a staff meeting. “Oh by the way, here are some new hours, thanks everyone back to work.” New hours, what like we’re open longer? Open on weekends? What? Oh. OH. I see. WTFFFFFFFFFFFFF What boss does that?? THE WORST ONE. It’s like out of an office-based comedy. Except it’s real. I know you’re not supposed to compromise yourself on the interwebs but I hope any future employer (hello? hi!) would sympathize with me. Seriously, anyone want to hire me? I’m very nice. And I can cook. For you if you’re nice, too. I will also try extra hard not to talk about politics.
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15 Dec

On Saturday, as part of my very successfully Christmasy advent activity roster, I went ice skating at the stuffy Denver Country Club for Joe’s company’s Christmas party. During a rip roaring raucous game of broom ball, I fell backward onto my right wrist. Did I forget to mention that I’m not the best skater? The only way I know how to stop is to run into the rink wall. I really had no business trying to play a game on the ice with some rather skilled skaters… In any case, using a knife to chop anything harder than an onion is pretty much horrible. Enter bobotie. Like the best meatloafy dish known to man, and which also includes minimal chopping. It’s an iconic South African dish that is served with this glorious chutney that I kind of cooked to a hard candy because I decided I wanted to take a bath and may or may not have completely forgotten that I was reducing the sauce on the stove top.
I don’t know much at all about South African food. I knew one guy from South Africa and I thought he was the worst person ever. But I like bobotie, so my thoughts on the country are turning a little. Not only is it a curry-spiced hunk of ground meat studded with dried fruit, but it’s topped with an egg custard. If you aren’t as poor as me, you will make this out of lamb. Or even a mixture of beef and lamb. Usually I seem to be able to find ground lamb on sale at my grocery store – the this-is-about-to-go-bad kind of sale. But there was none of that when I went shopping for this. I did get grass-fed ground beef for $3.97/lb. Thought that was decent. This will be so so so so so good with lamb. I love lamb. (PS please get me a microplane for Christmas, thanks God. And Tebow.)
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yogurt marinated lamb + cucumber mint salad

8 Jun

What a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend we had here. In fact, it’s just been getting increasingly gorgeous! I can’t get enough of it! I know that it’s been over a week since Memorial Day weekend, but I’ve been so busy launching my new company. This recipe has sorrowfully been floating around, waiting to be written about. The pictures longingly waiting to be processed, cropped, and uploaded. Because it’s just that wonderful. I’ve posted lamb and spiced yogurt before and I will keep doing it. They’re both utterly magical components that are just that much more magical when eaten together.

Remember how I was excited to continue making salads? I’ve done good! This chopped cucumber mint salad is mostly raw vegetables with some grilled eggplant thrown in, too. It’s wonderful. And the recipe makes so, so much. I gleefully ate it for every meal the next couple days. And I’ve got another salad in the works for you too. It’s the summer of Julie!
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lamb burgers with fresh herbs + spiced yogurt + warm broccoli salad

25 Feb

This dinner nearly turned into a disaster! First, I realized I was out of garlic when I was preparing the yogurt sauce. Then Joe broke the news that we were out of gas for the grill. We had been looking forward to these grilled lamb burgers for days! Despite this, these are probably the best burgers I’ve ever had. The yogurt did suffer for lack of garlic (and the burgers too, because I would have liked to mix in a clove), but with enough lemon juice and spices, it turned out pretty superb.

The warm broccoli salad I had planned did suffer without the grill, though. I love grilled onions, so I put in extra and I sliced them pretty thick. All this before I heard the no-gas news. Cooked in a sauté pan left they get limp and overwhelming. So if you’re without a grill, slice them thinner and half the amount.

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