Thursday, November 19, 2015

Irish Rosemary and Garlic Lamb

I have always loved lamb since the first time that my Gramma Donovan had made it for me when I was a little girl. She had made it for me often right up until my adulthood.  My Mother hated it and claimed that the mere smell of it cooking made her nauseous, she also didn't like Asparagus and some other vegetables that I had to later learn how to cook from my Grandmothers, Aunts, older Cousins, Grand Mother-In-Law and Mother-In-Law.  I was a culinary sponge after I got married.  I found as many cookbooks as I could get my hands on and read them cover to cover and repeat.  I find peace sitting in front of my the well stoked living room fireplace, snuggled on the sofa with a blanket and a new cookbook, along with either a cup of tea or hot chocolate in hand.  If I am not in the living room you can find me doing the same in my bedroom with the fireplace going.   I myself love to cook, bake and do canning.  I try to put my own twists on things, sometimes with trial and error, but thankfully mostly successes.   At times I even surprise myself with my own concoctions of a pinch of this and a splash of that.  I just wished that when I do that, I would write it all down because I forget after the fact what I had done.  I have now learned if I am going to be Fiddle Farting around in the kitchen (my Gramma Donovan's old saying), I better have a journal and a pen near by to either add or subtract something from the original recipe.  "Fiddle Farting" means to not be doing something in a hurry, taking one's time.  She would also say "Lollygagging" which is pretty much the same thing.  My Maternal Grandparents were quite colorful in their use of the English language, I don't know if it was because of them being Irish or not? They both had a great sense of humor and I would always look forward to either them visiting us or me going to their house.  Gramma always told us kids never to eat Green Apples, AKA: Granny Smiths because they caused "Colly Wobbles." As a young child that sounded like a terrible affliction to get, so I never questioned her words as to what it was and why they caused you to wobble like our Rough Coated Collie dog. Only years later did she tell me what they were.  I love Granny Smiths and have never had an issue with them.  "Collywobbles" mean to get a belly ache, not feeling too well inside.   Eating green apples is just an Old Wives Tale.

Of course with any good meat supper - dinner, we call it "Supper," (your evening meal)  you have to have "Pa-day-dahs" as my Grampa Donovan would call them, AKA: "Potatoes" to the rest of us.  As a kid I have always had potatoes with every meal that had meat or fish.  It didn't matter how they were prepared or served, they made an appearance on your plate, that's just how it was.  I continue the tradition here with my own family because after all, that's how it is. Is this an Irish thing?  I don't know and can't say for sure because it was never questioned.  So in remembrance of my Grands, this lamb recipe is for you.

Pre-heat your oven at 425-degrees Fahrenheit

What You Will Need:
Cast Iron Frying Pan or Oven Safe Skillet
Oven Mitts
Measuring Spoons
Oven Mitts

2-Lamb Shoulder Chops
Salt and Pepper to taste
2-Garlic Cloves pealed and crushed or you can use Granulated
1-Tablespoon of fresh Rosemary or you can use dried
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  **I use a pump spray canister, it works really well**
Mint Jelly *Optional*

Cast Iron Frying Pan if you have one, they make a lovely sear on meat

First you want to strip the leaves (needles) off of the Rosemary and set them aside.
Put the Lamb on a plate. Rub one side of the Lamb completely with a little Olive Oil, not too much you don't want it saturated, Rub some of the garlic on the top of the meat, then add some of the Rosemary, Salt and Pepper.

Flip the Lamb over and repeat on this side.  You want both sides to have enough of the spices.
Spray your cast iron frying pan with just a little of the Olive Oil to coat evenly
Set your stove - range top for medium high heat.  Put your Cast Iron Frying Pan on the stove top and add the Lamb.

Here you can see the difference in using fresh Rosemary vs. dried.  The fresh is larger and                   more green - vibrant in color. Either is fine to use.

When the Cast Iron Frying Pan heats up you will get some smoking, this is normal.  If you have an exhaust fan on your stove - range hood I would turn it on.   Cook each side of the Lamb for about 2-3 minutes just to evenly brown them.

Once the Lamb is browned, put the Cast Iron Frying Pan in to the oven and bake them off for about 10-minutes or so, depending on how pink you like them. I like them medium rare myself.

Cut a slice in to the Lamb to see how pink they are inside after the 10-minutes, if it's too pink for your liking, pop them back in to the oven for a minute or two more. Watch them closely because they do cook quickly. Take the Lamb out of the oven and put them on a plate and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.  This keeps the juices inside of the meat you don't want the juices running out.  Now, add a little bit of water, or Red Wine about a 1/2 a cup to the dripping and stir, this will release the browned bits in the pan. AKA: De-glazing.  Spoon the drippings over your Lamb. I paired my lamb with a baked potato and sour cream, broccoli with cheese sauce. You can also use a dollop of Mint Jelly on the side.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cute Turkey Cookies

I had made these cute little Oreo Cookie Turkeys last year for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them.  They are a little time consuming and at times frustrating to assemble, you can't rush them.  A word to the wise.   Be mindful of your words, these cookies can and will cause cursing-swearing, especially if a couple of them break in a row. I did have a small pillow near by to hold over my mouth and proceeded to curse in to.  By the time I was finished that pillow was full.  The cookie would break at times while assembling the tails aka:  Candy Corn. The ones that broke my Grand Kids happily ate.  In all honesty, they were really fun and easy to make.  I will be making them again this Thanksgiving which is November 26, 2015.  

                                                    Some of the completed cookies

Here is one on a home made Chocolate Cream Pie that I had made. I put Peanut Butter Cups along the outside of the pie.

Recipe for the Turkey Cookies:

You will need: 
  • Double Stuff Oreo Cookies *For the base and the body*
  • Candy Corn 1  9-oz bag *For the tail and beak* (For the beaks, break off the  orange and use the white part of the candy.  I think I did this for 15?)
  • Whoppers *For the head*
  • Peanut Butter Cups - Mini *For the belly*
  • Chocolate Frosting  (The type in a tube works best) 
  • Red, Yellow or Orange Gel in a tube *For the feet*
  • Small candy eyes. (You can find these in any baking section of you local grocery store
  • **Optional-Swear Pillow**

Unwrap all of the Peanut Butter Cups and put in a small bowl and set aside
Put Candy Corn in a small bowl and set aside 
Put the Whoppers in a small bowl and set aside
Put the Double Stuff Oreos in a small bowl and set a side
Cut the tips off of the Colored jel of your choosing and set aside
Cut the tip off of the Chocolate tube and set aside


For each of the turkeys, push 5-Candy Corn Candies into the cream filling of the Oreo Cookie to make the tail feathers. Lay the Oreo on a flat work surface like your table or a cutting board. Do this gently or cursing will occur. After the first Oreo has all 5 of the Candy Corns inserted, set aside and do the next one. It's better to do an assembly-line type order for these. 

Now that all of the tails are inserted, take the brown frosting and put a dab of it down near the end of the Oreo with the tail.  Now put the Peanut Butter Cup on that dab.  The frosting will act like a glue to keep the two pieces together.  Put this aside and continue on with the other cookies.

Next you want to put the head onto the body.  Put a dab of the chocolate frosting near the top of the Oreo, then put the Malt Ball on to the frosting.  Put  this aside and continue building the other cookies.
You now want to put two small dabs of the chocolate frosting on each side of the Malt Ball head, this will be the glue that will hold the eyes.  Put one eye on each dab of chocolate frosting.  Continue on with the other cookies. 

Next comes the beak.  Put a dab of the chocolate frosting just under the middle of the eyes.  Attach the beak. Now do the same, put this aside and continue on with the other cookies. 
You now have the back, tail, head, front, eyes and beak assembled.  Now you have to that assembled cookie and put it on another Oreo that is used for the Turkey's base.  Dab a small amount of the chocolate frosting on to the base and then apply the body. Do this gently, again if you don't, you will be reaching for your "Swear Pillow" which is option.  Now set this one aside and continue on with the other cookies.

At this point the bodies are now assembled and mounted onto the base.  You now need to draw on the little feet with the red, yellow or orange jel.  This is a little time consuming so take your time there's no rush.  Draw a straight line off of the base near the body, this is for the leg.  Now draw 3-toes off of the leg.  I did it this way because if you add them to the base first, you will smudge them during the assembly process. If you make a mistake just use a wooden tooth pick to wipe the jel off and start again. Trust me you will be doing this a time or two.   Put this finished cookie aside on a baking sheet or large serving platter, continue on with the other cookies. 

You are now finished with your Turkey Cookies aren't they cute!  Like I had said, they are time consuming and a bit frustrating, but the more you do them the easier they are to make. If you can set up an assembly line with others to help you, it will go so much easier and smoother.  Have someone do the tails, the heads, body, base, eyes, beak, legs and feet.  Enjoy!

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