Lamb. I crave it. It’s musky aroma and gamey taste drives me crazy. If I had my way, I would splurge on it every night. Grilled on kebabs, simmered in a stew, or roasted with mustard and herbs, it’s always delicious and never boring. It has personality and plays well with robust spices, fragrant herbs, and big flavored vegetables. Delicious on its own, lamb also lets the cook have a little fun.
Which is why I love this North African Lamb Stew. It’s fun to make. It has diverse ingredients, smells awesome when it’s cooking, and tastes so good that second helpings won’t be enough. It’s exotic comfort food that is just as perfect for eating on the couch on a cold rainy night as it for serving at a Saturday dinner party with friends. And, sealing the deal, it freezes well.
Bagels are one of those foods that I never really thought of making at home. I assumed I could, but I thought that the work required would hardly equal the taste of the bagels that I could so easily buy. I was wrong. So wrong.
A couple weeks ago, I was flipping through Nigella Lawson’s cookbook How to Be A Domestic Goddess when I stumbled upon her recipe for bagels. They looked delicious and the recipe was surprising simple. So on Friday, I finally whipped up a batch.
Lawson states that the dough in this recipe requires a little elbow-grease. However that doesn’t really describe how difficult it is to work with this dough. The dough isn’t sticky, but it is stiff. If using the dough hook on an electric mixer, don’t leave the room as you may not notice the oily smell of your mixer’s engine as it starts overheating. If you choose to work the dough by hand, then go ahead and skip your arm workout at the gym. I promise it won’t be necessary after you knead this dough into submission.
Please bring a side to dinner. It’s the request I dread the most. I know it seems fairly straightforward, but it’s not. Appetizers are easy. Cheese platters, smoked salmon, and yummy dip are all easily prepared and transported. Once at the event you just set them out. No reheating. No cooking on site. Nope, they just need put on a table and enjoyed. Desserts are the same way. Pie doesn’t need to be hot and cookies and brownies don’t even need slicing. Aside from making them, all you need is a pretty platter and you’re a domestic diva (or dude).
Yes, desserts and appetizers are easy while sides are an entirely different beast. Sides need to pair well with the main dish and are usually served hot. This means that you need to do some detective work ahead of time and then on the night of the dinner, in your fancy-schmancy clothing, you need to either transport a hot platter of food or attempt to reheat the dish in the overcrowded oven of your hosts. Oh, and by the way, if your planning on reheating your food at 350 degrees I can almost guarantee you that your host will have the oven set to a blazing 450. I’m not exaggerating. This is the way the world works for the perpetually unlucky (aka myself).
My husband North first became obsessed in December of 2005. He was spending Christmas with me at my parent’s home in Tallahassee for the first time. While the visit itself held lots of good memories, it was his first bite of the world’s best rum cake that seems to stand out most vividly in his mind.
The world’s best rum cake, unassumingly wrapped in aluminum foil, has been given to my parents as a Christmas gift for years now. In a move which is not surprising , considering the history of this type of deceit in my father’s family (see my post on Granny Ivey’s Strawberry Roll for details), as children we were never told how delicious this cake was. In ignorance, we nibbled on sugar cookies while my father slowly savored the rum cake by himself.