Thursday, June 14, 2007

My New Favorite Recipe

I have a weird obsession for making lists. I have massively long list of books I want to read, a list of books I've already read, a list of recipes I want to master, and an ever growing list of things to do. Each list is housed in its own notebook. A few months ago I started a new notebook to keep a record of all the new recipes that I try. Each entry contains the title of the recipe, any notes about alterations I made to the recipe, as well as my impressions, followed by a rating out of 5 stars. I've made 21 recipes since the beginning of the year, and today was the first time I questioned if a 5 star scale would be adequate.

I made Eating Well Serves Two's Orzo with Lamb, Olives & Feta. I am in love.

Lamb is probably my favorite type of meat. I particularly like it cooked all day in a slow cooker. It seems you can never ever go wrong with slow cooked meat of any variety (by far the easiest way to cook a whole chicken, and impossible to overcook.) The dish I tried today is much better suited for when you haven't planned ahead to allow an 8 to 10 hour cooking time. Man o man, this is one delicious treat. The flavors are complex, it's like a meaty marinara sauce with the addition of cinnamon. In the past I've stayed away from most things sweet, so luckily for me I've discovered over the last year that cinnamon offers great complexity to savory dishes, much more than you'd imagine (or at least more than I had imagined.) It's delicious used in fajitas, and as in this recipe it happens to go particularly well with lamb.

This dish is very quick and easy to put together. The end result is so good, I'd venture to make it even if it took several hours. Next time I'll have to create a slow cooked version to see if it's even possible to make any more delicious. If you love lamb, or maybe even just like it, try this recipe, it will be a new favorite. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Exotic Letter "Q"

I had read about the wonders of Quinoa (say it Keen-wa), for sometime but had shied away from making it. Any word with the letter "Q" always has an exotic ring to it (of course I'm partial being moniQue.) Quinoa truly is an exotic food originating in the Andean region in South America. The Incas referred to it as the "mother of all grains." It is a prized nutritional powerhouse for its high protein content, and balanced amino acids (a true complete protein, rare in the plant world, soybeans are the only other I know of.) Quinoa is full of minerals and vitamins. And best of all, it is tasty, and quite an attractive grain.

Perusing my favorite cookbook of the moment Eating Well Serves Two, it occurred to me that I had nearly every ingredient to try the Quinoa, Mango, & Black Bean Salad. I suppose not everyone has a box of quinoa in their cabinet, but please buy it on your next shopping trip and try it. This salad works great as a vegetarian entree for two, or a side for four. Other easy uses are as an alternative to rice, I've prepared it plain as a side with stir fry.

Check out the recipe on Eating Well's website. Enjoy!