Saturday, August 9, 2008

Meat, Meat, and more Meat.

Vegetarians need not read.

My husband has been cooking for me all week. What did i do to deserve this honor? I think he's a little sick of all my mostly vegetarian cooking, because it was a week of meat. i think i still have some heartburn.

we did lamb, we did chorizo, i went to ribfest and got a bucket of ribs that i couldn't finish (ok, that one was my fault). Our buddies at the butcher counter have never wrapped up that much meat for us, nevermind the pound of tuna steaks that are thawing the fridge.

i'm sure some cookbook has a fancy name for this, but the first adventure of the week was what i'm calling Best Beefaroni EVAR. also, probably the most expensive beefaroni you will ever make.

one pkg chorizo (2 sausages)
one onion, chopped
approx 8 oz fresh mushrooms
approx 1/2 lb penne, or other pasta of similar shape.

put water up to boil for pasta. meanwhile, in large skillet, cook the chorizo, breaking it up as much as possible. when it has given up some fat, add onion. if pan seems dry (it shouldn't!!), add some olive oil. Once the onion has cooked down a bit, add the mushrooms. just before straining pasta, add about a ladleful of the pasta water to the meat mixture. strain pasta, then toss with meat mixture. Enjoy!

now for something slightly different - divine, delicious, incredible lamb. Proof that the cutest, cuddliest animals taste the best (although rabbit fits that bill too).

Straight out of my well loved and well used Mediterranean, a Taste of the Sun, by Jacqueline Clark, is her Turkish Lamb Pilaf recipe. Lambiness, Ricyness, Nuttiness, Tomatoeness, what more does one need? the approx measurements are because, well, i don't measure real well.

few tbsp butter, margarine, or oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb lamb, cubed
1 tsp cinnamon
3-4 tbsp tomato paste or puree
3-4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
3/4 cup pistachios, chopped (i didn't have a pistachios, but i did have Pecans. note to self: go buy some darn pistachios already! )
1 1/2 cups rice
salt & pepper
a little more parsley, to garnish (optional)

melt butter/oil in pan, add onion, cook till soft. add lamb, and brown on all sides. stir in the cinamon, stirring well. season with a bit of salt & pepper. cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. add the tomato paste and chopped parsley, and enough water to cover the meat. bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 45 min - 1 hr, until meat is cooked through and tender. add apricots, nuts, and rice, and about 1 1/2 cups water. stir and bring back to a boil, and simmer, covered, until rice is cooked. check periodically to see if you need to more water, otherwise your rice will burn (yes, this happended to me!). Serve hot or warm, garnished with parsley.

this dish was divine the night we ate it, full of incredibly lamby happiness. the nuts and the apricots melted into a sublime sweet blanket for the cinamon scented rice. apricots, cinamon and meat play very well together, like an ensemble of flute and bassoon (yes, i've heard that before. it's strange, but mesmerizing). This is a one skillet dish, and it pretty much takes care of itself. could be a good, if odd, thanksgiving side.

This weekend is Ribfest in town (it's exactly what it sounds like, a bunch of independent rib restaurants vying to become the cities favorite ribs place, loud country music, beer, and a good time), so we went there for lunch from work on friday. Having spent nearly 15 years of my life as a "no red meatetarian", i don't remember the last time i had ribs, i don't know if i like them, i don't know what they are supposed to taste like, and i sure as hell don't know how to eat them with out making a total mess on my nice work clothes. When a co-worker said "this place does a really good job!" i got in line with her, and randomly picked some rib tips off their menu. I'm still not sure if I like ribs. Sure, when ribfest comes along next August, i'll go, and i'll spend my $10 on something random and slathered in sweet bbq sauce, but i don't know if i need to eat them any more often than that. I brought the leftovers home to the husband, who said they were just average on his rib-meter.

tonight he's making me something with Tuna. i'm on side-dish duty, which is going to be something pearl oniony / italian beany, cuz that's what i got.

Books? finishing some stuff up and writing some reviews for SFRevu, as i mentioned in a previous entry, George R R Martin's 3rd Song of Ice and Fire novel is my reward for getting through all this other stuff, and writing reviews that i'm actually proud of.

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