Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Garlic and Herb Crusted Lamb

Garlic and Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb

This easy recipe combines fresh and dried herbs to create a delicious crust that keeps the roast lamb moist and juicy.
1 lemon juiced and zested
7 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 tbsp Rosemary
1/2 tbsp Oregano
1 tbsp Thyme
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1/2 cup fresh mint (optional)
1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2  tablespoons fresh thyme
1/4 cup tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tbsp tablespoons olive oil

1 4-5 lb organic rack of lamb

Preheat oven to 425. Mince ingredients in food processor. Using on/off turns, process just until herbs are finely chopped. Drizzle oil over. Process until mixture is blended. Salt and pepper lamb well. Press mixture onto dried lamb, coating completely. Let rest overnight.  Room temperature 30 minutes prior to cooking.
425 for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 325 for 1 hour;

or Roast until meat thermometer registers 135F for rare, about 30 minutes, or 150F for medium.

Let lamb rest 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

.:The Best Glazed Ham:.

Secrets to the best Baked Ham

1. Buy a bone in ham. The secret to the best flavor in any meat is roasting it with the bone in.

2. Ham is a very versatile or leftovers! Make a good size one.  Guests will devour this ham, so you'll want plenty!

3. You will note that I always high heat roast my meats, then reduce the temperature for a long slow cook.  It's seriously the secret to juicy, tender meat.

4. Score the deep fat on a ham.  If you prefer, remove the scored outer skin and half the fat.  Keep at least half the fat though as this is essential for flavor while roasting as well. I do this and definitely prefer it that way.

5. Lay ham cut side down in a pan lined with tin foil.  After initial high heat bake cover tightly with tin foil for the remainder of the cook.  This method applies to other meats as well.

6. I love this glaze's flavor perfection on a ham, that being said, my mother-in-law bakes her ham in nothing, and still makes a ham better than anyone I know.  Every year. Perfection.

Citrus Glazed Ham

1 (14 to 16-pound) bone in, shank portion
6 Garlic cloves, minced
8 1/2 ounces Apricot Jam
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light Brown Sugar, packed
1 Orange, zested
1/4 cup Pineapple Juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Score ham diagonally spiraling around the ham, Go the opposite direction creating a diamond pattern. Place the ham cut side down in a foil lined, heavy roasting pan. Roast on high heat for 30 minutes.

Combine jam, mustard, brown sugar, orange zest, garlic and pineapple juice.

Remove ham from oven. Pour the glaze over the ham tucking into scores as much as possible. Pour 1/2-1 cup pineapple juice into bottom of pan. Tent completely with heavy-duty foil. Cook for an additional 1/2 hour at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F, and cook another 1 1/2 hours; or until the deepest part of the ham hits 140 degrees F (approximately 15 to 20 minutes per pound total).

Let rest 1/2 hour then slice paper-thin.

SAVE the bone for ham stock!

Gratin For Everyone

I love a gratin! Ill gratin any vegatable, anytime! I mean lets face it how can you go wrong with cream, cheese, garlic?  Here are a few that I love!

(Kids: You might be able to get a few more veggies over  this way! My kids love them!)

Spinach Gratin

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 (10-ounce) packages)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the 1/2 butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the other 1/2 butter, flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the spinach to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Gruyere on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

Gratin of Fennel, Potatoes and Leeks (Scalloped Potatoes)

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk

Splash of Vermouth or dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks, white parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced (you can substitute a sliced onion for this if push come to shove)
2 large fennel bulbs, quartered, cored and thinly sliced (optional)
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (Italian parsley, parsley and thyme)
6-8 ounces gruyere cheese, grated (about 1½-2 cups)
1½ pounds red potatoes or yukon golds, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prep: Slice Potatoes thinly, approximately 1/8 inch, setting in a bowl of cold water for a minimum half hour, rinse and dry on towel. Grate Gruyere, and slice leeks and fennel.

To slice leeks: cut a long slice all the way down the center lenghtwise until you have two halves.  Leeks are cut in sandy soil for drainage wash under cold water and slice up to 1/8 thick slices all the way down the stalk until about 1 inch above the stem. 

To slice fennel: Cut leafy greens off of bulb, slice bulb across into 1/8 thcik slices.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute leeks and fennel until tender. Around 5 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 375˚F and lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer one third of the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, followed by half the leek and fennel mixture, and one-third of the cheese. Make another layer of potatoes, followed by salt, pepper, the remaining leek and fennel mixture, and another one-third of the cheese. Top with the final layer of potatoes and pour the steeped hot cream over. Cover the dish and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender and the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining chopped fresh herbs just prior to serving.

Optional Additions: Ham,  Bacon, Goat Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Cheddar... Be creative! Almost anything goes!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Baked Corned Beef and Red Potatoes - Dont boil the life out of it!

Although it is authentically American-Irish (Authentic Irish used boiled bacon, it wasnt until they came to America they used Corned Beef.) to boil a piece of meat to a dither... You might find you love the texture, color and flavor of this baked version better!

Baked Corned Beef and Red Potatoes

3-5 lbs     packaged corned beef (discard spice packet)
10-14      whole cloves
1/4-1/3    (depending on size of corned beef) cup hot sweet honey mustard
2-4          Tbsp brown sugar (2 tbsp for 3 lbs)

Preheat 300°F.

Remove from package and rinse any juice from corned beef. Pat Dry. Prepare roasting pan with a large piece of heavy duty, wide, aluminum foil. On the exterior sides of it leave a little space if your pan is large enough to add potatoes an hour and a half into cooking. 
Lay meat, fat side up, in foil. Insert the cloves into the top of the slab of corned beef, evenly spaced. I usually cut a small space with a knife to insert the clove. Spread the top with the hot sweet honey mustard. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top.Wrap the corned beef with foil in a way that allows for a little space on top between the corned beef and the foil, without them touching. The goal is to catch as much of the juices as possible. Bake for 3 hours, add 30 minutes for each additional lb over 3 lbs .

Around 2 hours into cooking add potatoes on the sides of foil, outside the foil. 

Red Potatoes
Depending on guests 8-15 red potatoes (bake extra in a side dish if you plan on making corned beef hash in the morning)
olive oil

Pare a narrow strip of peel from the middle of each potato. Drizzle or toss is bowl with olive oil and lightly salt.  Add potatoes on the sides of foil, outside the beef.

Open the foil wrapping, and broil it for 2-3 minutes, until the top is bubbly and lightly browned.

Rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then place on cutting board and cut at a diagonally, across the grain of the meat, into 1/4-1/2-inch thick slices.

Serve immediately with Authentic Irish Soda Oat Bread and Cabbage sauteed with onions, salt, pepper in  olive oil/butter.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Authentic Irish Soda Oat Bread

Authentic Irish Soda Oat Bread

  • 1 cup oats, 1 cup buttermilk mixed together

  • 1 3/4  Cups Flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter, softened  cut in
  • 1 tbsp Orange zest (optional)
  • 1 Cup Currants (or Raisins chopped)
  • Preheat oven to 375.
    In a large bowl mix together oats and buttermilk.

    In a seperate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut in in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and oats, currants and orange zest and mix until the dough just becomes cohesive. Knead a few times score brush with buttermilk. Do not over mix, or your loaf will be very tough.
    Form the dough into one or two rounds (depending on what size you want your loaf) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Make an “X” in the top of your loaf (loaves).
    Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

    Serve it steaming hot with sweet cream butter!

    Or mix softened butter with honey and serve!