Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kim's Moroccon Lamb Stew

So, for the mystery dinner that was awaiting my love.......

Moroccan Lamb Stew ala Kim.

I looked at 4 or 5 different Moroccan lamb stew recipes and threw together my own inspired by them. I mixed cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, curry powder, cumin, cloves, paprika, some red pepper flakes and nutmeg. One 1/4 to 1 tsp  of each and around 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
I coated the lamb stew (2 lbs) in the spice mixture and seared the meat in about a tablespoon of olive oil and threw that in the crock pot.  I then took a walla walla onion and coarsely chopped it and seared it in the same pan in about 2 tablespoons of butter until soft.  That went into the crock pot next.  Here is what went in next:
3 carrots peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped dried black mission figs
1/4 cup dried chopped apricots
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans
1 tablespoon chopped garlic or more
juice squeezed from half a lemon
4 tablespoons of orange infused honey
2 cups of my homemade lamb stock and 2 cups of canned chicken stock.  I would have used all lamb stock, but I was down to my last 2 cups and I don't have fresh lamb bones to readily make more, so we went with chicken stock.  Beef or veggie would have worked just as well.

This all sat in a crock pot for over 9 hours.  Man did the house smell good when I walked in!

When my Superman got home I cooked up some Near East cous cous, he heated up some Pita bread with some cheddar cheese melted inside, and we topped our stew with some plain Greek yogurt and Sirachi.  And dinner was served..... ( I meant to serve this with cilantro - but forgot.  Oops!)
And damn! It rocked!
What will be next? Hmmm............

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Beginnings...

Life has been supremely busy.  My wonderful man, Kelly has found a good job here in my neck of the woods and we have been in the process of moving our two households into one.  He, unfortunately, is having to do it from 230 miles away, while I am only 8 miles away, but it's coming together perfectly.
This is our new home in Sunny Fortuna
For me, this has been the easiest move ever.  Not stress free by any means, but easy, in that I have a true partner, team player, Superman, by my side making it all happen.  We're working hard together and on the same page.  Communication has been open and honest and has made this whole process so much smoother then my past 12 moves.  It's been perfect.

Even Gracie would agree.....
This is our new kitchen by the way.  Not my first choice in decor, but it is a rental, and, believe me, Kelly and I will make this kitchen rock and roll!  I'm just thrilled to have a good gas stove/oven, a dishwasher (other then myself) and a garbage disposal.  And get this!  This house has 3 toilets!  That thrills me beyond all imagination!

Let me move on from the potty humor and share the first some what home cooked meal I made in our new home.
Fried rice.  We have been living on restaurant food, take out, and frozen stuff.  We're getting sick of it.  We had some leftover Chinese take out in the fridge.  I took the steamed rice, and the fried rice and made Kim's Fried Rice out of it.  I scrambled and cooked two eggs - flat not fluffy - and sliced thin strips out of them.  I fried up some leftover steak, and the chicken Teriyaki from one of the take out dishes in olive oil and sesame oil and some oyster sauce.  I fried up the steamed and fried rice in olive oil and sesame oil with some oyster sauce and soy sauce.  I added in some leftover broccoli from dinner the night before.  I had fried up some celery, onion, chopped carrots, and garlic earlier which I added into the mixture.  I put a dash of powdered garlic  in it.  I added in the meat and the egg and voila!  Kim's Fried Rice!  My first somewhat home cooked meal in our new home.
And the leftovers were awesome for lunch!

Now, tonight my love is off picking up his last load and won't be home until tomorrow.  I, also had to work late tonight, so when I got home I, once again, got a frozen food crappy dish and slammed that down.  Then I spent my time digging through boxes to hunt down Kelly's Crockpot.  I found it!  After about an hour and a half, but I found it!  So I spent my evening getting tomorrow night's dinner ready so when my Love gets back with his next load of stuff, he'll have a warm meal waiting for him when he gets home.  This will be my second home cooked meal in our home together, and this one will be home made and not built and put together from take outs and so on.  This one will be a truly yummy home cooked, slow cooked healthy dinner.  I can't wait to feed my man this meal.  I really hope he likes it.

For now - what that meal is going to be shall remain a mystery until he gets home and gets to try it.  But here is a preview.....
I'm loving my new home, in spite of all of the boxes...

I am so happy and content, I am with the Man of My Dreams. I am the luckiest woman alive right now.  And I get to spend time in the kitchen with someone who has just as much desire to be there and learn and nurture his family as I do. I see big things in our world of food coming up, and coming up soon! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Loleta Meat Market

Yesterday I received tragic news.  My favorite butcher, a person I felt was becoming a friend ( and I think still is) was given a 60 day notice to vacate her place of business.  This person is Pixie.  Pixie is the coolest female butcher on the planet in my honest opinion, and she owns Loleta Meat Market.  When I got the news I was horrified and quite frankly pissed off.  Why?  Because the people who are evicting her are none other then the owners of the Loleta Bakery.  New comers, from Healdsburg, CA. 

I will give you some background on these people, the Van der Zee's.  This is what I know,  they moved here from Healdsburg - Bay Area - bought up a bunch of property (including Pixie's building) that the deceased Fred Deo's estate owned and proceeded to improved and revitalize.  At first I can say I was excited about this, as were many Loletian's.  But then one day the Victorian Bar that they had redone and had up and running shut down ( The Guilded Rose).  Then the rumor was, they were going to open a bakery and they had moved their liquor license to the little market in town.  Ok.  Well.  That didn't sound so bad.  But.... Mrs. Van der Zee got herself voted onto the Loleta School Board.  The first time I met her was at an open house at the school and I had an instant dislike for this woman.  I'm not sure why, but the hair on the back of my neck stood up when she spoke.  Instincts are important to pay attention to. 

Time went on.  Mrs. Van der Zee pulled a few stunts on the school board that set the town parents on fire.  She backed off, but she did not learn her lesson. 

Yesterday I got word about the eviction.  I decided that I would publicize this on my blog and put it out there that, even though Mrs. and Mr. Van der Zee own the building that Pixie runs her building in, what they are doing is so very wrong.  In a time when we are trying to push local business and fight chains and fight out of town businesses.  We're supposed to be supporting LOCAL business, and here we are with two people from HEALDSBURG shutting our LOCAL beloved butcher shop down.  I grew up in a small town.  I have suffered people like this all of my life, and I am done with them!  Let them go home to Healdsburg where they belong.  They have no sense of community and they are greedy selfish, self important people that our little town does not need. 

These people set up a nice business and put out good food.  That's fine.  That's great.  That's dandy. But they do not get the idea of good business practices.  Their business compliments Pixie's Meat Market as it does the Loleta Cheese Factory.  The smartest thing to do, would be to create a cooperative between the three and bring more people into town for business.  But the Van der Zee's don't work with others.  They work for themselves, and they do it in an unwise fashion.  I think today they have felt the payback of their bad choices.  The community has rallied behind Pixie, and the support is only growing.  In the hundreds of posts I've seen (maybe the thousands at this point) on facebook about this, only 2 have been negative against Pixie, and even then those people were waffling. 

I will say, I know Pixie.  Not well, I've only known her as an acquaintance for about 6 or 7 years, then I really started spending time talking to her and trying to get to know her over the past couple of years.  I consider her a friend.  I consider her a hard working, talented and extremely altruistic and giving woman and sweet to a fault.  What really pissed me off is Peter and Jeannie Van der Zee have taken advantage of this woman's sweet and trusting personality.  They have, in a sense, raped her.  They are shallow unforgivable people who need a hard lesson of their own, and I'm seeing it come down the pike as we speak.  The outpouring of support and love that has come Pixie's way has done my heart good.  I will say, I'm not surprised.  The day I first met Pixie, I instantly liked the lady.  She's got some rough edges, but hey!  She's a butcher for God's sake. She is one of the sweetest, most gentle, kindest people I have ever met!  She is a Buddhisthava .  I have never heard her say an unkind word against another.  Even when I tried to goad her into it.  It's against her nature to do so.  She is VERY hard working, she is VERY forgiving, she is no model, but EXTREMELY beautiful.  When she smiles the room lights up.  She is a good soul who takes care of anyone and everyone she can.  To do what the Van der Zee's are doing to her is blasphemous. 

So I am here to support Pixie and Loleta Meat Market.  I am here to say I will never spend another dime with with Loleta Bakery.  As Forest Gump says, Stupid is as Stupid does. I will enjoy watching them shoot themselves in the foot.  I will spend my money on Pixie's delicious sausages and other delicious meat products, and I will do what I can to keep this lovely woman in business. Integrity counts and Pixie has more then enough of it!  Rock on Pixie! Rock on Loleta Meat Market!