Monday, April 28, 2014

Opened-Faced Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and 26 Years of Wedded Bliss







Wedded bliss?

You bet!

Smooth Sailing?

Hardly!

Crazy days, long stretches, enduring years, sleepless nights, changing personalities, ups and downs in finances and the best roller coaster ride of a lifetime is what the last 26 years have been.

Through it all we have remained the best of friends, parents and lovers.  Friends can laugh and say things to each other that lovers cannot.   In the heat of the moment emotions and feelings come under attack and our walls of defense become stronger and more fortified when we fear that we may lose that friendship.  We communicate with our "friend voice" when issues arise.  We try to always keep things friendly.

This past year has been our rockiest to date; but also the most compelling.


WHY?

We have come of age.  The age when we just don't give a shit anymore and life is passing us by faster than we care to admit.  The age when we sit back and say, "I am too old for this" or "life is too short to keep beating a dead dog with the same stick".

That coming of age. We both arrived there at the same time last year while I was pregnant.  We had a sit down discussion that lasted into the night. Our talk was honest, real and raw.

We asked ourselves, and each other, some serious questions:

Is this going to last?

Do you want out?

Is our love strong enough to make it another 25 years?

To answer these questions we had to be painfully honest with each other.  It hurt.  There were a few tears (I was 5 months pregnant).  We laughed.  We promised.

At the end of the night we concluded that it will last, that neither of us wanted out and we hoped, with all  of our hearts, that we will get another 25 years together.

Our son, Drake, made an interesting observations this past year too.  He said to us, "Your relationship is different.  You act like friends most of the time.  My friends are amazed that you are still married after only dating for two weeks and marrying two months later.  They don't get it."

I looked at him and said, " You're right.  We have remained  the best of friends. I will always love your Dad but with any relationship you have to have a firm foundation. The love that we started with is not the same love that we have today but our friendship has remained the same."

Our foundation is friendship sprinkled with love, passion, responsibility, longevity, endurance, fun, adventure, kids, laughter and lots of "benefits"--insert smiley with a wink. 

I love Cory more today than any other time in my life.  When they say that a person's love only gets stronger with each passing year, it is true.  He is a fantastic father.   A hard worker.  A powerful influence for good in our family.  He is a very spiritual man.  His heart is pure with the best of intentions.   He is the strength in our family.  He carries a lot of weight on his shoulders to be a good provider for our kids.

Simply put--We love him. 

Cory makes me a better person.  He allows me to be the spice in his life; sweet like sugar and fiery as chili pepper powder.  He lets me be me.


Today I am sharing his favorite sandwich.  It just happens to be National Grilled Cheese Month and this worked out great because I also got a surprise box from Kerrygold Cheese.   (Not a paid post)  The stars just aligned perfectly and this all happened at the same time: anniversary, free cheese and another national food day.  BONUS!

When I first met Cory we were young and poor.  We ate these a lot along with bowls of tomato soup.   He believes this is the "meal of the Gods".   He is totally a keeper in my mind. 

In my mind this would best describe the title of my blog: simply gourmet.  A simple sandwich using the best ingredients to create a gourmet meal in a matter of minutes.

SIMPLY.

DELICIOUS.

In my opinion.

ENJOY!


Opened-Faced Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 tomato slices per slice of bread
1 square slice of cheese per slice of bread
2 pieces of bread
salt/pepper

1.  Set your oven to broil.

2.  Prepare your ingredients.

3.  Use a cookie tray to set your slices of bread on.

4.  Place tray under broiler until edges are brown and cheese is melted.

5.  Add fresh slices of tomatoes to each slice.

6.  Season with salt and pepper.





Written by Sherron Watson

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sifting Through Life: Let it Go


Rye and I went to New York City last week for three days.

I love this city.  I first went with a group of friends seven years ago and my love has only grown deeper for the hustle and bustle of the cement garden with all of its beauty, noise, yellow taxi's and Broadway shows.

I come alive when my feet hit the ground.  I don't stop and I barely sleep.

I eat and eat and eat.  To the point, that Rye asked me if I was ever going to get full.  I think the fact that my body doesn't stop tells my stomach that it needs to be nourished and feed constantly.

If I stop and really think about why I love this city one word comes to mind:  anonymity.  The ability to be so embedded in a group of people that nobody knows who you are.  Nobody knows your weaknesses, your thoughts, how you dress at home, what you eat when someone is watching you.

The truth...nobody knows you.

Nobody knows me.



It is a place that I feel safe to just be me.

In New York City we saw two shows.  One a musical and one a drama.  We based our decision on who the leads were in the productions.  We saw The Cripple of Inishmaan with Daniel Radcliffe and IF/THEN with Idina Menzel.

I first saw Idina Menzel in Wicked on Broadway.  I immediately fell in love with her voice.  When I hear her voice, I note a rasp that sounds like perfection to me unskilled ears.  Yet, she can hit those high notes and then, all in the same breadth, dig to the depths of  the lower scale.   The small theater is beholden to her stage presence.  One can almost touch the sound that is swirling about the room.  Her sound.  Her voice.

I came home wanting to hear more of her sound, that big voice.  To connect with the emotion and release that music has a way of doing.  I bought Isabella the soundtrack from Frozen.  Idina sings a song, Let it Go.   I had heard this song before but never paid any attention to the words.  I like the beat and I could sing the chorus.  It was catchy.  It was a Disney tune.

BUT--I felt something.  Something inside me said , "learn the words".

I drove my daughter to college the other day (yes, we still only have one car for a family of six and four drivers--CRAZY, I know). On the way, I decided to listen to this song.  I really listened to the words.

I began to hum, to try and follow the words.  Make up the words I didn't know.  Then I stopped the car.

I got the music out and sat in my drive way. I read each line with an intensity that felt as though I was being directed to read these words.

I cranked the volume and I belted out this song.  Not once, but three times.  Back to back.

So loud and with such conviction that I became hoarse.  And---free.  With each word that I sang I let it all out.  The fear, the hurt, the sadness, the love...the broken heart.  My five year old self, my fifteen year old self, my twenty five year old self...my yesterday self.

Let it go.

The words, let it go, had such an impact on me that I realized how closed I have been.  How much I have been living in fear.  How controlling my thoughts have become over the coarse of the last three years.  Trying desperately to protect my heart, my mind and my body from being hurt again.

I have been hiding.  Burying my pain.  Trying to create an external world so that my internal heart and mind are protected.  I was trying to control the universe when all I can truly control is myself.


I bought a book titled, The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer.

What a gift to myself.  His words are teaching me to release the fear and pain.  To let it go.

To process the feelings and release them.  It is teaching me to stay present.  To be mindful.  To live.

I woke up this morning feeling excited and free.   I am no longer going to let the past control my actions, my thoughts or my life.

I am going to let it ALL go.  Let it go through me as the wind that passes through my hair on a windy day.  I will feel it but I will not hold on to it.  I will not bury it for a later date.

I feel free today.  I feel new.

It feels amazing!

We all deserve to be happy and to have our minds at peace.  I am learning that this takes work and that my inner voice is not always looking out for my best interest.  I must learn to watch it but not to listen to it.  Not to give it permission to protect me anymore.

I am encouraging everyone to go and blast some music, sing your heart out and let it go.

Free yourself.

Be you.

Be okay with you.

Just-- let it go!



Written by Sherron Watson
Photo's by Rye Watson

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Coconut, Cilantro and Shrimp Cakes


I love coconut.

I believe my first taste of a fresh coconut was in the Philippines.   We lived on the Navy base.  We  had a young woman who helped my Mom each day with jobs around the house.  We would leave the base to visit her family.  They lived in a small village with coconut and mango trees in their back yards.

She would bring us coconuts all the time.   To this day I think of her.  I don't remember her name because I was only 5 at the time and that was a very long time ago.

I recently bought a fresh coconut for my family to try.  Isabella enjoyed watching me try to open the coconut.  I should have done it outside because my floor soon became wet with the milk from inside.  I was able to salvage a cup of coconut milk.

I tried to get my kids to "try it".

UM-- NO!

They looked at me like I was handing them a cup of poison.  So naturally I took the first sip to prove to them that it was safe to try.  I still had no takers.  I enjoyed the drink and ate the fresh pulp.  It brought back so many memories of playing in the warm rain, visiting my friends puppies and learning to ride my first bike.

I buy organic, unsweetened coconut pieces from Whole Foods to use in my granola, cookies and for these shrimp cakes.  I never buy sweetened coconut.  There really isn't a reason why I don't, other than, it seems too sweet for me.

These shrimp cakes are filled with fresh ingredients, they are simple to make and look pretty on a plate.
Yep--I like pretty food and this is one of them.

ENJOY!


Coconut & Shrimp Cakes

Makes 6-8 cakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Cakes:

3 cups of precooked shrimp, diced 
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon
Zest and juice from 1/2 an orange
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Coconut oil for frying

Wicked Awesome Sauce:

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1.  Combine all of the cake ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

2.  Use a large skillet, heat set to medium, melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.  Use more oil as needed.

3.  Form cakes/patties, with hands, into tight flattened disk. Fry on both sides until golden brown.  I recommend making your cakes no larger than 2inches wide.  They may fall apart if you try to make them too big.



4.  Serve immediately with sauce.  To swirl the sauce, I placed the sauce in a small sandwich baggie and cut a tiny corner off.  Gently squeeze and swirl.





Written by Sherron Watson

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower with Mizithra Cheese


The first time I had Mizithra cheese was at a restaurant in Oregon (eons ago).  I believe I was in high school and they served it over broccoli with brown butter and this cheese.

I fell in love immediately with it.

Since this first experience, I have traveled and moved often. We don't always find this cheese with every move-- but-- I did last week while my sister was in town.

Whole Foods has this small basket of remnant cheese ends for a great price.  I like trying out new cheeses and this is a great way to experiment with new flavors without spending a small fortune.  They will run between $2 and $4 dollars.

I believe we both reached for the cheese when we saw the beginning few letters on the packaging.  We both knew immediately what it was.   Our faces broke out in grins a mile wide.

Happy bellies were on our horizon.

The problem was that we already had so much food in the fridge that we never got around to making it while she was here.

Darn it!

The purple cauliflower would not last long so I roasted it the next day, used the left over browned butter from our raviolis and blanketed a thick layer of grated Mizithra cheese over the top.

My mouth and belly did a happy dance.

This recipe is so simple but the flavors are amazing and so I wanted to share it.  Purple cauliflower is not necessary but it does make for a beautiful dish.

My sister will have to do with a few pictures or venture out on her own and make it for her family.  I hope she does the later because it is well worth the culinary experience.

ENJOY!


Roasted Cauliflower with Mizithra Cheese

1 head of Cauliflower, any color
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 stick of salted butter, softened
small chunk of Mizithra cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  Prepare cauliflower by washing and cutting the crown into pieces.  In a bowl, toss the salt, pepper and olive oil to coat the cut pieces.

3.  Spread on a cookie sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes.  I cooked mine longer because I like the little browned edges of the cauliflower.  It adds texture to every bite.  Every oven is different so start checking for color and doneness at 30 minutes.

4.  While the cauliflower is roasting,  I will make the browned butter.  I do this by placing the softened stick into a small saute pan and turning the heat to medium high.  The butter will melt and start to foam. Then you will see it turn from a golden color to a light brown color.  It will also have a nutty aroma to it.   You must watch this the whole time because it happens quickly and you don't want it to burn. When I start to see the browned specks in the bottom of the pan I give it a stir or two and turn the heat off.  It will continue to cook a bit in the warm pan.  I will transfer it to a cool bowl if I don't use it right away. The browned butter stores nicely in the refrigerator.  When I need a spoonful I just break off a chunk and melt it in the microwave.

5.  When the cauliflower is to your liking, remove from oven and pour browned butter over the top.


6.  Add the Mizithra Cheese.



7.  Toss together and eat.  You can see that I didn't wait to put it in a bowl.  I ate it straight off of the cookie sheet.  You may want to serve it differently.  LOL


Written by Sherron Watson

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sifting Through Life: Salad Recipe, Birthdays and Life Stories



Recipe is at the very end--read through my thoughts or scroll to the bottom of the page.




My thoughts are swirling today.  A little with anxiety as Rye and I prepare to leave to go to New York City for three days-- but mostly from stories.  Stories from my life.  Stories that don't have happy endings, or are filled with perfect family dinners.  Stories of sadness.  Stories that shaped me into the person that I am today.  Stories of joy and triumph as I have overcome pain and hurt.  I have untold stories that I feel are buried within myself.

I am constantly questioning myself with what to do with these stories.

What should I share?  Is it worth sharing?  Will it help someone?  Will it hurt someone?

I recently read that you should write the stories that you know.  I believe this is a true statement.  I started this blog so that my kids would have a story of our life, my life.  But reading my blog, there are holes.  Holes in my story.


Some stories I don't know if I have the heart to share: abuse from an uncle, betrayal from friends, depression and anxiety related to my past, losing a home, leaving a church and losing family and friends.  I have worked hard to bury myself into the life that I have now. The protective shell that I have placed my heart safely in seems to explode when the memories of the past all come rushing back.  I know that it would be therapeutic to write it all out, to purge my thoughts and feelings.  It seems that it takes one spark to trigger a chain of pain which takes me a few days to recover from.  The pain that only I see, all the while, wearing a smile.

I wear this smile because my kids and husband bring me joy and they deserve a happy life and family. My life is blessed beyond belief and it has been for some time .   As often as I think about the hardships that I have endured, I am also reflecting on the unquenchable love that I experience daily.    I often sit at home and watch my kids.

My birthday was yesterday and gave me cause to reflect and ponder things.  I spent the day with my family opening gifts, playing games and feeling loved. We started the day off deciding on breakfast.  They wanted pancakes and I wanted bacon. We compromised and had both.  In my current home our dinning room is attached to our living room.  I sat on my couch,  holding Finnley,  and watched my kids eat.  The joy that I felt was large enough to fill the room.  I sat and watched them as they interacted with each other and how happy they were.  How kind they were to each other.


Happy kids.

Safe kids.

Loved kids.

Respected kids.

Yesterday was the best birthday that I have had in a long time.  Not because of the gifts I received but because of the messages that I read.  Putting into words what I felt yesterday is a difficult task because the emotion was so raw and left me vulnerable.

A day that I almost  robbed myself of experiencing.

A few weeks ago, I gathered everyone together to discuss the upcoming holidays: my birthday, our anniversary and Mother's Day. All three of these take place over the course of one month.  I find it excessive for them to buy gifts and to celebrate three different events.  It is uncomfortable for me to be the center of attention.  I find myself overwhelmed with the idea of too much celebration when it comes to myself.

I explained that I was too old to celebrate birthdays anymore and that I really only wanted Mother's Day to be celebrated.  I wanted one day and not three.  By the time Mother's Day comes around everyone is burnt out and it leaves me feeling sad because I value my role as their mother.  I guess I want to feel special on that day.  I am sure it is me projecting onto them how much I disliked Mother's Day for various reasons throughout the years of my youth and adulthood.  I didn't want them to have the same feelings when it came time for them to wish me a Happy Mother's Day.

Cory took me to lunch yesterday, as we were driving in the car,  I expressed how happy I was.  I was feeling complete.  Being a parent has taught me many things about myself.  I expressed a sense of joy that I could not have imagined.  The feeling was love, pride, pure joy, accomplishment, success and gratitude all rolled into this glow of parenting perfection.

Not because I am the perfect parent--hardly! I can provide you with a list of people that can back that statement up... (insert wink-y smiley face from the cutest kitten on earth). 

For the simple reason that my kids had nice things to say about me.  I know that they love me but I finally felt that love emulated in their actions.  I saw a maturity in them that took me years to develop as an adult.   I grew up with shallow words, unkind comments and name calling sprinkled with words of kindness and niceties. These words were followed by actions that did not always emulate the words spoken. As a child,  I was seeking approval and acceptance through my actions only to see they were met with dissatisfied words.   For this reason, I am a strong believer in the phrase, "actions speak louder than words".    I heard "I love you" a lot from people in my life as a young kid and teenager but those words felt empty to me because I felt the actions did not embrace the phrase.  Words thrown around loosely.

My kids actions yesterday had my motherly heart strings on high alert.  It all started the night before with a trip to the store with Dad.  With baby in tow,  they all ventured out to the shopping center to find the perfect gift for my birthday.

Action #1.  They listened.  My kids bought me a pestle and mortar.  I have been wanting one of these for some time.  I received a beautiful apron that I had spotted last week while out with Rye.  She remembered.  Isabella always buys me a balloon and a bouquet of  flowers.  They were beautiful.

Action #2.   They found a card.  In the past Cory and I have often bought the cards for the kids to give to each other and so the thoughts that are written within the cards are reflective of what myself or Cory think.  This time they did the card selecting.  When I read the words that were written in the card I saw my two oldest kids as maturing adults.  I felt valued because they didn't pick a funny card.  It was a card that made me smile and think,  "we did something right".

Action #3.   They shared their talents with me.  Rye created this very cool printout of a plate of macaroons.  I will admit when I first saw the printout I loved it because we share a love for macaroons. I thought that it was a piece of clip art that she had found and created a card with it.  To my surprise, as I was making the pancakes, Cory mentioned that Rye drew the picture herself this week.   Well, that was a game changer.  I immediately ran over to the picture and admired my daughters art work.  She said to me that on her birthday I made her macaroons and she did the same for me, with a picture. Anytime my kids share their talent with me my heart explodes.  Drake made me a video last year that I treasure.  Isabella wrote me a very special note that I tucked away in my wallet for safe keeping among the many pieces of artwork that she shares with me each week.

My kids actions yesterday were the best gift that they could have given to me.  They shared with me their thoughts and feelings.   They have no idea of the encircling bond that their actions have had on me.  I don't imagine they will until they have kids of their own.

I can't seem to let go of the past on some days.  It just all comes haunting back in full force.  I am trying to let go.  I am hoping to break the cycle.  The cycle of a dysfunctional family tree.  I want my kids to know how lucky, how protected and how safe their lives have been.

I probably try too hard.  I am sure they will remember me as a bit neurotic about family traditions, family dinners and family vacations.  In a way I feel my family slipping away as my older kids get older and they are becoming independent.  Isn't this what we want?  Isn't this what is supposed to happen? Our family is about to change.  Rye and Drake will both be leaving our home in the next few years to seek after more education and to find their own path and journey in life.

The little kids will keep me busy-- but, damn I am going to miss the two older ones!

This birthday was special because it opened my eyes to the fact that my kids will have good stories to share with their own families.  The words and actions that Cory and I have shared with them, I hope, will provide them with the necessary skills to succeed in this life.

46 years has gone by way too fast.  I want these next few years to slow down.

I just cried a river of tears putting this into words.  Cory must think I am getting soft in my old age as I read it to him.

I don't believe I am getting soft; probably older and more aware of the fact that life is too short to keep it all inside.  I think I am finding wisdom in letting my guard down a bit more than I used to.

It  is not as scary as I thought it would be--this birthday and sharing a bit more of my story.



Citrus and Avocado Salad

Makes 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes

2 cups of baby Arugula, washed 
1 small grapefruit, peeled and sliced
1 medium orange, peeled and sliced
1 avocado, halved and sliced
1 slice of red onion
1/2 cup sweet pea pods
Toasted sesame seeds
Fresh herbs (optional)

Toasted Sesame Seed Salad dressing 

2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
a few drops of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of honey
salt and pepper


1.  Arrange grapefruit and orange slices around the edge of your plate.

2.  In a small bowl, toss together onion, avocado, sweet pea pods and any fresh herbs that you wish to use.  I used a few leaves of fresh mint.

3.  Fill the center of the citrus ring with the salad mixture. 

4.  Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on salad.

5.  Serve with Toasted Sesame Seed salad dressing.

6.  For salad dressing I combined grapefruit juice, orange juice, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, olive oil, honey and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Whisk together and pour over salad.

Written by Sherron

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Sheet Cake



Today is my birthday.  I can't believe I am sitting here as a 46 year old woman.

I remember thinking as a teenager that 46 was old, and yet here I am.  I don't think of myself as old or ancient (my teenagers like that word).  Although I also never saw myself at this age having a baby--LOL  Maybe that is the secret to staying young--more kids.

46 years has taught me a few things.  They are:

1.  Don't give up.


2.  Love.

3.  Smile.

4.  Be yourself.

5.  Value others.

6.  Apologize often.

7.  Time does heal most things.

8.   Accept others for who they are.

9.   Do what you love for work.

10.  Laugh often.

This list is not complete by any means but I would say these ten items are what I focus on the most.  It has been a great ride and I look forward to the next 46 years.

But this post is about the cake that I made for my husbands 47th birthday last year.  He loves a good chocolate sheet cake and so I have ventured out and made a gluten free version similar to The Pioneer Woman's sheet cake.   I am pretty sure it is the same chocolate sheet cake that every grandma and great grandma has handwritten in some shoe box stored in the pantry.

It is by far our favorite cake that I make.




A good birthday is not complete until we have attacked his office with a ton of streamers, balloons and confetti.  Oh, the fun this brings the kids.

Oh, who am I kidding--I do it for me.  I love a good party filled with messy rooms.

 Don't believe me?  Ask my kids.

They are still finding confetti from every holiday we have had for the past three years.



Gluten Free Chocolate Sheet Cake

Cake:

1 cup fine white rice flour
2/3 cup tapioca flour (tapioca starch is the same thing)
1/3 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups of sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter
4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa
1 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

*To make the cake with regular flour, omit the first 4 ingredients and substitute with 2 cups of all purpose flour.




Icing:

1 3/4 sticks of butter
6 tablespoons milk
4 heaping tablespoons of cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb bag or box of powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)



1.  Preheat oven to 350. Spray pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine in a mixing bowl the three flours, xanthan gum, sugar and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium size saucepan, over medium high heat, melt butter and cocoa. Stir together. Add 1 cup boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds. Turn off heat. 

4. In a medium bowl, add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together. 5. Add dry ingredients (step 2) to warm cocoa mixture (step 3). Blend well. Add buttermilk mixture (step 4). Stir to combine ingredients.

6. Pour into 9X13 sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes. While cake is baking, make the icing:

1. Melt 1 3/4 sticks butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine. Turn off heat.

2. Add milk and vanilla. Stir well.  

3. Add powdered sugar. Stir together. 

4. Pour over warm cake and smooth out.

Serve warm. Cover leftover cake with plastic wrap.
Written by Sherron Watson







Monday, April 7, 2014

Boneless Leg of Lamb




Lamb or ham?  That is the question at our house for Easter dinner.

I grew up eating lamb and ham for our Easter dinners until I was a teenager. The grown-ups always wanted the lamb but after a while my grandmother stopped making it because most of it would go to waste.  I kind of missed it because I really enjoyed the flavor of lamb.

I have been in a similar pattern with my own family.  They ask for it and then they don't eat it.  I would make both and watch as the lamb would go untouched but for a few slices on my plate.  When asked the family always says lamb and ham.

I think they said that because it rhymed and it has been our traditional dinner for years.

This year we are more than likely going to stick with just ham--again. 

BUT--I love lamb and decided that I would make something for our dinner this past month that I liked and enjoyed.  I bought a small boneless leg of lamb and watched as every slice disappeared from the table.  Not on one occasion but two.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED? That was strange.  The kids loved it.  That was the first time.

The second time was last week while my sister was visiting. 

I was greeted with, "oh, I don't like lamb" right before dinner was to go into the oven.

I proceeded to make the sauce to coat the lamb with and explained that I doubt she had ever tasted lamb like this.   She was willing to give it another try and she was pleasantly surprised that the flavor of the lamb was mild and the coating of herbs and sauce tasted delicious.

I served it with mint jelly and we had two slices left.  

I can't prove this but I have a feeling that the "leg" or the bone was throwing my family off.  I wonder if having the bone in the lamb made the flavor profile too strong for their young palettes?  I believe by removing the bone it helped with the look and possibly the flavor too.   Let me know if you have any experience with this thought.

I am pleasantly surprised that I have been able to add a new meat to our menu.  I get kind of tired of beef and chicken to be honest.

ENJOY!




Boneless Leg of Lamb

5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 lemon, juice only
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt, add more to taste
fresh ground pepper
3-4 pound boneless leg of lamb, rolled and tied
Mint jelly--optional

**extra oven twine to retie lamb if you wish to unroll meat and add sauce to the inside and reroll.

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Prepare sauce by combining the first 7 ingredients in a bowl.

3.  I chose to cut and untie my roast.  I smeared the sauce all of the inside of the lamb and re-rolled the roast with new oven twine.  Place the roast in a baking dish and add the remaining sauce to the outside. See picture above.

4.  Roast in oven for 60-70 minutes.  Use a meat thermometer.  This will help you to get the exact doneness of your lamb.  We like ours to be pink on the inside, 135 degrees is preferred for us.

5.  Let roast rest for 15 minutes then slice the roast to 1/4 inch thickness and return to roasting pan.  All of the juices and marinade will cook together. The two together make a wonderful sauce that the slices will be coated in when you return the slices to the roasting dish.

6.  Serve with mint jelly.

Written by Sherron Watson









Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Homemade Hummus




Hummus is something we always have in our refrigerator. My teenagers love it.

I have played around with a variety of flavor profiles but they always come back to the plain version. I think they enjoy the simple flavors of this tasty dip.

Carrots seem to be the dipping stick of choice in our home but certainly try your favorite veggie or cracker too.

Enjoy!



Homemade Hummus
Makes 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes

1 15.5 oz can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 lemon, juice only
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

1.  Using a high powered blender or food processor add beans, tahini paste, garlic, broth, lemon juice and all of the spices.

2.  Pulse or blend until thick and creamy.

3.  Slowly add olive oil until the desired consistency is achieved.

4.  Season according to your flavor profile: more salt, more tahini, etc...

5.  Serve with pita chips or prepared vegetables.

As an added topping you can sprinkle toasted pine nuts, drizzle the top with olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite herb, etc... or just eat it plain with your favorite cracker or veggie.

Written by Sherron Watson

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