Monday, November 26, 2012


I'm a bit under the weather at the moment. After much discussion with my GYN and then an oncologist he recommended, I scheduled a hysterectomy for 11/5. Hurricane Sandy rescheduled it to last Monday, but the procedure is over and done, the panic attack (at least I think it was a panic attack) that sent me to the ER is over and I am in the process of writing a very snarky letter to the hospital administration.

But what, I hear you ask, does that have to do with cheating? Well, for the next five weeks or so, I am under stern instructions to take it easy. While I'm good for short walks, anything that requires a lot of movement, especially bending is pretty painful. Twisting is right out.

I still have to eat, and ordering out gets pricey, so for the next few weeks, I'm going to do something I never thought I'd do with this blog. I'm going to post the quick, easy meals that can be as much assembly as cooking. The ones that don't take a lot of time, and you can do in your sleep and still feel like you presented your self and your loved ones with some semblance of nutrition. For example, my dinner tonight:

  • 6 ounces chicken torn from a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store's deli
  • half of a small container of brown rice leftover from delivery
  • 1/3 can of Amy's Curried lentil soup (I am not being paid for this endorsement, though I'd love to be).
First step, put the soup in a small saucepan on the stovetop. Next step, resurrect the rice. This means taking it out of its cardboard container, flaking it with a fork (because some had stuck together) as I put it in a microwave-safe dish. I stirred in about 2 T of water and put it in the microwave for two minutes. Poof! Fluffy rice.

This went down on the plate, beside the chicken. I didn't bother heating the chicken, I find rotisserie chicken to be yummy cold. I did sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper. Your blood pressure may vary.

I let the soup cook down a bit until it was more of a sauce, and spooned it over the rice.

Warm, filling, protein & fiber. I'm currently out of fresh produce since I can't drive and my main grocer isn't delivering until they bounce back from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Next week--apple pancakes, without any chopping.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Shopping the Sales

I am a very lucky person. I live outside of the borders of New York City, but being in one of its bedroom communities, I have a lot of its benefits. One of these is a store called Fairway. Besides the best cheese counter I've seen outside of Murrray's Cheese Shop in the Village, they occasionally have fabulous sales, and I've never had anything from the store that wasn't of the highest quality. And when I don't feel like cooking, their hot bar makes a damn fine cheese steak.

I was in the mood for pesto (which I bought, I don't do a lot of cooking in November), but Nexx, as he has often mentioned, is a meatitarian. Meat is necessary at two out of three meals (caffeine for breakfast). I'm really not living with a male human. It's a six-foot cat in an Asian man suit.

Anyway, at a lovely Italian restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama I had some lamb finished with pesto, so when we went to Fairway, we looked at chops. I wasn't in love with the way they looked, then Nexx drew my attention to some boneless legs--nicely wrapped in twine. The price was right, so into the cart they went.

I've made lamb a few times, usually chops, though I have roasted an entire leg. The one I bought was about 3/4 of a pound, which I figured would feed the two of us pretty well, especially with pasta.

Lamb and garlic do well together and I had a glut of garlic in the fridge. Focusing my rage at the politcal ads on television, I used a paring knife and stabbed several holes in the roast, about 3/4 of an inch apart. Into the holes, I slipped some slivers of garlic. Once that was complete, I added a light sprinkle of salt, followed by some freshly ground pepper. Instead of your standard olive oil, I used some lemon oil. Lemon and basil go well together in various presentations (including gelato) and I thought it would lighten the meal up a bit.

I roasted the lamb at 425 F for about thirty minutes, which was a guess. I stabbed it with the meat thermometer (I'm really not that violent a person, I promise) and it registered on the low side of medium rare. I pulled it out of the oven, covered the pan with foil and started the water for pasta.

While the pasta was draining and its pot was cooling, I sliced the lamb thinly. Some of the garlic fell out onto the cutting board, but my sweetie valiantly rode to the rescue and ate them. After tossing the pesto with the pasta (say that five times fast), I put it onto plates, topped with sliced lamb and added a touch more pesto to top everything off.

We served this with a Spanish red wine--a tempranillo, if I recall correctly. Pairing this dish with alcohol is kind of tough. Pesto can be pretty delicate, so a white might be called for. Lamb, on the other hand, is rather rich and can stand up to a red. The red and the basil didn't quite work, but I can live with that.

It's not a combination I expect to have every day, or even every Sunday, but if Fairway keeps having the lamb at that price, I look forward to finding other things to do with it.

What's your favorite way to eat lamb?