Osso Bucco

I have had these 3 beef shanks sitting in my freezer for like 6 months and I kept on putting off making osso bucco because I Had fresh meat to use. Well now it’s spring and I was putting it off because, well it’s spring, and osso bucco is kind of a cold weather dish. But I ran out of food and decided to make it anyways. I still think it’s best served on a winter day, but using only white wine and adding the gremolata really lightened up the dish. SO without further ado, here is my take on osso bucco.

Osso Bucco (makes 3 servings – easily scales for appropriate number of servings)

Ingredients for the stew

  • 3 beef shanks cut 1 inch thick

     You must taste the ingredients for good measure ;)


    You must taste the ingredients for good measure 😉

  • 2-3 carrot
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • 5 green onions
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1/4 c. fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 c. white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter

Ingredients for the Gremolata

  • 1/2 c flat leaf parsley
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small squeeze of lemon juice

Directions for the stew

  1. Get a large dutch oven ready to be used and start chopping all your veggies up into a small dice. Roughly chop the parsley and mince the garlic and keep the separate from the rest of the veggies.

    Chop chop!

    Chop chop!

  2. Heat 1 tbsp of butter in the dutch oven over medium-high heat, while that is heating season your beef shanks with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the beef shanks on both sides (about 1 minute per side) in batches, if necessary. Do not crowd the pan.

    See that carmelization? That's the good stuff!

    See that carmelization? That’s the good stuff!

  4. Remove the beef shanks and add the reaming butter. Dump the chopped onions, green onions, carrots and celery into the pan and saute until the onions are translucent, or about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and parsley to the pan and saute for an additional minute until fragrant.
  5. Add the remaining herbs to the pan, pour in the white wine. Bring the wine to simmer and scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. That’s pure flavour!

    The white wine deglazes the pan and helps meld the flavours

    The white wine deglazes the pan and helps meld the flavours

  6. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes including the liquid and “nestle” the beef shanks back into the mixture making sure they are covered with liquid. Add some water if needed.
  7. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Put the lid on the pot and let simmer for 1.5 hours. Check the pot every 30 mins to make sure there is enough liquid and it is not boiling too rapidly or to cold. Too rapid a boil and the meat will be tough, too cool a pot and the cooking time will be off or it won’t cook.

Directions for Gremolata

  1. While the stew is cooking, zest the lemon, chop the parsley and mince the garlic.
  2. Combine these ingredients in a small bowl and add a squeeze of lemon for added kick.

You can serve the meat and stew separate as I did, or preferable you have shallow wide bowls in which you can serve the stew and shank together. Make sure you top this with the gremolata which really impacts the flavour. And enjoy 🙂

Sadly I don't have bowls big enough to hold that piece of meat

Sadly I don’t have bowls big enough to hold that piece of meat

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Jamaican Goat Curry

I bought some goat when I was last up in Ottawa mostly because I have never in my life had it and thought it would be interesting. But then came the inevitable *wait… what they heck do I cook with this* thought. Needles to say, Google came to my rescue and since what I had was stewing pieces of goat, I really only had 2 options. (1) Stew – which I do all too frequently and (2) curry – but not just any curries, there were an abundance of recipes specifically for Jamaican curries. So I looked up a bunch or them, bought some curry powder and did what I always do with recipes… that is. looked up about 10 different ones, looked for the common element and then make up the rest.

No wonder my boyfriend doesn’t understand my cooking method. I almost never follow a recipe unless it’s baking… and even then. So just so you know… 99% of my recipes have at least 2 ingredients who’s measurements have been approximated because I cook to taste. I’m sorry!

Anyways…. This was what I did.

My Jamaican Goat Curry

Ingredients:

Curry

  • 2 lbs stewing goat meat (or shoulder meat cut into 1 inch cubes)

    Ingredients for the marinade

    Ingredients for the marinade

  • 4 carrots
  • 3-4 medium parsnips (or 2 huge ones which is what I had)
  • 1 large onion
  • butter with which to cook
  • 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2-3 cups of water or beef broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Marinade

  • 2 1/2 tbsp curry powder

    The marinade per-goat

    The marinade per-goat

  • 1/2 tbsp allspice
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger powder (I had no fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper paste (I buy a tube from the grocery store. but it’s about 1 small chili pepper)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp water (or enough that when combines it becomes a paste)

Directions:

  1.  Combine the first 5 ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and whisk together to evenly combine. Add the chili paste and olive oil and mix well with a whisk. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a paste consistency that will spread and coat the meat (thinner is a little easier, but don’t make it too thin or it wont stick).
  2. Remove goat from the fridge and pat dry with paper towel (so marinade will stick), then toss these in the bowl with the marinade and make sure the marinade coats each piece. I used my hands for this but be forewarned that they turned slightly yellow from the curry.

    Setting nicely wile I chop

    Setting nicely wile I chop

  3. Cover this and let sit for 1-2 hours so the meat can come to room temperature. If you are leaving it to marinade longer just put it in the fridge and remove an hour before cooking.
  4. While the meat is marinating, dice your onion and chop the carrots and parsnips into bit size pieces. I leave the skin on my root veggies and just wash them well because it’s less work and I find they hold up better, but feel free to peel them.
  5. Coat the bottom of a dutch over pan (or a heavy bottomed soup pan) with some of the butter and brown the meat on medium high heat in batches. Do not crowd the pan. Cook the meat in one layer so each piece gets brown properly and remove it to a bowl. It took me 3 batches to do 2 lbs. Make sure you add a little butter after each batch so the pan doesn’t go dry.

    DSC_0401

    No crowding

  6. Add some more butter to the pan and sautee the garlic and onions for about 5 minutes or until they start to brown.
  7. Add the meat back to the pot and toss everything around. Then add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it and get all the caramelized yummy bits off the bottom.
  8. At this point at the rest of the ingredients except the water and salt and pepper and stir everything around. Then fill the pot with enough water to cover the contents and add salt and pepper to your taste. You can also add more chili pepper or a scotch bonnet pepper for more heat and authenticity, but I’m a wuss and like it mild.

    All in the pot

    All in the pot

  9. Bring this all to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let this cook for 2 hours. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens to your liking. Mine took about 45 minutes.
  10. Serve alone or with some rice (cooked with tumeric to get this lovely colour).
The finished product

The finished product

Short Term Goals

In general I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately there is a bit of a pendulum effect and the more strict you try to be the more you want to rebel against these restrictions. That’s why I maintain that you sort of have to “sneak up” on health changes.

 

I have been a little bad over the past few months. Not consistently bad. My eating and exercise are still probably 80% there, but the other 20% is way worse than it should be. I have been indulging in sweets and alcohol too often and my portion sizes seem to be creeping up along with the scale. I’ve tried to reaffirm my good habits with some goal settings, but I’ve been undisciplined for too long now. My will power has gotten a little lazy as of late.

 

So let’s take it back a notch. Baby steps.

 

Let’s do a daily and a weekly goal for now and just get that will power flexing again.

 

Goals for today:

 

Zero sugar – this includes raisins, which I have been indulging in, honey, maple syrup and artificial sweeteners (other than stevia)

 

Honey Comb

Honey Comb (Photo credit: beepollenhub)

 

Back workout – do 30 minutes of cardio and a full back workout right after work

 

Goals for the week:

 

No grains – I have been having popcorn too often because it’s a grain that is gluten free and I love it, so not allowing any grains this week will help kick that to the curb.

 

No dairy – my skin has been breaking out from all the dairy I’ve been consuming between the yogurt, the lattes, and the cheeses. No more!

 

Get in 4 workouts – I’ve been pretty consistent with at least 3 workouts per week, but I want to get in that extra one.

 

No alcohol – I don’t typically drink very often, but there seem to have been a few too many “occasions” recently.

 

The reason I am not making these overarching goals is because I won’t stick to it 100%, which is fine… usually. But I’m going off my plans a little too often so taking things day by day and week by week makes it way easier. I can commit to just about anything for a week… that’s only 7 days!

 

Next Monday I’ll let you know if I succeeded. 🙂

 

Duck eggs and lamb burgers

One of my goals for this year is to buy more food locally. In trying to keep with this sentiment I have purchased meats from local farms (naturally raised meats) and headed down to the St. Lawrence Market this past Saturday to pick up some produce and support the local economy.

Some notable purchases include Ontario grown Brussel Sprouts, Fresh ducks eggs and Ontario raise ground lamb.

Breakfast of champions

Breakfast of champions

I realize I have not shared a recipe with you in absolute ages and since I have recently been cooking with some more interesting items like those mentioned above, I thought this is the perfect time to share.

The duck eggs I just cooked sunny side up and did not season with anything because I wanted to really taste them and notice if there were any differences. I would say that the yolk was creamier and denser with a slightly buttery taste. It was delicious… oh and the shells are green! This may have been why I bought them :-/

Anyways, on to actual recipes:

Lamb burgers (makes 4 burgers)

For me, lamb and cumin are two flavours that just go, so this recipe is pretty heavy on the cumin, just adjust if you are not overly fond of the combo (it makes it taste kind of like a gyro)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground naturally raised lamb
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • A few good grind of fresh pepper

Plus:

  • Buns of your choice (I use a Portobello mushroom cap that I cooked in the oven for about 5 mins of 350)
  • Toppings: goat cheese, lettuce, tomato

Directions

Lamb Burger and Portobello Bun

Lamb Burger and Portobello Bun

  1. Pre-heat a heavy bottomed or grill pan or barbecue to medium-high heat
  2. Mix all the ingredient in a large bowl with your hands (it just works better, trust me)
  3. Rinse you hands and leave them slightly wet (helps keep the meat from sticking to your hands); form the mixture into 4 evenly sized patties that are slightly thinner in the centre (for even cooking)
  4. Place the patties on the ungreased pan and cook for 5-7 minutes each side or until done in centre
  5. Arrange the burgers with desired toppings and enjoy.

Please do not grease the pan unless you are using extra lean lamb. It already has a lot of fat in it that will coat the pan as it cooks. I had to drain the fat off throughout the cooking to avoid “frying” the burgers.

Also note that the addition of bacon is always good idea, I just didn’t have any on hand. So if you do, make you mouth happy and add bacon. 🙂

The switch to health

I will be the first to tell you I am vain; I like looking fit. It is motivating for me and I like the idea of “wearing” my passion. When I look good (i.e. look like a fitness model) I feel like my impact on people is greater because they see that I have accomplished something myself. But something interesting has happened in this last year and I think in large part it is thanks to blogging.

Suddenly I am more interested in health for health’s sake and less concerned with looks.

It is for this reason that I have been looking more into paleo, hormones and eating clean because the idea of eating for how our bodies are designed makes a lot of sense to me and the science is now catching up with that logic.

The science is indicating that things like wheat and legumes are in fact damaging our bodies, fat is actually a vital source of energy and nutrients, and refined sugars are one of the worst things you can put in your body.

One of the things that I really want to start doing more is buying local and fresh, which is something that the paleo community really pushes. This not only supports your community’s economy, but actually boost you immune system.

Why would a red pepper grown 30 miles from my house be any better than one grown in another country? You might ask.

There are 2 big factors that make buying local really appealing, particularly for certain foods:

1. Nutrient content depletes the older the food is and local food is way more likely to have been picked recently and allowed to ripen before being picked. Certain food are a lot more susceptible to this and you can see it happening. Have you ever bought a bunch of dark green spinach and left it in the fridge for a week? It may have goone bad, but if it didn’t I bet it lost a lot of its colour. That loss of colour is indicative of loss of nutrients. Things like aliums (garlic and onions), potatoes, cauliflower and carrots don’t really lose their nutrients because they are hardier, but even these are beneficial to buy local because…

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 46th week, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Local foods are grown in the same environment you are, which means they are exposed to the same allergens and soils that you are exposed to. Honey is a particularly good example of this; the bees take pollen from various flowers (that same pollen that causes my hayfever, for instance) and they make honey out of it. As long as the honey is unprocessed, you will then ingest that pollen and expose yourself to small amounts of those allergens. You are essentially inoculating yourself! How awesome is that!