Monday, January 4, 2010

Runaway recipe

Lovely lunch today, the lamb shanks that were meant to be last night's dinner. It's a great recipe but the trouble with it is if you'd like to dine around 7 or 8 then you should start it by 3 or 4. It's not that the recipe is so much work, it's that it's sequenced and the steps take time. The lamb shanks have to braise in their liquid for 2-3 hours; then you use 3 cups of the reduced elixir to pan-cook the orzo. So that never happened last night (yesterday's lunch of cavatappi with sausage and broccoli rabe reprised as dinner).

I finished up the recipe at 1 today. Just as well! I was awake enough to enjoy and savor it by the light of day (the sun, thank goodness came out), and I was very hungry after my brisk morning walk with weights. I fed the snow geese a bit of bread I had for them in my pocket. One of them's quite aggressive and nipped me. Am I creating monsters?

Here's the original recipe. I alter it in that I don't use port wine (have you priced it?!!!) - no need, red wine will absolutely suffice, 1-1/2 to 2 cups say. Also, when I'm embarking on this recipe I don't already have a head of roast garlic on hand. I roast it while the shanks braise, and use it in preparing the orzo. It's nice to have roast plum tomato on the side - the flavor is a beautiful complement. But it was nice that I already had some very chunky homemade plum tomato sauce frozen. I thawed and roasted it in a separate pan while the main dish braised.

Tonight: Carrot cake is cooling on the stove. Next task is to invert and ice it. At least the cream cheese icing is made. No excuses.

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