30 January 2011

The Kitchen Journal 1

Welcome to The Kitchen Journal, an occasional series revealing life in the kitchen of Beth Fish Reads.

Snapshot: I developed three new recipes this week: (1) a lamb dish inspired by a Russian soup my grandmother used to make, (2) curried lentils with Swiss chard, and (3) a quick veal stew/one-dish meal. I developed a whole wheat sesame bread based on a recipe from Ken Haedrich's Country Baking book. I tried three new recipes, all from The Crabby Cook by Jessica Harper (featured as yesterday's Weekend Cooking post). We tried one new wine: Bogle's 2008 Cab (yum!).

In My Market Basket: I do not make a shopping list; instead I always buy salad ingredients, breakfast supplies, and whatever staples need to be replenished. Then I buy the fresh fruits and vegetables that look the best. In my basket this week were cabbage, rutabagas, Swiss chard, and mushrooms. I made a second run to the store to buy ingredients for the Crabby Cook Cookbook recipes.

Pick of the week: The lamb dinner, which you could easily make with ground beef if that suits your taste better. Note that I forgot to carefully measure my herbs and spices. I promise to do a better job with accuracy next time.

Not Really Russian Lamb

© cbl for www. BethFishReads.com

4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or as needed)
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • black pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste
  • pinch sour salt and/or sea salt to taste
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 small cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium rutabaga, cut in half and then into 1/4-inch slices
  • 8 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (14-ounce can) diced tomatoes with juice
  • © cbl for www. BethFishReads.com
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Adjust the amount of oil by how lean or fatty your meat is. Add the lamb and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, until it is no longer pink. Add the onion and garlic and cook just until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the caraway seeds, paprika, oregano, peppers, and salt and cook, stirring, until well mixed. Add the remaining ingredients, and let simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes (depending on how you cut your vegetables). If the mixture begins to look dry, add more broth or a little water, cover, and continue to let it simmer until done. Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings as needed.
© cbl for www. BethFishReads.com

From left: Sesame Bread, Quick Veal Stew (click to enlarge). I forgot to photograph the lentils.


Heather 1/30/11, 8:32 AM  

Hmmm....I like your experiment! I hope it sticks around! :)

Booksnyc 1/30/11, 8:59 AM  

I love your shopping philosophy - buying what looks good for the week! I always seem to do the reverse - plan meals and then shop for those ingredients but I imagine your approach works out better.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 1/30/11, 9:15 AM  

I just finished breakfast, but I'm drawn to the photos - the bread, the stew ... and the thought of the lentils!

I have only "ground paprika" in my cabinet. I suspect smoky paprika is not the same thing, is it?

Beth F 1/30/11, 9:20 AM  

@Dawn: yes, smoky is different but it is readily available in the spice isle of your grocery store.

Lynne Perednia 1/30/11, 9:51 AM  

Love the Kitchen Journal concept. And trying the recipe w/beef. And while it's still winter, a hearty lentil-sausage dish.

Off to store after day breaks. Thanks to you, can look for smoky paprika.


bermudaonion 1/30/11, 10:39 AM  

I'm impressed by anyone who can develop a recipe. I don't consider myself a very good cook because I can't do that. I can't decipher flavors or figure out what flavors go well together.

serendipity_viv 1/30/11, 10:45 AM  

I am really impressed by your adventures in the kitchen. I wouldn't know where to start to develop a recipe. It looks yummy.

JoAnn 1/30/11, 10:53 AM  

What a great post - I'll look forward to more of this series! Although I love to cook, I've never been adventurous enough to develop my own recipes.

Meghan 1/30/11, 10:58 AM  

Yum! I need to cook to recipes - I'm incredibly bad at improvising. I like to think I'll improve with experience though. I'm looking forward to more of these posts!

Kim 1/30/11, 12:39 PM  

Impressive Beth! And...you happen to be the opposite of me as you know from my last several weekend cooking posts--(this weeks going up today). I am a planner...menu plan, and grocery list plan. I enter that grocery store armed for battle!!!;)
Lovely post and yeah you for being able to just develop a recipe.

Heather 1/30/11, 4:45 PM  

Some of my best dishes have come from just winging it with whatever was in the kitchen. This sounds like a good dish.

Anonymous 1/30/11, 6:01 PM  

Beth, I like your approach to grocery shopping. Sounds like mine! I'm always interested in two things about people--what they're cooking and what they're reading (not necessarily in that order). You should see the odd assortment of books on my nightstand!

Jean | Delightful Repast 1/30/11, 6:02 PM  

Beth, I like your approach to grocery shopping. Sounds like mine! I'm always interested in two things about people--what they're cooking and what they're reading (not necessarily in that order). You should see the odd assortment of books on my nightstand!

Zibilee 1/30/11, 8:07 PM  

Beth, you are so inspiring when it comes to cooking and being in the kitchen! I love the sound of this lamb recipe, and as I hardly ever eat lamb, I am going to have to give this dish a try. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Anonymous,  1/30/11, 9:57 PM  

Hmmm, I wonder what it would taste like with ground chicken. I might have to give it a whirl.

BookGeek 1/31/11, 7:58 AM  

I love experimenting in the kitchen! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I might try it with beef instead.

Rebecca Rasmussen 1/31/11, 9:03 AM  

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this feature!

Rebecca Rasmussen 1/31/11, 9:03 AM  

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this feature!

Vasilly 1/31/11, 12:27 PM  

I love how you named your recipe "Not Really Russian Lamb"! The soup looks delicious.

Andi 2/1/11, 8:50 AM  

This looks soooo delicious. I love lamb but I don't have many recipes using it.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 2/1/11, 10:39 AM  

I usually shop as you do. i have my staples and then I get some of what looks good and develop recipes around them. Looking forward too getting a peek into your kitchen.

Alice 2/3/11, 4:05 AM  

I ate so much last night and today but still when I look at the pics, I got hungry all over again! Yummy...

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