My Kitchen, My World…Cooking Egypt~

9 04 2011

Cooking with the ladies at My Kitchen, My World this month takes us to exotic Egypt…  I think of Egypt and in my mind’s eye I see Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in all her glory…  I think of lotus blossoms and dates…  As for food…I had to do some research!  I love foodie research!

There are a lot of interesting flavor combinations in Middle Eastern cooking.  A lot of things run a bit on the sweetish side.  There seems to be a lot of lamb (maybe goat as well) in their diet as meat proteins.  That makes sense.  Goats and sheep provide both meat and fiber, and are more easily grazed due to their smaller size.

This dish is an Egyptian recipe for braised lamb shanks.  I found the recipe while I was dancing across the world via my computer!  What a world we live in today!!  You start by browning off the lamb shanks, then add the vegetables and seasonings and pop it into the oven for a couple of hours.  This was a great choice for Chorus night!  It cooked while we were rehearsing.  What a deal!

When I took the pan from the oven and tasted the final sauce, I decided it needed just one more layer of texture and flavor… I toasted some pistachios and chopped them fairly fine to garnish the top of our plates.  They have a slightly sweet nutty taste and they added a really nice little touch.

Majestic flavor from an inexpensive cut of meat

* 4 lamb shanks
* 2 Tblsp. Olive oil
* 2 onions [chopped]
* 1/4 cup Armenian or Italian parsley [chopped]
* 1 green bell pepper [chopped] *I used red, as I didn’t have a green one
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 15 0z. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
* 1 teaspoon of fresh basil leaves [chopped]
* 1 teaspoon fresh mint leaves [chopped]
* 1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary leaves
* 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
* Salt and pepper to taste

* In a heavy skillet, brown off the lamb shanks in the olive oil. (Can also be placed on a grill and browned off)
Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the shanks. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours
or until tender. Baste with the sauce 2 or 3 times during cooking. (Can be cooked on top of the stove in
a covered skillet or chicken fryer at a med-low setting and served when the meat begins to fall off the bone.
About 2 hours. Add white wine or water if necessary *PLAN on it being necessary! )

Tasting Notes~
This dish was declared a keeper for us!  We enjoy lamb, and are fond of braised lamb shanks.  I’ve cooked a variety of cuisine interpretations of this dish.  There’s a particular Mexican lamb dish that we love, and would love to have a recipe for.  This recipe comes close in flavor…it’s a bit on the sweet side.  Remember, we did add 2 Tbsp. brown sugar in there.  The Mexican dish in my mind has a slightly sweetish flavor too.  I tried serving the lamb over thin noodles…that was a disaster.  Thankfully, you can’t see that part here!  LOL!  I think grilled polenta (hush) or rice would be a better side with this.  Regardless…you do want something to help you get every drop of the sauce up.  I was sorry I made only 2 of the 4 shanks!  Incidentally…I did not reduce the sauce ingredients, only the number of lamb shanks.  I would fix this again, and love every bite!

Thank you to our hostess, Andrea, for coming up with such a great location!!  Next month…we’ll be visiting…


Destination: Norway

27 03 2011

This month with My Kitchen, My World, we travel to Norway…another of the Scandinavian nations.  I didn’t quite make it to Destination:  Sweden a few months back.  My choice of recipes is more Scandinavian than Norwegian, I’m afraid… It was darn tasty nonetheless!


You now know the extent of my knowledge of Norway…  I think I was having a bit of help from the gnomes while I was preparing my dish… One came out beautifully, the other totally fell apart!   Uff-da!  LOL!

Norwegians depend on the fishing industry for their primary protein…fish.  I’m sure fish (cod, salmon,shrimp…) coming out of the cold North Atlantic waters is fabulous.  I prefer Atlantic fish to most Pacific fish.  The water is colder, and it affects the taste of the fish.  The fish has less “fishy” taste.  As usual, getting decent quality anything sea-worthy is difficult this far in-land.  I can get frozen…but it’s packaged so I can’t see what I’m buying, and I’m touchy about that habit in marketers.  It usually means they wouldn’t want you to see it…  I held off and went with shrimp.

My dish, Scandinavian Open-Face Bay Shrimp Sandwich…is tasty beyond reason.  I wasn’t sure how I’d like dilled-lemon mayonnaise mixed with mustard…but oh!  It was wonderful!  I used medium shrimp, which are very close to the size of the bay shrimp we can get here, and cut them into pieces, 1/2 inch chunks.  Rather than using bread, pumpernickel no less, I had some nice, soft French Rolls that toasted up nicely.  The recipe also called for fresh cucumber slices on the sandwich…I could have sworn I had a cucumber in the fridge!  Instead, since we were already using dill, I added slices of dill pickles in place of the cucumbers.  I’ll remember this recipe in the summer when cukes are plentiful and cold sandwiches taste best!

Tasting Notes~
I wouldn’t hesitate to fix this recipe again.  Like I said…especially in the summer!  Although a little on the sloppy side, this sandwich had a lot of flavor…the mustard melded with the dill and lemon and added just the right amount of pizazz!  We both enjoyed it thoroughly!

Visiting Norway was quite fun!  I spent at least 3 afternoons collecting recipes I’d like to try.  One of the recipes I want to try involves Norwegian pastry and sweets.  It’s cold there…so they work off each and every calorie easily!   Next month we travel to Egypt…

That ought to be interesting!  What I know about Egyptian food you can put into a thimble and still have room for your thumb!  Come back and see what I put together then!