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lovebenton0

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  1. Hmmm . . . You have given me an idea. Remember that purple prickley pear that my nephew gave me for Christmas? Well, it has been potted in the rocky sandy stuff from where it came. I just keep forgetting to bring it home from my sister's house. It occurs to me that the environment might be right for thyme. I am gonna try putting some of the low growing stuff in the pot with the pear. i think that sounds about right. the thyme may like a little more water than necessary for your cactus... but i still think they may partner well enough together to be encouraging. a few rocks on the top of the soil around the thyme is well appreciated by them too. that will also help balance out the difference in the cactus/thyme watering preferences. definitely worth a try. yep, i knew that was what you'd say... well, i was going to post a garden update today anyway so... about 500+ wild persimmons on my two trees, 150+ tomatoes growing/ripening at various stages out in the garden... Tabasco, Thai bird chiles, and hot banana peppers showing best of the varieties of hot chiles this year, herbs doing well as always... grapes still coming along. and i hope the grapes and tomatoes are ready soon enough before we leave for 10 days in July for me to get some jelly and salsa done! assorted herbs picked as i need them right now... lots of lemon thyme and a sprig of rosemary today for a chicken tonight. last night's veg pick, we're just beginning to scoop tomatoes now... a few lemon boy tomatoes, a something red tomato which is the only one at this stage the rest are still growing green babies, not sure which variety... hot bananas gone to a hot and sweet vermillion, and a handful of bird chiles (not in pic).
  2. lovebenton0

    Leg of Lamb

    i do, across the grain. the texture is much preferrable to me. ← I remember reading once that the leg has different muscle groups with the grain going in different directions. Do you carve out the seperate muscle pieces in big chunks of meat? Is it easy to determine these seperate muscle pieces? ← i don't pre-carve it that way myself once cooked, but have for lamb i'm planning to cube. i generally buy the half leg for us. instead, i alter my slicing as i go. it has never seemed to be that difficult to me to tell the direction of the muscle grain. however, that's not a bad idea if one had a large (whole) leg o' lamb to work with... i have also done that with the shoulder, which tends to be a mess of convoluted muscle mass and benefits the carver by having some pre-treatment.
  3. lovebenton0

    Leg of Lamb

    i do, across the grain. the texture is much preferrable to me.
  4. lovebenton0

    Leg of Lamb

    Marinating lamb in yogurt is very typical of Middle Eastern dishes. Here's another one you might like to try: Tah Chin (rice & lamb in yogurt sauce) Ingredients in order of use: 3 to 4 lb shoulder of lamb (trimmed; bite-sized chunks) 2 C plain yogurt (better if you make your own, of course, but if not, store-bought will do) 1/4 t ground cinnamon 1/4 t salt 1/4 t pepper 1 t saffron 2 1/2 C rice 1 1/2 t salt 1 egg, beaten 1 t saffron 2 qts water 2 T salt 1/2 C butter Refrigerate lamb in yogurt, cinnamon, salt, 1t saffron overnite. Combine rice and salt with enough cold water to cover and allow to soak overnight. Next day: Remove lamb from yogurt mixture (reserve yogurt), arrange in ovenproof casserole and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. To reserved yogurt mixture, add 1 egg and 1 tsp saffron; beat to combine. Drain rice that has been soaking. Bring to boil 2 qts water. Add 2 T salt and drained rice and boil for 10-15 minutes. Pour rice into colander and rinse with lukewarm water. Remove lamb from baking dish and set aside. Combine yogurt/egg mixture with rice. In bottom of baking dish, melt 1/2 C butter with 2 T water. Over melted butter arrange half of rice. Scatter lamb cubes over rice. Top with remaining rice. Cover tightly. Bake at 400 for 14 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Serves 6. (Note - this sounds complicated, but is actually quite easy) ← this sounds easy and marvelous, Jaymes. hmmmm.... a little adjustment and maybe not a bad way to use rare leftover lamb either, i would think... a bit pumped from plainer lamb and rice.
  5. lovebenton0

    Leg of Lamb

    mmmm-mmmm.... leg of lamb, butterflied, on the grill. butterfly the leg (mine was boneless, about 4 lbs), cut away excess fat, sprinkle with Kosher salt and frehly ground coarse peppercorn melange (black, white, red, green peppercorns). marinated in fridge for about 5 or 6 hrs with about a pound or so of yogurt, 4 minced garlic cloves, sprigs of fresh chopped rosemary (about 2 tbsp), and sprig each of fresh (chiffonade) lemon basil and cinnamon basil (herbs and garlic from my garden). remove from the marinade and skewer the leg a few times each direction for easier manipulation on the grill. i used wooden skewers (7) because i had them. grilled over high fire for about 12 to 15 minutes each side (135F was the read on my thermometer and it was deep pink and tender). let rest a good 10 minutes. sliced to serve. this has to be my new fav for grilling lamb. the flavor was rich and savory, the meat was very tender with a good texture. and great for sandwiches on freshly baked onion rye sourdough bread the next couple of days also. edited to add the forgotten cinnamon basil to marinade....
  6. welcome to the TX gardening thread, anchita! sounds like you have a good start and i would echo fifi's suggestions also. i would add cilantro to the list also, which fifi might not be likely to, as it doesn't appeal much to her. and as it goes to seed you can then harvest those... coriander seeds... for more culinary enjoyment. your rosemary will grow as large as you let it. i have two that are almost the size of a VW bug, each. so if you allow it more space, a bigger pot, it will do fine. it also does not need a lot of water. in addition to the sweet basil there are other varieties you might like to try... lemon basil and cinnamon basil, as well as Thai basil, would really pump up your herb collection adding great variety in flavor and uses. fifi, me thinks that perhaps your thyme is getting too much water. mine roasts out here in the Central TX sun all summer and i have no problem with it unless it decides to rain too much, then it will back off some. as mine is in the ground that isn't a major setback and the sun clears that up soon enough. but in pots i'd be especially careful not to overwater or overtend it. some rocks might help you some also, thyme likes a rocky environment.
  7. show off??? heaven forbid!....says this Scorpio born in the year of the dragon! since it's usually the two of us... although i'm so fortunate to have a hubby that does the praise thing very well... i live for those opportunities to show off at family and friend gatherings. i cook and bake like this everyday... why should i stop when i can scoop in a bigger audience? when i was still working our office was infamous for our monthly bday/potluck parties. we had a planning committee (and a sign up list), so of course i had to be in on that at least every other year. we rotated between brunches, lunches and afternoon snacks, always with some unifying theme. lots of show offs there, no gender excluded... we loved it. some of the people from the other offices around us would ask to be included as guests during their bday month. we were generous, always more than enough food for 50+ people! it became tradition to include a name tag with recipe for the dishes we brought. lots of fun, very educational... and great presentation counted for extra points.
  8. there's an HEB in Waxahachie, that may be closer to you.
  9. do you carry this in your store? if so, i'd rather buy it from there than have to order it online.
  10. thanks, fifi. that's the first place i checked. i've gotten lavender seeds from them in the past. and their lotion is pretty good too. and i'd love to go to one of their lavender seminars! alas, for me, that is not possible. 60+ miles is a bit too far to cane my way to. i'll keep searching, and maybe the flower spikes will appear this year after all...
  11. i do well remember the Hobbit Cafe, and that luscious Gandalf sandwich brings back memories too... my fav there to be sure! ah, i miss the abundance of passion flowers in Houston. and my fruiting pfs here do not produce the fleshy fruits, but i did make some syrup out the thin-walled fruit that was prettily pink and tasty... was very nice generously drizzled over shaved ice and fruit salads. i'll make it stronger this year if the pfs decide to return. i'm afraid hubby may have gotten a bit over-zealous with the weedeater. the lemon horsemint sounds like a great idea with that! i have bunches of these onions and the other white flower-topped variety here, right in the yard. we do eat a lot of them. those and the garlic plug up all the spots in my rockwalls... roflmao! love the headline! about the grapes... has it been cooler there than usual this spring? we had several cooler nights, down into the 40s, as recently as 10 days ago, very late to be that cool for us and that delayed the grapes here slightly. they may be a bit later this year. seems they mature here starting in June and continuing until around the first week in July for the end of the crop... for some reason they seem to doing an odd thing now. i just went to check ours after reading your post... some of the smallest grapes are ripening, way too tiny to be of any use! but i have hundreds of green grapes up to marble size that look healthy and firm, not a spot on them i could see. so looks like a good harvest coming up here. the later grape variety (muscadine?) which are much smaller are looking promising also, but that can be deceptive as i usually don't get half the amount of those as the mustang grapes. also, no matter how small these grapes are they have a soft seed, which develops into multiple hard seeds.... well, at least by the time they are big enough to even split open at all, say an eighth of an inch.
  12. Central Texas opens up a whole new habitat for exploration. I am envious of the wild persimmon. I think it is too humid here or something because it is not all that common. I had spied one a few years ago in an open field on the north side of Clear Lake City. I was going to keep my eye on it and they cut it down to build more houses. Funny you should mention horsemint. I saw a good stand of it on the way home yesterday. I was not in a position to pull out of traffic at the time. It is pretty common here on the drier parts of roadsides and fields. We have used the flowers sprinkled on salad. I have braised chicken on a bed of it with onions and it was delicious. ← absolutely delicious in a lamb stew also. and it holds up well once dried if kept in an opaque container. hope you don't mind, fifi. but i got a request to post a pic of the horsemint.. and i had one from last year... maybe more folks will discover this fine wild herb in their areas. shame i did not get a close up of the flowers, which are lovely. so not the best shot as i had just gotten the camera recently, but here it is, jsolomon.
  13. we have loads of honey suckle growing right here, in fact we have to cut it back to keep it under control from taking over my front garden bed and the side ramp to the house... and i still indulge in the sweet nectar occasionally. a dropful of childhood memories. i'm loving your blog, fifi! this is great reading. having lived in and around Houston, including the Heights, for several years i can appreciate your sources. and i still do a considerable amount of foraging here in Central TX... up close and afar when possible. our back fence grapes are growing now... jelly next month from those, and more jammy goodies from wild persimmon (called TX cherries around here) that will be ripening about July. so excellent on biscuits and toast.... again experiencing deep envy over your calamondin source! do you have lemon horsemint around there? i didn't know about that when we lived there. maybe it takes a drier climate, but if you do, that is a marvelous herb especially for chicken and lamb. similar to marjoram but with a lemony aroma and flavor. the lavender-colored leaves and the lovely, tiny orchid-like flowers can all be used. this is the right time for it... edited for typo...
  14. is anyone growing lavender??? i have a beautiful Provence lavender plant... well the foliage is lovely anyway. but it has not bloomed, ever. this is the third season and when it didn't bloom the first season i thought certainly it would the second year, as from what i've read that's typical behavior. nope, not even a try at a bloom stalk. is there a way to prompt blooming? or anyone know what i may need to do? special feeding, or cutting it back... anything? it's not over watered, it acts healthy and grows fine... small but very bushy and good leaves. so, any suggestions from the TX group? on a good note the first Thai bird chiles have ripened and the hot banana peppers too. and various tomatoes are booming along with lots of blooms and some baby tomatoes. the other peppers (the ever-present Tabasco and other hotties) are slower, but still growing up like good green kids. first year for me to try growing tomatillos... and the plants, started from seed, look good so far. basils are, as always, being very good to me... also the thymes (silver and lemon) and the oreganos, most are now two yrs old, and the new sage.
  15. i will never never never never set a cast iron skillet down on a crowded counter again.... it was not hot, it was not cold, but it was about 70 years old, left to me by a dear departed elderly friend. i've had that skillet for 30+ yrs. i must have bumped it when i was cleaning the stovetop. it now has no handle. when it hit the floor the handle leaped away from the skillet like a live animal! it is useless to me for stovetop cooking now, just too dangerous for me. but i refuse to give it up, so it has become strictly for oven use, for cornbread, etc. it did prompt me to order that new Lodge pre-seasoned skillet i've been wanting... but like a good friend you can't replace one with another... on a #$%&* hot handle note here... i love my handle potholders. got two at the restaurant supply for about $4. just remember to stick them on when you set the pan on the burner. saved me many times now from that "i'm just gonna shift the pan a touch" burns! and thanks to all the confessors here, i've laughed and cried all morning reading this thread.
  16. beautiful! what did Rachel cook this in since it was non-tagine? and stovetop or oven?
  17. hi Susan! try out this link to an online nursery in Largo, FL for their Kaffir lime trees. as long as it's grown in your state they can ship it to you. happy hunting...
  18. lovebenton0

    Onion Confit

    lovely confit, Stacie35. you're right... the sweeter the raw onion the less sweet the finished confit. i seldom add any sugar to mine anyway. but i do like the demiglace and a splash of wine or basalmic.
  19. lovebenton0

    Dinner! 2005

    Friday night: Casa Rio Chili con Carne and Chili Queen Enchiladas served with a simple salad of sliced Romaine and tomato wedges, dressed with sour cream and my own salsa. both are from Robb Walsh's Tex-Mex Cookbook. details and pics are here in the Tex-Mex Cooking with Robb Walsh thread. these are two old-style Tex-Mex recipes, like you just can't find when eating out any more.. and i would highly recommend them both. repeated that last night with leftovers, for a dinner alone. no complaints from me... chili and sauce are always better the next night anyway.
  20. well, i just had to do it... i had to delve into the older original recipes Robb has given us. and i'm so glad i did. i did make some minor adjustments to accommodate what i had in my pantry... but i really don't think it made that much difference. the chili puree base (p. 50) for the sauce of the chili queen enchiladas (p. 58) gives them a rich and complex flavor i remember from eating enchiladas at my friend's house when i was a child in the early 60s. with the sharp and creamy queso fresco, these are going to be eaten often around here... another great opportunity to use the MX oregano from the garden. i used half weight of the dried anchos, as that was what i had on hand, but supplemented that, as Robb suggested, with other dried chiles from my own garden stash. i added several dried dark red anaheims (or NM red chiles according to some), and several dried small red chiles that my neighbor who gave me the first seeds just calls MX red chiles. they are about the size/shape of a medium jalapeno, but with a pointed end and mature to a red-orange color, thin fleshed and medium heat. i use them quite often for MX/TX MX sauces, but i'm not sure what they are. i do like their flavor. the chili queen enchiladas the casa rio chili con carne (p. 51) is simple, rich and delicious, a pork and beef stew really. it was truly created to be done in a stoneware olla and i made mine in my la chamba pot, stovetop over a med low gas flame. so mine took longer than the suggested 60+ minutes over a higher flame, about 3 hours altogether. another adjustment i made was since i had just made chili puree for the chili queen enchiladas sauce (and the proportion worked out just about right) i used a cup of that to replace some of the dried chiles and one cup of the liquid. i also only used 1/2 cup of fat with the 1/4 cup of flour to thicken the chili stew instead of 3/4 cup fat as suggested. that just seemed way over the top for me personally. oh, spank me now! i had no lard so i used half rendered chicken fat/half veg oil for all the fat in both recipes. and i garnished the chili with fresh chopped onions. chili doesn't look like much but this was exceptionally good Friday night and even better last night. i would recommend both of these recipes. edited for typo.
  21. We ate a ton of yellow curries with all sorts of little oily fishes, skate, a few with water buffalo and mutton, in addition to the ubiquitous chicken, when we were in southern Thailand (but no pork)! For the fish yellow curries, there was usually a lot of kaffir lime leaf added. regards, trillium ← hmmmm... some yellow curry with a bit of the leg o' lamb we just picked up sounds good. possibly with some garden basil (even a touch mint) for garnish.... and a bit of just ripened thai chilies. thanks for the inspiration...
  22. Elie, the way i do this... you just need enough water to halfway cover the tomatoes and garlic. it is only for softening and the water will not be used... it doesn't mention this but you can gently turn the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and only need to boil them a few minutes. aside from that i really like the smoked salsa also. lucky mom, sounds good!
  23. lovebenton0

    Dinner! 2005

    have not posted here in a while, but i must say this thread has been humming along, deliciously! last night we also had a bit of Tex Mex in honor of Cinco de Mayo, and no pics, i let the battery go down... but the grilled chicken fajita wraps were very good.... tossed the grilled sliced thighs and onions with some homemade salsa and fresh cilantro from the garden. served it rolled up in flour tortillas with pepper jack cheese, slivered lettuce and sour cream. did get pics of our migas in the skillet for dinner the night before... Tuesday, dinner alone that evening so i enjoyed a grilled shrimp salad and crackers Monday, salmon croquettes, fresh potato chips and a lime juice and pepper marinated tomato/1015 onion salad and from last weekend... beef braised in my la chamba, with red wine, mushrooms, onions, a diced tomato, fresh oregano and basil from the garden served on bakers. on the side... baby carrots glazed with orange peel, dried apricots and candied ginger
  24. Czech Stop is definitely worth the visit. besides the wide variety of sweet kolaches and robust sausage/meat/chub rolls they do killer good sandwiches on their own breads. if NYT can count the Scenic Loop Cafe as a road food spot, then there's one not mentioned that i would add for Austin. Threadgill's. a worthy stop for comfort food on the road, especially if you like one of my favs... a big mess of great chicken livers, fried or sauteed, cream gravy and lots of veggies... at the original location on N Lamar. good food and good live music have been co-habiting there for decades...
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