Tasty recipes and more

Lamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots
This hearty and tasty lamb stew is very easy to prepare. Once all the ingredients are assembled in the pot, all that is needed is to bring it to the boil and then finish the cooking by baking it gently in the oven.
Served with fresh rustic bread or white rice (preferably Bastmai) it is the perfect dish for dinner on a chilly day.

Notes:
* In order to keep the okra whole while cooking, see THIS recipe for instructions on how to prepare it.
* If you can’t find fresh okra, frozen and thawed can be used instead.
* For a leaner version, keep the prepared stew in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Once the fat hardens, remove it with a spoon and reheat gently.
* Dried yellow plums or prunes can substitute the dried apricots.

Makes: 4-6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking/baking time: 3½ hours

Ingredients:
3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) bone-in lamb shoulder chops
2 cups beef or chicken stock
2 medium onions, diced
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 Tbs Herbs de Provence
1 tsp celery seeds
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 Tbs honey
1 can (14.5 oz, 410 grams) diced tomatoes
About ½ lb (225 grams) fresh okra pods (see notes)
12-14 dried apricots

1. Preheat the oven to 250F (120C). Place the meat in a large pot, in one layer. Pour the stock on top.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the diced onions, herbs, spices, salt, honey and diced tomatoes. Mix well and add to the pot. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Lamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit PensoLamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit PensoLamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit PensoLamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit Penso
3. Scatter the okra and dried apricots on top and cover the pot again. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200F (95C) and continue baking for 2 hours. Uncover the pot and bake for 30 minutes longer, until the top caramelizes a bit. Let stand in the pot for 10 minutes before serving.
Lamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit PensoLamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit PensoLamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit PensoLamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit PensoLamb Stew with Tomatoes ,Okra and Dried Apricots Ronit Penso

Farmer Cheese and Raspberry Muffins Ronit Penso

These beautiful and tasty muffins were inspired by thumbprint cookies, which have a tasty jam center.
Here I’ve decided to use homemade raspberry filling instead of the jam, something the small cookies would not be able to hold well while baking. The bigger muffins held the filling well and the muffins were a great success. They were perfect for brunch and I will definitely make them again. I’m sure you will too, once you’ll try them.

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Mushrooms Tart with Potato Crust

While we can get mushrooms year round, for some reason, winter always seems like a more appropriate season for mushroom dishes.
This easy and tasty tart is a good example for such dishes. It is hearty yet not too heavy – just perfect for a cold days lunch or dinner.
Instead of pastry, I’ve decided to use thinly sliced potatoes for the crust. Unlike what some recipes suggest, here I’ve used raw potatoes without any earlier cooking or frying, and the result was excellent. The crust was light and tasty, with crisp edges. I will no doubt use it again with other types of filling.
The added red wine enhances the mushrooms earthy aroma, and the sage and goat cheese add theirs. Once the bake is in the oven it feels like the humble electric oven is transformed into a wood stove oven.
Served with a nice glass of wine, this dish will chase the winter cold away.

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Porcupine Meatballs Ronit Penso

Adding rice to meatballs is an old tradition, which can be found in many cuisines around the world. The “porcupine” version is also known in quite a few of them, especially in the Persian and Chinese cuisines.
However, in many of these versions the whimsical “porcupine” effect, i.e. the rice grains protruding noticeably, is not always as pronounced as you can see here.
The secret ingredient for creating this effect is in using long grain rice, such as Basmati rice. When cooked, the long rice grains stick out of the meatballs, looking like small spikes, which brings to mind the porcupine spines.

I’ve decided to cook the meatballs with lots of vegetables, in order to create a complete meal in one pot. The result is hearty and warm, yet not too heavy, which makes it ideal for lunch or light dinner.
Try it and see for yourself.

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Peas, Pesto and Coconut Savory Brunch Pancakes Ronit Penso

As much as I like sweet pancakes, savory pancakes are also a great dish to serve on a weekend brunch or breakfast.
The recipe that follows is a variation of my previous recipe, for corn-pesto pancakes. Here I’ve used peas instead of the corn, replaced the cornmeal with whole wheat flour and desiccated unsweetened coconut, and the citrus in the pesto was replaced with pickled cherry peppers.
Obviously, the result is quite different, yet similar in the wonderful flavors and ease of preparation.
I’m sure you’ll think the same once you’ll prepare these tasty pancakes.

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Potato and Acorn Squash No Knead Bread Ronit Penso

This wonderful, aromatic and tasty bread started with a failure.
My original idea was to roast some potatoes for gnocchi, and serve them with brown butter and sage sauce. As I also bought a nice acorn squash, I decided to roast it with the potatoes.
Once this was done, I thought the gnocchi would benefit from the taste of the roasted acorn squash as well. So, I peeled and grated it, mixed it with the grated potatoes and started to work on the gnocchi dough.
However, very soon I’ve realized that even after adding 2 cups of flour, the mixture was still not holding at all, as the acorn squash was apparently too moist even after roasting.
As I prefer to use as little flour in the gnocchi as possible, so that they will not get too heavy (hence roasting the potatoes rather than cooking them), I’ve decided the gnocchi plan will not work out.
Nevertheless, I was not prepared to toss away the mixture, after all the work I’ve put into the roasting, peeling and grating.
So, it was time for plan B.
Looking at the mixture, and remembering my success with the Potatoes Rolls I’ve decided it might work well as bread. I added some yeast to it, and let it rise at room temperature. By then it was too late to start baking the bread, so I punched the dough down and placed it in the fridge.
In the morning, I punched the dough again, put it in a loaf pan, drizzled olive oil all over and baked it, hoping for the best.
The result was very pleasing: light and tasty bread, with a wonderful crust. The taste was even better after toasting.
So, it made sense to write down the recipe, as I will definitely want to make it again. I’m sure you will too, once you’ll taste it.

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Fruity Nutty Mini Cupcakes Ronit Penso
These mini-cupcakes are small in size, but large in flavors and textures. Loaded with dried and fresh fruits and pistachios, they will delight any fruitcakes fan, in a fairly short time.
They are perfect for a tea party, for serving in buffets dinners or brunches, or as a light snack and even as breakfast on the go.

* To bake in large baking cups, add 5-7 minutes to the baking time.
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