fat free opinions on a food centric life

Tag: almonds

German Chocolate Cake:  Inside-out

German Chocolate Cake: Inside-out

My sister celebrated a birthday recently, and since we both believe that sending a card or present across the country for this event is necessary, I’ve been trying to think of other ways to celebrate.  You know — it’s the thought that counts sort of […]

Pastry Ring with Dark Chocolate and Cardamom

Pastry Ring with Dark Chocolate and Cardamom

One of the techniques I’ve shied away from has been making puff pastry.  Although I can be fairly tenacious, when I feel like I’ve worked diligently on something and it doesn’t turn out, I’m not willing to jump back to the task to get it […]

Italian Almond Orange Cake: Mediterranean Meal’s Dessert

Italian Almond Orange Cake: Mediterranean Meal’s Dessert

Moroccan spice blend for lamb...
A week ago, I decided to ask friends over for dinner — friends I've known for a very long time.  It's the group I've mentioned before; the females know each other by profession, and the husbands by default.  It works and we all enjoy getting together to eat. 

It's a good thing we enjoy each others company, because this time, the food was less than stellar.  Sure, I'm being my usual critical self, but still.  Maybe it was because the week of warm temperatures had lulled me into thinking summer was around the corner and I was daydreaming.  Or that I'd quietly enjoyed taking my time in the kitchen that day thinking about the sequence of what I'd make first, then next, swearing I'd have good photos to use this time.  It was truly my favorite kind of day. But I know cooking for a group of people needs to be more than just pleasant time spent in the kitchen for it to be delicious as well.

I'd been in the mood for Mediterranean flavors and had a boneless leg of lamb in the freezer. Something Moroccan seemed perfect for the evening and although I scanned many recipes that sounded truly delicious, I settled on one from a cookbook one of my older sons had given to me:  The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by Tess Mallos.  The only problem is that the lamb meat would need to be cut into chunks for the Seksu Bil Lahm or Couscous with Lamb and Vegetables.  It seemed a waste to cut the leg of lamb up for the dish even though the flavors were exactly what I'd wanted.

The night before the party, I changed my mind and chose a different recipe instead.  You know what they say about changing your mind at the last minute, right?  So…

The spices' aroma was heavenly...

…this post won't be about the Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Leg of Lamb.  Lovingly rubbed, basted in an interesting honey-lemon syrup, and roasted to an internal temp of 145 degrees, the meat was too done for me…

Shrimp, calamari, clams...
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…and it won't be about the Seafood appetizer with Romesco Sauce I made because I sort of threw it together and will have to try it again, writing down the ingredients.  It's a bit challenging to do all of that when people are waiting to eat…

IMG_9075 IMG_9077

…nor will this be about my second attempt to make a Briami me Feta or Greek Vegetable Casserole with Feta.  Even though the layers were oh, so patiently put together, and carefully seasoned before baking for 90 minutes, the very thinnly sliced potatoes were not done. Par-boiling is definitely in order next time.  And there will be a next time because the flavor of this casserole was truly delicious — especially with a bite of the lamb.  Maybe next time, the lamb needs to be layered in the casserole.

Italian Orange Almond Cake

No, this will be about the dessert, which is where my day began last Saturday morning in my kitchen.  It will be about the Sformato di Aanci or Orange and Almond Cake that was so very moist and delicious.  Jenny of All Things Edible, an old Daring Baker friend has a new house and is celebrating with a Housewarming.  Join in on the celebration and send her a recipe to share before January 30th.  The more the merrier, right?  We think so!

Dinner with Friends is always good...

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Caramelly Honey Nut Squares

Caramelly Honey Nut Squares

Today is all about nuts.  Lots and lots of nuts — which is perfect for me about now as I listen to the painters downstairs finally, finally ripping the paper off the floor which has been taped on for more than a week.  I thought […]

Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pepitas

Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pepitas

If you’re someone who freezes food for later use, then you know there’s something to be said about how long food can be frozen and then used without sacrificing quality.  That would mean that the bones from last year’s something or other that are barely […]