Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

My husband is learning to cook and much to my amazement, he isn't half bad.  The fact that he has discovered the crock pot helps.  Cooking is a breeze when all you have to do is throw a bunch of stuff in one pot, turn it on, and walk away.  Still, he deserves credit for making progress. When he was single, his entire repetoire pretty much consisted entirely of oatmeal, minute rice with canned tuna, and for variety, he'd make a Lean Cuisines.   He could  also microwave a potato.  Garlic was  "ethnic."

The refrigerator of his bachelor days sported a bottle of French's mustard, a six-pack of Guinness, and lefover pizza.  Frankly, that refrigerator was the only way I knew he wasn't gay (not that there's anything wrong with that).  In my defense, he dressed really well, and collected antiques.  What can I say?  My prior boyfriend had thumb-tacked a Patriots bath towel to his window for a curtain, so the fact that my husband had insulated drapes that matched a Queen Anne wing-back armchair gave me pause.  I think I let out an audible sigh of relief when I opened that refrigerator door.   The poor guy didn't know how to make a sandwich, but thank the good Lord, he was straight!!

For the past 16 years, we've had a fairly egalitarian marriage:  I do all the cooking and he does everything else.  Unfortunately, with that crock pot he has recently caught on that cooking isn't as difficult as he feared.  He has discovered the joy of cranking up the tunes while you stir, chop, and saute--particularly if it means that someone else has to do the dishes, the laundry, the yard work,  pay the bills, and take the kids to soccer.  Damn.  I should take a hammer to that crock pot.  I've had it GOOD.

Slow Cooked Lamb & Beans
Courtesy of Wegman's  (Actually, I'm inferring such courtesy by the fact that they publish a quarterly recipe magazine ).

1.  Dust 4 lamb shanks with flour, salt, and pepper.  Wegman's features a pre-made "pan searing flour" that's really quite handy.  ( Oh come on, if I'm going to plagiarize Wegman's whole-cloth, the least I can do is make a few cheap plugs for some of their merchandise).

2.  Sear the lamb in a sauce pan coated with about 2 Tbsp of olive oil, heated over medium-high heat.  Brown on all sides--about 8-10 minutes.  Transfer the lamb to a crock pot.

3.  Add 8 oz of Wegman's cleaned and cut mirepoix to the pan--OR--save yourself about $4.00 and chop into a small dice: 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and one small onion.  ( The pre-cut mirepoix is outrageously expensive; I do have some ethical standards.  Of course, new cooks like my husband get intimidated when they see an ingredient in French, and Wegman's knows how to exploit such naivety.  Cunning buggers, those Wegman's folks.)  Saute until the vegetables are tender.

4.  Add one bay leaf and one cup of dry white wine.  Reduce until the mixture is a little thick.

6.  Add 6 Tbsp of flour.

7.  Transfer mixture to the crock pot with the lamb.  Add:  the zest of one lemon, the juice of one lemon, 3 cans (15.5 oz each) of cannelli beans, 1 28 oz can of roma tomatoes with basil, and 32 oz of chicken stock. 

8.  Cook on HIGH for 5-6 hours, or on LOW for 8-10 hours.  (A dish that only requires one temperature setting appeals to novice cooks.)

9.  Stir in 1 tsp rosemary and 2 tsp thyme just before serving.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Ooh and aah over your husband's efforts.  Tell the little lad how fetching he looks barefoot and in the kitchen.

No comments:

Post a Comment