Value Added

Husband and I did such a good job eating leftovers out of the Lutheran Freezer over the past couple of months that I decided last weekend that I would go crazy and actually cook some new dishes. Husband left it to me to do the cooking while he and the dog cleaned up the yard. I had the best fun!

We have a number of legs of lamb in our freezers, and I decided to make use of one. I didn’t want to just roast a whole leg. One of my favorite lamb dishes is a Kreatopita from the island of Kephalonia that has lamb chunks, tomatoes, feta, and hard boiled eggs all encased in phyllo. It calls for only 1.75 lbs of lamb, so we had to find other recipes to use up the remaining leg meat. We opted for recipes from a stew book by Clifford Wright, a historian and food writer who specializes in dishes from the Mediterranean. He also came up with the Lamb Pie recipe.

The first stew, which also used 1.75 lbs of lamb, was an Andalusian recipe called Spanish Lamb, Heirloom Beans, and Fennel stew. That stew had four different kinds of dried heirloom beans, most from Spain and Portugal. Next came Fiery White Haricot, Onion, and Lamb Stew of the Housewives of Algiers. I used cassoulet beans in that. It used 2 lbs of lamb. The rest of the leg meat was cut into chunks for kebobs that husband grilled. That recipe was from 14th Century Catalan and used about 1.5 lbs of lamb marinated “in the Arab style” with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, marjoram, and sherry vinegar. I made two vegetable curries and Indian rice to go with the kebobs. One of those recipes was the eggplant curry recipe that PJ contributed to the Kitchen Congress. It is one of my favorites.

I can imagine that anyone reading this will wonder what the heck we are going to do with all this food. Well, not much went into the Lutheran freezer, and it is all so good that we will eat it up pretty quickly. The curries are really going fast. In cooking all this, I used up many things we already had in our freezers and larder. We are coming to increasingly appreciate the wonders of Mediterranean cooking.

How spicy do you like your food? What are your favorite Mediterranean dishes? When was the last time you had a cooking frenzy?

22 thoughts on “Value Added”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I cannot wait for you to retire and move back to Minnesota. I will be inviting you to cook at my house or awaiting an invitation to your table. I like spicy food with chiles, just not curries. I don’t think I have cooking frenzies, just slow, steady meal prep.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. On the “spicy” continuum from Midwestern to Korean, my liking for spicy food would land at the point of “rather”. I’m well past “middlin'”, but no where near “very”, and definitely far away from what, here in west Michigan, is considered “normal.”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. 1. Mild, mild, mild!
    2. Nothing with lamb
    3. Rarely, if ever. The closest I come to a cooking frenzy is roasting a bunch of vegetables. I used to joke that if a recipe called for more than 6 ingredients or took longer than 15 minutes to fix (excluding cooking/baking time), I wouldn’t bother. It’s no longer a joke, When it comes to food, just call me b-o-r-i-n-g.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. These recipes took a while since I had to soak and cook the dried beans. I prefer to cook them on the stove rather than use an instant pot.


        1. I don’t count the soaking time as part of the cooking time, but obviously you have to plan ahead to make sure the various speed bumps to a recipe – such as thawing, marinating, and soaking – are taken into consideration. For the past couple of months, husband has been doing most of the cooking because of my knee, and he is not in the habit of thinking ahead. He thinks I plan too much, but I think he’s coming to realize that if you don’t think ahead, it severely limits what your choices are when it comes to cooking, and you’ll make many more trips to the store.

          OT – Tomorrow is my first PT appointment. I’m hoping my therapist is a miracle worker, and of course, I’ll do my part.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. You need a good relationship with the therapist. Get to know her/him. Let the therapist get to know you. Hope she/he wants to.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Thanks, Clyde. All I know at this point is that his name is David, and that he has been a PT for 28 years. Hopefully we’ll like each other and enjoy working together. I get along with most people, so I’m hopeful, but time will tell. He may not be overly enthused when he sees that I’m an 80 year old woman, but there’s nothing I can do about that. All I know is that we both have our work cut out for us.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, cooking for one makes me boring, but I cannot eat spicy foods and I have lost my taste for many things, such as beef and baked goods.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Seeing how careful Aboksu is to differentiate levels of heat or “spicy” in food, I should probably not claim to like it hot. I learned that lesson by eating at a Thai restaurant in Minneapolis many years ago. Their idea of “medium” was painfully hot to me. I was in tears throughout the meal, and no amount of raita or other cooling agents could ease the burning in my mouth. Lesson learned!

    But I do love all kinds of flavorings in food, from delicate herbal through bold, pungent, and hot. I used to say that if you needed a particular herb or spice for a dish and didn’t have it on hand, chances were pretty good that I could give you some. And I do have a lot of them, but I’m also aware there are so many that I don’t have. I’m lucky to live relatively close to any number of markets where I have access to pretty much everything I have ever needed for a recipe, no matter how exotic. Of course, during the growing season, we usually have a lot of fresh herbs in the garden, and what we don’t have is readily available from the various farmers’ markets around town.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I don’t really do cooking frenzies either, I’m afraid. I tend to make large batches of something that I really like and either eat it every day for a week or freeze some. I’ve started to freeze things more often instead of boring myself eating the same thing day after day. I’ve been eating much less in the past few months which has resulted in cooking less as well. I do like to roast vegetables but I don’t add a lot of seasoning to them. Their flavors are good on their own.

    I love curries, just love them. I like mild to moderate heat but not hot. Thai food is too hot for me. I like to make vegetarian chili to which I add a heaping tablespoon of chili powder and a sprinkle of dried chilies and cumin. I think it has good flavor. I don’t add sugar. I’ve heard some people do.

    I don’t know if I have a favorite Mediterranean food. I like it all. I like snacking and grazing, bad habit, I know, but it comes from living alone. Anyway, I like tomato pasta sauce with lots of veggies and garlic, and antipasto.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. This is a good recipe. As written, it’s vegetarian but we sometimes add chicken, especially if we have soem left over:

      Japanese curries are a little different from Indian curries and good in their own way. You can also often find Golden Curry in a box about the size of a bar of baking chocolate. It provides the sauce portion of a typical Japanese curry. You add whatever vegetables and meat you like. The cooking process is largely nonintuitive- you just have to trust the directions. It’s a good fall-back if you wish to make limited quantities. Golden Curry comes in several levels of heat. “Hot” is not very.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Our son loves hot food, using lots of Sriracha. He particularly loves Thai food, and is very accomplished at Thai dishes. He is expanding into yeast bread baking. He grows habanero peppers, and has been known to cook with ghost peppers. That is way too hot for me. He grew up eating spicy and flavorful food at home, but not hot food.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. 1, Mild, mild, mild. Husband doesn’t enjoy curries, but I like them if mild.
    2. I have a Turkish Super Meatball (basically a round meatloaf) recipe made with ground lamb (I substitute half ground beef), red wine or tomato juice, andspiced with oregano, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg… and pine nuts if I have any. See, spicy but not hot.
    3. Every once in a while I get in a mood to try new things, and it will last for maybe a day and a half. Husband doesn’t enjoy curries, and has found more things lately that he doesn’t like. If that continues, I’ll start buying him canned things I know he’ll eat, and be adventurous for myself (well, sometimes).

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Medium, medium, medium. I like some heat, but not enough that I feel I need to have a glass of milk on the table. No cooking frenzies here anymore. I don’t understand how the two of you get all of that food eaten because that’s not how it works here with just two of us. So I try to cook one dish at a time and hopefully anything that I only needed a half of,2
    I’ll still need the next week for another dish. I’m not quite down to cooking for one but I’m getting close.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Husband has a big appetite and eats a lot without gaining weight. My mother in law, Husband’s stepmother, told me she never saw anyone who was hungry all the time like he is.


  9. I usually go sort of medium on spice in a Thai restaurant. I find the Thai rendition of “medium” is pretty spicy, so that will do.

    It’s been a number of years since I’ve cooked very energetically – I don’t have all that much appetite, and do best if I fix something very simple, in a rice cooker or crockpot. Then as it cooks it smells good and I start to feel like eating.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.