Something to stew over


While November slipped by me, leaving a hole in my year-long cooking challenge, December is back on track. Thanks to a cookbook sent by a friend, I had something to stew over for the holidays. Specifically, a Caribbean lamb stew recipe. How did I do? Let’s find out…

I’ll scratch your eyes out!

Generally, when I’m preparing for my recipes, I’m quite organized and have everything ready to go. Since I don’t have the time crunch I do in my barbecues, I usually come out without various wounds. Not this time, though. And in the oddest way.

First, let me say, the recipe itself called for some of my faves: onions, peppers, garlic, brown sugar. I also really like lamb, but Publix didn’t have enough (wah!), so I picked up some veal to supplement.

Everything was going well, even if I had to substitute red pepper for pimento peppers. I deftly seeded the chili pepper and chopped it cleanly when I had an itch. Unthinking, I reached up to the side of my face to scratch it…with my chili pepper finger.

Take your pick of Elvis or Blue Oyster Cult, but, baby, was I burning. I popped over to the guest bathroom to wash and rinse. All that got me was a spreading of the burning and the evil red-eye.

Eventually, as Monty Python would say, I got better. But, phew!

Brown it? Everything’s brown!

So, to the actual cooking. Nummy! EVOO and brown sugar heated to a carmelized mixture and in goes the chunked meat. Stir, mix and brown.

Um. Except, everything looked brown, now. Awesome, yes, but, dur, how do I tell when the meat is actually brown instead of, well, brown?

I decided on a time frame instead of a color test. If I erred on the side of a little extra time, no worries. I figured, it’s a stew, it’s going to be in a wet mix anyway.

Did I assume correctly? After twelve months of this, what do you think?

Umm umm, tasty!

Yep, it turned out spectacular. As always, I leave the first cooking alone and just follow the recipe. Next time, though, I think I might make it more “American” and throw in some peas and maybe some mushrooms. Just because I really like peas and mushrooms.

Bottom line, after 12 months and 11 recipes (12, if you count I also did fajitas for the first time but didn’t add it because it was so easy), I’m pretty proud of myself.

I spent a lot of money during the process, but I learned to cook a dozen new dishes, some of which I shared at my Halloween party to great success.

Now, what do I think I need to do for 2018? More cooking? Perhaps baking (I’m thinking brownies)? If it’s not something to stew over, it’s certainly something to mull over.

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