Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lamb Neck and Beer Cheese Dinner Rolls

Saturday - So I woke up ridiculously early, and prepared macaroni and cheese for breakfast. Just kidding about the breakfast part, but that Cheatin' Cheese and Macaroni is cooling on the counter.  It's a bit strange not having Rob up and about (and setting up my coffee) (and tasting the corn muffins) (and giving treats to the mongrel horde). My boys have a long day ahead of them in Bradenton, plus plans to try a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant for dinner.  I'll expect a full report, preferably with pictures. So I have time to work through my to-do list, provided my back stops hurting like it's being broken in half.

I am looking forward to spending some quality among the begonias, tulip bulbs, and herbs.  I don't want to give myself a kinehora, but I think I have those life-sucking aphids under control. Take that, you fuzzy insect-larva lifeform.

James and Linda are supposed to be here later today to finish the garden, and then comes the really big planting project.  I'm already getting compliments on the porch plantings from lawyers, neighbors, Robert's accounting clients, and any number of passing strangers.

So I really got into the cooking, and while I didn't hit everything on my list, I did make some major inroads. Besides the early morning cheese and mac, I worked out a recipe for butternut squash bisque and if I say so myself, it was very successful. I also put up a crockpot of something I'm calling Crockpot Honey and Hoisin Chicken Wings.  These came out so good, I want to stand out on the corner and pass out samples to passing motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians (we get all kinds of travelers down this way.) Since I only made 3 pounds, that's not happening, but I did think about it.

The rest of the cooking is for tomorrow, because I really need to do some gardening and I'm running out of energy. More importantly, let's hope I don't run out of Advil. The pain is persistent, but I'm not dead yet. Although after today, I might be. I cooked, I gardened, I cleaned. Why? Well, the boys were in Bradenton and when I'm alone, I don't watch TV.  I can't sit still, so I keep getting up to do something. I transplanted all the remaining plants except for the begonias, and only stopped because I ran out of potting soil. I broke three more nails. I watered, I swept the porch. I had to take breaks to duck inside, sit in front of the fan, and take Advil and Zantac.  Was it worth it? I think so:

Still, I know, just like I know the words to the Star-Spangled Banner and Kirk's soliloquy at the  beginning of every Star Trek, that tomorrow is going to suck like nobody's business. There is no middle ground with fibromyalgia.

Yesterday's recipes:
Lamb Neck in Barbecue Sauce

1 1/4 pounds of lamb neck
garlic pepper (McCormick's)
barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's)

I did this in the convection oven, so first I set in on 350 degrees, which the oven resets to 325. I put the lamb in an aluminum baking dish, sprinkled the side on top with garlic pepper and put it in the oven for 15 minutes.  Then I turned each piece over, seasoned that side, and returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes.  At that point I had to accept the fact that this lamb, which had looked deceptively tender in its package, was still on the tough side, so I squirted some barbecue sauce over it and covered the pan with aluminum foil.  I lowered the temperature to 300 degrees, which my oven interpreted as 275, and let the lamb cook low and slow for an hour and a half, or maybe it was two hours. The lamb was tender enough for the dentally-challenged, so I moved it to a plastic container and spooned some of the barbecue sauce over the pieces.  The trick here is to avoid as much of the fat as possible, which you can do with a teaspoon.  This is delicious and I'm not sharing with the boys.

By the way, the lamb neck was about one-third the per pound price of the round bone shoulder chops. I've always loved lamb neck, especially when it is cooked along with lamb shanks in my mother-in-law's recipe for lamb shanks and rice. This accidental new version is pretty damn good too, but off course there is no lamb rice.  We love the lamb rice.

Beer and Cheese Dinner Rolls

This is my riff on Bubba's Beer Biscuits, Bubba being Paula Deen's baby brother. I'm not repeating that whole scandal.  I am sorry that Uncle Bubba's Oyster House has been closed. Great food. Damn.

Anyway, this is ridiculously easy. The rolls - they actually look like muffins - are going to be crumbly when eaten, but they're worth a few crumbs. While the originals are served with honey butter, these should be eaten with butter, just butter.

4 cups Bisquick
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
12 oz. bottle beer (I used Sam Adam's Boston Lager)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for top
garlic pepper
parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with no-stick spray (I use the butter flavor for this).  Mix all of the ingredients, in the order given, and stir until thoroughly combined. Scoop into the prepare muffin tins and sprinkle some more cheese on top of each. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack or serve immediately with lots of butter. I called these dinner rolls because of the savory spices, but Rob likes them for breakfast.

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