Season of Soups: Recipe: Lamb Stew

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Here is a Leftover Queen classic! Remember all those greens from the Farmer’s Market several week ago?

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Well even with all my recipes that week, I still couldn’t use all the greens, so I washed some and stored them away in the freezer. I also had leftover tomatoes in juice from the Imam Bayildi and then there was the issue of random pieces of veggies in my vegetable bin. I also had purchased a small piece of lamb shoulder at the store, perfect for soup. I went into the pantry and found a can of cannellini beans and a package of rice pilaf. Put this all together and what do you have – an AWESOME stew. I am telling you guys, the flavors in here really really rock. It’s got a bit of the Middle East happening in here since I spiced it up with Sumac and Za’atar, a dash of coriander and a bay leaf and the world is a warm bowl of stew. We ate some for dinner, had it for lunch the next day and put the rest in the freezer for next week, so we can have leftovers of leftovers! :)

Here’s what I did.
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Important Updates!

Hi Everyone!

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I have a few updates to share with everyone. Number one, I was adding new blogs to the ever growing, ever popular Foodie Blogroll this morning. Can you believe we have over 900 blogs now and that I get more and more requests everyday? It is amazing. I don’t talk about it much on this blog, because it speaks for itself, really, but it is really such a wealth of information. It features blogs from all corners of the world. Such an amazing tool for the food blogger, home cook, chef and anyone who just loves food. There is so much there, it is hard to keep track of everyone. I think as a community it is important for people to share with each other what is going on and inform us all about really great blogs out there that we might be missing. For example…

One of the newest members of The Foodie Blogroll is Priya, from 365 Days Pure Vegetarian, had a recipe for Tamarind Date Chutney on her blog! Many of you who enjoyed my post on Tamarinds were wondering how to make this on your own – well here is how! There is a link to it imbedded in this recipe.
So in order to help us all find these hidden treasures, I am going to begin featuring a Foodie Blogroll Blog of The Week to show the variety we have in this part of the blogosphere. If you would like to nominate a Foodie Blogroll Member for this honor, please post it on The LeftoverQueen Forum here. If you are not yet a member of The Foodie Blogroll, Join Us Today!

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We also through the blogroll, have a wonderful forum to discuss foodie things – topics range from help with ingredients, to your favorite food celebrities, and The Royal Foodie Joust - a wonderful event that really gets your food mojo on!

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This is a monthly event that just is full of fun, creativity and lots of great ideas and takes on how to create dishes from the same ingredients. It is so inspiring. Please check it out if you haven’t. Click here for more info. Remeber, only 2 more days to get your entry in there!

Since I am all about Foodie communities, as some of you may have noticed, I have recenlty joined one myself. There is a banner on my right sidebar for FoodBuzz. I am now a Featured Publisher for Foodbuzz and as I make my way through the blogosphere I note that I am in very good company, as many of my favorite blogs are also on the team. Please spread the word. My ratings depend on people looking at the site, voting, and also writing reviews/rating my site on the Foodbuzz site. Please click on my “vote for me!” badge on my right sidebar, about midway down. Or go to my profile on FoodBuzz by clicking on my Featured Publisher Badge or here is a link to where you can find me on FoodBuzz and leave your comments, feedback and ratings. I am not usually crazy about self-promotion, but this is very important and your support means a lot! Thanks for supporting your friendly, local LeftoverQueen! :)

Royal Foodie Joust: Deadline Friday!!!

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Hi everyone, it is Royal Foodie Joust time again! This month the competition is FIERCE. It is going to be our biggest joust yet!
This month the ingredients are: Eggplant, Lentils and Cinnamon.
Please post your entry here, on the LeftoverQueen Forum by Friday so you can have a chance to win your own personalized apron!

Daring Bakers Challenge: Recipe: Lemon Meringue Pie (Tartlettes)

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I have to admit, sometimes being unprepared does have its charms and advantages. In regards to this challenge it caused me to be creative and not be afraid to play with my baked goods a little bit. As most of you have heard at one time or another, up until I joined the Daring Bakers, I didn’t bake – as a point of principal. Any recipe that had the words: Knead or Yeast or even really Flour and that was as far as I got, I wasn’t going to make it. Period. When I joined the Daring Bakers, I followed each recipe word for word. I did some modifications, sometimes, but nothing that really diverted from the recipe too much. I didn’t want to mess it up! But times change, you get older and wiser and all that good stuff. So here I am – it has been almost a YEAR since I joined this fabulous group of food bloggers, and I still don’t have a pie pan in my possession…therefore, it doesn’t take me long to realize there is no way I am making a big honkin’ pie. I just don’t have the equipment. This was going to give me a chance to play with my pie crust a little and do something fun. I decide to go all French and create mini tartlettes with my fabulous new muffin tin that I got for Christmas – (now a note to you DB purists, this was an allowed modification to the challenge)!

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Not only that, but I also got to christen my new Cuisinart Food Processor, an early wedding present from my Dad and Stepmom, who were here last weekend :) THANKS GUYS!!!
AND, it is also my first DB challenge in my new kitchen. So this challenge for me was also full of firsts. The pie crust in this recipe is great. Very buttery and flaky. Roberto and I went to visit my mom this weekend and she was making a chicken pot pie and needed a crust recipe. I gave her the recipe from this challenge (minus the sugar of course) and it was perfect! So delicious!

I learned a lot from this challenge too – number one, I never knew what actually made the pie filling of lemon meringue pie yellow. I assumed that it was from the lemons, but no, the color is actually derived from the egg yolks that make up the lemon curd. Very interesting. I wonder if the inventor of this pie planned it this way, or it just turned out to be the proper color by luck?

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I also got really creative with my leftover lemon peels. As those who have been reading my Farmers Market series know, I got some fabulous Meyer lemons, recently. I have been using them in a variety of dishes. They are just so tasty, I couldn’t waste even a peel, so I decided to make a lemon simple syrup to get ready for my next kitchen project – limoncello. As I was rooting around for the vanilla extract, needed for the lemon meringue recipe, I came across some dried lavender flowers I had, so I decided to make Lavender-Meyer Lemon Syrup. I also expanded my love of leftovers into the baking world. After I finished filling my tartlette crusts for the challenge, I still had more filling and more meringue. So I decided to play and have fun. I added some Lavender-Meyer Lemon Syrup to my leftover lemon curd to make meringue cookies filled with Lavender Lemon Curd. I think I enjoyed them even more than the original tartlettes. There is just something so spectacular about the combination.

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I also was a huge baking geek and researched online ways to keep the meringue from weeping. Lemon Meringue is my mom’s favorite and I had to make the tartlettes on Friday, so they were going to have to sit in the fridge overnight. So I wanted to do my best to keep them from disintegrating, since the recipe states you should eat the pies within 6 hours. I also learned a technique for making the perfect meringue (see my cooks noted embedded in the recipe for these tips).

This was a great challenge for me. I really had a great time making a huge mess in my new kitchen and using some new toys. It was really a fun day and left me feeling so happy and renewed inside. I am not sure why – maybe the sunshine stored inside those lemons!

So without further ado – here is the recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie.
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Recipe: Tamarind Chicken

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I {heart} Tamarind. For the longest time, I never even knew what it was. All I knew was there was a certain sauce at the Indian restaurant that I wanted to buy by the bottle so I could put it on every thing. Slightly sweet and tangy and full of an indescribable flavor. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Anyway, I just went about my life blissfully ignorant of what made up this sauce and how it was going to become an obsession years later.

Several years ago my cousin Michelle and I went on a field trip to Biscayne Bay near Homestead, Florida – the last city on the Florida mainland. She is a marine mammal researcher and we were going to the bay to get samples of plants that make up the diet of wild manatees. She had a friend in her lab, whose family was from Homestead and she told us we had to go to this huge fruit stand, called Robert is Here! famous for tropical milkshakes. I love milkshakes, hands down, so I was there. When we got to Robert is Here! we were overwhelmed. It was unlike any fruit stand I had ever been to. The sheer size of it was incredible. There was fresh fruit, jars of jellies and chutneys, sodas made up of tropical fruits, Florida souvenirs, huge gummy alligators, you name it. We finally found the area where they did the milkshakes and stood in line. On the board they had their daily offerings, regular things you would expect like pineapple, mango and papaya, and then some interesting ones like key lime, then there were those I was totally unfamiliar with: Fruits like Monstera Deliciosa, Mamey, Atemoya and Tamarind. I asked what tamarind tasted like (not knowing at the time that it was the star ingredient of my favorite sauce at the Indian restaurant) and the lady told me it was like sour gummy bears. It sounded weird, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what that would taste like in fruit form, so obviously, I ordered it. I can honestly say it was love at first sip. Something about the sweet and creamy vanilla frozen yogurt base, (or was it ice cream, I can’t quite recall) and the tang of the tamarind was so delicious. It was not at all sour gummies, it was just really great. So we went ahead and bought a bag of tamarinds and really enjoyed them our whole trip!
Once I knew the name of this delicious fruit, I saw it everywhere and finally put two and two together that it was the ingredient in that great sauce. I was hooked.

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Recently we went to an Indian market and I picked up a jar of Tamarind-Date Chutney. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but I got in the kitchen started playing and was inspired.
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Farmer’s Market Series: Abundance: Recipe: Sausage, Beans & Greens

This is my second to last recipe from dishes I made from my first foray into the world of local produce. These are meals from 2 weeks ago that I haven’t posted yet. So here we go, one more installment…

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See, there is a lot you can do with greens. This little Farmer’s market series is my attempt to use a lot of the same ingredients in a variety of ways, so that you aren’t stuck in a rut wondering what to do with an over abundance of greens. These are some of the greatest of cooking challenges – what to do when you have TONS of one ingredient. How do you keep it interesting and tasty night after night? Of course you can freeze some, which I did do, but even at that you have a lot to contend with. These are the types of things I am going to challenge myself with this year – Farmer’s Market purchases, buying produce on sale and trying to keep my food bill down by getting really creative with what is available. I am going to try to take this seasonal eating as serious as possible. I am sure I won’t be perfect, but this is a resolution that I am trying to keep. Already I am noticing that I have a lot more energy. I was sick but only for 3 days instead of a week. These are small things, but not insignificant. I have also been interviewed and will be featured in a magazine article out in March about abundance and how to get creative with the food we got. More on that later.

Anyway onto the recipe…
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Food Candy Fame!

My Kitty is Famous! :)

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I sent her picture in to my good friend Lisa’s blog, Lisabeeen, where she features a Coffee Critter of the day.

Moo was today’s Coffee Critter and she was featured on the front page of FoodCandy!

Check it out!

Recipe: Lemony-Yogurt Shrimp Pasta

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Okay guys, I am giving away secrets here. I use yogurt in a lot of my cooking. It is one of my culinary secrets. When a dish needs a little extra tang or some creaminess, I dig out the ubiquitous carton of plain yogurt in my fridge. I prefer the Greek style yogurt, as many of you know, but sometimes it is not available, so I just go for the all natural, organic plain stuff. No one can ever guess that it is in there, but it really adds a wonderful element to some of the best dishes I have made.

My Dad and Step mom were here this weekend visiting us. I wanted them to see the things about St. Augustine that we love so much, so on Saturday AM, bright and early we took a trip to the Farmer’s Market. We picked up some beautiful fresh local shrimp. We got some more of those huge Meyer lemons. I had pasta at home already and standing there at the market with fresh shrimp, lemons and beautiful green spring onions a plan began to form. This is the kind of cooking I love – being inspired by the best products you can find. The recipe is almost secondary.

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After the market we took them to the the beach where we are going to get married in April. As you can see it was REALLY cold here this weekend. I am so glad I brought my parka with me from New England! We had a really great time. Roberto was the best sous chef ever and we had a great time cooking together in the kitchen while Dad and Kayzie relaxed in the living room with a glass of wine (did I mention that Kayzie is a wine distributor and they brought their own wine on their trip?! – lucky us!) The pasta was delicious by the way…
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