Category Archives: My Recipes & Reviews

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

My love for lamb has grown steadily over the years to the point where I prefer lamb over a beef burger. Lamb meat has an earthier, more complex flavour than beef. I find that it tends to be juicier and bonus: way more health benefits. From Shepherd’s Pie to lasagna, I post a lot about this gamey protein. Surprisingly, I haven’t posted tacos, and you know how much I love Taco Tuesday! So I decided that for St. Patrick’s Day, I would make some special Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos, just for you.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

St. Patrick’s Day is bittersweet for me. I never got into the festivities when I was at university because I didn’t live in residence and missed out campus life. It wasn’t until I met my half Irish ex-husband that I started celebrating this day. Our first date was at an Irish pub on St. Paddy’s so whenever I see drunken folk clad in green, it reminds me of him. Not in a bad way, but in a no-regrets-fond-memories kind of way.

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

This taco recipe is based on my Slow Cooked Lamb recipe that features my latest food find: lamb from Costco.

Gotta love $35 for a leg of lamb!

The only change I made to my original recipe is I swapped the wine and beef broth for, you guessed it – beer! I covered the lamb with a whole can of Guinness, because on St. Paddy’s no beer can go to waste. How I love to cook with booze! The strong Irish stout cuts through the fatty lamb and adds a whole level of richness to the meat. The result? Tender fall-apart lamb infused with hints of espresso and caramel. Oh yeah baby, tonight is your lucky taco night!

I loaded this taco with a wallop of fresh guacamole, arugula, caramelized onions and banana peppers and topped the lamb with organic salsa, feta cheese and my favourite hot sauce.

Half a lamb leg still makes a ton of meat. We had enough taco meat for four people, and I turned the remaining lamb and root vegetables into a ragu.  An endless supply of lamb is always a good thing!

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos
Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos
Print Recipe
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos! Fresh corn tortillas are packed with tender lamb, fresh guacamole and arugula, grilled banana peppers, caramelized onions and topped with feta cheese and organic salsa. May the spirit of the Irish live on through these deliciously rich tacos!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
5 hours
Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos
Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos
Print Recipe
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos! Fresh corn tortillas are packed with tender lamb, fresh guacamole and arugula, grilled banana peppers, caramelized onions and topped with feta cheese and organic salsa. May the spirit of the Irish live on through these deliciously rich tacos!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
5 hours
Ingredients
For the lamb
For the tacos
Servings: people
Instructions
For the lamb
  1. Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat.
  2. Rub lamb with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Using tongs, sear each side for 30 seconds. Remove lamb and place on plastic cutting board.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, lemon zest, remaining tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, mint and rosemary. Process and spread paste over lamb, making sure to get into all the little crevices.
  4. Place lamb over top of root vegetables in slow cooker and pour beer over top.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours, then for 1 hour on low.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, lamb from slow cooker and pull large chunks apart using a carving fork. reserve root vegetables for later use.
For the tacos
  1. Combine avocados, garlic, olive oil and juice from two lemon wedges. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grease cast iron pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute banana peppers and onions until lightly browned, approx 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, place tortillas on a plate and wrap in syran wrap. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  4. Top corn tortilla with guacamole, arugula, lamb, peppers and onions. Sprinkle feta cheese, lemon and a tablespoon of salsa over top. Add hot sauce to taste.
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Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos

So if you’re feeling the spirit of the Irish, throw some beer in your slow cooker and honour St. Patrick with these awesome tacos!

What food do you make to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?  Did you like the addition of beer to these Guinness Braised Lamb Tacos?

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

 

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

I’m still reeling from last night’s crazy Oscars!  I took a risk and voted for Moonlight, so when the La La Land win was overturned I was jumping with joy!  Not only was this film so deserving of Best Pic, but Moonlight was the winning point on my ballot and I won the pool at my annual Oscar party.  I love thinking up thematic foods for each film – and I made this Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo for Moonlight.  Everyone loved this traditional Latin American chicken and rice fiesta.  A winning dish for a winning film!

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo- for the full Oscar night menu

When I watched Moonlight, I knew that Arroz Con Pollo would be the best dish to represent this beautiful film. There is a moving scene involving the main character, Chiron when he visits his childhood friend, Kevin.  Kevin works in a diner and insists that Chiron try the Chef’s Special: Arroz Con Pollo.  You’ll have to watch the film to see how the rest of the scene plays out!

Typically, a roasted chicken leg rests overtop a mountain of Spanish rice.  However, since I was using a crock pot, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which work better for slow cooking. As for the other ingredients, they’re pretty straightforward.  The yellow saffron Spanish rice I found at the local Metro grocery store, no problem.

A healthy, super easy dish to make, this slow cooker recipe is ideal for a family-style dinner, or if you have a baby shower on the day of a big party!  Tender, shredded chicken is nestled among the slightly smoky, tomato infused saffron rice and sweet vegetables.  Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce for a bit more kick, along with some plain yogurt to cool your dancing tastebuds.

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo
Print Recipe
This delicious Latin America rice and chicken dish can be made in the slow cooker. Light, fluffy saffron rice soaks up the flavours of the vegetables and chicken. Reminisce about the Oscar winning movie Moonlight as you make Kevin's "Chef's Special" for someone you love!
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 hours
Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo
Print Recipe
This delicious Latin America rice and chicken dish can be made in the slow cooker. Light, fluffy saffron rice soaks up the flavours of the vegetables and chicken. Reminisce about the Oscar winning movie Moonlight as you make Kevin's "Chef's Special" for someone you love!
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 hours
Servings Prep Time
6 to 8 15 minutes
Cook Time
8 hours
Ingredients
Servings: to 8
Instructions
  1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until vegetables have softened and are lightly browned, around 8-10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of broth, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.
  4. Add chicken, remaining broth, diced tomatoes, frozen vegetables, bay leaves, oregano and salt. Coat evenly with vegetable mixture. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  5. At the 6 hour mark (or 2 hour mark on high) add rice to slow cooker and stir well.
  6. Top with fresh parsely. Serve with lime wedges, yogurt and hot sauce on the side.
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Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

What did you make for your Oscar party?  Have you seen Moonlight?  What did you think of the scene featuring Arroz Con Pollo?

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

The glitz!  The glam!  The thematic food!  We are just a few days away the 89th Academy Awards, one of my favourite reasons to throw a party.  I’m still trying to cram in the last of the Best Picture noms before the big night, but I’ve started to plan my menu.  Oscar Party 2017 is underway!

Let’s take a look at the Best Picture nominations and possible food pairings:

Arrival: Calamari, inspired by the creepy alien imagery.  Maybe with some sort of black squid ink-like dip?

Fences: When Viola Davis serves biscuits to her brother-in-law, they bring a smile to his face, and biscuits bring a smile to my face, so it’s a double win!  Chicken and collard greens work too.  Set in Pittsburgh, you could also do pierogies or cabbage rolls, to represent the European immigrant population.

Hacksaw Ridge: Wine and bread would be a simple snack to represent the strong religious theme throughout this film.  For something a bit more fancy, you could also do sushi to represent this bloody battle against the Japanese.

Hell or High Water: Steak and potatoes make an appearance in this neo-Western crime thriller.  How about some mini potato and meatball skewers?

Hidden Figures: Astronaut ice cream is my go-to for space movies!  A fun and easy snack.

La La Land: A few ideas for this one: a colourful veggie spread to symbolize all the bright and beautiful dresses that danced across the screen.  You could also do a “jazzed up” Hollywood cocktail to prove your love of jazz to Ryan Gosling.  But the obvious La La Land food is chicken skewers (“Sashay, Satay Chicken Skewers”?) to represent Ryan’s dream of opening his “Chicken on A Stick” club.

Lion: This one was easy.  When Dev Patel takes a bit of some jalebi, a sweet Indian dessert, he has a flashback to his childhood in India.  It’s a pivotal moment in the film, and a tasty one too!

Manchester by the Sea:  There’s always one film that is underwhelming, and this year for me it was Manchester.  Thus the food pairing tends to be a bit, uninspired.  How about some beer?   Beer was the reason why Casey Affleck leaves his home in the middle of night, only to come home to a devastating scene.  Or you could do s’mores….(too much?).

Moonlight:  When Chiron reunites with his friend Kevin, Kevin makes him the Chef’s Special: arroz con pollo, a chicken dish similar to paella.

Menu planned?  Check!

Ballot printed? Check!  I like this format from Moviefone.  I always add a few bonus points for the harder categories like Short Film.

Need an Oscar drinking game?  I have a pretty straightforward one!

THE RULES
DRINK EVERY TIME:

  • Jimmy Kimmel makes a joke about Mel Gibson, who glares at him with a big false smile
  • The camera cuts away to Meryl Streep
  •  Viola Davis says something awkward
  • Casey Affleck arrives looking even more unshaven and creepy than the Golden Globes
  • If you lose a category on your ballot
  •  A winner thanks God/Jesus
  •  A winner’s speech gets cut off by the orchestra
  •  A winner tries to make a political statement in their speech
  •  Someone trips on stage
  • The show runs overtime

If you think you might end up a bit too hammered for a Sunday night, use this Bonus Oscar Prop Bet sheet instead.

BONUS OSCAR PROP BET

MY BRIEF BEST PICTURE SUMMARY

I only have Hell or High Water left to watch, but I have to say that this year’s Best Pic lineup wasn’t the strongest.  My personal fave is Lion, a beautifully told story that had me bawling.  La La Land was pretty to look at but I wish there had been more songs to support the story and characters.  I loved Arrival and Moonlight equally.  Stunning cinematography from both.  Arrival breathed new life into the sci-fi genre and Moonlight told an important story in a sensitive way.  Hidden Figures was interesting, but felt a bit anti-climactic (a comparison to Apollo 13 comes to mind).  The film I was most surprised with was Hacksaw Ridge.  I used to love Mel Gibson but like many folk, I have been turned off by his crazy behaviour in recent years.  If you push that aside – Hacksaw Ridge is a fantastically shot war film with a solid story, supported by delicate religious undertones.  Manchester By The Sea didn’t really do much for me, I found it hard to have much sympathy for the main characters.  The best part about the film is Michelle Williams, who always steals any scene she is in.  However I’d watch Manchester any day over the gawd awful Fences which was so boring and poorly adapted from the play it was based on.  No one needs to watch Denzel Washington yammer on for two + hours.  Tortured myself to finish that one.

What food are you making for your Oscar Party?  I want to know what you think of the nominations, and your Oscar predictions!