What do you do on a Friday, when the world plagues you with concerns? My Mom? Not doing well–barely recognizes me these days. My aches and pains? Temporary, I hope–kidney stone, lower back aches, etc. Some folks try to control and come up with plans to deal, others like myself do so from day to day, then realize that while life needs to be prepared for, sometimes it simply needs to be lived…and enjoyed…during those brief moments when you choose to believe that everything will work out and let those cards fall where they may.

My wife adores lamb. Me? Sure, its tasty but I don’t get a culinary boner over working with it. I like protein that’s good, and unlike the Spaniards who might wax on about pork in all its forms or my loving wife on lamby this…well, is it good is my only query.

Tonight I stopped at the Bowl to pick up some choice lamb chunks. I was going to make a noble effort to buy a cheaper cut of lamb bone-in, but the pieces were only sold as a unit, and as I only needed 2 lbs, I was shit out of luck. So I bought the lamb chunks pre-cut for kebabs. The price difference was negligible by a couple of bucks per pound, and this way, I got just what I needed rather than 1-2 more pounds that I would have to butcher on my own.

This particular dish incorporates the Moorish influence on the food of the Iberian peninsula, and has a tiny bit of cloves and cumin, two ingredients that if mishandled could absolutely ruin this dish. In each case, I put in less than a quarter teaspoon of either. I can still smell the clove powder on my fingers as I type this.

Also, as I sit here in the kitchen ruminating while the stew simmers and the potatoes roast, I wish that either of our kids were here, or a couple of friends, because eating is such a social thing which, these days, is dependent on chance and less on the easy proximity that friends once enjoyed.

Sigh. I tasted the broth and it seems just right; flavorful and not salty. The meat seems to be cooking through well and looks tender. All I need to add is, near the end, the mortared mix of cumin, clove, breadcrumbs, and pimenton which, I perceive, will to some extent thicken the broth a bit.

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I also roasted some potatoes drizzled with olive oil and salt which, when added to the stew, made perfect sense. Wifey found the stew quite tasty (which I was able to discern from my last taste test) though, as always, she seeks a contrast. Adding stuffed olives as a garnish of some balsamic vinegar would probably meet her preferred taste profile. I think it’s a Filipino taste expectation, that acidic aspect.

The uninspired but simple roasted new potatoes.

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