Thursday, June 27, 2013

recipe review: lamb with easy black mole

It's no secret that Brian and I love Mexican food; we have it at least three times a week. Brian loves to cook, and I'm getting more into it as well, so we're always looking for new recipes to try. One of our best impulse buys was the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication, Mexican. We have tried five recipes so far and have LOVED each of them. Not only loved them, but in the month since buying the magazine, REPEATED them. Below is our favorite:

Lamb with Easy Black Mole

1/2 cup finely chopped onion (1 medium)
1 T minced garlic (6 cloves)
Vegetable oil
1 T ground ancho chile pepper
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth 
1/3 adobo paste
3 T almond butter
Brown sugar
12 lamb loin chops, cut 1" thick
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
1/4 cup crumbled queso frecso (1 oz)
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro

For mole, in a large saucepan cook onion, garlic and 1/4 t salt in 1 T hot oil. Stir in ground ancho chile pepper and cocoa powder; cook for 1 minute. Add broth; bring just to boiling. Add adobo paste, almond butter and 2 t packed brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. If desired, season to taste with salt. (Sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add additional broth if necessary).

Trim fat from lamb chops. Coat chops with 1 T oil; sprinkle with salt and black pepper. For a charcoal or gas grill, place chops on the grill rack directly over medium heat.* Cover and grill for 14 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees) or 17 to 20 minutes for medium (160 degrees), turning once halfway through grilling time. Transfer to a serving platter. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, spoon mole over chops. Sprinkle with pepitas, queso fresco and cilantro.

*Lamb chops tend to be fatty and can cause flare-ups. If necessary, remove chops from the grill and mist the fire with water from a spray bottle. When the flames subside, return the chops to the grill.

Prep: 25 minutes
Grill: 14 minutes
Stand: 5 minutes

We use beef broth and add one chipotle along with the adobo paste. Once all the ingredients have been added, we use the immersion blender to really smooth everything out. This recipe makes enough mole to use for at least two more meals, such as grilled tri-tip or grilled chicken breasts.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"s" is for...

I've been wanting an "S" for the mantle or bookshelf for a while, but hadn't found the right one at the right price until a couple weekends ago.

I found this one at World Market for $8. The right size (between 6" to 10") but I hated the printed paper.

A couple coats of paint would help that, right? I used some white acrylic paint as a primer, and originally thought I'd make the final coat gray.

Unfortunately, the gray looked to flat and sad-faced, so two coats of black acrylic paint later and it's ready to hang on the wall.

The only thing to do now is find the right home. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

before and after: master bedroom

This post is long overdue, given that we did this over my birthday weekend at the end of March.

When we moved into the house, all the rooms were painted the stager's favorite: beige, or as I like to call it  BLEIGE, as in blech beige. This did not go with our gray bedding or give off the feel I wanted for the bedroom. I want our bedroom to be a quiet, calm place, cool and dark and quiet.

Before we got the paint up on the walls, we needed to address this weird little nook opposite my side of the bed. We had thought about taking out my dresser and putting in a "built-in" wardrobe that would allow me to have all my dresses and extensive handbag collection in the same room; at this point they were in the TV room and office respectively. But knowing that at some point down the road we'll be pulling out the carpet and replacing it with cork flooring I wasn't 100% sold on such a major purchase/project.

What Brian came up with instead is installing two shelves above my dresser to display my bags. And really, let's face it, that's what my priority really was. This option also allowed us to keep Joey's bed tucked into the corner practically out of sight.

The braces were painted the same color as the wall, Filtered Shade by Valspar. The shelves were painted Swiss Coffee*, also by Valspar. Here's how the rest of the room came out:

We painted the sink area but not the water closet (just to the left of the sinks) or our closet (to the right of the sinks).  We want to retile the WC with less bleige tile, and the closet...well we'll tackle that when we replace the flooring.

Hello, Ladies. This makes me so very happy.
A husband that will custom build shelves to hold your beloved Kate Spade handbags is most definitely a keeper.
Now our bedroom feels more ours, and has the feeling I was going for. I'm always on the lookout for a midcentury modern dresser for me that's more like the one we found via Craigslist for Brian, something with a little warmer tone to echo the headboard. I'd also love to replace our nightstands eventually, again with something with a more midcentury modern look.

*Slowly but surely all the trim in the house will be repainted Swiss Coffee, too. We used it on the front door trim and fireplace mantle we DIY'd.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

year of the yard: planting things, watching them grow

Petunias, vinca, and marigolds.


Impatiens, begonias and begonias.

The patio.

Onions, tomatillo and cilantro. Sweet peppers and jalapenos. Sweet basil and garlic.