Delicious Lamb Shanks! Cook with me!

It’s been a while since I made lamb shanks. As a matter of fact, I was in culinary school 2017. It was also the first time I tasted this delectable meat. I made myself a promise, that I would make this delicious dish again, on the outside world. Not for nothing, but in school I considered that a controlled environment/kitchen, with a head chef.

I love this dish so much. And, I will probably never forget that day in school, because I was assigned by the head chef to make the dish. I believe it was about 2 months in school, and I was still having some difficulties with prepping ingredients from recipes on our iPads. Yes! As confident as I may have seemed, I was still nervous as hell. I definitely didn’t want to screw it up.

Culinary school is very competitive, and this experience was no different from any ordinary student wanting to get it right the first time. I know that you’re probably thinking “how hard can following a recipe be.” Well, like I said before, school was very competitive, and no one wants to look like an idiot. And, the head chef always had eyes on you. However, with a little help from Chef, (because I listened! Lol) I got through the process, and the pressure from other students looking on, and at each other. With the end result turning out great, I realized cooking this recipe wasn’t hard at all. I was so concerned with how it would taste, and how I would look if it turned out bad. My mouth watered after tasting them for the first time, and I believe that was the first time my confidence reached the level I’d been hoping for.

Chef Fran

So how did my shanks turn out? Absolutely delicious! I know that I’m always talking about easy preps for cooking. However, I think this dish will be well worth it, if you want to impress family friends, coworkers and partners.

Lamb shanks
My grocery list

I actually had fun with this dish. Prepping the ingredients gave me joy! I like organizing, and this is a step by step dish. I’ve changed some of the original recipe, because of certain flavors I like.

Ingredients

Lamb shanks

Olive oil

Rosemary

Thyme

Salt and pepper

Carrots

Cherry tomatoes

Onions

Garlic

Mushrooms or celery

Red wine for cooking

Chicken stock

How to make

Cut up vegetables

In a pot, add olive oil and brown the shanks. about 4 minutes on each side.

Remove shanks and set aside. Add a little more olive oil, to same pot, then add all the vegetables (but not the garlic), and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Salt and pepper.

Add 2 cups of red wine

1/2 a liter of chicken stock

Press down and roughly chop the garlic, then add it to the pot. Salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then lower and set fire/burner to medium heat. Add the shanks and burry under the liquid.

Add 1 cup of water, then Boil for 2 hours.

Strain the leftover liquid from the pot for a nice sauce.

Don’t forget to have a glass of wine while cooking. That’s just me. 😇

On a Sashimi kick!

One of the Asian foods I was taught in culinary school was sushi/sashimi. Sashimi is a delicious Japanese delicacy, that I already knew all too well. I love it! These past two weeks I’ve be craving this dish. So I ordered it twice from my local Sushi restaurant, and it hit me! Why am I not making this quick and easy to put together dish myself.” “Hey! I got a culinary degree!” “I know this stuff. Let’s put these bad-boy skills to work.”

With today’s supermarket prices salmon is still expensive, however, I still ended up saving by preparing it on my own.

I got lazy, and decided to buy the wasabi and pickled ginger from Amazon. I actually attempted to make the pickled ginger from scratch! But, because of the convenience of Amazon, I decided to not torture myself. Plus, I know I will make this dish again, having those ingredients in my pantry is a savings.

Ingredients

Raw salmon (frozen for 10 days in freezer)*

White rice

Pickled ginger

Wasabi

Soy sauce

Lemon

*I can not stress enough about putting the salmon in the freezer for 10 days before eating. Raw fish has parasites, and freezing the fish for ten days will kill them. Thaw out in fridge before cleaning, then slicing.

How to Prepare

After the fish has thawed, clean and pick the bones out with kitchen tweezers. Some supermarket salmon bones will have already been removed. Fish market salmon will have to be requested.

Also, cut fish against the grain.

I loved making this dish, especially, because it was easy, simple, and fast! It took longer to plate it, than to prepare it. Im not sure how healthy raw fish can be eating it often. However, I savored eating this dish!

INFLUENCERS!! They Got me!!!

Now that I’m home more, and figuring out my next move in my new chapter in life. I found myself gravitating to watching YouTube a lot more. Now, a few years back, I’ve always watched YouTube to listen to my music. Then, I would watch YouTube for certain cooking videos, which I would compare with the enhancement of my own recipes! Now! I’m obsessed with these influencers! Who knew there was a market for unknowns to openly share every, single “waking” moment thing that they do in a day of there lives!

Okay! So like my apartment is in shambles now with packages all over. I’m literally ordering from Amazon every other day, for that one item now that I gotta have, because I’m a fan of particular influencers. And, now I’ve shocked myself. I’ve always felt myself to be unique, definitely not a follower. I’ve always tutted my own horn. I’m to old for millennial bullshit! Yet, my Amazon prime keeps going “cha ching!”

Maybe, there are a couple good things that I can account for that’s on the positive, instead of thinking Im spending wastefully. Definitely, gotten some DIY projects out the way, that has literally been in the works of getting it done years ago. However, I’ve been feeling a sense of euphoria. “Like, wow it’s complete!” The influencers have actually been an encouragement.

Gotta have my matcha in the morning now. Actually, I’ve been drinking matcha tea for years! It’s the millennials that are catching up! However, I found that I’ve forgotten how much I use love matcha at one time, but these last couple years with the pandemic, and me putting in more hours at work to plan for my early retirement. I’ll admit the influencers have put me in a state of loving me again. Doing things that I had long forgot about. Because life had become hectic, and when life does become a bit busy, we just push on, and neglect ourselves.

So anyhoo, yes! I’ve been spoiling myself. Really? Who needs glass straws, high tech ice trays, overpriced skincare and haircare products, glassware, vases, silk pajamas and plants, and all the little gadgets that assist me with my everyday, deserved needs……Well, me. Oh! And, let’s not forget the matcha! 😎

EarPods Amazon $39.99 white. Compatible with iPhone and galaxy users!
Glass straws from Amazon $7.99 case of 4! And, yes I needed them.

Pan seared Swordfish, with a delicious sweet summer salad

Ahhh Summer. Summer reminds me of new beginnings. Because, it seems like when the warm weather sets in, people want to renew themselves (at least I do). I begin to care now about what I want to put in my body, and what t do with my body. I want to walk a little more, and eat fresh!

Well, I was walking by the farmers market (honestly, can’t get any fresher than that). So, I was eyeballing the fresh fish. Unfortunately, it was almost the end of the day, and the guy was like: “we only have cod fish and swordfish”. I giggled, and told him “I Never made any of those.” However, I’m willing to give the swordfish a try.

After I asked his advice on how to make the swordfish fish because, I’m thinking 17th century England where, am I gonna have to challenge this swordfish to a duel 🤺 to cook it! But, he said swordfish is one of the easiest fish to cook. He advise sautéing it with butter, olive oil, and garlic. So, I’m like “I can do that!” And, his advice to took, glad I did, because it was easy and flavorful. The swordfish fish just absorbed the flavors I seasoned it with.

Ingredients for Swordfish

Swordfish 16 ounce

Lemon

Red pepper flakes

Sazon compete seasoning

Fresh Garlic or garlic powder

2 ounces of Butter

2 ounces of olive oil

Salt and pepper as desired

How to make

Season fish with lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Pour olive oil and butter in pan, and let pan get hot. (Not crazy smoking). Cook fish about 4 minutes on each side. Maybe a little longer, or a little less, depending on weight of the swordfish.

Season fish

Ingredients for Summer Salad

1/2 Red onion

1/2 a bunch of Cilantro

1 Cucumber

3 Radishes

Half a can of pineapples

Vinaigrette

1/4 apple cider vinegar

1/4 olive oil

Salt/pepper

How to make

Some of the vegetables will be small to medium diced. Cut onion in half, then peel the skin back, so you’ll have several layer. Slice the onion in thin strips.

Cucumbers cut in half, scoop out seeds, and cut out as much flesh, but leave a little so the cucumber can then be sliced and cut in cubes.

Cilantro should be leafy, just cut the stems.

Radishes should be cut thin.

Mixed vegetables in a bowl.

For vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients in a measuring cup apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Mix with salad

Preparing veggies
Preparing vinaigrette for salad

I needed to add something to this salad to pump up the taste. I wanted something more than just a garden salad. I wanted it to represent summer. So, I added some sweet pineapples. And, yes I used canned pineapples because, I needed the sweet juice that a fresh pineapple wouldn’t give me for this recipe.

I added a little butter to the pan drippings, however, white wine can be used as well. Turn heat on low, and once it’s saucy spoon a little over the fish, for extra flavor.

This is a guilt free delicious dish! I certainly enjoyed it. If you make it, please let me know how it turned out. Just leave a comment.

Till next time!

Follow me on IG franb1965, and check out more recipes and my travels.

Healthy and delicious hamburgers for summer

Now I know most people would love a nice juicy beefy hamburger at a barbecue. Or, at any summer gathering, people would just expect anything grilled with all the “fixins.” Well, I thought of a healthy version of a delicious hamburger, and you won’t be missing any flavor with this version.

Turkey! I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “how can I sink my teeth into a turkey burger.” Well, adding certain flavors to the ground turkey will make such a difference. This burger will make your mouth water.

Ingredients

1 lb Ground turkey

Onions or scallions

Dried thyme

Dried rosemary

2 eggs

Light ranch dressing or light Mayo

Part skim mozzarella cheese

Flat leaf raw spinach

Thomas English muffins

Salt/pepper to taste

Pickles

Canola oil

How to make

Put the ground turkey in a bowl, add your seasonings: chop onions or scallions, (medium cut) thyme, rosemary,’salt and pepper. Add the eggs and combine/mix throughly.

This recipe yields about 4 hamburgers, so evenly separate you ground turkey into thick hamburger patties.

Heat up your grill pan with canola oil.

Brown both sides about two to three minutes, place cheese on top of hamburgers, then put in oven for 6 to 8 minutes to finish cooking through.

Toast the English muffins in a toaster.

Prepare your hamburgers like so: English muffin, turkey burger, raw spinach, pickles, ranch dressing.

You can substitute or add tomatoes or an egg to this recipe, but keep it healthy.

Delicious turkey burgers

LIFE: Live it, Love it, Embrace it!

It’s been awhile since my last blog. Unfortunately, I had a close death in my family. I’m actually still going through the “Emotions” of my niece’s death. She was a beautiful young woman who didn’t realize she had the world at her feet. Although I was 9 years older than her. She was my partner in crime, my ride or die, my protector, my advisor, but most importantly, she was my friend.

Basically, what I’d like to express in this article is, life is meant to be lived. I’ve recently had the honor, blessing, luck what ever you want to call it, of retiring early. At first it was actually a little difficult to fill up my days, and wondering if it was the right decision. Hummmm, we’ll, working 40 years, and doing double tasks during a few of those years, with decisions of going back to school several times. Yes! My body has taken a beating, I’m punching the time clock for the last time.

Having all this time on my hands, actually made me feel uninspired. I mean really, there’s so much Netflix you can watch! That’s just me. I’ve been wanting to plan a trip for myself, and do something adventurous, something I’ve never done before. Then, my niece’s death. I’m so dealing with the pain of my loss of her. But, I know she wouldn’t want me to be down, especially on her account. I’d know she’d feel that way.

As time passes for me, and I’m probably overthinking things, but I think life is just a bunch of decisions we make. We can decide to be uninspired, and waste away. Or, we can choose inspiration, and live to embrace an experience in life that will challenge you. Because, quite frankly it really makes me feel better to know or learn more of the person I am. I’ve always felt that when I would “go for it,” “go for the challenge!” (start my own business, which I’ve done, travel far away countries, which I have done, or go back to school, which I have done). Not being scared to do something that will build confidence. Well, it taught me to make better decisions for myself, because, life is just too short not to push yourself to a next level. I realize that I’m stronger than I think I am.

Although we go though life with struggles, I’m understanding that if I wait for a struggle to pass, time may not be on my side. And, then I would of missed out on a one in a lifetime experience, waiting for struggles to pass, emotions to pass, or even depression to pass.

I promised myself I was going to take better care of me when I retire. So I’ve started to introduce a little exercise in my life. Gonna write that cookbook I was supposed to start 6 months ago. And, I’ve “decided” to also do a healthy cookbook as well. I’d also like to book a trip to Thailand, what an adventure that would be.

Make life now!

My niece Veronica and I. Thanksgiving 2013. In loving memory.

Six Ingredient Dish Series!#1 Pasta Salad

I’m starting a six ingredient series of light, (and, maybe heavy depending on my mood) dishes. Because, I’m wanting to eat more healthy this first dish is packed with vegetables! But, I’m definitely interested in flavor, and this dish has all that!

Seriously! This dish is simple and full of flavor! If you know how to boil water, you got this one in the bag. This dish is great for a small ladies group gathering or a luncheon.

What I love about this dish is you can substitute so many ingredients, however six is the limit, because you don’t want to lose the integrity of the flavor profile.

Ingredients

Penne

Olives

Cucumbers

Shrimps (pre made)

Roster red peppers (pre made in a jar)

Dill

Condiments

Salt/pepper/olive oil

How to make

Cut up vegetables medium dice

Slice olives in half

Cook pasta to package instructions

Just cut up leafy part of dill

Literally! Toss everything together. Add olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Like I said before, this dish can be substituted with all kinds of veggies and homemade dressings.

Eat and enjoy!

Eating more healthy for Spring

Salmon with a green salad

Grilled salmon with green salad

Yes! It’s that time of year to start eating healthy. Have you noticed the weather is becoming bright, and sunny. To me that represents newness. We’ve couched potato our way through winter, now the challenge has begun to start eating clean!

Ingredients

Salmon

Mixed greens

Scallions

Avocado

Chives

Cucumbers

Alfalfa sprouts

And, your imagination!

Lucky New Year Foods

Happy New Year! The above dish was made by my nephew Michael. And, this goes to show that tradition never fades. This dish was certainly a dish my mom made every New Years Eve. It signifies lots of luck for the new year. However, most families that I know, always have black eye peas and collards for luck in the new year. It just really made me proud that my nephew continues the tradition with his family. And, I know my mom, his grandma would be proud!

He’s brought tradition to a whole new level. The plating is beautiful, and I know it taste awesome!

All the best to everyone in this New Year 2022!