With the news of my sudden unemployment (as of December 29th, I am jobless) I have been avoiding blogging. Maybe I was taking time to recover from the shock. Maybe I was using the extra brain power to figure out how to pay bills when no one in the house is employed.
Whatever the reason, I'm back. Not to work. But to blogging. Not working a 40+ hr a week job does free up the time a bit, so I may as well take advantage of the situation while I can.
So what to blog about? Being jobless? Of course not. That's not very exciting. Or maybe it is. Kind of like almost falling off a cliff is exciting.
I should probably be more stressed about all of this than I am. But somehow, I'm very at peace with it (well, at least 98% of the time). We have survived the last 5 months of the hubs unemployment, and I have confidence that he will find something before the funds run dry.
And being jobless does have its advantages. Spending time with Jonas is a big one. Being able to nap with him in the middle of the day is definitely a highlight. And it may give me the opportunity to do other things I have always wanted to, but could never find the time (more on that in the future).
So, no bitter ranting about being let go. It doesn't benefit anyone or change the situation. Onward.
The weather here has been very cold for Florida - we are talking sub-freezing temperatures. Seriously. People's pipes have burst. (The pipes in their houses...Floridians don't suddenly combust when it dips below 32 degrees, although, you might think that from all the complaining they do...) I have taken advantage of this by staying inside, cuddling with the kid, drinking warm deliciousness, and most recently, making an Irish Stew.
At the request of some of my Facebook friends (hello! and welcome to the blog...) I am describing the creation of this stew here.
Like many of my cooking efforts, this was not a traditional recipe, so as always, purists beware.
I had some lamb in the freezer, and being on a budget, I wasn't going to shop for any ingredients. I would have to make the stew from things already in the house. So this would be a somewhat Ghetto Irish Stew. Which seems appropriate. The Irish always struck me as scrappy, resourceful types.
I started out with coating the lamb in flour, S&P and browning it in a little olive oil. Once the pieces had some nice color, I removed them from the pot, and threw in some chopped up onion - red and yellow, as that is what was available - celery, carrots, a couple of garlic cloves and several sprigs of thyme.
I increased the heat and waited for the onions to get a nice shine to them (I did not cook them to the point that they were translucent.) Then, I deglazed the pot with a cup or so of some cheap chardonnay I knew we had no plans of drinking, as well as a generous pour of cream sherry. After a few minutes of letting the wine/sherry reduce slightly, I added about 8 cups of chicken stock, let it come up to a slight boil, then turned the temp all the way down to the lowest setting and added the lamb pieces back in.
After an hour, I dumped about 4 chopped potatoes into the mix. I cut them in large pieces - a little more than a mouthful, so they could stand up to a long, slow cook without turning to mush.
About 2.5 hours later, I finished it off with a little salt and pepper, and a final swish of sherry.
The end result was delish. The broth has the slightest sweetness to it that complimented the strong, gamey flavor of the lamb. The lamb itself fell apart when you bit into it and the potatoes were perfectly cooked.
Unfortunately, no pictures this post as I wasn't thinking about posting when I made this stew. I should probably start keeping the camera in the kitchen from now on...
Moving forward, I may start posting more budget friendly recipes, as we are pulling back on our grocery budget. So any suggestions, please fire away!
Listening to: Dudley and Jonas breathing. They are both napping next to me.
Current Mood: Optimistic