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Sunday, April 1, 2012

What Was I Thinking?

Vassar College
It really does look that beautiful in person
Clearly my road trip experiment was ill conceived.  I though I would sit down every night and bang out a little something about all the charming little restaurants we sampled in all the charming little college towns we visited.  Clearly this was not the case.

I'm not totally to blame, although I will take the lions share.  I was planning to use Ted's iPad to do my blog but what I didn't count on was Ted's almost constant use of said iPad.  I'm sure he would have gladly handed it over to me for a little while each evening, but to tell you the truth, I didn't ask.  I was just too tired from all the touring to feel all that inspired.

On the upside, the college visiting was great.  Kate loved all the schools we visited and could picture herself at each one.  You know how some kids have a hard time finding schools they like?  Well, that would not be Kate.  I think the real challenge will come later when she has to narrow down the list.

To be fair, I loved them all too.  I loved the schools that fell into the "safety school" category as much as those that would be a little more of a stretch.  This is all good news.  Better for Kate to have too many to choose from than too few.

But now we're home.  I'm doing the laundry.  I've been to the grocery store.  I'm getting back on track.  And this means cooking dinner tonight, which is just fine with me.  (I decided to avoid the scale this morning and give myself a day or two before I take inventory of just how much "unplanned eating" I did in all those charming little restaurants.)

I was feeling inspired so I decided to try this Melissa Clark recipe for lamb chili.  I have never made lamb chili before but this just appealed to me.  And it has beans, which at this point are starting to look like a health food.
New York Times, 2/15/12
I don't usually think of chili as a spring time food, but this was very light and felt just right for a Sunday night.  It's easy and very flavorful.

And I even got around to writing about it.

Recipe:  Lamb-and-White-Bean Chili
(Melissa Clark, New York Times, February 15, 2012)


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced (or 2 small green bell peppers)
1 small bunch cilantro, cleaned
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 small jalapeños, seeded, if desired, and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chile powder, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 1/2 cups cooked white beans (homemade or canned)
Plain yogurt, preferably sheep’s milk, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving


1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, breaking up with a fork, until well browned, 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Transfer meat to a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Add the onion and poblano peppers. Cook until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the cilantro stems and add to the pot. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook 2 minutes. Add the chile powder, coriander and cumin, and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it begins to turn brown.

3. Return the lamb to the pot. Stir in 4 cups water, the beans and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes; add more water if the chili becomes too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Ladle into bowls, and top with a dollop of yogurt and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you sure are glad to be home Nadine. I don't know how you managed to "throw" such deliciousness together.

    Thank you so much for sharing...