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Monthly Archives: December 2011


Sorry to be MIA so long. This week’s post-holiday crash combined with a particularly difficult week at work has left me with no energy to do anything other than sit on the couch and move the beer bottle to and from my mouth. I literally do not know what is for dinner. I’m okay with that and I hope my husband is too.

Not sure if I’ll do a post tomorrow (the odds are slim), but I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Years! Please comment to tell me about all the fun things you’ll be doing so I can live vicariously.



Foodie Friday: Christmas Dinner

Growing up, we never did a big Christmas dinner. We had a big brunch and then just sort of grazed through the rest of the lazy day. This was fun, since it gave us plenty of time to play with our new toys and lay around and watch Star Wars (totally traditional, right?!).

Last year, for our first year as a couple, Josh and I wound up having his mom and my sister and her family over for Christmas dinner. We made a leg of lamb and yummy sides, and it was pretty great.

This year, my entire family will be in town for Christmas (yay!), so Josh and I are going to host Christmas dinner again. I think our tradition from here on out will be: huge hunk of meat. Pretty awesome.

Here’s what’s on the menu:

  • Nigella’s slow roasted pork shoulder
    We were able to find pork from a local farm, and the beauty of this recipe is that I’ll put it in the oven on Christmas Eve, and then we’re done. Don’t have to really touch it til Christmas late afternoon, leaving us plenty of time to be lazy
  • Orzo pilaf with tomatoes and onions
  • Brussels sprouts with pancetta
  • Salted caramel sauce over homemade pear sorbet, and since I’ve already made the sauce and made up the base for the sorbet, I’m almost done! Just need to put it in the ice cream maker now. I will say that pear brandy was way too expensive, so I substituted an equal amount of pear nectar mixed with a shot of vodka. The booze helps keep the freezing point low and results in creamier sorbet.
  • And last, but certainly not least, rosemary lime cocktails! I’ve already made the rosemary simple syrup, and it might be a new favorite. Yum.

It’s been fun to think of new dishes that might become traditions one day.

Anyone else hosting Christmas dinner? Or what about Christmas eating traditions? The weirder the better!

Since this is probably my last post til January (Rachel might write a few), I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a totally amazing New Year!

Wasted Wednesday: Brandy Milk Punch

When we were in New Orleans recently I finally tried a Brandy Milk Punch and my life has never been the same. Ever since that first sip I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect recipe. Of course all I really did was look through all my cookbooks and did a little googling.

This past weekend, in the name of research, I tested out a recipe. It was a winner. I plan on serving it this Christmas Eve with brunch.

Milk Punch (I won’t call it Brandy because that would be very limiting and we at Lolling About don’t like limits)

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream (this is not the time to skimp on the cheap crap)
  • 1/4 cup brandy or bourbon, whatever floats your boat
  • nutmeg

In a blender mix ice cream and alcohol until smooth and frothy. I suggest letting your ice cream sit out for a few minutes, it will make it easier to blend.

Serve in a glass with a sprinkling of fresh nutmeg.

Goes great with a brunch or lunch or early afternoon cocktail or dessert or whenever.

Merry Christmas!

Foodie Friday: Chinese Braised Oxtail

So one of my life goals on the list I’ve recently assembled is to eat more weird food that I’ve never had before, and that most people would say OH HELL NO to trying. Yes, it might seem strange to some (most) people that food would feature heavily on a life list, but it does on mine.

I went to the store the other day and was wandering through the meat section, looking for inspiration, when there, right before my eyes, were packages of oxtail. I swear I could hear the angelic choir burst into song. I grabbed two packages and went happily home, knowing that I could have a lot of fun with them.

Most oxtail you see today is actually cow tail. What this translates to is a round piece of bone encircled in heavily muscled and marbled meat. Think of it as a round version of a short rib. Because of all of the muscle, oxtail benefits from low and slow cooking, at which point it becomes the most tender and succulent thing imaginable. Swoon.

As I looked up recipes, most of them were very Italian inspired (tomatoes, white whine, herbs), and that just not what I was wanting. I wanted the oxtail to be THE thing that the dish was about. When I saw this recipe, I knew that I had struck gold. Not only was it Asian inspired, which we love, but we also happened to have just about everything on the ingredient list on hand.

This seriously is probably one of the best thing I’ve ever made. No joke.

Please make it. Broaden your horizons. Freak people out with it.

Pretty please?

Copied and modified from this recipe

Asian Braised Oxtail

  • 2 to 3 pounds oxtails, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry (I used sherry)
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup dark or regular soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 star anise, broken into pieces
  • 2 whole cloves (I only had ground, so I threw in a pinch of that)
  • 4 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and bruised (all I had was the tubed kind. Worked just fine)
  • 6 slices fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3-4 Thai chili peppers, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 lime, zested and cut into small wedges
    Cooked jasmine rice, for serving.

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season oxtails with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, brown oxtail all over, removing each piece when done. Add oil as needed.

When done browning, pour off extra fat from bottom of empty pot and set pot over high heat. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. In a bowl, mix soy sauce and sugar with 2 cups stock and pour into pot. Add lemongrass, chili peppers, star anise, cloves, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Return oxtails to pot and add lime zest. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook 1½ hours.

Turn over pieces of oxtail, cover again and cook 1½ hours more, or until oxtail is very tender. Remove oxtails from pot and strain sauce into a separate saucepan; discard contents of strainer. Transfer oxtail pieces back to ovenproof pot. Either let the sauce sit long enough to seperate the fat, or cover oxtails and sauce and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, heat oven to 300 degrees; remove oxtails and sauce from refrigerator. Lift off any fat on surface of sauce and discard. Gently warm sauce until liquid, then pour over oxtails. Cover with foil or a lid and bake 30 minutes.

Uncover, stir and raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Stir again and cook another 15 minutes, until hot and glazed thickly with sauce. Remove oxtails from oven and serve over rice. Squeeze lime juice over oxtails.

Now I want to go make them again.

Wasted Wednesday: Hot Rummy Lemonade

I have a confession to make: I haven’t tasted this recipe yet, but I will tonight!

We have a Christmas party to go to, and everyone seemed to think that Josh and I should be in charge of the booze (we don’t have a problem, I swear).

Now, bring alcohol for a party can be tricky. It can also be expensive, and money is tight (hello Christmas presents, car repairs, and visits to the chiro for a pinched nerve in my neck. Ouch). We decided some sort of spikeable punch was the answer. This works well for both keeping the cost down (a shot or two of rum per person is easy to take care of) and to be able to still provide a yummy drink for the preggos amongst our friends.

Josh got this started last night while I was at work, and then we’ll heat it up once we get to the party and allow people to spike their own cup according to taste.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Update: It was delicious! I totally reccomend steeping the ginger overnight. Also, if you’re battling a cold, make a big batch of this and live off of it til you’re better. Heaven.

Original recipe found here

Hot Rummy Lemonade

• 3 x 1-litre bottles of cloudy apple juice
• 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger
• 1 cinnamon stick
• juice of 12 lemons
• honey
• golden rum

Pour apple juice and 2 litres of water into a large pot on high. Add sliced ginger and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer for about 15 minutes. Since we wanted a solid ginger kick, we let it cool and continue steeping overnight.

Add the lemon juice and strain. Bring back up to a boil, then add honey to taste.

To serve, pour a mug and and a shot (or two) of rum.

Party on!


Domesticity: Cleaning the microwave

This is probably the most boring blog post in the history of blogging, but here goes…

I’m not really the best house cleaner. As this blog proves, lolling about is my primary hobby. Cleaning really gets in the way of my lolling about time. So I try to the do the basic stuff (vacuuming, laundry, dusting) once a week or so. Deeper cleaning stuff like microwaves, fans, etc just don’t happen that often. Maybe once every 3 years. I know, I’m terrible.

A few weeks ago I saw a tip on Pinterest for cleaning your microwave. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with some water and a tablespoon or so (why measure?!) of vanilla. Put the lovely smelling liquid in the microwave and turn on for two minutes. Let it sit for a minute or so and then wipe the inside of the microwave down. The water creates steam and the vanilla makes it not smell like three years worth of microwave splatter. Worked like a charm.

Although I admit, I did re-microwave a couple of times. Once to make sure I got everything and another time just because I liked the smell.

Now who has any good tips on cleaning an oven?

Foodie Friday: Ale Braised Corned Beef with Carrots and Brussel Sprouts

Today’s recipe is a whole meal that cooks in the crock pot. Recipes I love include a few qualities: 1) one or very few pots, 2) require little work, 3) a whole meal in-and-of themselves. This is all three.

I first tried this recipe a few months ago and have been meaning to make it again. This morning before work I spent 10 minutes making dinner. Isn’t it the best feeling knowing that dinner is totally taken care of? I love it. It makes the rest of the day just a little bit more stress-free.

Ale-Braised Corned Beef with Carrots and Brussel Sprouts

  • 1 3 lb corned beef brisket (with spice packet, if included)
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1-3″ lengths
  • 1 12oz bottle amber ale (Today I’m trying Abita Christmas Ale and cannot wait to taste it!)
  • 3/4 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon (the original recipe calls for fresh, but I use dried)

In your slow cooker put the corned beef, spice packet (if included), ale, and carrots. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Ten minutes before serving thinly slice your Brussels sprouts… or put them in the food processor with the slicer attachment.

Remove the corned beef from the crock pot and put in your brussel sprouts. You want to cook them for about 10 minutes until they are tender. While that’s happening slice your beef. The original recipe shows the beef sliced pretty thin, but we like ours cut into chunks like stew meat. It naturally falls apart this way anyways.

In a small bowl mix your sour cream, mustard and tarragon.

Serve in a bowl your meat, brussel sprouts and carrots with a nice dollop of the sour cream/mustard mix on top. Enjoy with a nice ale curled up on the couch with your honey.

Original recipe.