Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cold weather, spicy food

Sunday was bright but cold--not a typical New England February day, but certainly in keeping with what we've had so far this year. Either way, it seemed like a good day to make something warm and spicy and exotic.

And so, given the preponderance of garlic in the house, there was sopa de ajo, made with this recipe randomly plucked from the Internets.

It was beautiful: warm and spicy, with a richness that made me think of oxtail soup. And while we didn't go all out and poach an egg on top, the bread and cheese were quite hearty enough, thank you.



The Boy also brought out his Christmas basketball again, this time to make Tagine Bil Bouawid, aka lamb with carmelized baby onions and pears. The recipe comes from Claudia Roden's cookbook Arabesque: a Taste of Morocco, Turkey, & Lebanon and involves cubed lamb shoulder; ginger, cinnamon and saffron; baby onions (we used shallots); and pears that are first carmelized in butter.



I'm a sucker for any dish that pairs meat and fruit, so I may not be the most objective judge, but this was fabulous--the meat was fall-apart tender, the spices came through just enough to be interesting but not overwhelming, and the pears and shallots were sweet and (as the recipe notes), "as they say in Morocco, 'you can crush them with your tongue.'"

As much as winter drives me crazy, I can find a sliver of forgiveness when it leads to the creation of such delicious warmth ...

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