Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Recipe: Leg of Lamb in Dark beer with honey and thyme

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Yesterday was the season finale of Game of Thrones, and I had the night off: I knew I had to do something special to celebrate.

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.

Arya needs someone to celebrate the fact that she’s the last bad–ass stark child alive.

Since this was a special occasion, I decided on leg of lamb.  Since I was cooking for a crowd, however, we all pitched in some money.  All in all, I only spent about $30. Going over my budget was definitely worth it.

Definitely.

Definitely.

Lamb is a slightly gamey meat, and our particular piece had lots of fat, making it super juicy and rich.  The spices were an unusual yet perfect compliment to the meat. I was inspired by the recipe from Tyler Florence on the Food Network, except I cold not find juniper berries.  I think the lamb came out just fine anyways.

Ingredients:

Leg of lamb [around $30-$45]

fresh thyme [$2]

garlic [.50 cents]

1 bottle porter or stout (I used Anchor Steam porter) [$3]

honey [$2]

Directions:

Peheat oven to 375.

Rub lamb down with olive oil, salt, pepper, a generous portion of thyme leaves and a couple cloves chopped garlic. Place in a roasting pan.

Whisk 2 cups of the beer, about 3 tablespoons honey, another handful of the thyme leaves, salt and pepper together until combined.  Pour over the lamb.  Place in the oven and turn down to 325.  Baste lamb every 10 minutes until cooked to desired temperature.

On the recipe, Tyler wrote about 13 minutes for every pound for medium–rare doneness. I found the meat to be more on the rare side, so I would up that to about 15 to 16 minutes per pound.  I didn’t mind the rareness, but I like my meat still bloody.

so bloody.

so bloody.

It’s also important to let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before serving so the meat doesn’t become dry.  Tent the lamb with foil if you can.

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I served the lamb with the buttered beets recipe from my Game of Thrones companion cookbook (one of my favorite possessions).  The recipe isn’t online, so here is a similar one for a salad with beets, onions, and green beans.

We also had some of my sangria floats to wash it all down with.  It was certainly a feast, and a perfect way to bit adieu to GOT until next season.

-L

photo of Arya (cc):The New York Times

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Recipe: Southern Ribs

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This week, I didn’t do a post on Game of Thrones.  Sorry.  I’ve been laying in my bed, depressed.  It was a tough episode. More intense than most episodes.

Don’t believe me? People have been freaking out over this episode, because the final scene was incredibly gory and heart–wrenching.  I’m not going to ruin it for you, but if you want to see a YouTube compilation of people also freaking out to the episode, you can here.

My expression for the past few days has been similar

My expression for the past few days has been similar to theirs

I’m planning on roasting some lamb for the season finale though, so life is good.

I’m posting an awesome rub recipe a friend passed along to me. Just a warning, they need to planned out and made the night before, but it’s worth it.  I have had his ribs, and they are wonderful.

So meaty

So meaty

Ingredients:

rack of ribs [$10 or so per rack]

Brown sugar [$2]

Cajun powder, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder [about $4 each, although most people have all or a combination of these powders already chilling in their pantries]

Apple cider vinegar [$2]

Directions:

So start with the rub: Mix a Halfish cup brown sugar, 1/8ish cup salt, tablespoonish each Cajun, mustard, garlic, onion powders in a bowl and knead into the meat.

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The happy gang

Then brush the vinegar into the meat and let rest in the fridge for a few hours.  Then repeat the process.  The meat should look wet and thick with flavor.

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Let the meat marinate overnight. The next morning, smoke the ribs on a grill for about five hours or until super tender.

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Perfect for summertime grilling season.

-L

Photo of Rob Stark and wife (cc): USA Today

Game of Thrones Recipe: Lasagna

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Last week, there was no Game of Thrones, and the world shed a tear.

Awesome tears

An awesome tear

Since no Game of Thrones is still not a good enough reason to starve, I still cooked dinner on Sunday, a crowd–pleasing meal that’s easy and fun to make: Lasagna.

The King of meat and pasta combos

The King of meat and pasta combos

While this recipe was inspired by Emeril’s Lasagna Recipe on Food Network, I made it my own, cutting things that I wouldn’t miss to save money (I already went a little over my limit anyways, but I figured it makes for many a leftover so it evens out). I think it turned out better than expected, and the dish had a rustic, fresh taste, and every ingredient could be savored.

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Ingredients:

1 pkg no–boil lasagna noodles [$1.50]

1 16 oz package whole milk ricotta cheese [$4]

1 bag Italian blend cheese [$3]

1 bag shredded mozz [$3]

fresh basil [$3]

eggs (I had them on hand, you only need one)

Meat Sauce:

1 lb ground beef [$4.50]

1 lb ground sausage [$4]

head garlic [$.50]

2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes [$2.50]

Assorted spices I had on hand (see directions)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Make the meat sauce: brown the sausage and beef for about 5 minutes.  When meat is browned, add tomatoes with their juices, garlic powder, 3 smashed cloves of garlic, shredded fresh basil sugar, salt and pepper to taste.  I like my tomato sauce a little sweet because my mom used to put sugar in my spaghetti and meatballs growing up.  If you haven’t tried it, you should.

It's awesome

It’s awesome

Let the meat sauce simmer while you make the ricotta mixture. Combine the ricotta cheese, an egg, thinly sliced basil, salt, pepper, and a handful of each of the shredded cheeses, and mix well to combine. Add a splash of milk or in my case, cream, if you have it.

Like so

Like so

Then all you have to do is assemble: in a large ovensafe pan, put the meat sauce, cheese, and layer of the noodles.  Top with ricotta and meat sauce and continue until you have reached the top of the pan.

Like so

Like so

Then all you do is cover it with foil and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and cook another 10 minutes, or til nice and golden.

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The surface of the planet of lasagnar is gooey with lakes of cheese and mountains of meat.

I topped each piece with a basil leaf and some leftover meat sauce, then had a few pieces.  The freshness of the tomatoes and the creamyness of the cheese married together perfectly.

messy yet delicious

messy yet delicious

An easy dinner that you can have for lunch the next day is always a good idea in my book.

-L

Game of Thrones photo via blogs.westword.com

Game of Thrones Recipe: Lemon Cakes

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This week I resumed my cooking for the Game of Thrones themed party The Russian and I throw every Sunday.

Cooking food inspired from the show makes me feel like I am IN Game of Thrones…but maybe not for this part.

I decided to make Lemon Cakes, and it was a good decision. I’m no baker, but these were easy to make and were a hit at the party.

look at me, being all domestic and making baked goods

look at me, being all domestic and making baked goods

Of course, the recipe was inspired by Inn at the Crossroads.

Ingredients

zest of 2 lemons [$1.50]

2 1/2 cups flour [$3 for a small bag]

2 cups sugar [$3 for a small bag]

about a stick of butter [$1.50]

Juice of a lemon

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks [$2 for a pack of 6]

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine flour and sugar, then add butter (cut into small pieces) and mash it with your fingers until well combined. Then add the zest, yolks, and juice .  Continue to mix with your hands or a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.  It doesnt seem like it will at first, but if you keep working with the mixture, it will come together.

Roll off small balls of dough and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until light and tasty.  I made an icing to put on top of the cookies with confectioners sugar and a splash of milk.

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The cakes came out pretty nice, they were a bit dense, but I probably overworked the dough.  They were a real crowd–pleaser though, and I’ll be trying baking again soon.  Guess it’s not as scary as I thought it would be.

-L

Game of Thrones Recipe: Fish Tarts

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It’s pretty safe to say that last night was one of the best Game of Thrones episodes I have ever seen. Ever.  It was thrilling.

It had a lot to do with this woman.

It had a lot to do with this woman.

I decided to go with my take on a medieval surf and turf: fish tarts and grilled sausages. Of course I got the recipe for the tarts from A Feast of Ice and Fire.fishtarts1

Ingredients:

8oz package smoked trout [$12]

12 oz cream cheese [$3]

pre–made phylo mini shells [$2]

fresh sage [$2]

small container heavy cream [$1.50]

1/2 pint blackberries [$4]

Assortment of sausages [price varies]

Directions:

Heat oven to 350.

Mix trout, chopped sage, and a splash of cream together with a spoon.  Scoop out mixture into small balls and place into the shells.  Add a blackberry on top and bake for about ten to fifteen minutes.  Take out and serve, as these are best eaten when hot.

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The warm blackberry juice cuts the cream cheese mixture perfectly, and the shells are so nice and crisp.  Just to add something else for my fellow GOT viewers, I grilled a bunch of sausages: a chicken and garlic, a chorizo, and a bratwurst.  Then I cut them up and left some fun toothpicks and sat down and didn’t move.  It was pretty nice.

These grilled meats were also pretty nice

These grilled meats were also pretty nice

Enjoy!

-L

Photo (cc): Dailytrojan.com

Blogging and its effects on the Boston food community

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Kristen Fenton, who writes Indulge Inspire Imbibe, began her food blog on a whim.

“I lived in the North End and I was constantly being asked for restaurant recommendations … I just decided to put it online if everyone was asking. It is a nice place to also document the photos I was taking, Fenton said.

Fenton had been reading a few other blogs for inspiration and still follows local blogs, such as Delicious Dishing, Confessions of a Chocoholic, Travel Wine Dine, and Beantown Baker.  Her blog, while focusing on food, also has aspects of travel and lifestyle, thus the “Inspire” portion of her blog’s title.

“When I named it I wanted to keep it open ended because I didn’t want the focus to just be about food,” she said. “I wanted it to be about whatever I wanted.”

Indulge Inspire Imbibe, which has been running for three years, gets about 500 visitors a day. Not bad for a woman who works in the healthcare sector.

Katie Barszcz, of The Small Boston Kitchen, began her blog because she wanted to get involved in the food industry and out of her then job in human relations.

“I started a blog to give me a format to explore food more and see where it would take me,” she said.

The plan worked.  Her blog receives about 10,000 viewers a month and led to The Skinny Beet, a personal chef and catering service (with a blog of course!) she began with her fiancé.  The couple cooks for clients during the week, do private dinner parties, and teach at the Boston Center for Adult Education.

“I think food is something so many people are so passionate about. I think it’s great people have a platform to talk about it,” Barszcz said of the blogging experience. “I think it’s the constant search and staying true to yourself to finding what the purpose of your blog actually is.”

For food bloggers, eating is more than just providing a body with sustenance, but a way of life, a hobby, or a favored pastime.  Not all who love food can be in the restaurant industry, however (and not all in the industry love food, but that is a discussion for another time). This group of people, coined “foodies,” write about food, make food, or simply look at pictures of food on the Internet, feeding their passion after the normal work day is done.  Blogging has emerged as an outlet where foodies can express their love of food with other like–minded individuals, whether or not food is part of their daily life.

Bloggers like Rachel Blumenthal, who has been blogging about food and restaurants for years.

“I think that one of the most important things about blogging is that you’re on your own schedule you’re not on a newspaper’s schedule where there might be something interesting to cover but there are so many other things that need to be covered first,” said Rachel Blumenthal, who runs the site Fork it over, Boston. Blumenthal started the blog almost five years ago and it has helped her get a part–time gig with Eater Boston, a restaurant news site.

Blumenthal, while not posting a great deal this year, thinks that doing restaurant reviews on a blog is easier to beat formal reviewers to the figurative punch, because writers answer only to their free time.

“You’re not answering to an editor or anything like that, so you can do whatever you want and put whatever you want out there … it’s a really nice way to let people express themselves without jumping through all the hoops of legitimate publishing,” she said.

Her site, which she says is about 80 percent restaurant reviews and the rest recipes she attempts at home, has a following of about 400 viewers per day, and more when she posts new material, she says.

“I think that individual bloggers who work hard and are honest and open with their readers can build up a reputation over time that’s on the same level of respect as a Boston Globe reviewer can command,” Blumenthal said.

A noble thought, but not all would agree with that statement, most of all

Sheryl Julian, food critic for the Boston Globe.

“I don’t think they know the rules of the road,” Julian said.

Julian, who in addition to her 27 years at the Globe also teaches food writing in the master’s program at Boston University, believes many bloggers today are getting perks from restaurants and are thus writing biased reviews.

“I’m passionately interested in food journalism,” she said. “If you’re going to become a blogger and teach yourself to do it all, then you have to be serious.  You can’t decide on day that you’re a blogger.”

Julian believes there are two types of bloggers, people who are making food at home for their families and taking photos and food news bloggers who go to restaurants in order for a free meal and then blog about the experience.   She believes the ladder is not journalism and unethical.

For the latter, becoming a well–known blogger in a small city can have its perks, which are enjoyed by bloggers like Fenton, who says although she enjoys some occasional perks, she has no plans to make her blog anything more than a hobby.

The former, Julian believes, have a great deal of potential and many are becoming cookbook authors.

“These first time authors are great authors because they have been writing [on their blogs] for years,” Julian said.

Bloggers like Chelsea Monroe–Cassel, who began the site Inn At The Croassroads with then roommate Sariann Lehrer; their blog includes recipes inspired by the “Game of Thrones” books by George R.R. Martin. The blog started by the two women deciding what to make for dinner, and they thought lemon cakes from the Game of Thrones books would be a good idea.  Already having an interest in the books, they tried searching for a recipe online, but to no avail.

“We couldn’t find anything online that matched what we thought lemon cakes should be,” Monroe–Cassel said.

Monroe–Cassel already collected medieval cookbooks and used them as a jumping off point for the site’s recipes.

“It gives an idea about how recipes and flavor profiles have evolved over time.”

The blog, started in March 2011, soon became an Internet sensation.  The two filled a much–needed niche in the cooking world, and soon a book option was in sight.

“It went from cookbook to blog,” she said, “when I emailed George Martin to let him know that we were doing this … I said jokingly, ‘If you ever think of doing a cookbook think of us.’”

Martin responded a few weeks later saying he liked the blog and would pass it along to his publisher, and in May 2012 “A Feast of Ice and Fire was released to the public.  The book uses quotations from the books describing food to inspire each recipe, and the book features medieval and modern interpretations on food described in the book.

“We’re first and foremost fans and I think that makes a difference too,” she said.

TV shows, types of food, or even the love of some of Boston’s best restaurants can hold Blogging communities together.  Lisa Flores, director of sales and marketing for Columbus Hospitality, has seen blogging come a long way, especially in the past three years.

“I invite a blogger in once a month to come in and have dinner with us … I find it to be relevant press,” Flores said.

Columbus Hospitality Group owns popular spots Sorellina , Mooo…, and the original and most favored fine dining spot among Boston foodies, Mistral.

“People really pay attention to what bloggers are saying, they have become more prominent,” Flores said. “They [bloggers] could become at the same level as a food critic eventually.”

Flores says over her 13 years with Columbus Hospitality and more specifically Mistral, she has seen the age of regular customers decline, from mid 40s to mid 20s, and can attribute some of that to the recent emergence of foodies and related blogs.

Flores follows a few blogs herself, like Boston’s Just Add Cheese and The Perfect Bite, and likes to find bloggers more researched on the restaurant that people visit once and write reviews on sites like Yelp! Flores, like many other bloggers, also states that good photos are key to a great blog.

“I like the pictures of food that are taken well … if the photos are dark the food can look terrible,” Flores said.

Monroe–Cassel agrees.

“Photos are crucial,” she said. “No one can taste or smell the food online but they can see.”

Since perfecting her photos on her blog and in her book,  Monroe–Cassel is working on a brewing site inspired by the series, and says she would not be opposed to writing another cookbook if the opportunity arises. Either way, she is looking forward to the future of blogging with optimism.

“Throughout my research I’ve seen different approaches, like communal sites or cookbooks, but its never taken off…I’d like to see more of that, Monroe–Cassel said. “I’d like to see how food blogging evolves with cookbooks or self publishing cause I think they would go hand in hand together.”

Whatever the future may hold for bloggers, is important to stay passionate, according to Monroe–Cassel.

“Do whatever it is you love,” she said. “You’ll be hard pressed to keep up enthusiasm if you do it just to make a buck or get views, I think you will get those anyways if you have the passion behind it.”

Spending some quality time with my Game of Thrones Hero

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I was lucky enough (and The Russian too, he rides my coattails everywhere 😉 ) to spend some time with Chelsea Monroe–Cassel the other day, author of A Feast of Ice and Fire and blogger at Inn At The Crossroads.  For someone who loves Game of Thrones, this woman is practically the messiah.  She really enjoys all things medieval, and is super nice and friendly to boot.  Click on the photo of her for some photos of her home and some projects shes working on.