Sunday, October 14, 2012

Savory: Lamb Stew (Fasulia)

So, as I have mentioned before, my husband is a lamb fan, like Mary before him.  Loves the stuff.  One of the first dishes I started preparing for him while dating/wooing was Fasulia, which is a Lebanese lamb stew.  Simple to prepare, yet full of delicious surprises mostly brought on from the unexpected heat and flavor the hint of cinnamon brings to the dish.  Even though lamb is more of a spring delicacy, I always find myself preparing this recipe when the weather begins to turn colder, as it is very satisfying and hearty fare, best served over rice or potatoes and with lot's of love.  Enjoy every bite.

Excerpted from A Taste of Lebanon by Mary Salloum

1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 tbsp vegetable oil (I use grape seed oil)
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 lbs green beans, fresh or frozen (do not use canned), cut into 2 inch pieces if you use fresh
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon


  1. In saucepan (one with a lid), saute meat in oil until meat is browned.  Add onions and cook until they are softened (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add beans, stir until ingredients are mixed.  Add water to cover.  Cover with lid and cook until beans are tender, 40 - 50 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Cook and additional 10 - 15 minutes.  
  4. Serve with rice or potatoes.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer on the Vineyard

Summer on Martha's Vineyard is a gorgeous, delicious, parade of wonder and I am blessed to be here on the island again with my family.  I have been doing less cooking and more observing this year, and have a few lovely photos to share with you all, including our annual pilgrimage to Morning Glory Farm, my favorite farm stand on the island, as well as a day trip to the Farm Institute.  I have been a fan of the latter for sometime, and enjoyed their lectures and programs over the years.  But this year my daughter and I ventured out for their "Farmer for a Day" program, which was a wonderful experience, demonstrating how a modern farm should ideally be run.  Imagine seeing cows actually roaming and enjoying clover, grass, and other goodies. Or the spectacle of a heritage chickens anxiously spreading their wings all over the farm; that is something your average chicken can no longer do, and it was a pleasure to see them enjoying themselves.  Pictures are below.  Enjoy every bite :)

Beautiful morning glories flowering outside of  Morning Glory Farm
A butterfly stops to rest outside the farm.

Herbs of all varieties are grown on and available from the farm.  As the sign says, the best way to preserve them is to snip the bottoms of, and put them in a shallow glass, much like you would with flowers in a vase. 

Aren't these lettuces gorgeous?  All of them are grown on the farm.

Yummy tomatoes and the nightshades.  Brought home some heirloom yellows for dinner.

Here we are in the friendship garden at the Farm Institute.  In the background, notice the small henhouse.  

Beautiful cherry tomatoes in bloom in the friendship garden at the Farm Institute

Full size heirloom tomatoes are coming into their own.

A few pumpkins have come up early.

Cows...roaming...eating grass.  Who knew?

Kiss my ass!

Week old chicks, still brooding.  Just lovely.
Why did the chicken cross the road?  To get away from the crazy lady with the camera.

A hen eating a fallen egg.  Happy Mother's Day.

Beautiful heritage hen roaming the farm.

Our loot, which my lovely daughter carefully deposited into an egg carton at the farm store. They were then ready to be sold.  So simple.  

Sheep in the meadow.

A very large sow, clocking in at about 400 pounds.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Overlooked: Watermelon Soup With Chile and Lime

Hello again faithful readers...been a long since I've rock and rolled.  Lots going on here at Chez Noonie, and I apologize for stand still.  When last we talked it was Autumn and now were are in the dead heat of Summer.  Rather than fill in the gaps, I say we get on with it and beat the heat.

Summer is a great time to experiment.  Lots of fresh food coming in off the trucks from the farms, much of it local and at its peak.  I tend to get a little zealous at the markets and grab everything on hand, and then regretfully come home realizing that I have no energy to actually turn on the stove in this weather.  And that is when I hunt for no cook recipes and eye my immersion blender like a hunter oils its gun.

My husband is familiar with this paradigm and has learned to shrug his shoulders and let it go when I excitedly walk in the door with 15 pounds of mixed produce and no real plan.  He mutters quietly to himself and even helps me clear space in the fridge, knowing that some of it will wind up in the trash but much of it will come to fruition...somehow.  Today he silently but suspiciously takes inventory of my haul...watermelon, green onions, jalapeno peppers, mint, limes..."what the hell", he thinks I cannot hear him whisper.  No matter, because today, I actually have a plan.

Watermelon soup my friends is refreshing and unexpected on a hot and muggy day.  It is a pause that refreshes, providing necessary water, carbs, and electrolytes as well as tasty and surprising zing that hits the spot on an otherwise oppressive landscape.  And best of all, it meets my TEN Hat Trick:  TEN  :1) minutes to cook, 2) dollars to make, and 3) servings per recipe.  As an added bonus, you get to use your immersion blender or food processor, which is very satisfying if you are feeling put off or perhaps even pissed off by the endless heat and all the languid aggravation that comes with it.

Enjoy every bite.

Watermelon Soup With Chile And Lime
Adapted from Cooking for Friends
Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm

6 cups of seedless watermelon
1 medium jalapeno pepper, chopped and seeded
3 chopped green onions
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. Place in a bowl and cover with a top or saran wrap.  Chill in fridge for one hour.  
  3. Serve in small bowls - this is a a refreshing but strong soup and should be enjoyed in small portions.