oven roasted lamb shank with eggplant parm bake and creamy chard and beans

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Yesterday I was feeling the need for something warm, filling, and different. I saw the recipe for a similar eggplant parmesan au gratin, and I knew I wanted to do something similar. So what goes great with eggplant? Lamb. I had never cooked it on my own before, and I was very nervous for how it would come out. Luckily, everything turned out perfectly, and it was a great addition to this hearty meal! I also had some swiss chard sitting in my fridge, and I remembered this great risotto I made a while back that had greens and small white beans in it, so instead of doing it that way, I ditched the rice and transformed it into a creamy side!

Ingredients

Lamb

lamb shanks (or a cut you feel comfortable with)
rosemary & thyme (fresh)
garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper
wine (normally I would recommend a hearty red wine but all I had when I was making this was a dry white wine and it turned out ok!)

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

one medium sized eggplant
roma or heirloom tomatos (i used a mix of both)
breadcrumbs
olive oil
salt & pepper
fresh grated parmesan (romano will work as well)
fresh mozzarella

Creamy Swiss Chard & Cannellini Beans

one can of cannellini beans, drained
a few sliced of pancetta, chopped (optional)
swiss chard
salt & pepper
rosemary
half a container of creme fraiche

Instructions

Throw all of the ingredient for the lamb in a gallon sized zipper bag and let it marinade for a few hours. When it is finished marinading, pour the contents of the bag into a baking pan, and add some more fresh herbs on top of the shanks. For medium rare, you will want the lamb to be anywhere from 130 degrees to 140 degrees internally. I baked mine at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, with an addition 10 minutes to rest. The size of the shanks will affect the cooking times, so I would check the temperature after 30 minutes to check where the meat is at.

Meanwhile, peel the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise so you can cut half moon shaped slices. Once the eggplant is sliced, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil and put it in the oven with the lamb for a few minutes to start the cooking process. While the eggplant is roasting, slice up your tomatoes and mozzarella. When the eggplant is mostly cooked, take it out of the oven and start layering in an au gratin pan. I layered the eggplant, then the tomatoes, bread crumbs, and parmesan, and repeated. Then I added the mozzarella on top, along with breadcrumbs that I mixed a touch of olive oil and some more parmesan. When there is about 5 minutes of cooking time left on your lamb, put this back in the oven and allow to bake until the lamb is finished resting, for a total of about 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Last but not least are the creamy swiss chard and beans. This takes the least amount of time so do this as the end when the eggplant is about half way finished baking, add your chopped pancetta to a sauce pan and brown. Add the beans, salt, pepper, rosemary, and creme fraiche to the pan and let cook down to a rich a creamy sauce. Add the swiss chard last- it just needs to soften up a bit. This will only take 2 or 3 minutes.

Once everything is finished, you can plate and enjoy!

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tour my workspace!

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This is my second year living in this apartment. When I first moved in, I thought it would be impossible to make it seem home-y; it was stark, boring, and just blah. Slowly I’ve been collecting things to improve how the kitchen looks and functions! The first thing I did was go to Ikea and buy a huge worktable- this doubles as extra counter space and a table to eat at. For photography purposes I painted the tabletop with black chalkboard paint, so it’s like a built in back drop. I also got a very large wood cutting board that stays on the table all the time. My kitchen aid lives on the worktable as well, due to lack of actual counter space. And because I still had room left over, I found a cute vintage bread box and added some green detailing to match my cupboard (not pictured), and my favorite cookbooks that I find myself referencing over and over again. On the walls are random findings, most from tag sales and antique shops. Bright flowers are also a staple for me, as a reminder spring is coming soon to rescue me from the freezing New England temperatures! I find that all the pictures on the walls and being surrounded by my favorite colors really helps to inspire me and push my creativity- my bedroom walls are full of artwork and photos that I’ve torn out of magazines and books, and I wanted to play on that same idea, but for the kitchen.

Pictured below are my spice cabinet, topped with a plate of things I seem to go through like crazy- onions, garlic, and a few varieties of potato. I keep this stacked on a little wire shelving unit from target, which also holds the microwave and the toaster- they’re perfectly out of the way there, but easy to access! And last but not least is the stove. My huge dutch oven sits out on it all of the time because lack of space, as well as the fact that it’s way too heavy to move around! I always keep some tools right by the stove, as well as my salt and olive oil.

What do you have in your kitchen? How do you make it feel like home, and what are some of your favorite tools?

Let me know in the comment section, and we can chat about ideas!

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thing’s i’ve been craving…

with spring beginning this week, i’ve been craving quite a few things besides the season change! this winter has seemed to drag on for way too long, and tuesday’s blizzard didn’t help at all! so here are some of my favorite memories of the warmer weather (in food of course!)

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braised short rib grilled cheese from the beehive in boston, along with their signature ‘queen bee’

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black truffle and guanciale pizza at the tarry lodge in port chester, ny

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pork saltimbucca, also from the tarry lodge, port chester

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white truffle agnolotti with alfredo sauce, fresh italian sausage, and sauteèd spinach, courtesy of my dad

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and rustic potato, onion, goat cheese and rosemary pizza (my discovery)!

these are just a couple of the amazing things i have eaten over the past few months, and i am dying to have them all again!