Lamb Morocco

This is one of my go-to recipes and we’ll be serving it tonight to some friends who want to learn more about our co-housing idea. It comes from a collection of slow cooker recipes we bought years ago (and may have to buy again soon since it’s been so well used).

It’s kind of a lucky accident that the book turned out to be so good because I confess I bought it mostly for the title: How to Make Love and Dinner at the Same Time. The author is Toronto journalist Rebecca Field Jager, by whose kind permission this recipe is shared.

The Lamb Morocco recipe is very easy to make: throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.

1 1/2 pounds lamb stew meat
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (19-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons tomato paste*
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper

*Now here’s the really important thing I’ve learned from years of making this recipe. The rest of that little can of tomato paste? Throw it away immediately. Do not put it in the fridge, hoping you’ll think of something else to do with it. Just get rid of it before it turns all black and yucky. The stew will turn out fine either way, but you’ll be happier if you throw out the tomato paste right away. Trust me on this.

UPDATE: This bit of genius just in from Rebecca:

Your idea for throwing out the rest of the can of tomato paste made me smile. I actually freeze the remaining paste in individual ice-cube containers and then bag them in a small freezer bag so I can pull out a tablespoon (cube) as needed. The trick works well but one girlfriend who happened to witness me doing it said, “OMG that’s the most domestic thing I’ve ever seen!” Indeed it is a lot of work for a cheap can of paste but one does then always have it on hand!

I’m going to seriously consider this… and then I’m prolly gonna throw out the can.

Warm Quinoa Salad

Looking forward to trying this one, a warm quinoa salad topped with a green sauce  made with basil, dill and chives.

I came across it on the Oh She Glows website while looking for a recipe for the “soul-soothing african peanut stew” that Hillary whomped up as a first course before our last theatre outing. Peanut butter and sweet potatoes, some spinach, bit of chilli powder, bit of cayenne. Oh my.

But it turns out that recipe is only in the book, not on on the website. My advice is, either come to dinner with us or buy the book.

Marilyn’s slow-cooker pot roast

Serves 6 to 8

It’s the horseradish and Worcestershire sauce that give this roast its magnificanr flavour.

  • boneless beef rump roast, 3-3 1/2 lb.
  • 2 tablespooons vegetable oil
  • 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks (or small bag mini potatoes)
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  6-8 tablespoons horseradish sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Cut roast in half. In a large skillet, brown roast on all sides over medium high heat. Drain.
Place carrots and potatoes in a five-quart slow cooker. Top with meat and onions.
Combine the next six ingredients and pour over mat.
Cover and cook on low for 10-11 hours or until tender.
Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until thick.

Maybe it should be called co-eating

The thing that surprises me most about the traditional cohousing developments I’ve read about (by “traditional,” I mean those that are based on a neighbourhood rather than a home) is how rarely people actually eat together.

It seems to be unusual for people in a cohousing development to take meals together more than once a week. Some plan community meals no more than once or twice a month.

To me, planning, preparing and sharing meals together is one of the big draws of a co-housing community. I love cooking — but not every day. I love cooking — but not for only two. I even like clean-up — but it’s more fun to do it with others.

And the act of eating together is in itself a powerful tool of community building.

I presume anyone who wants quiet time, or just isn’t feeling sociable in the moment, would always have the option of fixing a plate and taking it off to their room. And they should be able to do so with no one thinking unkindly about it.

But in our co-housing model, the assumption is tilted toward sharing at least the evening meal as a norm.

 

We’re going to start compiling some of our favourite recipes here (where they’re easier to find).