Slow-Cooked Dinner + More Brownies
We had a slow-cooked dinner yesterday: Spring Lamb and Flageolet Beans, Beer-Rye Bread, Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon, and Baked Spelt Pudding.
The lamb and beans took about 4 hours to cook in a 300F oven after bringing to a boil (2 hours covered, 2 hours uncovered). It turned out soupier and blander than I was imagining, but a squeeze of lemon juice right before serving helped make it better. Still, I expected more from my pretty Rancho Gordo flageolet beans. I still hold out hope that someday I'll make a really excellent bean dish. I just haven't found the right recipe (well, there are these awesome baked beans, but they don't really showcase the beans).
The bread turned out pretty well. The recipe came from a recent issue of Sunset, which featured our favorite hometown brewery, New Belgium. Way to go, you guys! The bread was faintly sweet, flavored with rye and caraway. I was surprised that it had retained some of the beer flavor (I used New Belgium Springboard, a seasonal ale brewed with wormwood, goji berries, and schisandra). It would've been even better slathered with butter or cream cheese.
I wanted to like the Brussels sprouts, but they turned out a little bitter and uninteresting. I'm guessing I either cooked them too long or used Brussels sprouts that were past their prime (but they were from the farmers' market, so that's something!). Were I to try it again, I might try this version, since butter makes everything taste better.
I was excited about the pudding because I had been craving rice pudding, and it let me use more spelt as well as a whole bottle of Straus 2% milk (it's too expensive for everyday milk, so it's a treat when I get to use it in recipes). I made it in a loaf pan in our toaster oven, and it took a little under 3 hours to bake. When it was done, I spooned it into our recently acquired set of 351 1/2 Hall custard cups (from eBay, inspired by this outing) and chilled it.
The pudding turned out denser and firmer than I'd expected. Well set--like it had been thickened with gelatin (when really it was just ground up spelt and long, slow baking that thickened it). I was hoping for a creamier texture, but this stuff was hearty and a little chewy. Although it wasn't what I was expecting, I liked it. It's unique, and eating it makes me feel healthy! However, it didn't satisfy my rice pudding cravings. I've got my eye on these three recipes, and I'd better try one of them soon, since it won't be rice pudding season for much longer.
I also made another batch of Classic Brownies to use up the leftover butter and chocolate from the Tahoe trip. Most of them went to work with me today and were well received by my coworkers. I let the brownies cool for the full 2 hours this time, and they cut more cleanly, though there was still some crumbling. It seems that people prefer pecan-topped brownies to plain, since on both occasions the plain brownies lasted longer. I always thought most people didn't like brownies with nuts, but I guess that's not the case. They're yummy, either way (as the sign indicates).