Roasting a Goat. For Real.

Sometimes I think I like the process of cooking/baking more than I like the eating part at the end.  Don’t get me wrong, I love eating (who doesn’t, right?), but I often find myself in situations where I’m trying to figure out how to make the most elaborate thing possible.

This weekend’s cooking extravaganza was a prime example of this.

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t really make this.  I made the marinade and the side dishes.  The real work was from these two guys:

(Why yes that is my boyfriend wielding a knife like a butcher bad ass.)

So I can’t really take credit for roasting the goat, but I’ll take credit for the marinade: lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, cilantro, mint, salt (lots of it), pepper, onions and lots and lots of garlic.

I’m not joking.  It really was a whole goat.  40 pounds. That means a whole lot of marinade is needed and a whole lot of people to eat it, the latter is not really an issue.

So Jesse built a contraption, because I can’t think of another way to describe it, to roast the goat on.

Clearly he’s the handy one in the relationship… Unfortunately upon picking up the goat early on Saturday morning, we found the goat was too big for the roasting contraption. Oops.

Plan B.  Roast the goat in pieces.  Not an ideal situation.  I really wanted it to be an entire goat, because honestly, that sounds more exciting (and maybe intimidating?).  But this worked too.

Now friends, the trick to roasting a goat is low flame and patience, because it takes hours.  It took about 4 hours to make, and I imagine if we had done the whole thing in one piece it would have taken far longer.  In the meantime, there were snacks and drinks and music.

What does great with a goat?
Here was my menu:

-Roasted Goat
-Goat Kabobs with Goat Meat, Onion, Red Peppers and Pineapple.  Brushed with oil and grilled (FYI These were AMAZING)
-Spinach-Strawberry Salad with Red Onions, Candied Pecans and Balsamic Vinaigrette
-Jeweled Rice: Cinnamon and Cardamom Spiced Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts
-Bread and Tortillas
-Dessert: Fresh Watermelon, Passion Fruit Cream Pie (recipe coming soon!), and Lemon Cream Pie

All sorts of tasty.

(Oh yeah, that’s totally my boyfriend slicing a goat leg like a boss)

So let’s be honest.  Roasting a goat is a little ridiculous and probably not something you’re going to do on your average weekend, but for the food enthusiast, I would say it’s worth it.  At the very least, it’s fun to sit around with your friends as a goat roasts behind you, like a super elaborate BBQ… with a goat leg on it…

Or maybe just so that when people ask you what you did this weekend you can say “I roasted an entire goat.”

You decide 🙂

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Green Soup: Broccoli-Spinach Soup with Yogurt

I’m a firm believer in balance.  Not like the yoga type.  I tried yoga, really I tried.  I just can’t do it.  I was thinking balance more in the dietary sense.

This weekend I went to the Taste of OC festival.  To say I ate a lot is probably the biggest understatement ever.  It was amazing.

Ribs. Fried Pig Ear.  Shrimp and Lobster Grinder. Italian Ice. Broken Banana Cream Pie. There were probably other things too.  I can’t remember since I was in food coma the second half of the afternoon.

Sometimes, you can only take so many rich, heavy dishes.  Sometimes you need something green, healthy, tangy and light that includes zero sugar.

Something like this:

Broccoli-Spinach Soup with Yogurt

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion diced
2 cups broccoli, chopped

2 cups spinach
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
garbanzo beans, optional

In pot, heat oil and cook onions until translucent.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Add broccoli and spinach and simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool a little bit.  Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.  Stir in greek yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with garbanzo beans if desired.

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side.

Easiest meal ever? Probably.

Tastiest? Pretty close.

I have no doubt in my mind I’ll be ready for an enormous meal soon (even though I think I’ve sworn off food festivals for all of eternity… or maybe just until the end of the month?).

In the meantime, I’ll stick to the green stuff for a bit.

Lemon Cupcakes with Berry Whipped Cream Icing

I’m starting to realize I have a tendency toward repetitiveness.  I do things over and over again without really getting tired of it.

Example #1: Today I listened to the same song over and over again from about 10am until 4pm. I literally kept hitting repeat on YouTube.

Example #2: Every so often, when I have nothing to do, I like to watch Pride and Prejudice alone in my bed and cry my eyes out when Elizabeth is telling her father how much she loves Mr. Darcy.  It gets me every time.

Example #3: I make lemon cupcakes for any number of occasions.  I never get tired of experimenting in my quest to make the perfect lemon cupcakes/cake.

I think this is the jackpot though.  Oh wait, do I claim that every time?  Who knows… let’s go with it.

Lemon Cupcakes with Berry Whipped Cream Icing

adapted from Epicurious Moist Yellow Cake

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
5 eggs
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4- 1 cup milk*
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powered sugar
3-4 tbsp berry jam (i.e. strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, etc)

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Combine lemon juice and milk.  You want enough to make 1 1/4 cup of the mixture.  So squeeze the lemon juice into a measuring cup and fill until you get 1 1/4 cups.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat 3-5 minutes until fluffy.  Add lemon zest, vanilla and one egg at a time, beating 30 seconds between each egg.   Add flour mixture 1/2 cup (ish) at a time and milk mixture, alternating add each one.  Lastly, mix in the instant pudding mix.

Pour batter into line cupcake pan.  Bake 15-20 minutes depending on the strength of your oven, or until golden brown and cooked through.  Makes about 30 cupcakes.

Allow to cool completely and make the icing.  Beat heavy cream to soft peaks.  Add powdered sugar and jam, a bit at a time.  Keep beating until stiff.  Put icing in a piping bag and top off cupcakes (or spread with a knife).

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until about an hour before serving.

This is definitely something I’d like to repeat, not just because I like making cupcakes but because they were delicious. I think this is going to replace any other lemon cupcake recipe I thought was best.  These are better.  Trust me.  Give it a try, then repeat.

I’d also like to repeat the shrimp tacos I made for dinner last night that I’m kicking myself for not photographing.  Oh well.  For the sake of repetition, here’s one more photo…  Is that okay?

It’s past midnight.  I can’t sleep.  I’m listening to the same song I listened to all day and am tempted to go into my kitchen to make these again.  Or maybe I should break my repetitive streak and make something new.  What do you think?