"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Red Wine Braised Lamb: The Perfect Recipe for a Multi-Tasking Working Mom and Cook

If you're a parent, every day is a juggling act! It doesn't matter if you spend the whole day managing your household and taking care of your family's needs, or you split your day between managing a career outside the home and taking care of your family. This week, I was reminded that as a parent it's not about how many hours a day you are in the presence of your children. But, it's about how present you are during the hours you spend with your children.  It's about how do you find time to connect with your family - even in the least amount of time that you have with them.

For me, one of the ways that I try to connect with my family is through food - family meals. Unfortunately, I don't always have a whole lot of hours in the day - especially during the week - to cook and have a sit-down dinner with my family every day. But, I love trying new recipes or making dishes that are hearty, satisfying, and comforting. One of my fall back techniques (especially on busy weeks) is to do one-pot/make ahead meals. And, as a working mom - with long commute for both me and my husband, I've tried to master the art of "multi-tasking". When I work from home, I love getting meals prepped the night before and ready for me to throw in the oven while working so it can be ready for dinner by the time I stop working. . . .

Today was one of those days. Last weekend, I was reading my new copy of Food and Wine Magazine, and noticed this recipe for Red Wine Braised Lamb (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/red-wine-braised-lamb-with-saffron-rice-mint-pistou-and-pickled-peaches). I knew I would be working from home today. So, I thought it would be a perfect "make ahead and finish later" type of a dish. So, I got the ingredients I needed over the weekend. I modified it a bit (using sweet paprika instead of hot, using peas instead of pickled peaches).

I started preparing the dish last night. After I got home at 8:00 pm from taking my daughter to ballet class, I got everything ready, up to the point before braising. I put the whole pot in the refrigerator. I knew that all I had to do today was put it in the oven and braise the meat for 3+ hours.

So, today in between conference calls and emails, I took the pot out of the fridge, brought it to room temperature, and put it in the oven at 2:00 pm - and didn't open the oven until 5:00 pm. And, dinner was ready by 5:30 pm.

To me, that was an awesome day! I didn't have to spend the 3 hours in the car commuting to and from work. I was able to work continuously throughout the whole day. And, at 6:00 pm, my family and I were sharing a delicious meal, and sharing stories about the day's activities and highlights. And, the cherry on top was the kids repeatedly thanking me for making dinner and saying "wow - this is delicious, Mommy!" One of my boys said he didn't think he would like lamb, but he liked it. (Of course I don't know that he's tried it before.)

We were all excited to eat this that I forgot to take a "nice" pic. But, this is as real as it gets!
As a parent, you'll have good days and bad days. Hopefully, when you look back, the good days will outweigh the bad ones. And, hopefully, your children will grow up remembering and being grateful for the moments you share with them - whether it's enjoying a meal, them helping you set the table, talking about what they did at school, them asking you how work was (my daughter always does that), and remembering when they tried a dish for the first time and what they thought about it - rather than the specific number of hours in the day you spent with them. That's my hope at least. . . .

Until next time . . . Cheers!