Comfortable Comfort Food

Everyone thinks that California is warm, virtually always sunny, and that you barely need a sweater, much less a coat. Ever since I moved here in 1992, I’ve been cold. It is simply impossible to dress for the weather. At least in Chicago or New York, you know exactly what to wear in the winter – heavy clothes, big coat, boots, hat, gloves. Easy. Here, you can be frozen one moment and sweltering the next. The sun simply needs to go behind the clouds and goose pimples start to appear.

So when we get a bit of nasty weather here, it is time to start making comfort food. It always warms me up to make it and to eat it. I love walking into the house from outside and smelling the hearty, savory aroma of meat simmering gently on the stove or in the oven.

A few years ago we had lamb shanks for New Year’s Eve dinner and I did some research on just what recipe to use. I finally decided to combine several recipes into my own preparation. Ingredients and process had wide variations in the recipes that I consulted, some of which I thought would work well for me, others I did not.

A couple of Fridays ago, I served braised lamb shanks with polenta that had a hint of butter and parmesan in it, as well as a steamy, fragrant bowl of sauteed spinach with garlic and pine nuts. I had made 5 lamb shanks, for 5 of us and we only ate half. But, we were all saving room for the incredible chocolate cake that RC made.

I brought the leftover lamb shanks to Grandma and WG. As for the extra cake, we polished it off ourselves!!
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