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I mentioned last week that I'd made lamb and artichoke stew, and I got a number of requests for the recipe. I've actually posted it before, but one of the great things about the MNB community is that there always are new people signing up every day…so here it is.

(To be honest,I've adapted the recipe from one in an aging copy of 'The Frugal Gourmet.")


1/2 stick of butter
2-3 pounds of boneless lamb, cubed
3 large yellow onions
Emeril’s Essence
3 cloves of garlic
6 ounces of tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
3 cans of artichoke hearts, drained.

In a large pot, melt the butter. Sauté the lamb until browned. Remove from the pot.

Chop and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add Emeril’s Essence to taste.

Add the meat back into the pot.

Add the tomato paste and white wine.

Stir. Cover and simmer for 90 minutes, or until lamb is tender.

Add artichokes.

Cover. Simmer for another 90 minutes.

Serve over rice pilaf, and with (IMHO) a terrific albarino.


A suggestion for that wine: the Abada de San Campio 2013 Albarino, which is perfect with a meal like this. (You also can go with a heartier red … it all depends on your mood and preferences.)

We went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 last weekend, and am sorry to report that it was an utter disappointment. (Mrs. Content Guy thought it was "awful." I didn't think it was quite that bad, but close.)

One of the great things about the first two movies was watching Katniss Everdeen, played so memorably by Jennifer Lawrence, come into her own, evolving from an independent girl to a woman who understands her greater purpose, even if sometimes she is a little reluctant to be a symbol. The problem is that in this movie, she's all reluctance; she's almost more Hamlet than Katniss, and the result is a two-hour movie that seems entirely about being a set-up for Part 2, which will be out in November 2015.

I don't mind a hero or heroine besieged by inner conflicts and even a little self-doubt, but it sums up the problems with this movie that Katniss fires exactly one arrow - one - during the entire film. Lawrence is great - she seems incapable of giving a bad performance - but it almost doesn't matter.

I've written in this space before about how much I'm enjoying "Homeland" this season - they've really got their groove back, and the last few episodes have been nail-biters. But this morning I'd like to write about another Sunday show that I'm thoroughly involved with - "The Newsroom," on HBO.

It is the third and last season of "The Newsroom," was was created by the great Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, "The West Wing") as a way of commenting on the state of the nation's politics and how cable news covers it. One of the more challenging elements of the series has been linking each episode to an actual news event - this season, for example, started with the fictional newsroom covering the Boston Marathon bombing.

While I am loathe to suggest that I know more than Sorkin, I actually think that "The Newsroom" would have been better if he hadn't written himself into this specific corner each week - the reality of certain situations is jarring and hurts the drama. (I found the discussion about journalistic ethics and the relative importance of being first with a story fascinating, for example, but somehow it seemed less important when compared to actual people dying and getting injured in Boston.)

That said, I love "The Newsroom" even with all its faults. The characters are endlessly self-involved, but they're also often considering big questions and bigger issues, and - since Sorkin does most of the writing - they do so with an eloquence and an irony that I find completely absorbing. I'm pretty sure that nobody is going to consider "The Newsroom" to be one of Sorkin's or HBO's greatest successes, but I'll miss it when it's gone, and I plan to savor the last three episodes.
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