Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lamb and Pie: Is there anything better?

I think not.

Actually yes: Lamb with biscuits and pan sauce and then pie with  fresh whipped cream.

I must be the luckiest human on the planet.

A leg of lamb is rather strange looking. All raw meat is rather strange looking, but this is the largest piece of meat I have ever prepared. Although, granted, the 2nd largest thing was only a medium sized chicken.

It's even stranger when you saw the lamb two days after it was born and held it and petted it! The lamb, as a matter of fact, was raised by our neighbors down the hill and we watched the sheep and lambs from our kitchen window all summer! Local food, everyone. Down with Walmart. Get your food from where you live, not from China. Unless, obviously, you live in China.

Anyhow, the lamb had all these little white bits and things that I attempted to trim off. I'm not too sure how well I succeeded. Then came the fun part. I picked 25 individual leaves off a stalk of rosemary (greatest herb ever), chopped 25 other tiny sprigs off a bunch of thyme, and chopped a few cloves of garlic into miniscule slivers.

I then took a little steel paring knife and made 50 or so cuts all over the lamb and stuck a piece of thyme or a garlic sliver and a rosemary leaf in each one. I stuck it in a roasting pan and surrounded it in celery, carrots, onions, and red potatoes. Then I cooked it.

The leg of lamb was served with another amazing pan sauce made out of it's own drippings and some ridiculously good little biscuits. (The secret? More butter.)


Here's another local food story.

Just 10 seconds away from where the lambs live, there is an orchard. We went there a few days after I made the lamb and loaded up on 2 gallons of cider, an enormous bag of Rhode Island Greening apples and 5 Delicatta squashes. The squash became dinner and the apples became PIE.

I truly believe that apple pie is the perfect food. Is there really anything better than a wedge of pie, hot from the oven, dolloped with whipped cream? (If this made you drool go immediately and make yourself a pie.)

Anyhow, I made pie. Again. And I probably will make it again and again until the world ends.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


A frittatta is something like a big omelet or a crustless quiche. You can put just about any cooked vegetable in it but this one had yellow squash and goat cheese. Technically it was supposed to have zucchini in it too but...

I realized once again that I had to go collect herbs in the dark. Unfortunately it had frosted and the basil was brown and very dead looking. There were, however, chives, and we have multiple bags of basil in the freezer.

Another random substitution: we didn't have butter. So I used clarified butter left over from the Omelet la Flop. It seemed to work okay.

I cooked the frittata and it was a little bit scrambled-ish but once I sprinkled Parmesan and "Raw Milk Cheddar Goat Cheese" (There are kinds of goat cheese?)on top and broiled it, it looked fine.

Bottom line: lots of substitutions but it tasted really good and it didn't get cold in 45 seconds like omelets do. Yay!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's the time of year when children (and teenagers who like candy bars, such as myself) put on strange costumes and knock on people's doors, demanding candy. Charming. But anyways, it was Halloween and I honored it by making spiderwebs out of chocolate and putting them on cupcakes.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream to be precise. The cupcakes were beautiful, almost black with massive quantities of Dutch process cocoa powder and super chocolately. And maybe best of all, they only needed one bowl.

The buttercream was the issue. It took a very long time for the egg whites to whip up to white, very gluey substance. And when the butter got mixed in it took on a curdled texture which did not go away with beating. It did not taste very nice either, although my mother and friend liked it.

The spiderwebs are not one of the recipes in the book, but they are made out of chocolate piped onto a template and break very easily. They looked quite nice.

How Does This Salad Dressing Taste So Good?

Yes, you can take a wrinkled piece of ginger, cut off the bad bits,grate it, mix it with soy sauce, olive oil, and this strange substance we call vinegar (how do you make vinegar anyways?) and it will taste amazing.

Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette, people. It's what's for salad dressing.


I Don't Have a Pasta Machine But...

I do have a rolling pin!

Once again I made pasta without the help of a pasta machine. The recipe was Ravioli with Butternut Squash Filling. Making the filling wasn't too hard once I scraped the flesh out of the squash. You just blend it with an egg yolk and some cheese and voila.

The pasta was more difficult because I had to roll it out until it was translucent and then I stretched it and rolled it some more.

I formed nice little raviolis, although on or two of them fell apart while cooking. They were very yummy but a little bit too chewy. Unfortunately, I did not have any sage so I  could not chiffonade it and serve it on top. Too bad.