Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lamb, endless lamb

Last month a coworker gave me nearly twenty pounds of lamb, slaughtered on her farm in Central California. In previous posts I have discussed the strange state of the meat--weirdly cut, haphazardly frozen in disorganized chunks. This morning I pulled another lumpen, plastic-wrapped hunk from the freezer and allowed it to defrost; it looked like four chops, each differently sized. I trimmed them of fat and rubbed them with Molly Stevens' Moroccan Spice Rub:

1/2 tsp Fennel seeds (I don't have these in the house)
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp allspice berries
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I don't like nutmeg, left it out)
1/4 tst cinnamon
Pinch tumeric
Pinch cayenne
Pinch saffron (can't stand the stuff.)

Toast the first four spices, then grind in grinder or mortar and pestle. Add the remaining spices to blend, then pat them on your lamb. Leave 12-24 hours.

I increased everything save the cinnamon to a half teaspoon, including the tumeric and cayenne. H-man and I have jaded palates.

Tomorrow I am supposed to braise all this with a sliced onion, butter, and stock.

This should go well with the leftovers from last night's eggplant adventure--baked eggplants and tomatoes with bread crumbs and basil. This from Paul Bertolli's Chez Panisse Cooking, and while not difficult, it's fussy and requires a lot of time.

The full recipe is on pages 94-95 of the text. Suffice to say it involves peeling fresh eggplant (not very easy), slicing them, precooking them in a 400 degree oven, boiling tomatoes to skin them (forget it), slicing those, making a vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil (we had almost none: kitty had eaten most of the plant) and garlic. I chopped, prebaked, slilced everything into half moons, artfully arranged, drizzled vinaigrette. Tore up some sourdough bread for the crumbs, layered, baked. Oh, yeah, and then there was the parmesan cheese sprinked across the top. It turned out fine, if rather messy.

Stay tuned for the glossy photos of perfectly prepared and plated meals, complete with me looking like Tamasin Day-Lewis, windblown, sexy, with nary a greasepot on my Prada apron.

The next day (that is, today...)

Browned the lamb, then I sauteed a shallot (you may recall Hockeyman's aversion to onion) with some garlic. Added a cup of chicken broth. Cooked in a 300 degree oven for one hour and fifteen minutes. The result:

Hockeyman pronounced it excellent. I thought it was okay but not great. I'm just never going to be the sort of person who likes cinnamon with her dinner.

Alas, I am not having a Tamasin day, and my Prada apron is in the wash.

Ever alert, lest we require his assistance.


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