Archive for August, 2011

August 12, 2011

Sharing History | Gigot d’Agneau

Sometimes a memorable meal transcends your kitchen tools and cooking techniques.  Instead, it’s a celebration that connects you to your friends, family, and culture.  That’s what happens when you cook a leg of lamb.  It isn’t particularly complicated, but the result is magical.  If you appreciate the cut and revere the process, history will carry you along.

Lamb is the centerpiece of celebrations on every continent.  And the leg of lamb is the most sought after cut.  It’s lean, forgiving, and can take on flavors through marinading, grilling, roasting, or braising.  Most importantly, though, its sublimely delicious and it makes enough to share.

I simply scored the fat in a crisscrossed pattern and arranged a handful of garlic cloves in the cuts.  After seasoning quite generously with salt and pepper, I placed it in a roasting pan with diced carrots, onions, peppers and tomatoes.  About an inch of water and a bouquet garni later and the hard part was done.  Cover it tightly with foil, then its into the oven at 300F for five hours or so, checking the liquid level at the halfway point.  Then invite friends, family or both, and serve it with white beans and white wine.

But really, you should let your imagination be your guide.  It’s not everyday that you find yourself in possession of such beautiful meat (thank you dearly, Kate), so use the opportunity to celebrate and share your life.

Playlist included Rue St. Vincent, par Yves Montand.

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August 9, 2011

Summer’s Gone | Flying J Dinner

I had a lovely summer vacation.  Complete with my adorable parents (Zeus and Demeter) and my sweetest nephew visiting and plenty of fantastic time outdoors, with good food, sunshine and heat.

The apex of all this fun was Slow Food Columbus‘s Shake the Hand that Feeds You out at Flying J Farm.  Longtime readers of this blog will know that I dearly love the farmer, Dick Jensen, and his organic, grass-fed cattle in Johnstown, Ohio.  And the dinner that the Slow Food Chapter plans every year out there is truly the best food event in the city, bar none.  It was, in fact, one of the main catalysts for me starting this blog.

This year, the Caskey family from Skillet commandeered the farm kitchen to turn out mouth-wateringly delicious courses.  Sous vide beef tongue, anyone?  Please, sir, I want some more.  Demeter managed to score seconds.  Lucky.   Nicolene Schwartz custom created the Flying J, an OYO vodka based cocktail with quick pickled peppers and tomatoes from the farm.  All the vegetables for the dinner were harvested earlier that day, from the fields at the farm, by wonderful SFC volunteers.

The tables groaned under wildflower bouquets, homemade pickles of all kinds (wasabi green beans, dill pickles, chow chow), candles, oodles of wine and chilly Columbus Brewing Company beers.  We even had a buttery, whole-roasted, whey-fed pig course.  Did you know that comes right after dinner?  Right before dessert.  Of hand cranked Snowville Creamery ice cream with roasted peaches and balsamic.  Ice cream churned by happy children that spent the rest of their time playing chase in the meadows, petting ponies and the donkey, messing with a farm cat and feeding the farm dog under the table.

There wasn’t an unhappy creature in the whole bunch.  Laughter spilled over the hill and up to the barns.  Friends crowded around the table to share a meal, a laugh and a glass (or two?) of wine, a sip (or three?) of pawpaw-cello and connect over the importance of food in our lives.  It is what not only feeds us, but sustains us and connects us all.

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but it was perfect.

For more pictures of the lovely evening check out Hungry Woolf’s flikr stream or add Ely Brothers as a friend on Facebook.

Playlist included Summer, by Buffalo Tom.

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