Friday, March 28, 2014

Leg of Lamb, Simply Roasted, Simply Delicious

Resting roasted bone-in leg of lamb from Riverslea Farm
Finger-licking, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, this ample 2lb bone-in leg of lamb was prepared very simply: rubbed in olive oil with twists of freshly ground black peppercorn and flaked sea salt, bedded and topped with sprigs of rosemary and cloves of garlic in their skins, and covered with foil and baked at 325 for just about 3-1/2 hours while I perused the farmers' market.

Imagine creamy roasted garlic smooshed over finger-pulled chunks of tender, moist meat swiped in salty & savory pan drippings.  That, my friends, was exactly how we served it, straight from the pan as an appetizer for a small bunch of friends last weekend.

Simple as that.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homemade Tortillas! ...Forget the Store Bought Stuff!

Fresh tortillas, rolling pin style.
First: one thing's for sure, homemade tortilla recipes are all over the different in recipe as the people who make them. Second: you do not need a tortilla press. Third: you need anywhere from an hour and a half to a full afternoon to make them (I worked with one recipe and another's technique, opting for the full afternoon camp). Fourth: you might not be able to stop eating these straight from the pan, so plan on making a lot if you expect to have some for filling.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs with Pistachios and Asian Greens Wrap

Riverslea Farm lamb, kofta style, nestled in a bed of Herb Farmacy's microgreens (dressed in extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice) with pickled red onion, on homemade flour tortilla.  A drizzle of sheep's milk yogurt and extra virgin olive oil, and a few grains of Herb Farmacy's 'garlic sea salt' made for finishing touches. 
'Kofta' is a middle eastern term for, typically, "ground meat cooked on a skewer."  Lamb and mutton are the more common meats used, but some cultures also use beef or chicken.  With the quality of meats available locally to our NH Seacoast, any of the above could be used confidently, but being spring (so they say), lamb was in order.

So here's what the plan was for an equinox party for 25 friends (which ended up being a party of 11 adults and 6 children):

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sunflower Sourdough with Apples and Cottage Cheese = Light, Satisfying Lunch

Sunflower sourdough topped with Brookford Farm's fromage frais (that I folded scallions into), slices from a Cider Works 'Empire' apple, and drizzled with Coppal House Farm's sunflower oil.  Little bit o' Maine sea salt (sold by Seacoast Eat Local at the markets) and freshly cracked pepper finished it off.  Chewy, crunchy, sweet, tangy and buttery.  Yup, yum.

New England Boiled Dinner is on the menu for tonight's meal, which needs a fairly early start time if dinner is wanted at a reasonable time.  While I was getting my goods together I decided I better have a little breakfast first.  That's when I discovered it was already noon.  Before I'm thought of as a lazy slug, no, I didn't just get up.  I'm still messed up with the time change. And, I'm a late eater.  Right?

I always have an assortment of breads in the freezer.  First of all, there are so many incredible bread bakers out there these days that I've become a bread hoarder.  (That's the case for dried beans, too.)  Secondly, as a believer in bread bags and the owner of multiple freezers, I might as well stock up when I come across a wowzie-doozie.

The slice above is from a loaf of sunflower sourdough baked by Canterbury Bread Shop that we pulled out for last night's dinner (huge bowls of mixed greens dressed in olive oil and lemon).   A tough crust, chewy crumb, and packed with good sour flavor, we have a tendency to lightly toast Canterbury's breads before nom-nomming.  The apple provided, naturally, a super sweet, crunchy component, and the hint of scallion and liberal sunflower oil added savory and buttery flavors.  Very satisfying.  Cut your bread on the bias and you'll get a nice big slice of "satisfying."  :)  Heck, cut two slices.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chicken Chili for a Crowd (~16pp)

My last Tamworth chicken made this chili oh-so-worth it.  Next up: Riverslea Farm chickens!  Space is still available for our Tortilla Soup and Stock kitchen session.  Reserve today:

I dunno, is it really only about the chili?


But an awesome chili certainly helps pop those garnishes!

You can easily halve this recipe.

Here's the slow food version ('fast food' version follows):

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Greens, Greens, Greens!

Roasted baby red potatoes, red and golden beets, and chunks of poached Tamworth chicken made this plate of greens a substantial meal.  A little leftover apple gremolata and crumbles of Sandwich Creamery's 'caerphilly' cheese topped it off.  Beach Pea Bakery baguette slices on the side, crostini style.

Greens, greens, greens.  Man, am I suddenly wanting for a growing rack.

Our mission at the farmers' market yesterday was to find as many greens as we could.  We did.  And then some.  Different kinds of spinach; mizuna; kale; sweet Asian mixed greens, spicy Asian mixed greens; tatsoi; arugula; microgreens; baby bibb and green leaf lettuces; Swiss chard...phew, we got it all.  And, one large kohlrabi to top it off. (Peel it, then slice or shave the flesh into ribbons for your salad...or do like we did and eat planks straight off the knife.  Or not.)

Herb Farmacy's pouches of micro greens may look slight and small, but let me tell you, they are packed tight and full of fresh, deep flavor.  I love these tiny little shoots for their crunch and flavor, but also for the way a handful stays put in a sandwich.  No leaves slipping out the sides with this stuff.  See one of my favorite sandwiches here.

Included in Herb Farmacy's micro green mix this week: kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, arugula, a little mizuna, and cabbage.  Mizuna is milder version of arugula.  It has a very light herbaceous, peppery flavor.  As a whole, this mix had a succulent butteriness that makes you realize how deprived you've been since last summer. Get some soon.

As for tatsoi, my idea of salad has been changed forever.  We were eating fingerful after fingerful of this stuff.  Sooo good.

The same can be said for the spinach we picked up from Hollister Family Farm.  My exact words, er, sounds, upon my first bite:  "Mmmmpf!"

 You're crazy if you don't seek some of this stuff out.  In the words of Michael Pollan: "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

I'm not quite keen about the 2nd part, but I'll accept it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Apple Gremolata

For a nice refreshing change from jus or gravy on your next wine braised bone-in chuck, or other slow-cooked and savory protein, try apple gremolata.  Gremolata is just a name for a condiment typically made with minced parsley, lemon zest and minced or pressed garlic. Herbs can vary, and sometimes even anchovies are added.  Olive oil is not usually in the mix.

Apples are still plenty available at the farmers' markets in this area; Braeburns from NH Cider Works/Carter Hill Farm are a good tart option (although not as tart as their Crispins, which look like Granny Smiths).

Inspired by a fellow blogger who recently decided to dig out her covered beds in search of remaining root veg and leeks, I wondered if my parsley bunches had any stems left, flattened beneath all the snow.  They did, although not much.  And, granted, they were soft and wilted, but that made 'em all the more suitable to accompanying a couple of apples, peeled, cored and diced, with a bit of lemon zest, a healthy glug of olive oil, and coarse pepper and sea salt.  

I went with this for prosciutto-wrapped turkey burgers the other night, studded with sundried tomatoes, and a side of creamy sweet potatoes that we picked up from Riverside Farm and slow-roasted for about an hour at 350.  I added a hint of bourbon to the bowl in which they were mashed  A little chard sauteed in olive oil and garlic finished the plate.  Next time, I'll leave the sundried tomatoes out.  Or red-wine braised beef it will be.