Following up on that Portland foodie post, I wanted to show you that I’ve been making efforts in the kitchen myself as well. Not back to cooking lesson territory yet, for various reasons, but still having a walloping good time experimenting.
There are two recent projects that I’m proud of tackling, since they are a stretch for me.
The first concerns a food that I’m not particularly fond of: lamb. I had plenty of it while living in Turkey (now there’s irony), but didn’t particularly like the taste and always thought if I didn’t like it enough, I shouldn’t be patronizing the meat industry, factory farming being what it is today.
But avoiding the whole area nagged at me. Wasn’t there some way I could come to appreciate lamb? It’s one of the most common meats to find at the local, organic farmers’ markets that abound here in Stumptown. I decided to give it a chance, and bought a small piece of osso buco-cut lamb from one of the vendors at the PSU Farmers’ Market.
Weeks later, I finally found a recipe and room to roam in the kitchen, so I defrosted that premium cut from Deck Farms.
As always, I had to make do with a lot of substitutions:
no saffron, kalamata instead of green olives, pine nuts instead of almonds, and, it almost goes without saying, no garnish. I also scaled down 4:1 as it was just for me.
My ingredients chopped and ready to go…
…and the same ingredients after being sweated, simmered, and braised for almost an hour, over basmati rice, another stand-in. It may not come out in the picture, but the succulence was amazing. The meat was buttery rich and everything had a nice savory-creamy-richness to it that lasted for the 3 meals it took to finish. I credit mostly the cut of the meat, since there weren’t any other big players in the lineup. Well done, Deck Farms!
So there you have it, a confrontation with one of my cooking bugaboos, and with a recipe from a book I’ve been dying to try, we are off to a running start with lamb!
For the second challenge, you’ll have to stay tuned for the next post! 😉
What about you guys? I know there are a couple blogs out there who have made a feature of a particularly troublesome ingredient each month and then had a round-robin discussion of how far people got with it, which sounds fun.
But barring that motivation (and space not permitting at the moment), let’s start with the question: what do you avoid touching with a 10-foot-pole in your kitchen? And WHY is THAT?