Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Back to the Heat (and a little bit of meat)

Well it was nice the first two days.  But now it sure feels like summer.

Although I am practically a vegetarian most of the time (I just don't end up eating that much meat), I have been eating nothing but meat since I've been back.  Sometimes it's the easiest fast food there is.  Especially if you have some Link 41 sausages stowed away in the freezer or maybe a few lamb chops.  I just get tired of lentils when I'm in a hurry.

(On a side note- I DO eat "vegetarian" often at restaurants.  It's a lot easier to explain than I-only-eat-meat-that-I've-met.  Given that a lot of non-vegetarian places in the south tend to have fairly unremarkable vegetarian options we end up eating at strictly vegetarian spots.  But that poses a whole new problem- soy products and "fake meat".  I honestly don't have a problem with a little tempeh and tofu but there ARE other ways to make really great healthy, wholesome food without using meat.  We went to a vegan place in San Fransisco and there was not one single soy product or processed protein item on the menu.  Not even fake cheese (well there was a kind of fake cheese but it was made with cashews).   It just doesn't count if it's some over processed slab of soy, mushrooms, and factory sawdust).

ANYWAY, that being said, it's really nice to come back home and eat some grassfed lamb.  We ate meat out there of course.  There are plenty of grassfed farmers doing the right thing.  But nothing tastes quite as good as an animal raised on home soil.

Katahdin Lamb Chops 
with Asparagus and Soba Noodles

This might sound fancy but it's not really- and it took me about 20 minutes from start to clean up to make.  Even if the lamb is frozen.  I threw it in a bowl of cold water and the chops were thawed by the time the water for the noodles was boiling.  

for two people

the noodles:
  • 2 bundles soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or lemon juice
  • drizzle of sorghum syrup
  • thinly sliced ginger to taste
  • 1/2 bunch chopped herbs (mint, cilantro, basil, oregano, and parsley all work nice.  Use whatever you have growing in your herb garden or get to the farmer's market early and try to snag some nice looking bundles of herbs)
Boil about 5 cups of water.  Throw in the noodles and cook about 10 minutes- til done.  Drain the noodles and wash them with cold water til cool to the touch.  Don't be too vigilant about draining them now; some of the water will be nice to dilute the sauce.  Toss the wet noddles with all the other ingredients and let sit while you prepare the chops.

the chops:

I sort of got this recipe from The River Cottage MEAT Cookbook, a book definitely worth having.  It tells you to brown the chops and cook them with garlic and wine.  The recipe is a wonderful one but this short-cut tastes just as good and is really easy.  I  like it because I can just throw the chops in the oven while I finish other stuff.
  • 4 pastured katahdin lamb chops
  • a touch of oil or pan drippings
  • salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a cast iron skillet with the oil til hot.  Brown the chops on each side for a minute, salting and peppering each side after they are browned.  Put the skillet in the oven and let the chops cook for about 10 minutes, or until desired done-ness.  For a different version, more like the cookbook recipe, here are my lamb chops I made last May.  It is a tiny bit more time consuming, but delicious and also a little more explanatory.

the asparagus:
  • 1 bunch of very fresh asparagus
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • a touch of butter (about 1 T or less)
  • salt
Steam the asparagus til just done in a small amount of water (you can save this water and sip on it when you're done).  Dab with butter, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt- very lightly on all fronts.  Serve warm or at room temp.

No comments: