Rosemary-garlic rubbed lamb loin chops
The first wee chops from my half of a lamb pet (“Shank”) of Devil’s Gulch Ranch
- 3 small lamb loin chops
- 2 springs rosemary, chopped, plus 1 for garnish
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Rub lamb with garlic, chopped rosemary, and sprinkle with salt, allow to marinate 2 hours or overnight covered in refrigerator.
- Drizzle cast iron or other pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high. Once pan is hot, place chops down and (if you want medium-rare lamb) cook 3-5 minutes on each side until browned. Lamb should be firm, but give slightly when pressed.
- Let lamb rest 5 minutes before eating. While lamb is resting, you can reduce lamb juices in pan with garlic, red wine, balsamic vinegar, or other things that sound good to drizzle over the top of the lamb before eating.
- Garnish with rosemary sprig and enjoy!
Sautéed chard with preserved lemon and shallot
Continually makes me happy to use the lemons I preserved last spring!
- 1 medium shallot, diced
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 bunch chard, rinsed and chopped
- 1 preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Sauté shallot in olive oil over medium until soft
- Add greens, sprinkle with about a tablespoon of water (or juice from preserved lemons for stronger flavor), cover, and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add chopped lemon, stir, cover and heat another 30 seconds.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. You may also add a grated sharp cheese if desired.
Beautiful purple artichoke grown in my parents’ garden - delicious, of course, with homemade aioli.
Black pepper brandied cherries with vanilla bean
In preparation for hosting, makes about 2 pint jars
- 1lb cherries, washed, stems removed (you can also remove pits, but I find they have better texture/flavor with pits intact)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 vanilla bean pod
- 2 teaspoons black pepper seeds
- 3/4 cup - 1 cup brandy
- Heat water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean (scrapings and pod) until simmering. Add cherries and simmer 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add brandy and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Transfer to clean jars, place in refrigerator uncovered until completely cool, top with jar lids.
May be eaten after 24 hours, will keep about 1-2 months.
Olive Oil & Meyer Lemon Aioli
I once heard that mayonnaise is the “grand dame of all emulsions” so I guess that would make aioli the “donna finissimo” and so, so much better. Do not be intimidated by emulsions - they’re quite easy (if you have an immersion blender), fast, impressively delicious, and you’ll never go back to store bought mayo or aioli again.
- 1 egg
- 1-2 medium cloves garlic, diced
- 1 teaspoon mustard or mustard powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup olive oil and either vegetable or grapeseed oil combination (adjust ratio depending on how rich olive oil-wise you’d like your aioli to taste)
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Blend egg with garlic, mustard, and salt until frothy.
- While blending, slowly add in olive oil. Blend until thick and quickly mix in lemon juice.
I recently set up a home carbonation system in my house and I am incredibly excited. I know what you’re thinking: “why don’t you just get a soda stream”. Well, I have a few answers for you:
- Soda streams require expensive and environmentally degradative refills often. This set up is a larger monetary commitment up front, but I won’t have to get it refilled for a few years.
- You cannot customize the pressure and “sparkle power” using a soda stream.
- Soda streams are ugly and make dumb noises.
- I’m not sure, but I don’t think you’re supposed to use anything but water in a Soda Stream - I could be wrong, but I do know that I can carbonate anything!
For more information about how to do this set up yourself, visit http://m.popsci.com/diy/article/2012-06/how-make-your-own-home-carbonation-system
Dandelion Wine is a Thing
I told someone that I had made dandelion wine and they said, “that’s really a thing?”. Yes, it’s a thing. I have always wanted to make dandelion wine - not sure where the desire came from (maybe because how even the sound of it delightfully rolls of the tongue?), but it aches all the same. So finally this spring I set forth on the task and have several delicious looking bottles put up to age from 6-12 months. My plan in to try them in 6 (because I won’t be able to resist) and drink some with others on the Winter Solstice.
- 1 gallon dandelion flowers, can leave ends of flowers on, but remove stems (your leg muscles may or may not be sore for a few days after this excursion)
- 2 cups turbinado sugar*
- 1 1/3 cup honey*
- 3-4 oranges
- 2-3 lemons
- 1-2 teaspoons/1/2 packet yeast (I used champagne yeast for dry, delicate flavor. Bread yeast is not recommended)
- Few pinches of yeast nutrient (not necessary, but recommended)
*Sugar quantity will determine potential alcohol and potential sweetness, use more or less depending on your preferences.
Process One (2 days) - Make Dandelion Infusion
- Boil 1 gallon of water, pour over dandelion flowers in glass or food-grade plastic container at least 1.25 gallons large.
- Cover and let sit for 48 hours.
- Strain out liquid, squeeze flowers to extract remaining liquid.
Process Two (2-3 weeks) - Fermentation
- Heat dandelion liquid with sugar, honey, and the juice and skin from the citrus (cut the skin off and slice prior to juicing) for 30 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Cool to lukewarm.
- Take the specific gravity or brix to determine your “Potential Alcohol”. Essentially, by measuring the sugar content, you can determine how much nutrient is available for the yeast to turn into alcohol, but depending on where you stop fermentation, your wine will have more or less alcohol. My specific gravity at this point was 1.08 (Brix = 20%), which is a PA of 11%. There’s a calculation that I got really excited about, but ended up using this table.
- Put in jug with yeast and nutrient, cork with fermentation lock or cover with cheesecloth (more risky bacteria-wise, I used lock) for 1-3 weeks, or until bubbling stops. You can stop the process anywhere you’d like, depending on desired alcohol content and sweetness (longer=more alcohol, less sweet). I stopped mine after bubbling stopped.
- Take specific gravity/brix again so you can determine the alcohol %. My specific gravity was 1.00, or 0% alcohol, meaning that all of the sugar had been eaten by the yeast. This took about 2 weeks because the weather was quite warm. To determine the total alcohol, I just subtract this from the PA, 11-0 = 11%. No residual sugar, which I prefer.
Process Three - Aging (6 months - 1 year)
- When your wine has reached the desired alcohol/sugar content, remove from large jug and bottle. I tasted it at this point - definitely tastes like ridiculously young (and not so good wine - but has potential!)
- Age 6 months - 1 year in cool place.
See you at the winter solstice!
Foraged fiddlehead fern sautéed in garlic butter
A few sketches from days past