Call them what you will, one of the best ways to stretch your grocery bill is to incorporate leftovers or things that need using up into your lunch.
We’re off to run a couple of errands before the Super Bowl and we were smart enough not to eat the two extra lamb chops in the grocery store package (on sale last week and held in the freezer). We broiled the lot last night and sliced the leftovers for lunch. They’re served on a bed of local baby greens and cukes, both hothouse-grown.
For the dressing:
1/4 c / 60ml homemade wine vinegar
2T / 30ml olive oil
1oz / 30g crumbled feta
1T / 15ml Dijon
1T / 15ml dried oregano or basil
6 dry-cured olives, chopped
Sprinkle on top:
1T / 15ml chopped sundried tomatoes
The weather in Ontario this week hardly constitutes the kind of weather for “cold weather food”. But it’s a small sacrifice for something so delicious. We had two lovely local lamb shanks in the freezer. While those were browning in a Dutch oven on top of the stove, we chopped a carrot, a hot pepper, a leek, and a stalk of celery. When the shanks were browned we turned the oven to 350F. Then we added the veg and sautéed until they were softened a bit. After deglazing with a little beer, we added a stalk of thyme (the leaves will fall off and the stem can be fished out before serving). Other flavours included a few raisins, 3 chopped dried apricots, 6 pitted, chopped black olives, some oregano, chili powder, and ground cloves.
We poured over a pint of diced tomatoes (or half a large can), covered it, and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Then we turned the shanks, let it go for another 20 minutes. For the last 10 minutes we took the lid off, and in the meantime, made mashed potatoes. The lamb was fall-off-the-bone delicious. Happy Groundhog Day!
Yesterday, on a drizzly day, we took a midday break and headed for The Friendly Butcher. Despite the gray, chilly atmosphere, “Oz” and “Buddy” (sorry, we didn’t get your names – these are your new monikers) entertained and amused us with their positive attitudes and their helpful advice. Here, a tasty lamb chop, browned with some aromatic olive oil, celery, onion and garlic. We deglazed with a little red wine, then mixed in a spicy pepper from the farmer’s market, oregano, mushrooms, and olives. Finally we chopped in a huge yellow heritage tomato from The Big Carrot and let it braise in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400F. Meanwhile we cooked some red and blue fingerlings with the skins on. When it was all done, we mashed the potato with a little milk and butter. Ahhh, friendly lamb, friendly fall.
The Belanger Brothers favoured us with some lamb leg steaks recently. They were a little big to just fire on the grill (if we wanted to keep in fighting trim). So we diced them into nice cubes and threaded them onto skewers. In between, we had mushrooms, baby tomatoes, yellow zucchini, and onion. When they were grilled, we served them on platters, with some creamy avocado, sprinkled with lemon. It’s not local – but it’s our kind of local. We bought it down the street at Kelly’s.
What would you eat on Canada Day? At our place, it’s nearly always barbecue. We usually have our friends and family here, but this year Brother Rob is the cook and the host. We don’t know his plan yet, but it’ll be something just as good as these veal-and-lamb burgers from the Belanger Brothers, dressed with some home-made chili sauce from last summer, and Kozlik’s mustard.
Put a fresh salad on the side, follow it up with some strawberry shortcake (made with biscuits, the maritime way).
So the other day we were at Belanger Brothers in the farmer’s market (see our blogroll!) and we picked up this awesome rack of lamb. One delicious thing to do with lamb is to make a mustard coating – some olive oil, Dijon mustard, and chopped herbs. In our case we used rosemary and Greek oregano from the garden.
Then we thought, why not make a mustard theme. So we proceeded to modify a recipe from Rob and Gwen in Bicester. They make an awesom mustard roast potato. To adapt for the grill, we parboiled some peeled Yukon Gold potatoes. We tossed the hot potatoes with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar, and a tablespoon of dry mustard. Then we put them on the grill to finish with the lamb.
Each dish had a little mustard, but none of the mustards tasted the same. On some, it was the feature. Others, it was the under-note. In every one of them, it was delicious!
Lastly, we made our usual salad dressing like the one we used in the Salad Huroncoise…also featuring delicious Dijon. Here’s what the finished plate looked like. Now I’m going to head inside and beat the mosquitoes!
Now I know summer is really going to get here! The East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market is finally open.
Clearly the farmers have had the same problems we’ve had with the garden – cool temperatures, and not enough sun. But there were a few early veggies to be had, and some rhubarb. As for us, we bought a delicious looking rack of lamb from the Belanger brothers, Peter & Josh. By the time we arrived their veg were pretty well sold out.
We also swung by Montforte and picked up some cheese – oh, what a surfeit of delicious dairy flavours. Today we went for an oozing packet of ripe deliciousness (camembert?) with herbs, and some nice hard cheese for grating.
Last stop, Better Bulk for some whole wheat flour – gotta get some bread going before the heat returns. It’s going to be a tasty week.
The other night we didn’t have as many people for dinner as expected, so there were leftover lamb chops. Plus we had a piece of beef tenderloin that hadn’t been used. (Such is life when adult children begin to flee the nest…sometimes here, sometimes eating elsewhere).
The idea was that we should make something a bit liked mixed grill. We didn’t have sausage, but the meats were enough. We browned them nicely with some red onions, peppers, and a carrot or two, diced. Then, a little wine tipped in to loosen the nice browned bits. At the end of the browning, we put in some mushrooms, and a good handful of rosemary, chopped, plus a grind of pepper.
We covered this with a can of diced tomatoes with herbs, and popped it in the oven for an hour, with the cover on. Then we removed the lid, and left it bubbling along (at about 350F) while we made some mashed potatoes.
In the end, it was a great way to celebrate what we hope was the last day cold enough for braising until the autumn!
I know, some of you who still have teenagers (or who are young enough that you’re not weight-conscious) are thinking, “what is this leftover lamb of which you speak”?
But really, truly, I assure you, someday you two may have leftover delicious roast lamb in your futures. Sure, you can just eat it cold, in a tasty sandwich, with some Dijon and lettuce, and maybe some sliced pears and goat cheese. Another great way, is a tasty curry with whatever veg you have on hand.
In this case, I sauteed an onion, some bell pepper, and a bit of celery (the holy trinity), a couple of diced carrots, along with a clove or two of garlic and about a teaspoon of minced fresh ginger. When that was soft, I diced up the lamb and tossed it in.
Immediately I added a heaping tablespoon of curry paste (I used Patak’s but in a pinch you could use curry powder; I just don’t think it would be as flavourful). Then about a cup of vegetable broth, beef broth, lamb broth, or wine – really, any will give a great taste. Come to think of it, beer would work, too.
Chop up a couple of tomatoes and stir them in. Let the whole thing simmer til the carrots are nice and soft.
Delicious comfort food, the second time around.
I had thought I’d get burgers on the grill or take-out for my Mother’s Day dinner, but Steve surprised me. Walking about in the neighbourhood while I was at French class, he popped into Royal Beef, where they had some awesome lamb roasts.
He cooked this one one the barbecue with a marinade of Dijon mustard, olive oil, 5-spice powder, salt, and pepper. He served it with some new potatoes and spring asparagus.
Consider me spoiled.