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Monday, April 25, 2005

Worthy is the Lamb

For this latest round of Church Potluck, I decided to do Something Completely Different, as I was told a barbeque, complete with Grill Master, would be present.

In honor of Easter (it's still Easter season for us!) and Passover, I decided to make my dad's barbequed butterfly leg of lamb. It was a smash hit and all twelve pounds of meat disappeared. I enjoyed a piece of it with the other yummy dishes (one was a middle-eastern type white bean/tomato/cucumber type salad ... delish).

I got the lamb from Trader Joe's already boneless; the cutting job didn't thrill me, but at least it was pretty well trimmed. Good trimming is a big secret to this recipe; cold lamb fat tastes awful. (I wish I could remember what one of my dining companions said about Julia Child's advice ... something like "if you don't trim your lamb, it will taste like moldy socks".) Like my pal Jamie's Lamb on a Stick, it will convert avowed "lamb haters".

Dad got this recipe years ago in a "Cooking for Men" class given by the local utility company (no joke!) and it has been an Easter staple since.

If you have access to a good butcher, get them to properly bone and butterfly the leg. You will probably have to do some work cutting fat off it. The results will be worth the fuss.

Bill's Butterflied Leg of Lamb

For a 5-6 pound leg, make the following marinade:

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup "salad oil" (I used a combo canola and cheap olive)
1/4 cup GRATED onion (fridge it first to help with the tears)
1-2 cloves garlic, smooshed
1 teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon black pepper
Herbs to taste, including thyme. I used fresh thyme, oregano, and rosemary. I left them in branch format, and removed them on the que, but grinding the herbs to a paste with the salt is optimal for flavor dispersal.

Put lamb in a glass or ceramic dish and cover with marinade. Marinate at room temp 1 hr or overnight in the fridge. Turn occasionally.

We grill this for about 25 minutes on our Webers, over indirect heat (coals at side of que), turning once and basting with the marinade (for safety's sake, you should boil it up on the stove) midway. Be careful if you have pieces of different thickness. Lamb should be brown and crisp on the outside and still pinkish on the inside.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Thank You Trader Joe's

I was able to pull together the ingredients for a very presentable quick dinner (despite my exhaustion) for a guest with a little judicious shopping: salmon, asparagus, and rice. Well, I was going to use one of those pre-cooked rice packets, just for sheer kicks and giggles, but I ended up making "real" rice instead.

Thirty minutes from groceries to dinner.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

More Feeding the Multitudes

Okay, I am a nut, but I have managed to dodge the bullet of coordinating the big patronal feast wing-ding next week. I will show up with food (butterflied leg of lamb, to be barbequed) and perhaps even make myself useful beforehand setting up, but I am all set to enjoy the party.

(Actually if I end up helping, I will have spent three of the four weekends this month doing something foodie at the church. First Sunday is my Altar Guild day, which precludes doing anything else.)

The soup kitchen gig felt like a lot less work this month, mainly because we didn't use every pot, pan, and tray in the house twice (necessitating washing). Our entree was salmon patties which had been bagged as "swordfish", thus not saleable, thus available at the food bank.

I was on schedule for coffee hour today, so make-ahead was the name of the game. I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of energy last night or this morning. I brought banana bread, Mom's peanut butter cup cookies, a huge quantity of strawberries, and made some of Barb Schaller's Famous Orgasmic Brownies this morning.

The brownies are acquiring a following (indeed, a fan club) here, as are the PB cup cookies. Go Mom! Go Barb!

We were planning to have the two of us do coffee hour and a third showed up, with food. My partner had brought oranges and apples for slicing, cheese and crackers, and had deviled about a flat's worth of eggs. Oink! There was some fruit left, and enough of the naner bread for me to have a nibble on my way home, but most of it disappeared.

I am definitely taking it light this week. The Easter feasting season is going to run into my personal (birthday) feasting season and I am going to be as big as a house. At least the RUNNING AROUND FEEDING PEOPLE is keeping it down.

Now to make sure I have something to eat for lunch the next couple of days. I ran out last week and ended up skipping lunch due to work weirdness. NOT a good thing.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Still feasting ...

but back to a more normal schedule.

I was cooked-out at Easter and extremely tired afterwards. Being on-call did not help matters, as my sleep schedule got a bit disrupted. I did enjoy that Ikeda "razzleberry" (it tasted mostly ollalieberry, which is Not A Bad Thing) for breakfasts and ate out more than usual.

On Saturday I went to Cheese Board and finally got myself over to Trader Joe's, and stocked up on necessaries such as milk and eggs (I was completely out and had been for a couple of days) and also got myself a chicken, some carnitas (highly recommended - in the deli section), and some of the Korean short ribs. Mmmm, MEAT. (The Korean short ribs are definitely addictive.)

On Sunday I went out to La Mediterannee after church with friends and had some utterly delicious fillo things. I also started consuming the Vosges chocolates that the fabulous Deb sent me. Mmmm, black pearl.

I did manage to make some minestrone, so swapped that and chicken off for lunch, and found the Jimmy Dean pre-cooked sausages a useful adjunct to the morning English muffin.

Might get over to the Market to see what's around, and must see what is still good in the lemon department, and Do Stuff with them.