Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shop the Periphery Easter Supper

No better way to celebrate your lack of faith by celebrating the rebirth of spring for everyone.

T brought the main course, I did these roasted artichokes from the Zuni Cafe cookbook and something fun for our salad.

First, trim the chokes. Most cooks complain about the difficulty of trimming an artichoke, but I don't find it that laborious. Be sure to have a dog or two at your feet and some good music on, or in my case sports on the TV.  I use kitchen sheers to trim the pointy ends of the leaves, chop an inch off the very tip top and the bottom inch of the stem.  Then, use a paring knife to cut just underneath the heart, and a spoon to scoop out the parts of the heart that are too hairy and pointy to eat.

Dip the chokes in water and lemon juice to keep the open flesh from turning brown and par-boil for about 4 minutes. Next time I will par boil a little longer as these came out undercooked after their initial roasting time and had to go back in the oven.

In addition to the oilive oil, pepper and sea salt I threw in on top of the artichokes before they went in the oven, I added the finely diced rind of one of my preserved lemons from Week 3. Before and after roasting, the rinds are wildly delicious, sweet, citrus and salty all at the same time.

Both my cooking guests took one of the lemons home in a non-environmentally friendly plastic bag. I tried the environmentally friendly zip bags from Whole Foods. They suck ass.

Roasted artichokes with garlic, sea salt and preserved lemons. Artichokes: produce section of grocery store. Lemons: my backyard.


My name is Liz and I am a reality TV addict.  I have not accepted that I cannot change this, not 100% sure I have the courage to do so, and I haven't reached ability to accept it yet. However!  Chef's Academy did affect what we ate for Easter dinner this year.  Chef Novelli taught his charges how to make parmesan cheese baskets. They were so cute! And a lot of what Chef Novelli did looked beautiful and seemed simple in construction.  Here, a video of the basket from Bravo.   

I also used the recipe from Fine Dinings blog for comparative analysis.

I baked the cheese about 10 minutes or so, not on silicon or parchment but on my insulated cookie sheet sprayed lightly with olive oil.  I did not add any truffle oil or seeds to the grated cheese. After about 10 minutes, I pulled the tray out and gently lifted the slightly soft, slightly brittle cheese from the tray and draped it over a couple pint beer glasses to make the basket shape.

Et, voila! Parmesan cheese wedges: back wall of grocery store in gourmet cheese section.

For the salad, I prepped finger bowls of bleu cheese, sprouts and green onion.

T brought greens from her CSA box, and tore them with her tiny hands into tiny bite sized pieces. Note to self: I need a salad spinner.

My Easter Basket!  Thanks, T!

T's leg o' lamb.  She bought this at Whole Foods in Hollywood, if I recall correctly. Ingeniously, she had the butcher cut the entire shank from the leg and rewrap it more evenly around the bone and secure with string. This helps the meat cook more evenly. It's not quite as caveman fabulous, but it's gorgeous to look at and more effective.

2 large lemons, zest of 1 removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
3 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
a 7-pound leg of lamb (ask butcher to remove pelvic bone and tie lamb  for easier carving)
2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cut off and discard pith from zested lemon and cut off and discard zest and pith from other lemon. In a saucepan of boiling water blanch zest 1 minute and drain in a colander. Cut each lemon crosswise into 6 slices.
In a small food processor blend rosemary, garlic, zest, 1 tablespoon oil, lemon juice, and salt until mixture is chopped fine.
With tip of a small sharp knife cut small slits all over lamb and rub rosemary mixture over lamb, rubbing into slits. Arrange lemon slices in middle of a large roasting pan and arrange lamb on them. Roast lamb in middle of oven 45 minutes.
Quarter potatoes and in a saucepan cover with salted cold water by 1 inch. Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes, covered, 5 minutes. Drain potatoes in colander and in a bowl toss with remaining tablespoon oil. Arrange potatoes around lamb and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast lamb and potatoes, stirring potatoes occasionally, 55 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 140°F. for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes. Increase temperature to 500°F. and roast potatoes and lemons in one layer 5 to 10 minutes more, or until golden. Transfer potatoes and lemons with a slotted spoon to bowl and toss with chives. Transfer potato mixture to a platter.
Serve lamb, sliced thin across grain, with potatoes, garnished with rosemary and lemon wedges.

Lamb: butcher department, left hand wall of grocery store. Rosemary: T's garden.

Easter supper.

One lone freesia.

Ang and J joined us and brought the sweets!  Raspberry lemon tart with almond crust. Very nice.

My favorite, key lime pie with shortbread cookie crust. Um, not happy I had to share. Which means it wasn't good, it was GREAT.

Tiramisu. Not so great, Whole Foods. Dry in the middle and not boozey enough.

And this nut tart was beautiful in our minds, however there was no caramel or chocolate in the middle. Just a pile of nuts with a trace of chocolate drizzled over the top. Meh.

Sweets: Whole Foods deli aisle along the right wall.

Congrats, Ang and J, on the reinvention of your relationship. We wish you the very best.


Kristine G said...

beautiful easter blog, i love how you actually *do* stuff in the kitchen like make real preserved lemons instead of buying a jar of them. :) you're a food realist.

Food, she thought. said...

Ty K. It's part of the joy of learning to REALLY cook for my family as opposed to just throwing together meals.