Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Do What Makes You Happy- and eat some lovely Herb Roasted Lamb

"To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking." ~Agnes De Mille
Just found this quote in a contra dance email and loved it. Because I'm feeling that fullness of being, that happiness that brings the I've-got-the-power-to-do-anything feeling with it, I've decided to have business cards made up. They are in a font I like (Harrington), with words that describe ME, and pictures of my books on the back. It's the first time that I've made up something like this for "business" that is all about me. You know, we almost always analyze things like that to death. What will be appropriate? What makes sense? What will be a good representation? This time I threw it all into the wind. Convention- gone. Seriousness- gone. I just did what I wanted. The words on my new card make me smile. It says Cynthia Finnemore Simonds, Culinary Adventurer, Paradigm Specialist, Author, Swing Dancer. How cool is that! It's me on a little piece of paper.
I know that I am FAR from perfect.; never tried to be perfect. Did you know that the Latin root for the word perfect is ...finished... I am certainly not finished yet. I am however, trying to do my best. On this quest I shall remain until the day when I'm through. I intend to move forward, and all along the way I'm doing the things that make me smile... like dancing. There is a swing dance this Friday (that's one of those MakeMeSmile things) at the North Deering Grange in Portland, Maine. Come on down and kick up your heels. It just might make you smile too.
As for today's recipe, How about a spring lamb dish. I've got one marinating in the fridge. Rebecca's mom Susan just sent me a note about her Graduation party preparations. Congrats Doctor Katz!! They were having lamb too. It certainly is the season.
Boneless Leg of Lamb with Fresh Herbs
1 boneless leg of lamb (mine was about a pound and a quarter)
marinade ingredients:
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice
10 twists fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons fresh Mint (IF you would prefer you can use fresh rosemary for the mint in both the marinade and the gravy)
If you'd like to make gravy you'll need some bouillon paste or powder, cornstarch and a little more fresh mint.
In a large ziploc bag place all of the marinade ingredients and the lamb. Seal the bag halfway. Press all of the air out of the bag and close completely. Massage the ingredients into the meat. Place the bag into a bowl and chill until ready to cook. You can grill the lamb or roast in a pan. For oven roasting: Remove the lamb from the bag and place on a low rack in the roasting pan. Pour 2 cups of water under the lamb before you place it in the oven. Roast the lamb at 325 degrees for 30 minutes per pound. When it's done you'll have all of the drippings ready to make into gravy. Remove the lamb to a platter. Cover with foil and let it rest 15 minutes. Remove the rack from the pan. Use a whisk to stir all of the lamb bits together in the roasting pan. Pour all of the juice into a sauce pan. Add enough water to make about 2 cups of liquid. Heat over medium until the mixture comes to a boil. While you're waiting mix together 1 heaping Tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons of cold water until it becomes a smooth slurry. Taste your broth and add a Tablespoon or so of vegetable or beef bouillon paste or powder to enhance the flavor. Pour in the cornstarch slurry and whisk until the gravy is thick and the cornstarch cloudiness has disappeared. It won't be completely clear but it should look like gravy. If your gravy is too thick, add a bit of hot water. If it is too thin, make up some more cornstarch slurry and add it to the gravy. Strain the gravy into a bowl and stir in some freshly minced mint- about 2 Tablespoons will be enough. Carve the lamb at a gentle angle and place slices on a platter. Pour any juice that has accumulated on the resting platter over the sliced meat. Pour or ladle your gravy into a gravy boat or small pitcher. Serve the lamb and gravy and listen for the yummy noises. MMM

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