Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lamb For Our Little Lamb-Lamb's Birthday

Our little Chachi turned three last month. As he was now of legal drinking age in dog years, we decided to give him his first taste of beer and his favourite meat - lamb. Chachi's version of lamb that night was quickly blanched in boiling water. Ours was going to be cumin lamb, Xinjiang style (新疆孜然羊肉). I adapted Fuschia Dunlop's cumin beef recipe for this dish. The prep is a lot of onions, scallions, Chinese red pepper, Sichuan pepper corn (about three heaping tablespoons full), chopped garlic. I seasoned the lamb slices (thin slices used for shabu shabu) with a bit of salt and a lot of cumin. It marinated with a dash of rice wine for about 15 minutes. I heated a dry wok on high until the wok was as hot as it was going to get. The April issue of Saveur talked about how American stoves don't get hot enough to properly stir fry. This is certainly true of my stove. Brian's is a bit better, although still lacking in true fire power, and the stove we tend to use for making Chinese. The Saveur article suggests turning the stove on high and getting the wok hot. You then add whatever you're cooking a bit at a time as to not lower the wok temperature too much. After you add the meat, the article advises to not move the meat for a good few minutes. I tossed in the lamb pieces and let it cook for a couple of minutes, gave a quick toss, and then removed it to a bowl. At this point, the lamb was very rare still.
I then sauteed the aromatics until slightly golden and fragrant. Then I added the lamb back in for a quick toss with all the ingredients.
The resulting dish was quite fiery and numbing. The meat was a perfect medium rare and the dish even had a bit of that elusive woky hay (breath of the wok) that I seem to have been unable to achieve in the past.
We paired the lamb with curry couscous and some cold cumber marinated with chili oil. Interesting sort of "Silk Road" meal.

A Very Julia Christmas A Few Christmases Ago

I am ashamed to say that this meal was from 2008 and I'm just posting it now. What can I say except.... I was severely slacking. But since this meal was one of the more monumental food nerd moments in David and my cooking career together, I had to make up for the lack of documentation until now. We were deep in the midst of our Julia Child phase when the holidays came upon us. David wanted to try our hand at consomme, cassoulet, and souffle. Noting that the three dishes all rhymed, we decided to do a dinner made up of rhyming dishes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Then after some research, we learned that the traditional French meal was a seven course affair of dishes in specific type order. Thus, the Seven Courses of Rhyming Julia Child Christmas was born. We had never cooked such a multi-course meal before so we planned out everything - when to put a course in the oven, what service ware is required for each course, etc. Take a look at our hyper planning.
David even printed out menus for our meal. Our first course was - L’Aperitif
Tanqueray but not pictured. AT made us beautiful Tanqueray red and green cocktails.
Clarified rich beef broth
Le Relevé
French baked beans, duck confit, sausage
Le Repos
Sorbet de Citron Vert
Lime ice
Le Roti
Côtes du Boeuf en Jus Lié
Rib roast, natural juices

Le Salade
Asperges au Citron Frais
Blanched asparagus, lemon sauce
Le Fromage
Soufflé au Fromage
Baked gruyere cheese
Le Dessert
Buscuits de Thé
Tea biscuits
Yeah, we're ridiculous... but it was a lovely meal that Julia Child would be proud of.