Tuesday, November 28, 2017

For the Love of Lamb: Yotam Ottolenghi's Kofta Recipe

I think I may have forever changed my opinion on eating lamb last night.

We take part in the Walden Local Meat meat share program, and I have had a pound of ground lamb sitting in the chest freezer for several months, not knowing what to do with it. I didn't grow up eating lamb, and when I have had it in ground form, it always tends to taste just, so...lamby.

Chef Reiton, on the other hand, has a sort-of fascination for it. If I mention lamb is on a menu or that I bought a leg of lamb to roast, his eyes light up. So I feel kind-of bad that I repeatedly pass the lamb section in the meat department.

Hence the dinner we made last night. We own Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook. There is not one dish that I have made from that cookbook that I have not positively LOVED. And so when I mentioned that we had ground lamb hiding in the freezer downstairs and Chef Reiton said, "OH???", my hand went to Jerusalem's spine and gave her a little tug off the shelf. A quick perusal of the index led us to "kofta," little lamb and beef logs mixed with pine nuts, parsley, onion and garlic and seared to dark, crusty perfection before they are nestled in and drizzled with a tahini dressing and browned butter. Ottolenghi suggests serving it with a cucumber and tomato salad, which we did, ignoring his direction to not do the fried, spicy chickpeas.

Kofta drizzled with tahini sauce and butter and sprinkled with parsley, pine nuts and paprika

Cucumber and tomato salad with spicy, crispy chickpeas

 The dinner was incredible. If two of us would have done the prepping, we could have had both dishes on the table in 30 minutes. And when the tahini sauce got mixed into the salad and chickpeas? It was a glorious, delicious mess. I told Chef Reiton after the first bite that I wasn't going to be able to talk to him during this dinner...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Petition to Change the Thanksgiving Symbol

As my butter lay softening on the counter this morning, I dug through a pile of old cookie press stencils, looking for anything that could pass for a turkey. The closest thing I could find was an antlerless reindeer. Or wait... Maybe it was a camel.

I eventually decided on a heart. I did a bit of grumbling in my head, hoping people didn't think that a heart was too Valentine-y for Thanksgiving.

But as I continued my morning—going for a calorie-burning run pre-turkey/stuffing/pecan pie; checking out the Black Friday sales in the paper (why do we need all this stuff???); meditating in the steaming shower—I thought of who I was going to be spending the day with and what they mean to me. And suddenly, I thought, We should stop using the turkey for the Thanksgiving symbol and change it to a heart, instead.

Because that's what I feel everything Thanksgiving. It's a day that forces me to look not just at one person I love, like Valentine's Day does, but EVERYONE I love. Those who I get to see everyday. Those who I miss because they are far away. Those who have gone before me and who I need to patiently wait to see again.

No. It's not the turkey I look forward to for Thanksgiving. It's the people that I love so much that I wake up thinking of. And even if I don't get to be with them, my heart is warm all day long from thoughts of them.

So, here's my vote to change the Thanksgiving symbol from a turkey to a heart. Color it yellow, orange or brown, if you like.

At least it will be an honest symbol.

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