Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lesson 4: Shopping

My percieved lack of planning, didn't play out as complacently as I had originally thought.  I had scoped out the butcher shop and ordered the lamb more than a week in advance...way more time than was necessary.  I also made lists of where I planned to buy everything and thought again about my plan.

The plan included finding a vegetarian option, as I selected a recipe for Vegetarian Terrine from Easy French Food, thanks Kim.  I also visited the Farmer's Market outside of my work, where I was able to find the chard and some onions.

This is the first time I personally have purchased Swiss Chard and I had a nice large bunch that I sampled raw with a few of my students. Most students that were around at the time didn't know what it was, so an experience with it produced mixed reactions.  The consensus was that the leaves tasted a bit like spinach. Here's what it looked like:

I planned to make the sorbet and terrine on Thursday night, giving each enough time to chill for dinner on Friday.

My shopping ended up pretty simply, picking up everything I needed just a few items at a time per my plan and list.  I am not usually a list kind of person, but the practice of list making is incredibly valuable for shopping for my menus...maybe it would be a good life skill to be practicing outside of the kitchen as well!?!

Although simple, the shopping was not uneventful in a very positive way.  I have to say how great it is to be able to approach experts who are willing to help out in every way possible. I really want to extend a thank you to Mike at the Arroyo Grande Meat Company who took the time to answer all of my questions about the leg of lamb. He brought out the other half of the leg, walked me through how to cut the meat for serving, talked a bit about cooking times and showed me what the fell, the thin parchment-like out skin, looks like. He also pointed out where a fatty gland would be found, and made sure I knew to remove this before serving.

So here is the leg of lamb, fell and excess fat removed.  What an amazing piece of meat!


bricogirl said...

Hey Mark,
Hope you'll let me know if that vegetarian terrine came out. I posted it way back when I started my site 6 months ago and haven't looked at it since. I hope I'm getting better at writing recipes as I go. I cooked with my son tonight and I wrote up the recipe for stuffed tomatoes beforehand to see if he could just follow it by himself. I was surprised by all of the things I forget to point out and assumed the reader just knew. That's what makes your site so great. We're learning with you. It's wonderful!

Mark said...

I thought the recipe was simple enough to follow, and the product I thought was great. I cooked it the night before, and made one slight change-I sliced the zucchini instead of chopped them up. I made this for one individual who is vegetarian, however everyone took some to try with the rest of the meal. It got mixed reviews. The person I made it for said that she liked it, in particular the meaty texture of the bread/zucchini layers, but would prefer having some additional vegetables that may add color. Other comments were about the temperature, two people were surprised with the cold, one person would have like to try it warm. I think it would be a great summer dish, but for winter time (if you can call sunny and 65 degrees winter) it would have been better, on my part, to select a warm dish. Thanks!