I’ve had this recipe for a Dandelion and Goat Cheese Gratin from Fine Cooking in my must try folder for several years. I’ve never made it because apparently dandelion greens are expensive! I’ve never seen them at the market and at Greenlife they are about $6/bunch.
I found dandelion greens at The Dekalb Market in Atlanta recently for $2/bunch so I finally pulled the recipe out to try. The recipe notes say that it would be a good side dish for lamb but I decided to actually add the lamb into the gratin for a one dish meal. If you aren’t adding meat to the gratin I would probably double the amount of greens I used as they cook down a lot.
Our lamb is from Sequatchie Cove Farm and the goat cheese is from Bonnie Blue Farm.
I tried a bite of the greens before they were cooked and they are bitter, bitter, bitter! Thankfully the bitterness is greatly tamed after cooking.
I used half and half instead of the heavy cream since that’s what I had in the fridge. I also added about double the amount of goat cheese called for because it just seemed right 🙂
If you are adding meat to the gratin, cook it first and then just mix it in the bowl with the chopped greens and cheese.
We made these Lebanese Stuffed Peppers from Cooking Light recently. The recipe states that the traditional recipe uses ground lamb but they chose to use ground sirloin instead. We had ground lamb in the freezer and I tend to get frustrated with recipes that try to Americanize an ethnic dish too much so we used ground lamb from Sequatchie Cove Farm. (Granted, there are some ingredients that you just can’t find locally and I’m not opposed to substitutions but ground lamb is pretty common these days).
These bell peppers are from Signal Mountain Farm.
Against my better judgement we followed the directions for microwaving the peppers before stuffing. I think this just really made them watery. I think the best way to cook peppers before stuffing is to cook them in a dry, hot cast iron skillet. Turn them frequently so they brown on all sides. This gives you much better flavor.
I never have beef broth (because the only broth I have is what I make and beef bones don’t find their way into my kitchen too often). Normally I do have lamb broth but not tonight so I substituted veggie broth throughout the recipe. No need to use bland water when you have broth!
I initially didn’t realize that the lamb went into the peppers raw. I think that works much better than precooking the meat as I’ve done in the past. I’d advise basing the doneness on temperature, not just time however. We cooked our lamb peppers to 155 degrees. I’d take sirloin out at about 160 degrees.
The sauce cooks down a good bit so I ended up adding another cup of tomatoes to the pan. The flavors were still good and we had just the right amount of sauce.
Parsley is another thing that I never have. I see it called for a good bit but I just don’t care for it and therefore don’t keep it around. I don’t think we missed anything.
Overall I think they turned out well…
Homemade pasta was always something I wanted to try but the process seemed very intimidating. A wonderful Christmas gift last year was the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and I’ve discovered how easy and how deliciously satisfying it is to make your own pasta! (I will admit to going through at least a dozen eggs before I discovered that pasta dough looks like no other dough and I quit throwing it out thinking I had done something horribly wrong).
I’ve been using the recipe for light whole wheat pasta that came with the pasta attachment. Now that I’ve got the process down I think I’d like to experiment more with some new variations. A spinach or kale pasta is high on that list.
Simply mix sifted bread flour, sifted whole wheat flour, eggs, a bit of water and salt together in the kitchen aid. After about 30 seconds, switch to the dough hook and knead the dough. This will not look like any dough you are used to seeing. It does not form a ball. Knead for 2 minutes and then forma ball with your hands. You may have to add more water at this point if it feels a bit dry. It will be a very heavy dough and sandy seems the best way to describe it.
Break the larger ball into smaller, walnut sized balls and prepare the pasta attachment for whatever shape pasta you are making. I used the spaghetti attachment. Feed your dough balls in and out comes your formed pasta! This reminds me of the play dough toy people where you could make play dough “hair” 😉
If you are drying the pasta for a later use you should hang it on a wooden drying rack. I was using this the same evening so I just made little pasta nests on a towel.
Fresh pasta can be cooked in about 2-4 minutes. Use a large pot so the pasta is not crammed and salt the water well.
This whole process only took 30 minutes for fresh, homemade pasta! Could you make a bag of pasta in less time? Absolutely. Does it taste as good? Absolutely not. This pasta has a very different mouth feel and bite. It has a nice, almost nutty flavor and is so much more than just a vessel for the sauce.
We served this pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto and lamb chops from Sequatchie Cove Farm.
Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider is a great veggie reference and it has some wonderful recipes to accompany the descriptions and history of each vegetable. We discovered this recipe while browsing for inspiration this week. It actually calls for pork but we had this wonderful lamb from Sequatchie Cove Farm so we decided to change it up a bit. Add some fresh collards from Signal Mountain Farm and you’ve got the makings of a great dish!
Start by browning your lamb. You may want to do this in batches so the lamb browns and does not steam.
Remove the lamb to a plate and add some onions and garlic to the pot
Add your chopped collards and cook them down just a bit
Deglaze the pan with orange juice, beer, lamb stock and a pinch of brown sugar. Add the lamb back to the pot and cook for about an hour and a half. Braising is great for tougher cuts of meat as the long, slow cook helps break down the meat and make it more tender.
Serve over rice
For Christmas last year my parents gave us a share of lamb from Sequatchie Cove FarmWe got half a lamb including bones and some organ meat.
(Isn’t the lamb adorable! My mom included that with the card!)
Tonight we made some lamb chops, asparagus from the market (!) and amaranth.
If you’re not so lucky to find asparagus at your local market, remember to only buy it if it’s been stored with the ends in water. Asparagus dries out quickly and you’ll also want to store it in a small amount of water once you get home.
Before you’re ready to cook, you’ll need to trim the ends. Snapping the stalks seems to work best.
I’ve read many a recipe for asparagus but really, simple is better! All you need is some oil (walnut is great but olive is fine), salt, pepper, and a good sharp cheese. Normally I use Parmesan but this is a delicious cave aged goat milk cheddar from Bonnie Blue Farm that I got at the market today.
Drizzle the asparagus with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook under the broiler on high until beginning to brown and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Very simple and really preserves the integrity and flavor of the asparagus.
The lamb chops have a great flavor on their own and really don’t need much help. Just pat the chops dry, sprinkle with salt and rosemary and cook for about 5 minutes per side. Make sure you let the chops rest for a few minutes before serving to let the juices redistribute.
This was the first time I’ve had amaranth on its own. I’ve used it in a quiche crust before and it has a great somewhat grassy flavor that is quite unique. It also has quite a unique mouthfeel that probably lends itself to being used in other preparations more so than a solo dish! The flavor was great with the lamb, however!