March 31, 2008


Lamby little lamblets!


George M. Spencer said...

"When I was a novice I used to work hard to make a lamb suck by forcing its mouth to the teat. Now I just tickle it on the base of its tail."

A Shepherd’s Life
E.B. White

Trooper York said...

That reminds me, I have to pick up some mint jelly at Shardies this week.

Tibore said...

Ackkkk! Better tell Nina that those cute little chicks grow up to be slightly mean and very very stupid chickens. And that without tons of effort, chickens can end up being some of the dirtiest animals to raise.

Don't get me wrong; the end product winds up making for some very tasty meals. It's just that the process of getting there happens to be a pain in the ***.

Ann Althouse said...

Seems to me that Nina expressed her familiarity and contempt for chickens pretty well in the text.

Unknown said...

Oh man! Fire up the grill. Get that rotisserie out. Hey Trooper, pass the mint jelly!

rhhardin said...

Baby chipping sparrow

Altricial birds seem more like they're made of sticks and rubber bands.

Palladian said...

Mint jelly is a tiresome accompaniment to lamb. Try port and figs and a slow cooking in a covered casserole.

Or if you must have the mint accompaniment, use basil instead which contains related flavors but is a little more interesting. Making a jelly from fresh basil leaves is easy. Yum yum.

LutherM said...

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Nichevo said...

FYI, apparently the real English accompaniment is not mint JELLY, but something called mint SAUCE. I have seen it in English food stores.

...never had it however. I like chutney.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

FYI, apparently the real English accompaniment is not mint JELLY, but something called mint SAUCE. I have seen it in English food stores.

That's because the English eat mutton, not lamb. If you are eating young spring lamb, there is never ever any need for mint sauce or jelly. Mutton has the gamey rank flavor in its tallowy mutton fat that the mint sauce is needed to hide that hideous flavor and texture.

Spring lamb has a sweet wonderful flavor that should be only enhanced with a bit of garlic, rosemary, touch of lemon, olive oil,sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Lamb should always be served at a medium rare to rare state. Anything else and you have ruined it.


nina said...

It's true. That cute little duo, cuddling in utter preciousness? Your future lamb chop. But they'll have lived a happy, albeit very short life. And were it not for our love of the chop (with or without the mint), they'd not be there to begin with.

As for chickens -- such dumb animals! But,you can have 'em lookin' pretty these days. So the eyesore aspect of chicken farming is diminished.

Nichevo said...

DBQ, yes, the Brits for some reason like their meat to be old enough to have a driver's license. Although I have been given to understand that with enough trimming of the fat, the gaminess can be tamed. Having never eaten a mutton chop or the like, I can't help wondering if it's worthwhile to do so.

As for the lamb, well, let me put it this way: if Nero Wolfe says thyme or mustard are viable options, that's good enough for me. And the Greeks like oregano, IIRC. So I think you have to open up your horizons a little bit.

Not that your recipe doesn't sound good or that I haven't done that before. Mmm, lemon.

In fact - and maybe this plays into a comment made earlier - I saw a recipe on some cooking channel where they spread and rolled up a butterflied leg of lamb with pesto and roasted it. Now that looked interesting.

About degree of doneness, though, there is no daylight between us. Can't understand people who cook their meat to death. It was supposed to be dead before you started cooking!

Eeugh, that reminds me. Went shopping yesterday, bought a dozen jumbo eggs. Just noticed I left them on the counter! 24 hours at room temperature. Put 'em in the fridge now, of course, but am I totally screwed? Can they be ate, as Archy or Jack Aubrey might say?

Nichevo said...

Wile I'm opening my pie-hole, I have yet to be sold on sea salt. I agree with the virtues of large crystals but I find kosher salt works on everything.

I have tried it. The French Baleine (IIRC) I tried was a big disappointment. Maybe I didn't pay enough but my word, we're taking about SALT here!

Unknown said...

Palladian said...
Mint jelly is a tiresome accompaniment to lamb.

Trooper and I are good dagos, wops, greaseballs. There is a good reason for the mint jelly, which has nithing to do with the English. It cuts the garlic and complements it at the same time. Now, mint jelly is nothing more than apple jelly flavored with mint. I, how ever, make my own. No apple, just mint.

rhhardin said...

The feral rooster dossier

``Then there were three.''

Joan said...

Nichevo: the eggs should be fine, enjoy. They keep at room temperature for at least a few days before they spoil. If you've any doubts, crack the egg and sniff before proceeding with your recipe.

Palladian said...

"DBQ, yes, the Brits for some reason like their meat to be old enough to have a driver's license."

Nonsense. It's actually somewhat difficult to get mutton in the UK now, due mostly to changing tastes and the blight of supermarkets.

I quite like the gamy flavor of mutton, though it's not as versatile s lamb.

As far as sea salt, it's actually (depending on where it's from) milder and less salty than purified salt like kosher salt due to the presence of other minerals. It's also about the texture. I like rough, coarse sea salt, like grey salt, sprinkled unground onto foods. I like sea salts that smell like the sea if you take a whiff of the bottle.

Nichevo said...

Pal, I admit the driver's-license crack was a quote from a book written during and about WWII, but from at least 1800 to 1945 I'm pretty confident from my reading that that was in fact the taste in the old days. If mutton is on the outs right now I have to defer to you on that.

Of course you seem to be having beef trouble, maybe for the same reason, BSE? so you're pretty well skewered.

As for sea salt, that which I had was extremely strong and screwed up my recipes bigtime. No good for sauces, soups, or to broil a steak. At the very least I would have to take radical measures to recalibrate to its noxious strength.

If there is a brand, region, etc. for the stuff that you like better, perhaps I will have another crack at it. But only out of deference to you, my good sir, and certainly not on a mission-critical meal.

Joan - thanks for the encouragement. I will try to use them quickly, though. Hope they don't get shocked or skunky from having come from the cold grocer's cooler to my countertop to my own fridge, as I'm told happens with beer or wine that goes through too many temperature cycles.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Mmmmmmm. Food thread. Cooking one of my very favorite things to do!!

Nichevo: As Joan says, your eggs will be fine. In the real world your eggs would have spent some time under a chicken's butt. Eggs weren't always available year round like they are now. In some of my older (pre 1900) cookbooks they refer to "when eggs are in season".
This is why we have angel food and pound cakes.

The taste of mutton is reminiscent of venison, of which I have eaten quite a bit in my time. Venison is very lean (except for the ones who feast on my apple trees every year) so I usually add something to give it some fat flavoring. Larding or draping with other fat. Venison saddle must be served rare/medium rare just like lambies. Mutton is very fat and it has a waxy texture, especially when it has cooled, so I try to remove as much of it as I can. Mutton done Moroccan style, with dried fruits, honey and onions is really nice. Couscous on the side.

Yes, mustard and thyme go well with spring lamb too. Deviled herb crusted rack of lamb is one of my favorites.

Sea salt has so many different flavors depending on where it was evaporated mineral contaminants etc. Fleur d sel is a mild sea salt. The grey and slightly wet versions are much stronger. Freshy ground sea salt is (for me anyway) used as a topping or final garnish on the item. Kosher salt is what I use for basic cooking. Saltier flavor so you need less, dissolves faster, better incorporation.

Bon Appetite.