I confess that I’ve gotten a bit behind with my dining room diary these last couple of weeks. Please forgive me and I’ll try to do a bit of ‘catch up’ in this post. In an attempt to sock away a some serious cash, my youngest son Harry traded in his Linkery apron for a pair of work gloves and took a job in a metalworks factory last week. This represents a HUGE lifestyle change for him, as the whistle blows in National City at 6am sharp, which means he now rises about the same time he used to retire. What it means for me, is that he needs a simple, quick-fuel breakfast he can consume in the barely three minutes he allots for morning nourishment… one that preferably doesn’t require me to abandon the cozy comfort of my own early morning slumber. Sure, a granola bar would fit the bill, but what’s needed here is nutrient-density along with stick-to-the-ribs calories to carry him through until the lunch whistle blows. Enter Mom’s buttermilk-soaked candied cranberry/ginger granola topped with creamy, raw Jersey milk. Oats are notoriously high in mineral-leaching anti-nutrients, which is why it is imperative that they be subjected to a traditional preparation technique like sour-soaking. Best of all would be a long slow simmer after the soak, followed by a second fermentation in the style of our Gaelic ancestors, but a gooey wad of cod-liver-spiked fermented oatmeal stuffed in a fish head and baked over a peat fire might be a bit much for Harry at 5am.
Another nutrient-dense ‘hurry-up’ breakfast option I experimented with today is the sourdough crust/Swiss cheese mini quiche. Now Harry is not a big one for eggs, but for some reason he’ll eat a quiche with lip-smacking relish. Made with pastured eggs & vitamin K2-rich Swiss cheese, the nutrient-density of these little gems is a given. I figure a handful of these warm and savory bite-sized morsels will soften the blow of that 4:30 alarm, while at the same time fueling him for the serious ‘man-work’ he’s just getting accustomed to. Now don’t think because I said the word “warm” that is to imply that I’ll be whipping these babies up in the wee hours… ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, no way Jose! I’ll make them ahead and store them in an oven-safe Pyrex container in the fridge. All Harry will have to do is pop off the plastic lid and slide them into the oven to warm up while he showers.
And finally, there is the always popular Sour-D’OH!-Nut. Although not precisely the most nutrient-dense breakfast fare, made from a 16 hour sourdough with pastured eggs & ghee, then fried in pasture-raised beef tallow and followed by a tall glass of raw Jersey milk, they do inspire one to forgo the ‘snooze’ button while still combining nourishment with the soul-satisfying comfort of a doughnut. They also keep nicely for several days.
Now on to what’s been cookin’ at supper time… this past weekend found the hubby and I experimenting with a new roasting method. We started with a truly beautiful rump roast from Sonrise, boasting an almost pornographically enticing ‘fat cap’. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am a sucker for just about anything braised, and although I was tempted to apply that fail-safe method here, the lack of connective tissue in this particular cut really doesn’t lend itself as well to braising. What it does lend itself to, is roasting at low temperature directly on the oven rack with a baking pan underneath to collect the juices. It really required nothing more than an herb/salt rub and studding with garlic cloves to prepare it for the oven. When the meat thermometer read 140 degrees, all that was left to do was turn those gorgeous fatty pan drippings into a red wine gravy.
Served with fresh from the farmer’s market English peas & spring carrots cooked in butter, white wine & Amish sour cream, and accompanied by sourdough garlic bread & sauerkraut, it made for a lovely, no-fuss early spring Sunday night supper. The two and a half pound roast fed two of us the first night with leftovers the next, and still enough remaining to whip up a quick Asian-style ginger/garlic beef & broccolini soup the third.
Another memorable meal this week took the form of a Seasonal Luncheon with my North County ‘lunch bunch’. As I mentioned in the ‘IKEA’ post a while back, along with the enrichment workshops, the seasonal luncheon classes were formed to serve the continuing education needs of the graduates of the Traditional Food Preparation Series.
We gather once a month to explore the riches of the season by preparing and consuming a meal together in the home of our volunteer hostess. This month we made seared Colorado lamb riblets w/ rosemary-red wine reduction, and I do not exaggerate when I say those ribs were finger-lickin’-good!
We served them with French fingerling potatoes au gratin w/ cave-aged gouda and lacto-fermented Rainbow ginger carrots w/ cilantro followed by Meyer lemon zest ice cream & almond ‘Nookies’ for dessert. I love my job!
And finally… for weeks now, in preparation for the upcoming Sourdough Starter 101 Workshop, I’ve been playing with sourdough starter the way kids play with Playdough; seeing how many fun things I can make out of a little flour and water; sourdough rosemary crackers are my current favorite. These sweet little digestive biscuits are unbeatably handy as a conveyance for any number of nutrient-dense goodies. I like to pair them with a smear of chicken liver pate to snack on with a glass of wine while I’m preparing dinner, but with a dollop of smoked salmon cream cheese spread or any number of other toppings, they also make a great grab’n'go lunch.
In closing, I’d like to send a shout out to my tireless website gal, Cathy Thomas for converting the Lardmouth site to WordPress. Thank you Cathy!
Hope to see you all at an upcoming class… click the button at the top of the page for the schedule.