This day offered a chance to catch my breath, assess, and develop a strategy for the upcoming weeks, both professional and personal. This day offered the luxury of personal intellectual indulgence. This day was long awaited.
Book recommendations are funny things. I am quick to give them out, but slow on the uptake. I regretfully admit an unpleasant correlation: the more people who recommend a particular piece, the slower I am to actually commit to reading it. Although, I have to date, always read highly recommended pieces...eventually.
This morning, I finished the full collection of Persepolis . If you have not yet read it, do yourself a favor, and do. No spoilers, sweetie, however: Women of all ages should have this on their bookshelf, next to your bed, preferably.
I was not ready to leave the world Marjane Satrapi creates in her graphic novel with the last scene, so I started traveling through Wikipedia. As a young person, I used to love reading through our Encyclopedia. I would start with one subject, and just follow references. I loved it because I never had any idea where I would end up. Wikipedia is much less cumbersome than our Encyclopedia. It was grand!
This day: Starting at Persepolis itself, I was able to move through architecture, art, philosophy, politics, and trade. I eventually found myself at Zero, and decided to move on. Low and behold, there was Howard Zinn and his People's History upon my side table. I dove in to the underside: simple, lacking embellishment. All this, internalized in a safe place, knowing people I love are well and secure. Giving thanks, from the fullness of my heart, this fall holiday amidst the chaos of our species uncertainty.
I have successfully completed one year at my day job. I can not say if it met my expectations, or exceeded them, because I really had no idea what to expect. I believe that may have provided the opportunity for success. What I can say is that I really do love my job. Giving thanks to all of the people I have been able to collaborate with, who I have been able to see do great things, with whom I have become familiar.
This day I write because I wanted to give something to someone I recently met. I needed someone to spur me to action, to return my attention to something I set out for myself. Giving thanks to Nico M, for getting me back in here. I give to you:
Roasted Rack of Lamb with Farro and Root Veg
Roasted Rack of Lamb with 3Mustard-Tarragon Crust; Sautéed red Onion in Pan Drippings with Victory Harvest Ale; Farro with Caramelized Sweet Onion, Apple, Raisins&Almonds; PanFried Carrots & Beets with Baby Kale in Apple-Cider/Honey Vinaigrette; Wholesome Raw Milk Gouda, Milkhouse Blue Bell, Apple&Pear
Suggested order of preparations for complete presentation:
Farro; Lamb: Carrots&Beets; Red Onion
Mise en place
1tbl each: Coarse Ground, Dijon, and Yellow Mustard
3cloves Garlic: Minced Fine
Mix all ingredients in small bowl and let rest until needed.
Roasted Lamb Rack with 3Mustard-Tarragon Crust
1 (7-8) Rack of Lamb, trimmed and frenched
S&P: Coarse and Cracked
Useful Items: Cast Iron Skillet, Long Handled Stainless Tongs
With lamb at room temperature:
Preheat oven to 450F with rack in center position.
Generously salt and pepper lamb.
On medium-high heat: With enough sunflower oil to coat bottom of skillet, heat pan until oil begins to shimmer. You need the skillet to be hot enough to quick sear the lamb, and get the edges a dark brown. Sear each side (4) for 1-2 minutes. Set on plate to rest for 2-3 minutes, with skillet cooling, off heat. Coat with 3Mustard-Tarragon Crust and cover ends of bones with foil.
Place lamb back in skillet with bones arching down, touching the pan. Roast for 12-14 minutes: Remove from oven, shut oven door, and check internal temperature. You want it to reach 120F before removing it from oven and pan. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes if necessary. When done, place rack on platter and cover with foil to rest for 10 minutes. The lamb will continue to cook while under the foil. Medium-Rare is 125-130F.
Cut each chop.
Farro in Chicken Stock with Caramelized Sweet Onion, Tart Apple, Sultana Raisins, Almonds, Garlic
Useful Items: Pressure Cooker
1c+3tbl Pearled Farro
2c Chicken Stock
1medium Yellow Sweet Onion: Halved and sliced thin
3tbl Sunflower Oil
1medium Tart Apple: Small Cubed
1 Lemon: Zest and Juice
3tbl Sultana Raisins
3tbl Slivered Almonds
3 cloves Garlic: Minced Fine
S&P: Coarse and Cracked
Put stock, water and farro in pressure cooker. With pressure set at high, bring to temperature, and cook for 12 minutes. Allow to naturally depressurize.
Stovetop: Put stock, water and farro in medium saucepan, and cook at a simmer until water is absorbed and farro is soft, about 30 minutes.
While farro is cooking, pour sunflower oil into skillet and heat at medium until oil begins to shimmer. Add sweet onion. Cook until translucent and lightly caramelized. Lower heat if onion is browning too fast, but not reaching translucence. Remove from heat. Add apple, raisins, almonds, and raw garlic. Mix into farro when done cooking, add lemon zest and juice, s&p to taste, and mix well.
Cover to keep warm until lamb is ready.
PanFried Carrots & Beets with Baby Kale in Apple Cider-Honey Vinaigrette
4medium Carrots: Trimmed, Cut into Thin Rounds
4medium Beets: Trimmed, Peeled, Cut into Thin Rounds
3-5tbl Sunflower Oil
5oz Baby Kale
2-3tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
1tbl Ground Toasted Flax Seed
S&P: Coarse and Cracked
In skillet used for Farro Onions&etc:
On medium-high heat: Heat 3tbl Sunflower Oil until shimmers. Place carrots in pan. mix to coat with warm oil, then let sear for 3 minutes until bottom edges begin to crisp. Mix, trying to flip carrots to uncooked side. let sear for 3 minutes, repeating until most carrots are crispy and edges are well browned. Remove carrots from pan, and repeat process for beets, adding additional oil as needed.
Reduce heat to low: Return carrots to skillet with beets. Add kale, vinegar, honey, and ground flax seed. Cover pan, to steam for 3-4 minutes. Remove cover, and mix everything well, adding s&p to taste.
Remove from heat, and cover until ready to serve.
Sautéed Red Onion in Pan Drippings with Victory Harvest Ale
1medium Red Onion: Halved, Thin Sliced
1tbl salted butter
Apple Cider/Red Wine/Stout/IPA
After lamb has reached internal temperature of 120F and is resting under foil:
On medium-high heat: Add 1 tbl butter, red onion, cider, red wine, stout, or IPA. Deglaze pan, soften onion, and reduce liquid
Milkhouse Blue Bell, Wholesome Raw Milk Gouda, Apple&Pear