Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lamb Shanks with Vegetables and a Mint Gremolata

         Confession time:  I made this dish just as Spring was arriving. But by the time I got around to writing up the post, Spring had sprung and with it temperatures that suggested getting out of the heat and out of the kitchen.   But now that Fall is making it’s inevitable comeback, I revisited this dish.   And it has a lot to recommend it. Not the least of which is the classic combination of mint and lamb.  In this case, the mint forms the basis for a “gremolata”, a garnish usually associated with Osso Buco.  The early spring vegetables used here—the tiny baby potatoes and sugar snap peas--have become year round staples in our supermarket.  You can be forgiven for using trimmed full-sized carrots.  In point of fact, I did in the original recipe.   And if you’re a lamb fan who, due to price, has had to curb your appetite, this is a budget friendly way to enjoy the protein. In fact, the shank is likely the least expensive of all cuts of lamb.

Monday, October 14, 2013

By Special Request: Monte’s Ham and Cheese Strata

        Recently, I was in charge of a Church breakfast.  I chose to make this wonderful dish: a gloriously cheese-topped casserole with crisp oversized croutons over a creamy egg and tender ham filling. Well the result was spectacular and the requests for the recipe were many.  I know why.  It's always a great time to make this dish. First of all, it can be expanded to feed any number of people.  You simply double or triple the portions and then haul out your Pyrex 9 x 13 instead of the souffle dish pictured here.  The other great advantage is that you make this up the day before.  So off I went to the Church kitchen late Saturday afternoon and put the whole thing together.  The next morning, all that was required was to pop it in the oven and in a little over an hour you have something very special for your breakfast or brunch table.  It’s very easy to put together. By the way, its' also a very good time to start to think of all the ways you can use Monte's Ham this season: We've got hams in stock and I'd love to put your name on one of them.  Just click the link about this post and order one today.  I like to serve this with a simply dressed green salad.  Here is the recipe: