I don’t have a photo of this recipe because so little of it made it past dinner time. The new house has meant that I have been trying to keep our grocery bill down more progressively than before.
And meats seemed like a good place to start. There are so many less expensive cuts of meat that I haven’t used or heard of before but so far have been very tasty. I have a freezer stocked with flap meat/sirloin tip, lamb neck, and now, veal breast.
I have got to hand it to the butcher in my grocery store. He, or she, has been offering some very nice cuts of lamb shoulder lately. As you already know, I can’t walk away from lamb shoulder.
I had been flipping through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and was watching Julie & Julia. Naturally, I had beef bourguignon on the brain. Amazingly, I had no beef. So with Julia’s permission, I made lamb bourguignon, though she calls it civet de mouton. Which is mutton stew and a misnomer, I think.
About a year ago, Jacques Pepin came to speak at a college in the area. My mom was kind enough to buy us tickets. We were far, far away from Mr. Pepin but I was still impressed and in awe. Amongst the many things he demonstrated was to de-bone an entire chicken in a matter of minutes.
It sounded delicious and he made it look easy. Armed with 6 or 7 knives, a whole defrosted chicken, and an empty garbage bag, I made my first attempt. It is only now, a year later, that I am starting to become comfortable with it.
It does involve cracking bones and ripping skin, which is rather uncomfortable. But take courage! It will be delicious and beautiful.
Ballontine of chicken, as Jacques Pepin calls it, can be prepared a few days before you plan to serve. What’s even nicer is you can stuff it with whatever you have in the fridge. This particular time I used 1/2 c of chopped kale, 1/3 c white rice, a few bites of zucchini, half a biscuit, and a mound of grated Pecorino cheese.
I should start by saying my mother is a wonderful person. For no reason other than that she knew I wanted to play with them, she bought me a hefty bag of quince. A year ago, I wouldn’t have known what to do with them. Now I can’t wait for them to appear in the quick-sale basket at the grocery store.
Because of these.
These deceptively rosy things are caramels. Quince caramels. And their flavor is out of this world. Fruity, rosy, sweet, slightly lemony, and very very addictive.
Fried eggs are for a family meal from one member to the other. Food has etiquette…
Bubbling butter makes everything better!
Sometimes all you want for dinner is something warm and comforting and quick. Unfortunately, I often find that those are the nights that there is nothing in the house but a few eggs and maybe some cheese. The pantry is empty of pasta and there isn’t even a can of soup in sight.
However, from now on, I won’t worry. With a few eggs and cheese, I can make an elegant egg dish which will satisfy my eyes and my stomach. Today, I finished reading White Truffles in Winter.