Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Lamb That Got Away (Almost)

Of the innumerable number of dinner parties that happen throughout the city, I took part in a remarkable one. A dozen people were brought together this particular evening to share in the bounty of local food in a newly renovated kitchen.

Prior to the renovation, one could easily tell the young couple hosting the dinner were food groupies by their big red leather sofa in the kitchen. However, a bone of contention with one half of the pair was the big red sofa in the kitchen.

So, how does one design a kitchen around a large sofa in the kitchen?

By replacing it with bar stools and a seven foot granite-top island.

Since Big Red is no longer in the kitchen the other half of the couple has been seen circling the monolith, as if breaking in a new pair of shoes, not really sure what to do; saying things like: "No more snacking and napping in the kitchen, or you can't flop onto a bar stool!"

A month in, he is getting used it and almost admitting to liking the extra large eating surface. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

As with most home renovations it went past due and the couple suffered almost two months without cooking in their own kitchen. Finally, the day came when move back into their kitchen and they didn't waste anytime getting back into the swing of things..

Within an hour after the contractor packed up his tools, guests were arriving for their first dinner party. The kitchen tours we met with cheers over anti-slamming drawers, a water spigot over the stove-top (tested curiously by a guest without out a pot underneath) and two very special ovens. But, the star of the evening was the local grass-fed leg of lamb from Twin Creeks Organic Farm.

Not surprisingly, the guests arrived early helping to peel potatoes, wash the lettuce and care for the lamb. When I arrived the potatoes were being sliced for an au gratin, drinks were being poured and the lamb was locked in the oven. No kidding.

One of the two ovens had a locking feature. As more people arrived, different button combinations were pressed trying to fix it.

After some Niagara prosciutto, more guests and more wine, out came the oven's users manual. Nothing worked, even after trying Google. Finally, a decision was made to go old school and flip a fuses in the basement. We continued stirring and chopping as the lights went: off-on, off-on and off-on again. At last, the oven reset itself, the door unlocked and “he” was put into the second oven.

The dinner preparations progressed fabulously: the mustard herb-crusted lamb was toasted under the infrared broiler; the potatoes were topped with extra reggiano cheese and also browned; a salad dressing was made and tossed with tender greens and the Empire apple tart was in a holding pattern waiting to go into the less greedy oven.

At last, dinner's ready! Let's eat!

And we did, with high accomplished spirits amidst the myriad of paint cans and stacks of drywall.

It was truly a fabulous meal. Meeting new people and coming together united in appreciation for local food and the environment to prepare it in, with or without a big red sofa and a locking oven.

Here It Begins...

Our first blog.

What is it going to be about?

Well, we are both chefs from very different backgrounds. Some would say quite talented. Together our varied styles compliment each other's weaknessess and cover most food regions, or kitchen situations. We both are very involved in the local food movement and can be a bit preachy on how Organic Farmers' markets are the way to go. Even still there is a potential for a he-said/she-said back and forth about food cooking and techniques, who's ego will survive?

Also, as new parents of a 21 month old baby daughter, you guessed it, Evelyn. So, the whole baby thing can also fill up pages of rants and endless goings on. And to make it even better, we are new parents of a cracker business, of the same name.

There you have it. The recipe of possible topics for our new bouncing baby blog.