Saturday, March 21, 2020

Quarantine Food Diaries, Day 5, Birds Flying High, You Know How I Feel...

I spent a day in the warmth of the sun, soaking up the Vitamin D. I Admired the earth as buds on trees burst open in a concert of color. I slowed my pace and breath and watched nature expand and breathe deeply. The canals in Venice are crystal clear and dolphins can be seen frolicking in them. In China no new cases have been reported going on three days. Our constant access to the world news is both amazing and distressing so I chose nature for the most part again today.
The weather called for frivolity at least in my kitchen. I chose not to fret about writing and posting yesterday, knowing you would wait a day. It’s crazy to see how many live feeds have been popping up in so many sectors, I applaud everyone’s ability to adapt to this and am having a good time watching a few and participating as well.
When I finally returned inward last night it called for a new version of an old fashioned, I’ll call it:

The Nina Simone

1 jigger whiskey or bourbon
Dash of aromatic bitters
Dash Luxardo cherry juice
Orange zest
Palo santo
Glass cloche

Pour whiskey, bitters, cherry juice together, add ice, stir. Squeeze the orange rind, spritzing the glass, rub around the rim and place inside the drink. Light your palo santo, get it really smoking and then place it along with your drink under the glass cloche, watch it fill with smoke.
Remove the cloche and savor. If you don’t have a cloche, get creative, make a paper cone!

While sipping your cocktail like it’s summer on the back deck read over the next recipe and decide to make a corn tortilla stuffed with middleastern spiced lamb. We will be using up the rest of the hummus adding a little smoke to it (liquid smoke is the bomb) I made a new batch of beets, golden this time and ate them as a side and garnished the rest of my tortilla with grated goat Gouda and the last of the radishes, a dash of hot sauce and the last of the kale pesto.
It’s divine. And now also time to go shopping !!

Za’atar Lamb Tortillas

1 1lb lamb stew meat cut in 1” cubes
Zatar ( or make your own from what is in your pantry, see below)
Golden beets recipe (from day 1 )
Hummus (from day 2 )
Liquid smoke
Goat Gouda
Buttered pine nuts ( from day 3)

Za’ atar :
( traditional Lebanese spice mix used to dry marinate meats specifically Lamb)

1 tablespoon dried thyme- crushed
1 tablespoon ground cumin ( see note)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sumac
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon or more aleppo chili flakes- optional

If you dry toast the cumin seed, coriander seed and sesame seeds and then mortar and pestle them or if you don’t have one you can use a cuisinart to rough grind them or coffee grinder. Toasting whole seeds will really make your Za’atar more perfumed and flavorful.
Put all ingredients together in an airtight container and use over and over again, steaks, roasted cauliflower, in olive oil with salt for bread dunking if you eat bread! You can top hummus and babaganoush with it or sprinkle on greens with olive oil and balsamic for a quick salad dressing with a Lebanese twist!
Coat your lamb and let sit while you dress up your hummus with a few dashes of liquid smoke.
Follow by slicing your slow roasted beets and arranging on a plate drizzle extra virgin olive oil, a balsamic reduced glaze, some of our newly made Za’ atar and top with buttered pine nuts.
Next heat olive oil and brown lamb pieces on all sides, make sure the lamb is dry rubbed, no extra moisture! Lamb can be eaten medium rare, rare.... you decide I eat it medium rare, if you prefer well done you’ll need to take each batch once fried and put it in an ovenproof dish in an oven at 400F for about 10 min.
Now you are ready to compose.
Heat a small amount of oil and fry one side of your corn tortilla only.
Smooth a scoop of hummus top with a few slices of lamb, grated radishes, if you have cilantro, or greens add those too and sprinkle with goat Gouda. A few drops of kale pesto and hot sauce and you have a rainbow to eat with your eyes.

50°F Sunny
 Marlton, New Jersey, United States

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