Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Well, the holidays are certainly soaking up a lot of time this year. Perhaps this has something to do with making delicious local dishes from scratch... Yes, time consuming but this has been a tasty holiday season.

Wishing you all a restful time, a wonderful new year, and happy holidays! Watch for a resurgence of posts in the new year as life settles back into its more ordinary rhythm.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Using the Lamb Front Shank

While shopping at the Market on State, I swung by the Morgan Valley Lamb booth to choose from their extensive collection of cuts. I knew that I could not spend a fortune (which is always easy to do on quality, grass-fed, free-range meat), so I needed to shop on the fringes of my knowledge. Fortunately, since I was at a market instead of a huge box store, I had the opportunity to talk face to face with someone who knows lamb intimately. I decided to ask for something that would cook up nicely in a crock pot. "Front shank" was the enthusiastic reply.

I had never even seen a shank before. I most certainly could not have told you what part of the lamb it came from, and I would not have known what to do with it. The salesman (sure wish I'd caught his name) assured me that it would cook up beautifully and fall right off the bone.

The perfect day came for using the shank. We were to have a dinner guest, and I often turn to the crock pot on such days so that I can spend some time tidying up the place. I leafed through my favorite meat recipe cookbook, Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Main Dishes, and found about 4 good-looking lamb shank recipes and settled on using a Moroccan dish as my inspiration.
The only non-local ingredients used were the spices.

Crock Pot Moroccan Lamb Shanks
2 lamb shanks
3 medium potatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/3 cups dried apricots
1/2 tsp salt

Throw it all into a crock pot and cook on High for about 6 hours or on Low for 10 hours. Stir it up at some point during the last half of the cooking.

Enjoy this super-easy, but extremely tasty meal!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Party Treats

Now that holiday parties are in full swing opportunities abound to show off some Eating Local prowess. Whether hosting a party or bringing a dish to a potluck, anyone can proudly proclaim that he or she is celebrating the local bounty of the season. Here are some finger food ideas:

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Mountainview Mushrooms from Filmore, UT and herbed goat cheese by Shepherd's out of Erda, UT do most of the work for you.

Pop out the mushroom stems and dice them.
Mix these into the goat cheese along with a little hot water. Add only enough water so that mixing isn't too difficult.
Spread the cheese mixture inside the mushrooms, and mound it a little.
Place the mushrooms on a broiler pan and broil on high for about 10 minutes.

If you're hosting the party, serve these straight out of the oven, if not, they are still tasty cold.

Cheese and Crackers
These homemade crackers are just a little salty-sweet, and they go great with Beehive Cheese's Seahive Cheddar. The cheese choices really are endless, visit the Cheese page to see what I mean.

110 Mile Wheat Thin Crackers
1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
2/3 cup milk
salt for the tops (optional)

-Preheat oven to 325
-In large bowl combine flours and salt
-Cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles course meal.
-Seperately combine milk and honey.
-Slowly blend in milk and honey using only enough liquid to form a dough mixture that will hold together in a cohesive ball.
-Divide dough into two equal parts for rolling.
-Roll out on a floured surface or pastry cloth, until dough is 1/16- 1/8 inch thick.
-If desired sprinkle with salt and gently roll into dough.
-With sharp knife cut crackers into 2" x 2" squares.
-Transfer onto ungreased baking sheet.
-Prick each cracker 2-3 times.
-Bake 20- 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meat and Cheese Platter
I'm inspired by Morgan Valley Lamb's Salami (which I still need to try) and Canyon Meadows Ranch's Beef Jerky.

Put together a festive tray of any or all of the following:
Lamb Salami
Beef Jerky (variety of flavors)
Beehive Cheese's Seahive Cheddar incorporating RealSalt and local honey
Rockhill Creamery's Boo Boo Baby Swiss
Gold Creek Farms Mozzarella
Drake Family Farms Goat Milk Feta

Of course, all of the cheese makers listed above carry a variety of cheeses beyond what is listed, and they are all amazing!

Fruit and Nut Tray
Get out that cool serving dish with all of the separated sections and fill it with these treasures:
Dried Cherries from Woodyatt Cherry Farms
Red Rock Pistachios (spotted at Harmons 7800 S 700 E)
Walnuts or Pecans from your tree or from a friend (mine are from friends)
Dried Apricots (again, mine are from a friend's tree)
Pine Nuts (spotted at Harmons Brickyard)

Rainbow Carrots
Well, this is easy.
It's just carrot sticks, but they look great because they are rainbow carrots coming in purple, white, dark yellow, and light yellow. Dress it up with a sour cream and herb dip.