One Leg of Lamb, Two Presentations

lamb tower ten ingredient

Roasted-then-Grilled Leg of Lamb Medallion
Soy Sauce-Olive Oil-Garlic Marinade, Cracked Pepper Crust

Minted Edamame Puree, Whole Wheat Couscous
Grilled Zucchini, Shiitake, Tomato

lamb au poirve

Roasted-then-Grilled Leg of Lamb Medallion
Soy Sauce-Olive Oil-Garlic Marinade, Cracked Pepper Crust

Minted Edamame Puree, Whole Wheat Couscous
Grilled Zucchini, Shiitake, Scallion

Nine ingredients remain the same. Only one ingredient varies – swap a grilled tomato for a grilled scallion to create two totally different presentations. We served these leg of lamb dishes as a test for the “Lean on Lamb” challenge to create healthy recipes for entertaining. The challenge is to cook a leg of lamb as the main-course for 8 people using no more than 10 ingredients (excluding salt & pepper) with a prep time of under 30 minutes.

After preparing 4 lamb dishes over several days, we decided on Leg of Lamb, Curry Quinoa Crust as the one to submit to the contest. That dish, served over Steamed Spinach with a Curried Heirloom Tomato Salsa with Mint and Avocado & Serrano Chile with Lime had it all – color, flavor, texture, balance plus the seasonal element. Though our Lamb Medallion Stack, Warm Anchovy-Pine Nut Vinaigrette with a Dijon Mustard Anchovy Crust, Polenta Cake, Spinach, Parsley, Tomato was pretty popular too, especially with that warm savory vinaigrette.

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Woodsy Shiitake & Black Kale Soup

shiitake soup
Shiitake, Black Kale, Tofu & Seaweed Soup
Sesame, Scallion, Sriracha Garnish

Woodsy. Earthy. Deep.
This is one intense vegan soup that offers full epicurean contentment.

Flavor profile:
meaty shiitake mushroom, robust kale, subtly sweet ocean-y wakame seaweed,
toasty sesame oil, tangy hot sriracha
Aroma profile:
heady, intense, wet forest, earthy
Texture profile:
steamy broth, chewy kale, silky shiitake, slippery wakame, spongy tofu, crunchy sesame seed
Color profile:
deep dark broth, midnight-green wakame and kale, spring-green scallion, electric red sriracha

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Green Chard & Shiitake Tacos with Epazote

First in a Series of Superiores Tacos Vegetarianos

green chard shiitake tacos, epazote
Garlicky Green Chard & Shiitake Tacos
Seared Onion, Cana de Cabra Spanish Goat Cheese, Chiffonade of Epazote
Corn & Whole Wheat Blend Tortilla, Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

It was worth a drive down to the Bestway Supermercado to pick up fresh epazote for these extraordinario vegetarian tacos. These tacos are not your traditional tacos sans carne. This flavor profile stands on its own. In fact, the addition of chicken or pork or steak couldn’t improve on their fresh earthy robust sabor. 

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steamed sablefish in bok choy, shiitake, NAVY bean emulsion

steamed sablefish in bok choy, shiitake, navy bean emulsion
steamed sablefish with sautéed shiitake
wrapped in bok choy leaves
over NAVY beans, mung bean sprouts, kizami shoga
NAVY bean emulsion, society garlic blossom garnish

uss abraham lincoln

uss abraham lincoln cvn-72
nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
commissioned november 1989
docked in the port of los angeles

For five days I could see the “island” of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln from my kitchen window. An aircraft carrier’s “island” is the command center for flight-deck operations, as well as the ship as a whole. The island is about 150 feet tall, but it’s only 20 feet wide at the base, so it won’t take up too much space on the flight deck. The top of the island is outfitted with an array of radar and communications antennas.

She is a jaw-dropping sight – at 1092 ft. (over 3 football fields long), 252 ft. wide, weighing 100,000 tons, she accommodates approximately 70 aircraft. She is powered by two nuclear reactors which enable her to operate continuously 20 years without refueling. Her life span is an estimated 50 years. The USS Abraham Lincoln is the first aircraft carrier to be docked in the Port of Los Angeles in more than 20 years. Her visit here is the inspiration for my dish, featuring NAVY beans…

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Doenjang Chigae with Bison

doenjang chigae, 된장 찌개
Doenjang Chigae 된장 찌개

A Korean Fermented Soybean Paste Stew with Bison
and
Zucchini, Shiitake, Tofu, Red Chile, Green Onion, Garlic, Sesame Oil

bison, bison chigae

I make this intensely-flavored savory Korean soybean paste stew with bison. Bison might be a bit more flavorful and a little sweeter, and is naturally leaner than beef. It has more protein and iron too. Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in bison. The herd is raised without antibiotics as well.

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The Ultimate Vegetable Stir-Fry Tower, Three Vibrant Sauces

ultimate vegetable stir-fry, stir fry, vegetable tower

The Ultimate Vegetable Stir-Fry Tower
Pea Sprouts, Shiitake, Soybean Sprouts, Pickled Japanese Cucumber & Red Jalapeño
Chinese Chives, Tofu, Ginger, Cilantro
Over an Organic Short Grain Rice Timbale
With Three Vibrant Sauces: Cilantro Juice, Chile Oil, Miso Sauce

ultimate vegetable stir-fry, stir fry

Another Sublime Dish Inspired by Charlie Trotter

“The recipes… are only a guide. You can use any or all of a recipe, deviate wherever you like, or indeed substitute ingredients completely if it suits your desires. In fact, you may want to forget about the recipe specifics and use the photographs alone as your inspiration,” penned Charlie Trotter in 1994. Thank you, Chef! No wonder you are my hero. Your words written 17 years ago perfectly describe my cooking style and blog: where the image is meant to titillate and inspire the cook!

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“Truffle Heaven” Crostini

“Truffle Heaven” Crostini
Fresh French Black Winter Truffle, Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffle Oil
with Shiitake and Frisée

A framed description of our “black diamond” is placed on the buffet.

This one ounce beauty is from Gourmet Attitude, importer of fresh truffles and fine truffle products in New York City. It is a good year for truffles, ours hails from the Village of Grignan in the South of France. The subterranean treasure was located by three female yellow Labrador retrievers with a family in its fourth generation of truffle hunting. I was told that dogs are preferred over pigs to hunt  truffles nowadays, for one reason, it’s difficult to get a pig in and out of the car! Also, apparently the pig’s love for truffles is as ardent as ours, so she simply cannot stop herself from eating the $85/oz. delicacy. Dogs are much more obedient!

The black winter truffle is available December through March. This Fresh Black Winter Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini) has in intense perfume with a bouquet of wet forest, humus, chocolate, and a hint of hazelnut. Our guests are surely in for a treat!

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Udon – Beef & Shiitake

Japanese Style Noodle Soup
Udon Noodles in a Beef Broth
Shiitake, Roast Beef, Bean Sprouts, Scallions, Chiles

The Udon Noodle package instructs, “Use anything in the refrigerator to create your healthy gourmet meal or snack in minutes.” Well, I don’t know about anything, but here I used my own beef broth instead of the flavor packet, and added shiitake and roast beef.

Udon is a thick, firm, chewy Japanese noodle made from wheat flour.

Heat beef broth then add sliced shiitake. When the shiitake are cooked, add a splash of soy sauce and mirin, and a touch of sugar. Turn off the heat and add the garnishes and beef.

Garnished with bean sprouts, scallions and fiery chiles. This fast, savory soup is different every time, depending on what is on hand. Ladle into a bowl, sprinkle with more scallions, and for more heat, top with Asian hot chili sauce.

Utensils include chopsticks and a soup spoon.
The origin of udon in Japan is usually credited to Kūkai, a Buddhist priest, who traveled to China around the beginning of the 9th century to study Buddhism. When he returned, he also brought back the knowledge of udon soup to his farmer neighbors in the Sanuki region of Japan. (from Wikipedia)
itada kimasu
P.S. If you like Beef Noodle Soup, you might want to take a look at this post on Pho Bo.

Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Shrimp

I’m making no apologies for this dish. It comes from a box.
Cooking time approximately 20 minutes.
Active cooking time approximately 60 seconds!

Take raw peeled deveined shrimp from the freezer and run under cold water.
Active time 15 seconds.

Meanwhile add the contents of a box of shiitake mushroom risotto to a pot along with water and cook according to package directions (I substituted one cup of beef broth for a portion of the water), a generous tablespoon of butter, and a splash of tamari.
The beef broth and the tamari enhance the umami flavors.
Active time 30 seconds.
Stir occasionally, 10 seconds (5 seconds X 2).

Add shrimp to the pot about 5 minutes before the risotto is done.
Active time 5 seconds.


Gourmet, no.
Tasty, yes.

If I had some snipped chives, I might have added those…hmmm, and maybe a drizzle of truffle oil, 10 more seconds 🙂


This is Safeway brand risotto. Flavored with onion, garlic, herbs, and spices.

From the box side panel, “With Safeway Select you’ll feel like a culinary genius.”
Haha.

Your Culinary Genius, signing off…