Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lambapalooza, The Many Faces of Lamb and a Great Dan Perrelli Party


To celebrate my 2nd anniversary as a blogger… here is an unusual post for me… the recap of a magical party I attended in LA a while ago.    It seemed right to celebrate with a celebration!!  I want to add most of the photos were by Ben Anderson and Sarah Gim since my camera didn't work in the light and they are masters at this.  SOOOOO.....

Once upon a time there was a man named Dan Perrelli who lived in the lush land of Los Angeles. One day he had a dream that a lamb would be slaughtered just for him so that there would be many parts, and from those parts he would make many dishes.

To accomplish this task, others were involved to host the feast and to encourage the flow of wines from many lands to lubricate the festivities. And a gathering of lucky souls who loved wine and food would be assembled to partake of this meal on a night that would live in memory.

Dan Perrelli

For Dan, the event had begun in his mind months before.  He told me that the idea of  “a whole animal came out of my delight of Nancy Silverton and Chad Colby’s family dinners in the demonstration kitchen of Mozza2Go, particularly the Pork.  Inspirational.  So I posited a whole lamb dinner to Ben (Ben Andersen of the inestimable wine importer, Rosenthal Wine Merchant).  Without a beat he said “hell yes”.  And from there it just kept spinning out of control. “

How, you may ask, did a right-coast girl find herself at such an event?  It happened that the hero of the lamb quest, Dan Perrelli, came upon my scribblings and felt we were kindred food spirits and that I should be a part of the lambapalooza even though I was on the other coast and we had never met.  He recounted,  “I had read lostpastremembered  before and had even mentioned it to Sarah (Sarah Gim creator of Tastespotting).  And once mania sets in there is no accounting for our impulses and I invited you. “

I was enchanted, threw caution to the wind and accepted his invitation -- and so the fairytale dinner began for me.

I really knew how the 3 wise men felt when they had to come up with a worthy offering for a great event.  Two of their three gifts were scented and I decided scents would be at the heart of what I would prepare.  Cosimo de Medici III’s hot chocolate with ambergris and jasmine would do honor to the occasion.  I had just enough ambergris left from Ambergris NZ  and enough of Aftelier’s Jasmine Absolute  to make the divine liquid.

But wait, I learned there was Mutton that needed to be made and for this I needed some serious inspiration. I pondered, where would I go if I wanted something made with a fully-grown Ovis aries (that would be a sheep from the Old English scēap) if not the cradle of civilization? All roads led to Persia -- one the of finest and most ancient of world cuisines that I had known nothing about until I met Charles Perry this summer and was charmed by his accessible erudition.  I got his cookbook… well, his translation of the 1226AD manuscript called The Book of Dishes (Kitab al-Ṭabīḫ) . In this little gem of a book I found the recipe for Rutabiyya, a succulent lamb preparation that combined pistachios, almonds, dates, saffron & rosewater in an apotheosis of an Indian Korma.  I paired it with a pilaf of faro, barberries, pomegranate and lemon... a contrapuntal accompaniment to Rutabiyya (albeit a bit anachronistic) and topped it with the ultimate warm nuttiness of sautéed chanterelles. This is the divine fuel I imagine Scheherazade used to power the mighty engine of her creativity while she spun her stories of One Thousand and One Nights  … her rose-scented words beguiling her king.  

Me and Charles Perry

After pestering Mr. Perry with questions for a few days (he translated the recipe)… I asked my hosts to allow me to invite Mr. Perry to the feast and they loved the idea.  He lived in LA and was a food writer with the LA Times for many years… this was right up his alley and his first response to the invitation was, “I love mutton!” (after the dinner he said “I didn't know which was most imposing, the wide variety of lamb dishes (cold lamb breast!) or the high-flying wines… and so many of both!”).  I was terribly excited to make my version of this ancient dish for him… I even brought my madly delicious homemade murri (a kind of Persian soy sauce but not the most authentic version (I have barley rotting as I write this, Charles!!) that I will be sharing with you soon... it changes everything like magic. 

For delivering my contributions I enlisted the aid of my favorite suppliers. MarxFoods  shipped my host a big box of chanterelles and some wonderful faro.  The ingredients arrived in perfect condition and on time (they specialize in supplying professional kitchens so they are old hands at delivering the goods on a tight schedule… did I mention I gave Justin Marx 2 days notice?).

I still had a few things that I needed to smuggle in my suitcase.  I got my favorite perfume genius, Mandy Aftel of Aftelier to send me more of her rose absolute  for the Rutabiyya since it has spoiled me forever from using rosewater (it is the soul of the rose and you need just the smallest drop to flavor your food -- this is my second bottle!).

I brought some of the more unusual ingredients like mastic and urfa biber pepper from my favorite spice store in NYC,  Kalustyans  so that the California contingent didn’t have to go on too much of a scavenger hunt for my ingredients (sorry about the barberries!) but I didn’t have one ingredient that had been enticing me since I’d read about it in the NYT’s  …. Manna.   I had to have it for the feast.




After reading about its chameleon qualities (the Bible says that it tastes differently to different people), I knew I had to use it to anoint my Rutibaya, the Manna joining the already exotic camphor sugar on its golden saffron surface.  I contacted Beroush Sharifi, the Saffron King who sells exotic wonders from the Middle East to adventurous chefs.  He generously offered to deliver my manna to me.  He shares this legendary spices with some of the hottest restaurants in NYC (Corton uses Hedysarum manna on apricots with fresh wasabi and Kindai Kampachi and Perilla uses Shir-Kesht  manna with sea salt on Foie Gras with Marcona almonds and candied kumquats).  I was honored that I was met in Union Square with packages of the subtle sweet cooling Shir-Khesht and the sweet and nutty Hedysarum Manna.  I felt a little uneasy exchanging money for small packages on 14th  Street (once upon a time Union Square was an open illegal drug market not a famous Farmer’s market) but this stuff was in the Bible, for gosh sake!   We made the exchange without any police intervention and I greedily broke into the package the moment I got to the car.  Shir-Kesht was the one for me.

I stuffed all my goodies in pockets and socks and shoes and headed for the airport, praying that some eagle-eyed inspector would not decide to detain my little treasures for further inspection.

The menu developed organically after the lamb theme was locked starting with the very first thing on the menu. Dan Perrelli had an experience hiking up Nandi Hills in Karnataka (SW India)  on a hot summer day, “Along the path various refreshments were for sale, offered by wizened women hunched beneath makeshift palm frond awnings.  The most appealing item in the heat was peeled and sliced cucumber sprinkled with a dark red powder and salt.  I will never forget the burst of wet sweet bitter saltiness that instantly shocked my thirst away.”  This revelation was cucumbers with Sumac and salt. A perfect beginning, the cucumbers were a clear Baroque trumpet of flavor paired with lovely sparkling wines.  There would be 8 hours and 10 courses to follow.



Speaking of pairings, let us not forget that the party was held at Ben Andersen’s house and that he and Dan Perrelli (who is with the Wine Hotel) are wine people. There were several sommeliers and wine buyers there from the finest places in LA.” Chris Lavin from XIV by Michael Mina (LA), Eric Railsback from RN74 in San Francisco, Sarah Clarke from Church & State Bistro (LA) Taylor Parsons, sommelier at Spago Beverly Hills.  Chef-wise, we had Jordan Toft, who will be the head chef at The Eveleigh, soon to open in LA… and Chad from Mozza. Blogger-wise, we had Sarah Gim of Tastespotting and Delicious Life   as the co-hostess and Brooke Burton of Foodwoolf . Alex Kakoyiannis was the incredible grill master of the evening, his experience with roasting whole beasts for family dinners won him the honor and boy, he was a champion.


 Ben shared the incredible liquid bounty of his firm, Rosenthal Wine Merchants.  The company champions the principals of terroir, a subject that is close to my heart.  Quick recap, the concept of terroir is that the product tastes uniquely of the place that grew it... it has a sense of place. More broadly, terroir is what gives what we drink (and eat) an individual taste that you can’t duplicate elsewhere.   Wine grown well tastes of the weather, the air, the water and the soil of where it is from.  Rosenthal celebrates this individuality in wines from all over the world (and a wonderful director that I worked with, Jonathan Nossiter, celebrated Rosenthal's high standards in a documentary on wine called Mondovino!).

For the dinner we had an extraordinary flight of wines from Rosenthal.  Here’s a list to make you all wish you were there. 

ITALIAN REDS:

97 Montevertine "Le Pergole Torte" (Tuscany)
06 Montevertine "Le Pergole Torte" (Tuscany)
07 La Boncie Chianti-Classico "Le Trame" (Tuscany)
05 Paolo Bea "Rosso de Veo" (Umbria)
08 Danilo Thomain Enfer d'Arvier, (Vallee d'Aoste)

FRENCH REDS:

05 Robert Michel Cornas "Le Geynale" (Northern Rhone Valley)
05 Bernard Levet Cote-Rotie "La Chavaroche"  (Northern Rhone Valley)
07 Guillaume Gilles Cornas  (Northern Rhone Valley)

FRENCH WHITES:

07 Hautes Terres de Comberousses "Roucaillat" (Coteaux du Landuedoc, South of France)
07 Lucien Crochet Sancerre "Le Chene" (Loire Valley)
99 Louis Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Perrieres" (Burgundy)
05 Philippe Foreau Vouvray Demi-Sec (Loire Valley)
07 Mathieu Tijou Savennieres "Croix Picot" (Loire Valley)
04 Michel Gahier Chardonnay "Fauquette" (Arbois, Jura)

FRENCH ROSE:

07 Chateau Pradeaux Bandol (South of France)



The gorgeous Pilar Arias (of Mozza2Go) did a lot of shopping and the flowers & candles and Suzanne Shumway set up a lot of the garden lighting.  Then, on top of shopping till any normal human would have dropped, Sarah Gim oversaw all the decoration of the outdoor dining room with a gimlet eye and unerring taste as well as taking all the food photos with her amazing Canon.  She should be given a special award for wearing heels, looking perfectly put together and being vivacious for 20 hours!




The menu was shopped in LA.  The ingredients came from their fabulous purveyors…………..  The lamb was followed from the ranch it was raised on to the L.A.  butcher Marcondas where it was sliced into its various parts.  Sarah followed this remarkable journey.



After the meat arrived, Dan Perrelli took over, prepping many of the dishes in the days before the lambapalooza event.


The opening lamb salvo was a brilliant carpaccio of leg of lamb that Dan said was “created in my head, made for the first time that night”:

“Pounded tenderloin, sauce of fresh limejuice, grated green onion, walnut oil, salt and a touch of crème fraiche whipped mercilessly with blender stick.  Crushed pink peppercorns sprinkled” It was a brilliant start … a thin gauze of lamb with a spectacular citrus-y mayonnaise mellowed by the walnut oil with little firecrackers of pink peppercorn.



The second dish was Cold Whole Lamb Breast, boned. -- an old Danish recipe from Dan’s grandmother that was such a surprise of cold texture -- like a subtle lamb pancetta that has that je ne sais quois flavoring of juniper :

“You are going to make a “jelly-roll”, so arrange pieces into an elongated rectangle.  Rub with grated brown onion, spices (this time used dry ginger, allspice, Hawaiian red salt, black pepper).  Carefully roll up and tie off as if a rolled roast.  [heat whole spices in dry pan, then grind].  For the wet cure, boil about 8 cups of water, stir in ¾ pounds coarse sea salt, 10 whole cloves, 12 crushed juniper berries, a few sticks of cinnamon, bay leaves, etc.  and simmer for 10 minutes.  Cool the cure completely.  Cover breast in glass, ceramic or stainless steel vessel and cover completely with liquid.  Refrigerate for 10 days.  Remove from cure and simmer in fresh water for about 2 ½ hours.  Remove meat and place on dish/board with enough weight to deform the meat a bit, flattening it by about half.  Once cool, refrigerate to up to 3 days.  Serve sliced with plain crème fraiche and good mustard.”

This was served with Fergus Henderson’s Green Beans with roasted garlic and anchovies that Brooke Burton prepared and a riff on Henderson’s ketchup on the side.  Oh that ketchup… it appeared throughout the dinner and I admit I am guilty of plopping it on my plate and taking little spoons of it throughout the evening (secret ingredients are malt vinegar and apples!).


Fergus Henderson’s Green Beans with roasted garlic and anchovies

The third lamb was done as Kabobs – “another conceptualization that seemed to work” said Dan.  Work it did, these were flavorful taste bombs. The bits of sorrel were an inspired addition, reining in the rich lamb and mutton before they got a good dunking in that spectacular ketchup.  It was served with a meltingly evil gratin of onions... sauteéd for hours and then baked with cream and cheese... to die for.



Kabobs

3 parts ground lamb
1½ parts ground mutton
2 parts braised neck and fore shank, fine chop
Sea salt
Absolutely no pepper
Fine dice of the following ingredients in loose volume equal to the ground meats
Leaf parsley
Fresh sorrel
Brown onions

Mix and form onto flat skewers for grilling.
Serve with ketchup

Onion Parmesan Gratin from Patricia Wells

Lamb # four was a meltingly tender leg done with a secret technique. When I arrived the night before the dinner, there was a leg of lamb on the table enrobed in a thick caramel cream.  I was fascinated and watched it, warily all the next day as it sat squarely on the end of the table absorbing the rich flavors of the marinade.  Its recipe is simple but the effect is spectacular:


Roast Lamb with a Creamy Coat

“Cover with a liberal amount of:  equal parts dashi miso and Dijon mustard mixed with enough Japanese soy sauce to make the marinade runny but still viscous enough to coat the leg.  Keep at room temp uncovered for 24 hours, allowing the goo to thicken and adhere.  Roast on grill or in oven as you would any leg.  I like the outside to get black with a bit of bitterness to the crust while keeping the meat rare to medium rare.  We cooked it to medium to medium well, under foil on the grill without the burnt bits.”

garlic anchovy toasts

Serve with garlic anchovy toasts.
  
Lamb # 5 was the daube that was an amalgamation of many typical recipes. It was slow cooked for hours in the extravagantly proportioned 12 Qt. black beauty of a Cocotte by Staub  that all the cooks in the group were green-eyeing wildly.  You could cook for a legion in this pot with its perky brass handle that shone on the expanse of flat black.
lamb daube



Daube

Lamb #six came via New York restaurant luminary, Daniel Boulud.  It was served at his wedding rehearsal dinner in Cannes -- made by the chef of Boulud’s Egyptian friends, the El Maghrabys.  You can see why he was so fond of it since it is so tender it dissolves on your tongue, filling your mouth with a luxurious spicy warmth. 


 Cleopatra’s Leg à la Daniel Boulud, with Couscous

1 leg of lamb
8 cloves of garlic, 3 cut into 6 sticks each
S & P
¼ c olive oil
3 cups onions, coarsely chopped
4 cups carrots, coarsely chopped
3 cups celery, coarsely chopped
2 cups fennel trimed and coarsely chopped
1 small jalepeño seeded and minced
4 cups tomatoes cored and coarsely chopped
6 cups stock (lamb and or chicken)
¼ c Italian parsley coarsely chopped

Spice Mix – (reserve 1 T of spice mix for vegetables and ½ T for couscous)

3 T cumin
2 T Cinnamon
1 t  allspice
1 T ground coriander
½ t nutmeg
½ T fennel seed
1 T ground cardamom
1 t ground ginger
½ t ground star anise
pinch of ground cloves
1 t cayenne

Make 18 incisions into the lamb and insert garlic sticks.  Season with 4 T of the spice mix, salt and pepper rubbed into the lamb.  Heat 3 T of oil and brown the meat…about 15 minutes. Remove and sauté all the vegetables save the tomatoes for 10  minutes.  Add the tomatoes, lamb and roast 1 hour covered, turning every 15 minutes.  Add hot stock
And cook 2 ½ hours.   There should be 1 ½ to 2 cups of stock left.  Remove lamb and keep warm.  Add the rest of the olive oil and parsley to the sauce and serve over lamb.

Couscous

1 lb instant couscous,
2 c chicken stock
1 t honey
¼ c golden raisins
3 T butter
¼ c pine nuts, toasted
2 T chopped coriander leaves

Put the couscous in a dish, then pour hot stock over it with honey and ½ T spice mix.  Put in 250º oven for 15 minutes.  Add the butter and coriander and pine nuts and keep warm till ready to serve



The next dish, lamb # seven, was Adam and Eve ribs with pickled shallots in duck fat and chickpea tuilles.  At this point in the evening the lashings of great wines had begun to work their magic and the company tore into the perfectly smoked ribs with primitive abandon that was fun to watch.  And Stacy's chickpea tuilles were perfect!


Adam and Eve Ribs


Pickled Shallots in Duck Fat


Chickpea Tuilles


The final sheep, # eight on the menu, was mine… not lamb this time, but mutton because Dan had conceived of the meal as nose to tail and cradle to grave so the senior branch of the family needed a little representation.  I made my Mutton Rutibaya.  I had done a mini run-through back home since I had never made mutton before (a nice English lady that took care of me as a nipper made mutton and kidneys and the smell of them cooking had kept me from them ever since …until now).   I just loved the rose perfumed sauce made creamy by nut flours.  The camphor sugar and the manna have a haunting sweetness that I am going to use again. 


The original recipe from The Bagdad Cookbook and my version:

Cut red meat into small, long, thin, slices: melt fresh tail**, and throw out the sediment, then put the meat into the oil, adding half a dirham* of salt and the same quantity of fine-brayed dry coriander. Stir until browned. Then cover with lukewarm water, and when boiling, skim. Put in a handful of almonds and pistachios peeled and ground coarsely, and color with a little saffron. Throw in fine-ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon and mastic, about 2.5 dirhams in all. Take red meat as required, mince fine, and make into long cabobs placing inside each a peeled sweet almond: put into the saucepan. Take dates: extract the stone from the bottom with a needle, and put in its place a peeled sweet almond. When the meat is cooked and the liquor all evaporated, so that only the oils remain, garnish with these dates. Sprinkle with about ten dirhams of scented sugar and a danaq of camphor; spray with a little rose water. Wipe the sides of the saucepan with a clean rag, and leave to settle over the fire for an hour: then remove.
(*a dirham is 3.2 grams, and 6 danaq = 1 dirham **Tail fat is from a variety of fat tailed sheep we do not have in the US…there is nothing comparable)


Mutton Rutibiya

1 lb. lean leg of mutton cut into cubes (or lamb cut into strips)

2 T olive oil                                                                                                                           
S & P                                                                                                                                       
1 t ground coriander                                                                                                                
1 c almonds, ground to a powder + 7 whole for stuffing the dates and 10 for the cabobs      
1 c pistachios, ground to a powder                                                                                       
½ t saffron                                                                                                                             
1 t cumin                                                                                                                                
1 t cinnamon                                                                                                                             
½ t ground ginger 
1 t. mastic, powdered in a mortar and pestle                                                                       
10 dates, 3 chopped and 7 stuffed with almonds                                                                
½  T scented sugar (add a drop or pinch of camphor)                                                                     
1 or 2 drops of Aftelier Rose Essence or 1 T of rosewater                                                                                                                             
1-2 T Shir Khesht manna  , ground in a mortar and pestle   coriander or parsley leaves 

Cabobs
           
1 lb ground mutton (or lamb)
1 T Urfa Biber pepper
S&P
½ t each of coriander, cinnamon, cumin, and vanilla
1 clove minced garlic


Sauté the mutton or lamb in the oil and remove from the pot.  Sauté the cabobs till browned.   If using mutton, return to the pot, partially cover with water and add the spices and ground nuts and chopped dates and cook at 225º for a few hours till tender, adding the cabobs the last hour of cooking.  If the sauce isn’t thick enough, remove the meat and reduce.  Replace the meat and warm.
If using lamb, sauté the cabobs, add water to partially cover, the nuts and spices, mastic and dates and cook at a low heat till the cabobs are done.  If the sauce is thick enough, add the lamb to warm, if not remove the cabobs and reduce. Replace the meat and warm.
Stir the rose essence/rosewater into the mutton/lamb.  Plate the mutton/lamb with the sauce.  Sprinkle the camphor sugar and the powdered manna over the top with the coriander/parsley and serve it forth.
3 T olive oil                                                                                                                          
½ cup barberries, soaked for 1 hour                                                                                        
½ c pomegranate seeds                                                                                            
juice of 1 lemon                                                                                                               
½ - 1 T cinnamon        

Cover Faro with water and cook until tender, 45 min to an hour.  Strain toss with cinnamon and put on a cookie sheet in a low oven to dry a little and bring out the nuttiness.   Toss with olive oil and lemon and set aside.  When ready to serve, toss in the barberries and pomegranate seeds.  Top with Chanterelles.


Chanterelles
2 T olive oil                                                                                                                            
3 T butter                                                                                                                                 
2 cups beef or chicken stock reduced till thickened slightly                                  
pinch of saffron                                                                                                          
pinch of coriander                                                                                                          
pinch of thyme
Parsley, chopped

Take the chanterelles and toss them in the olive oil, S&P.  Smoke them on the grill for 10 minutes or on a rack, covered in a foil-lined wok (jasmine tea pine needles and brown sugar to do the smoking) for 10-20 minutes till the desired degree of smokiness is reached.
Take the smoked mushrooms, slice and sauté in the butter.  Add the reduced stock and spices and serve over the faro.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Buttermilk sorbet with buttermilk cookies came from Sarah Clark from Church and State Bistro in L.A.  They were the perfect light ending to an 8 hour meat dinner and the slightly sweet-sour taste was just too good.
We have arrived at the end of the lambapalooza.  The last thing on the menu were tiny cups of hot chocolate with jasmine ambergris.  It was made the day before and allowed to puff up, as Brillat-Savarin recommended.  A last quick shot of chocolate to send the ever so sated assembly on their way.


Cosimo de Medici III’s Hot Chocolate

6 ounces water, boiling
1 oz 100% chocolate, shaved (around a ¼ c)
1 ½ t sugar or honey
¼ tsp vanilla
1 slight drop of jasmine absolute 
Green pea size piece of ambergris from Ambergris Co. NZ

To the boiling water add the shaved chocolate and stir till incorporated. Mash the ambergris into the sugar/honey and add to the chocolate. Stir to blend. If you have a cappuccino maker give it a minute with the steamer, then store, covered on the counter overnight. It will have developed a velvet texture that you may want to drink room temperature. If not, give it another go with the steamer or heat in a double boiler gently and whisk into a foam. Add one tiny drop of jasmine to the chocolate. Take care to gather up the ambergris that can deposit waxy specks that can cling to cups and pan as you pour the chocolate into two small espresso cups.  If you want to gild the lily, you can add a spoon of cream and cognac to the mix.

I heard the revelry continued until dawn (the time difference got me around 2 am, drat!) with all in attendance delirious with pleasure.  Oh what a night!


Dan summed up his feeling about the evening in an email:


“Sometime in the early 1970's I lived in a big house with many guests.  One night the 4 year daughter of a former lover (1966) who was temporarily living with us blurted out "I wish the world was made of food!". About a week later she came downstairs for breakfast in the dining room.  The 10 ft by 6 foot table was covered by an entire world fashioned in food.  Jello rivers with apple and pear fish swimming under celery bridges leading to a small hamlet surrounded by forests of broccoli and kale, mayonnaise crowned bread mountains behind.  All shot on a Bolex 16mm ( Carl Zeiss lenses and 400' magazine).  After her joy had subsided we asked her if she was hungry.  She couldn't believe it,  "You mean, eat the world?  Can I?". And we all dived in destroying in five minutes what had taken six adults all night to create.  That was last night to me.

So thank you all for indulging this cook.  Ben, for being the kind of friend who never keeps score.  Sarah G for a "kick ass" heart of gold.  Both for hosting in style with grace. Sarah C for taking a leap of faith and killer buttermilk everything.  Pilar for unfailing taste and constant good cheer.  Stacy for tuiles of a different color and constant encouragement.  Alex for superb grilling skills (saved my butt several times ) and not a harsh word.  Brooke for the best green beans in the universe and nothing but smiles.  Deana for the best "korma" I've eaten and utter balls.  Finally, Daniel for hard work, understanding and super carpaccio.”



15 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Congratulations on your 2 years of blogging and what great blogs they have been. This one though is more than worthy of a celebration, fantastic blog and thee are certainly a few recipes here that I will giving a try. Take care, Diane

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Happy 2nd anniversary to you and your blog, Deana!

What an amazing that must have been. I am not a huge fan of lamb, but do enjoy grilled lamb chops. I am so envious of those gorgeous dinners outdoors that can be enjoyed in California. What a wonderful recap and great honor to attend.

mandy said...

Congratulations Deana, and thank you so much! I love having my essences woven into your rich stories from the past (and present)… Yours is a class act!
- Mandy Aftel

Faith said...

A huge congrats on your 2nd year anniversary, Deana! What an event this was -- my hubby (a huge lover of lamb) would be in his glory with all those different lamb dishes!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Deana, congratulations on your two year anniversary! And what an amazing two years they have been! I have learned so much! :D

La Table De Nana said...

Yes..happy 2nd anniversary!
I have couscous w/ raisins cooking .. sitting..as I write..
I used to love my DSIL's lamb..he made the best rack around..

I am eating less meat and miss this!

Again thanks for your informative posts:)

Claudia said...

I am reading this and thinking it is part fairy tale and part religious experience. There's an entire cookbook in this post - and I shall return here again and again. Most importantly when you eat an animal - I think you must give it justice. And you and your colleagues/friends did.

Barbara said...

Congratulations on your two years, Deana. Your readers have learned so much and enjoyed every word.
What a treat to read your post today. I settled in with a cup of tea and felt I was there. Fabulous from start to finish!

Trix said...

Holy heck, I cannot even wrap my mind around this dinner! One incredible thing after the next ... and your dish is just ... such an inspired and creative course. You certainly do run with some interesting characters!! Love it. Happy happy second!! Here's to many more.

DocChuck said...

An interesting, well written, and somewhat informative post. And thank you for toning down the commercials (sponsor freebies) a bit.

As a Southern gentleman, a product of many generations of Southern gentlemen (preceding the Civil War, and whose relatives arrived in NA via Plimoth Plantation), I have eaten VERY LITTLE lamb in my 70 years on the planet.

I was raised to believe that "lamb" was only fit to be eaten by tribal jewish and other New York City immigrant types.

However, my lovely, much younger than I, highly-educated wife (a distant cousin of General Sam Houston) from San Antonio, Texas, has introduced me to some rather enjoyable lamb dishes.

Thank you for authenticating what the lovely Doctor E. has been attempting to convince me: TRY lamb, Doc.

Your fascinating post has validated her admonitions.

Priscilla - She's Cookin' said...

A magical evening to be sure! Thank you for sharing all the delicious details of Lambapalooza with us and congrats on your 2nd anniversary!

Marjie said...

What nice memories of a great party! It's wonderful that they invited you on impulse and you went!

Linda said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your blog Deana...I am ever so happy that I somehow found you, because every visit to you is pure joy for me, really and truly.

This trip and amazing meal looks like a dream come true....such sensual food, magical really...I am in awe.

I have not had much computer time lately...I was happy to see this post from you...
As always...
L~xo

Laura@Silkroadgourmet said...

Hi Deana:

What a wonderful dinner that must have been! So many of the recipes sound so fantastic and delicious!

Thanks for sharing!

Laura

Sarah said...

What an amazing meal! And all those intriguing flavours and interesting ingredients. And you seem to do it so effortlessly! Also congrats on 2 years. I feel like I have known you much longer than that!