Friday, April 17, 2009

L writes from Northern California

In our great- granddaddy nest, up in this seen- it- all redwood tree, my girls and I like to eat a bitty orange the grower calls a "pixie-like mandarin." Orange sugar girls obviously have the same taste in lovely little bowls, so I photographed Coralie with hers. After that, she ate some sweet-salty nori which we liked so much we turned it into dinner, with some warm sticky sushi rice, avocado, spicy tofu and the market's first spring cucumbers. I prefer the fat, stubby ones I think are the pickling kind because they last quite a while in the fridge without turning rubbery. 

It was actually a busy cooking day for me yesterday, as I had in my refrigerator a local leg of spring lamb I had ambitiously carted up at the store a few days back. The butcher had let me take just a couple of pounds in the lower part of the leg called the shank, and so I washed it in lemon juice, made some slits in the fat and pounded up nearly a head of garlic and some fresh rosemary. (Rosemary reminds me of spring rains here, since the woody, rampant neighborhood bushes simply diffuse the clean smell of it after a shower.) I cranked up the oven to 400 degrees for a time i approximated on, in this case 20 minutes (i had downloaded a recipe for an 8 pound leg so I was trying to make size alterations) and then down to 350 degrees for another 45-55 minutes. (Not sure exactly when i took it out and tented it, since i was trying to get the baby ready for bed around that time.) I also parboiled some purple carrots and assorted beets, dressed them in garlic and balsamic, salt, pepper and threw those in the pan too but they really need to roast at a high temp to get good and sweet-sticky and by the time i threw them in the roasting pan the oven was down to 350. Result: the carrots were great but the beets needed more time.

When my husband came home he started rolling the sushi proper, and then Coralie wanted to be in on it. I put the baby on my back in the carrier because she is trying to walk to the moon these days and the only way she'll settle down is this way. We had this crazy- fine meal of avocado-cucumber sushi and roasted leg of lamb which was delicious and totally random and unplanned. The baby gurgled blissfully despite herself and night (thankfully!) closed in on the nest.

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