And it was delicious!
Yes, my hubby confessed that he’d never eaten lamb before last night.
Shock! Awe! Unbelievable plot twist!
Ok, so it wasn’t all that dramatic, but I was pretty surprised.
It all started Saturday morning, when we decided to take a trip to the Farmer’s Market to grab some goodies for filming our second DBA episode. Not knowing what the heck I was going to concoct, I put on appropriate “going-to-the-market” wear, which in my book means a peasant skirt or cute cargo shorts, tank top, sandals and shades. Comfy but cool in a “I can look good without giving a rats ass about how I look” kinda way. I applied lip gloss, grabbed my turquoise macrame bag and the hubs and ran out the door, anticipating the amazing loot we’d find.
And the loot we found..
The market was buzzing with vendors and shoppers and growers (oh my!) and everything smelled so….fresh. I tell ya, there’s nothing like the smell of a farmer’s market. The produce, fresh flower bouquets, baked items…it’s like dying and going to culinary heaven.
Now to do the Market “proper”, you have to scope the joint out before purchasing anything. I mean, seriously, the quality and price can vary greatly, so it’s always a good idea to check out everything before you start forking over the cash. Yeah, about that..for the uninitiated, most (read “all”) vendors at farmer’s markets do not accept anything but the green stuff, so plan accordingly, folks.
So we’re checking out vendors in the first building (there are several open-air structures that sort of resemble airplane hangers in the market) and this heavenly aroma starts breaking through all the other heavenly aromas swirling around.
You know what I’m talking about.
The kind of scent that makes that dreamy scent swirly thingy in cartoons that usually takes an unsuspecting character by the nose and mystically lifts and carries them to the source of whatever it is that smells so darn good.
That day it was fresh kettle corn.
Now, being a New Yorker, I’ve never had kettle corn of any type, so I asked my hubby, who grew up in the mid-west, about it. “So what is this stuff like?” He replied: “It’s sweet with a little saltines” “Oh, like Cracker Jacks?! I loved those things when I was a kid!” Gary looked at me and beamed a little, in a “wow-I-actually-know-something-about-food-that-you-don’t-know” kind of way. He really is cute, that guy. “No, that’s caramel corn-kettle corn is different.” “Ok. So you’ve had this before? Is it good?” “Nah, I’m not really crazy about it”.
Now my husband rarely meets a food type that he doesn’t like. He’ s usually pretty open minded about trying new things and taking his pallet on my crazy culinary adventures. So when he tells me that he’s not crazy about something, I have to find out why. Plus, how could whatever was making that smell not be absolutely divine? “Ok, so I’ll get a small bag, but I have to try this stuff.” And off we went to the front end of the first building, where just on the outside of the entrance was a bright red canopy set up that read: ‘FRESH KETTLE CORN’ in bold white letters on the awning. Under said canopy was a young girl who was ringing out customers and a gentleman in his late 40s/early 50’s wearing a heavy duty rubberized apron, long rubberized gloves and a clear face protector that resembled a welders mask. He had a huge paddle and was standing over an enormous kettle stirring the popping corn.
At this point in my story, I’d like to urge you not to do what I did. Which was wonder “why the hell is this dude dressed like he’s working the haz-mat section at the nuclear power plant?”
So Gary and I are watching this guy, stirring his kettle corn, completely transfixed by the process. Nice guy-he started chatting with us and answering my questions. It all sounds so nice and innocent…until someone loses an eye…or worse.
It is at this point that I’d like to interrupt this nice summertime scene by saying that there should be a huge CAUTION! sign posted at kettle corn vendor booths. No joke, folks. This should be required by law. As I’m standing there, a full 6 feet away from the giant smoking cauldron of popping corn, a rogue kernel decides to make a break for it and escape it’s impending fate. So if you were a rogue kernel of kettle corn trying to make a run for it, where would you go? Well, this one headed straight for, well, to put it delicately, the girls…
Well, the left girl, at least.
I guess it serves me right for flaunting my cleavage, enhanced even more by my new Vicki’s Secret bra. That tiny kernel of semi-popped corn sailed through space like a miniscule Hailey’s Comet, hit my unsuspecting skin, bounced off and landed on my tank top, where the still-caramelizing kernel melted onto the fabric. I kid you not, folks, it was not pretty. My flesh pretty much melted on impact and I was left with a gooey glob of sugar (which, incidentally, hardened as soon as it melted my shirt) on my left boob. I yelped like a Chihuahua being squeezed by an over zealous 4 year old and my ever-supportive Hubby, just stood there, looking at me and shaking his head. “You shouldn’t have been standing that close”.
That close?! That close???!!!
Where the hell was I supposed to be standing? The next county over? Then he starts to snicker a little, at which point, I shoot him “the look”, go to the girl behind the register, pay for the damn kettle corn (I should have gotten a free bag for my pains. Or at the very least, a discount.) and say to Gary, “Laugh it up. I’m not sharing any with you!” At which point, the snicker became a roar, and I just couldn’t help but join in. Perhaps they should start putting that in marriage vows…”In sickness and in health, in burned flesh and soft skin”…Now that’s romance! On the upside, I have to admit, the stuff was pretty spectacular-the perfect blend of sweet, salty and buttery. So I forgive them for my unfortunate accident (kind of).
So back to the lamb. Along with some gorgeous, fresh kale, vine ripened tomatoes, ahhh-mazing goat cheese and of course, the infamous kettle corn, I found the most beautiful lamb chops. You know the kind of beautiful I’m talking about. A light shines down, a choir of angels sings and your vision gets a little hazy and soft, like someone put a bit of Vaseline over your eyes…These chops were that beautiful-organically fed and raised, lean and well, just perfect. I scoffed up the last 4 double cut chops and we were on our way.
Now, I’m no trained chef, but for me, when you have such an amazing cut of meat, the best thing you can do to it is treat it simply and let the natural flavors come through. I prefer seasoning the chops with a bit of Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper then pan searing them in a little olive oil for about 3 minutes on each side. Of course, this is depending on the thickness of the chop you use. You can adjust the time based on the thickness of the chops and the temperature you prefer your lamb cooked to (I love mine done at a nice medium rare). Let the chops rest while you make the sauce…With these chops, I love doing a simple red wine and balsamic reduction, made right in the pan that you’ve cooked the lamb to get all those yummy juices incorporated. For 4 chops, add about 1 cup of red wine and about 1/4 cup of good Balsamic vinegar.
COOKING TIP ALERT!!!
Please, don’t use “cooking wine” folks. It’s crap. Rule of thumb is, if it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with. ‘Nuff said.
Back to the sauce. Cook the liquid on high until it reduces a bit, about 3-5 minutes (ovens and stovetops vary) remove from the heat, add 1 TBS of salted sweet cream butter and whisk it till it’s fully incorporated. That’s it. Spoon it over the chops and enjoy! These chops are amazing served with fresh kale (or whatever greens float your boat) sauteed in a little olive oil with fresh garlic and a hint of red pepper flakes and the potatoes from the Lemon Chicken post. For this, dish, I do like to add a little fresh minced Rosemary to the potatoes. A super fresh and delicious dinner sure to impress and the added bonus of using fresh, locally grown ingredients.
Hmmm…so by now, you’ve probably realized that
- It’s no longer summertime
- This post has been sitting, partially finished in my drafts folder
- I’m a complete slacker when it comes to this blog.
- D-All of the above.
But maybe, just maybe I’ve been holding this entry back, so I can recollect the adventures (and misadventures) at the market that day. Maybe I just wanted to bring a little summertime back to get us through the bleak, dreary days of the impending winter. Maybe I am just another slack blogger that’s just been too busy to write. You’ll never know and I’m not telling. Why? Because I am a Badass and Badasses make their own rules. Lots of times we even break our own rules, but it’s all part of living life to the fullest and on your own terms, baby. Go on, go out there and put a little Badass in your day. I promise you won’t be sorry 😉
Until next time…Have fun, and be fearless! (Especially when it comes to smokin’ hot vats of kettle corn..)