It's Wednesday morning, and our schedule is the usual: an appetizer of challenges, followed by a main course. Today that would be a sandwich for lunch and lamb for dinner and, to end this day at least, a memorable dessert topped with caramel icing.
Kathleen Paylor visited Serenbe Farms in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, and a new restaurant there with a Scandinavian theme, Halsa. "I would like a recipe for their Ginger Tamari Ponzu salad dressing and also one for Scandinavian meatballs. Halsa served theirs with sour cream gravy." We read between the lines and know that a reasonable facsimile of those dishes would also be welcome, if Halsa's chef is not ready to share.
Here's a secondhand request from a local neighborhood discussion board. Where can one find perogies locally or how does one make them at home?
Finally, there is the elusive perfect summer peach. Where may it be found? You may know, but in the meantime, en route to delivering this column to my editor, I ran into Cousin Anne. Her simple answer: "Linda's Produce."
LEG OF LAMB
Diane Marrs is the voice of experience as she writes the following lines. "This is a fabulous roasted lamb recipe I've cooked for years. It's a huge crowd pleaser. I've used a boneless leg of lamb, but a butterflied leg of lamb would work. It just enables the meat to cook faster. I purchase jarred mint jelly from Fresh Market. It comes in a 6-ounce jar; the brand is Tracklements fresh mint jelly." (Here's an additional question for Ms. Marrs or for you: Is mint-flavored apple jelly an acceptable substitute for pure mint jelly?)
Roasted Leg of Lamb With Root Vegetables
1 (6 pound) boneless leg of lamb (can butterfly-cut it)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coarse salt, or as needed
8 carrots, peeled and trimmed
16 small potatoes, unpeeled
1 large beet, peeled and cut into wedges (optional)
1 large yam, peeled and cut into wedges
8 baby turnips, peeled (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 fresh sprigs rosemary
Allow the leg of lamb to rest at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Heat an oven to 400 degrees. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Whisk the garlic, pepper, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, rosemary, 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar and honey together in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over the lamb, then season with 2 tablespoons coarse salt. Set aside. Place carrots, potatoes, beet, yam and turnips in a LARGE roasting pan. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt and fresh sprigs of rosemary. Arrange the seasoned leg of lamb on top of the vegetables. Roast the lamb in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue roasting to your desired degree of doneness, about 90 minutes more for medium-rare. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees. Allow the leg of lamb to rest on a cutting board, tented with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes before carving. Place the vegetables on a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm until ready.
How many of you go looking for a recipe and discover a memory in the handwritten, batter-spattered treasure you find? So it was with Linda Morris in her Lookout Mountain home, "rummaging through some old recipe files recently. I ran across this recipe that my 10 year-old (at that time) wrote to enter a contest." Now that the 10-year old is practicing law in Memphis, mother to three and still a good cook, her mama speculates there could be many more international ingredients to her sandwiches now. It might be fun to try this at home, making your own around the world sandwich.
Around the World Sandwich
Build and enjoy.
Ms. Morris continued in the sandwich mode. "Also, I recently learned the most appealing order of condiments for a sandwich or burger: Spread on bottom slice of bread or bun the mustard, onion, bacon, lettuce, protein of your choice and cheese. Then, on the top slice, layer mayo, tomato, pickle.
"Just think after all these years I've been doing it wrong. I would usually put the tomato and lettuce together which causes the tomato to slide. Of course, it's your choice to omit any item you choose."
But why not, as her source suggested, make the works?
P.H. was reminiscing with a friend about picture-perfect caramel cakes imported from Atlanta for special occasions. They noted that the homemade one below may not be as beautiful as the imported version, but it's the quintessential dessert for these parts.
Southern Caramel Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream together the sugar and shortening. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour and milk alternately to the batter, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, and beat for 1 minute. Pour into 2 (9-inch) prepared cake pans and bake in a 325-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before icing.
1 pound box light brown sugar
1 stick butter
7 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring up to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, beat the icing for 2 to 3 minutes until thickened. Spread icing over the first layer of the cake, top with the second layer and cover top and sides of cake with the icing.
Note: Work fairly quickly as the icing sets up pretty fast.
And that, foodie friends, is today's happy ending.
* Ginger Tamari Ponzu dressing
* Scandinavian meatballs
To Reach Us:
Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750