Sunday, March 13, 2011

The $8,000 leg of lamb

I fixed a leg of lamb tonight for neighbors Jay and Susan, former neighbor Sue, and good friends Elizabeth and Weldon. I told Jay weeks ago if he found a home for that sweet stray lab, I'd fix him a leg of lamb. He said tongiht, "I saved you from a broken hip," and I told him maybe that's worth $8,000. It's called the $8,000 leg of lamb because I once served it to company and a guest called me the next day and offered $8,000 for the recipe. At the cost of lamb today, that's not too far off. Basically, you make a gratin of sliced potatoes, onions, and tomatoes, interspersed with salt and pepper, chopped garlic and crushed thyme. Then you put a cake rack on top of the 9x13 pan with the gratin and top that with the bone-in leg of lamb, seasoned only with salt and pepper. The idea is to turn the leg every fifteen minutes--I don't remember that from before, and I have to say it was a Herculean task. But what I forgot is that you should pour white wine and olive oil over the veggies before adding the lamb. No wonder there wasn't much juice for basting. But still the veggies cooked in the lamb drippings and were delicious. Jay helped me with timing--I was afraid it wasn't cooking at all, but he finally decided that neither my oven nor my meat thermometer were accurate and pulled it at just the right time. Interior was quite pink, exterior medium rare for those who like their meat brown. It was really really good. I want to do it again, the right way, but with the cost of lamb, I won't be doing it soon. It was the perfect meal for Elizabeth and Weldon on their gluten-free dairy-free diet. We six ate almost all of the veggies but I have quite a bit of lamb left. To me, one of life's delights is a cold lamb sandwich with lettuce and mayo. It will be a good week.
Sue brought her new dog, Jack, a lab mix maybe a year old or a little more. We thought he would play with Scooby in the backyard but Scooby soon tired of nip and tuck--he's an old man without Jack's energy and he told Jack to back off. So Jack promptly jumped the fence and had to come in the house where he was much calmer than Scoob would have been with all that meat and all those people. (Ok, we put the leftover roast in the microwave just to hide it from him.) Jack and the cat encountered each other a couple of times, which didn't faze Jack but angered Wywy. We worked it out, and mostly while we sat and visited, Jack lay at our feet. Sue's got herself a really good dog.
This morning Jacob and I went to church. I think I got more out of it than he did. I went with a heavy heart about the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown and about the problems of a family member, and I talked to the Lord about these things, enjoying the solitude and peace of the music and atmosphere of the sanctuary. Houston's sermon, as always, was right on, and I was comforted when he said he, too, just can't wrap his mind around the devastation in Japan. Jacob on the other hand came out of Sunday school--well, maybe it's just day care--electrically alive and ecstatically talking about a little boy who pooped in his pants. All I could hope was that the other children didn't tease the child unmercifully and embarrass him, but Jacob's behavior gave me little hope. When and how do you teach chldren about compassion? We drove to and from church with the top down on the car, which Jacob loves-it's so much easier to strap him in with the top down. I may end up doing that in the dead of winter.

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