Okay. I wanted to bring you an elegant traditional springtime lamb dish so badly. Instead you’re getting a traditional Springtime Lamb Stew, but please don’t complain. I know it’s not exactly what I’d planned. But I hope you’ll eat what’s on your plate. Because it nearly kicked my ass. It’s hefty with dried figs, two kinds of olives and pearl onions.
If you’ve known me for any time at all, you’ll see that my head and heart can get WAY out in front of the real this and that of life. In my head and heart– things work out. The sun always shines. Spring is a beacon. People are lovely and all food is good.
But you’re looking at stew. Stew is good food, don’t get me wrong. But stew is not what I set out to accomplish today.
I turn to stew when things start to get out of hand. In this case I turned to Lamb Stew with Dried Figs. It’s an unusual choice, I know. Not many people turn to stew (with dried figs) in times of great stress. Or do they?
You know how I know things are getting out of hand? Well, this tasty lamb stew was supposed to have been butterflied boneless leg of lamb stuffed and rolled full of springtime veggies. Veggies like baby turnips. I imagined, from my head and my heart, a side dish of the most tender thin-skinned new potatoes you’ve ever seen. Because it’s spring. Spring lives in both my head and my heart. But I also wanted it to live right here on my blog.
Because spring is blushing out all over in Los Angeles. Shouldn’t my blog reflect my head and my heart?
Some people wait for that crazy ground hog to announce the change of season, but I turn to another harbinger. The turnip. As soon as those tiny, perfect little turnips poke their fat butts out of their hole in the ground. I know that spring has sprung. Because followed closely behind adorable little turnips, come the tiniest thin-skinned new potatoes. I track these potatoes all over Los Angeles. First they’ve been sighted at the Farmers Market, so I rush down there. But some damn restaurant and their early bird pickers always get the good stuff before I’m even allowed to step foot on Ivar. That bugs.
So how did I get from mildly bugged butterflied leg of lamb to stress induced lamb stew?
Well I thought you’d never ask. I have a lot going on right now. My new book is finally at the publisher. But they are being strangely quiet. That bugs.
So while I wait for them to pierce my heart with the sharpest of editor’s arrows I turn to my day-to-day life. My day-to-day life includes grocery shopping, cooking dinner etc. Because, oddly the busier I am the more I want to cook. No take-out allowed on the craziest of days. That’s for losers… I can’t explain it but take-out makes me feel like I am losing control of things. I mean if I can’t make time to put dinner on the table then I must being doing something wrong! Right?
So when I was at the market today and I finally saw those baby turnips sitting right next to thin-skinned new potatoes, I went on auto-pilot and grabbed everything that screamed spring to me– including butterflied leg of lamb. So, with dinner handled (at least in my head and my heart) I could turn my thoughts and actions to several other priorities– including bugging my publishers for some proof that they knew I was alive. Check, check– check! You should have seen me ticking off that to-do list.
With all that done I saw there was plenty of time to relax into making a lovely springtime meal. I decided to get my mise en place in place and enjoy the process of preparing the butterflied leg of lamb with all its springtime accoutrements.
I started by taking a moment to admire the beautiful lamb I bought. I laid out a few perfect pearl onions. I patted myself on the back for the creative addition that dried figs would make to my springtime veggie stuffing. I then reached for the second bag of groceries to complete my work of art.
Now where was that second bag? I looked all over the kitchen. I checked the car. I even looked on the patio… There was no second bag of groceries. The bag containing my two tiny muses– baby turnips and new potatoes was missing. MISSING!
Panic. Losing food makes me panic. Had I left a whole bag at the market? Doubtful. Did I drop it in the parking lot? Or leave it sitting in my parking space? Did someone reach in the back of my convertible and take out a bag of groceries? Well, I’ll never know because I was too busy converting the bliss of butterflied lamb roll into stress-induced springtime lamb stew.
The stew was tasty, but I just can’t help but grumble about it… do you think that means six more weeks of winter? GREG
I’m not even going to include a recipe. If you think I kept notes, well then I am just going to scream.