Due to flu and other 24/7 commitments we didn’t have time to post Week 40′s Impact Effort on-time … Here we go! Worth the wait, I think.
Something a little different, brought to you by Nils this week.
As you might recall, three weekends ago, we went to the local organic farmer’s market to buy local (and if possible, organic) produce. By doing so, we felt, and are now convinced, that the quality of goods is significantly better. While the variety may not be as large as that in the huge grocery stores, the produce was also not picked green several weeks prior and ripen in crates. Additionally, the food products didn’t travel from afar, thus producing less carbon emissions and packaging materials. The majority of goods we purchased were not only local, but also organic so our bodies and the earth aren’t subjected to chemicals, pesticides, hormones or genetically modified materials.
Since it’s harvest season, we, in fact, succeeded in finding a rich variety of vegetables and herbs. And, we found some nice cuts of organic meat. That following week, we cooked up several dishes from what we bought, and we kept track, as best we could, of what we cooked so we could share some of our recipes.
Normally, my cooking’s inspired more by spontaneous ideas and gut feeling than by recipes, so some of the recipes might not be very exact. However, we had fun cooking it, and the results were excellent. We are very pleased with the quality of produce we bought which led to a series of nice dinners. Making impact by buying and cooking local was really delicious! We plan to keep it going!
Leg of Lamb with Pumpkin Seed Crust (with roasted potatoes and green beans) – 4 servings
- 3 lbs (1.3kg) leg of lamb, deboned
- 5 whole garlic cloves
- Bunch of thyme
- Bunch of sage
- 1 cup (1/4l) red wine
- 1 cup (1/4l) water
- 1 large onion
- 1/3 cup (80g) crushed pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup (80g) goat cream cheese
- 1 large egg
- 8 medium-sized potatoes
- Olive oil
- 3/4 lb (330g) green beans
- Coarse salt
- 1 tsp corn starch
Preparing the meat:
- Heat oven to 170°C (>< 340°F)
- Rub meat with coarse salt.
- Cut little pockets into the thicker pieces of meat with a sharp, pointed knife and slip the whole (or half, depending on clove size) garlic cloves inside.
- Put thyme and sage in the center of the meat ond roll it into a neat package, secure the roast with string or a net.
- Heat olive oil in a pot which can also go into the oven. We like to use a cast iron pot for roasts.
- Sear meat on all sides on high heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add cup of red wine and cup of water.
- Add onion (quartered).
- Place pot, covered, in oven.
A good general rule is to roast the meat for 20 min per pound. In our case, we checked in after 45 min. Check the meat with a thermometer to get the desired result.
- Mix egg, goat cream cheese and finely crushed pumpkin seeds into a thick paste.
- When roast is half done, spread paste over the top of the lamb and turn on the grill for a few moments, until the crust is hardened and starts to get golden brown.
- Return lidded pot to the oven and continue to cook at 170°C (>< 340°F).
- Get the firm kind of potato that does not get mushy when boiled, e.g., any of the “waxy potatoes” like Round, Yellow or Red Potatoes, Australian Crescent, Yukon Gold. If you have new potatoes, you might want to keep the potato skin, in our case we had to peel and quarter the potatoes.
- Boil in salt water until almost done.
- Quickly rinse in cold water.
- Add some olive oil.
- Put in a baking pan (hint: put the potatoes back in the pot, add some oil, and close the lid. Shake the potatoes with the lid closed, and the oil will distribute well).
- Add some coarse salt and thyme, and
- Put in oven 200°C (400°F) for app. 20-25 min, until the potatoes turn golden.
- Wash and cut beans.
- Put in a pot with a little water.
- Close lid and boil for approx 10 min.
HINT: don’t start to early with the beans, since they tend to get mushy when kept warm too long.
- When the roast is done, remove it from the oven.
- Remove roast from the pot and place it back in the oven on a heat resistant plate (turn off the oven, the roast should sit for a few moments).
- Put pot on the stove on med-low.
- Add a teaspoon of cornstarch (dissolved in some cold water) and stir the sauce when pouring it in the hot pot.
- Keep stirring until the starch is completely blended.
- Let simmer for a few minutes, add salt and pepper to your taste.
Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup (12 servings)
- 5 lbs (2kg) Hokkaido pumpkin
- 3 inch (7cm) fresh ginger root, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 bunch of cilantro (app 2/3 ounce, 20 grams)
- 1 cup of cream (250g)
- 1/2 cup of sour cream (125g)
- Olive oil
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Thoroughly wash the pumpkin, since the skin will be used as well.
- Chop in half and remove the seeds and the strings holding the seeds.
- Chop pumpkin in even sized chunks (approx 1 inch, 2 cm).
- Heat up olive oil in large pot, add chopped garlic and saute until golden brown.
- Add pumpkin and 4 cups (1l) of water and cook until soft and mushy.
- Add finely chopped ginger and cilantro.
- Blend until smooth (in blender or food processor).
- Put back on stove on low, add cream and sour cream.
- If soup is too thick, add water until consistency is as desired.
- Add salt as required. Let steep with very low heat for another 30-40 min.
- Serve with some pumpkin seed oil and fresh cilantro leaves.
This freezes nicely.
Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce (4 servings) - great gluten-free recipe
- 1 lb (440g) ground beef
- 1 lb (440g) tomatoes
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 large onion
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 eggplant
- 1 cup (1/4l) vegetable broth
- Salt, pepper, chili pepper
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup red wine
- Coarsely chop garlic and onion.
- Heat a large pan or pot with olive oil.
- Add garlic and onion and fry until golden brown.
- Add meat and fry until liquid from meat and onion has dissipated.
- Add red wine, vegetable broth, chopped tomato, carrot and eggplant.
- Cover and let simmer for 1-1/2 – 2 hours.
- Add salt, pepper and chili as desired.
- Heat oven to 200°C (400°F)
- Quarter thesquash, remove the seeds and place face down on a baking pan.
- Add water (approx. 1/2 inch) and put baking pan in the oven.
- Bake for approx 1 hour until soft.
- Scrape out the squash with its “spaghetti strands” directly onto the plate.
- Add the meat sauce and enjoy!
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