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Shopping in the parking lot!

While much of America is buried under a thick blanket of snow, here it Atlanta it’s wake up every day and find out if it’s winter or spring time! I prefer spring, myself, and spring it has been for a couple of days. Sunny. And still quite cold for shopping in parking lots!

Most of our local farmers’ markets are closed for the winter. One intrepid farmer, however, runs a pre-ordered delivery service. This system would have amazed Elsie, my farm grandmother.

Born in 1891, she spent her life raising six kids, two orphaned nephews, all the vegetables on the farm, and large flocks of chickens, geese, and turkeys. The birds were her income.

In her (much!) later years, Elsie determined that computers were to be avoided as they would tell you things you didn’t want to know! I don’t disagree. I do, however, do a fair amount of hunting and gathering by logging on to the Heritage Farm web site, choosing my food, and shivering in the cold while Greg fills my bags with whatever riches there are to be had. Credit cards accepted. I can see the look on Elsie’s face now!

Here’s the bounty from a recent trip:

Gorgeous, fabulous, amazing, teeny, tiny turnips and carrots, greens and feathers still attached! Just between us, turnips aren’t my favorite veg but these were so young they tasted like apples and felt like radishes. And they were really cute!

Also, some lovely, grass fed and finished, very local lamb chops. Teeny, tiny as well. (An equally fine steak, maybe a ribeye, would work, too. Roughly the same cooking times.)

You’ll also need: good, organic olive oil, salt and pepper, possibly some extra greens, the best balsamic vinegar you have, and a skillet—preferably cast iron and well loved. I used both a good, gray Celtic salt, and flaky Maldon for finishing, as well as black pepper and ground pink peppercorns. Try Zingerman’s for fabulous balsamic options. (If you don’t have an iron skillet—the safe, original non-stick—now might be a time to get one. Lodge is a good brand.)

Lamb-Tools-for-the-journey-Sue-BoardmanRemove (thawed) chops from fridge and let them come to room temp. Put them where the dog really can’t reach them! Drizzle both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat skillet at about one notch below screaming hot on your stove, till shimmering. Add a smidge of olive oil. Sear the chops 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown and crisp. If they’re thick like these, sear the edges, too.

Place skillet in oven for somewhere around 6-8 min per inch and a half of thickness. We like rare to medium rare lamb. Chops should still feel soft-ish to the touch when pressed in the thickest part.

While lamb is roasting, wash your veg. Chop, if necessary. I left these whole. Wash and cut some greens into fine ribbons and set aside. I used a combination of the baby turnip greens and romaine lettuce.

When the lamb is done to your liking, remove chops to a platter and rest at least 5 minutes, preferably up to 10, covered loosely in foil. They’ll continue to cook a bit more.

Put your hot skillet back on a medium burner and add the root veg into the pan drippings left from the lamb. Stir fry to crisp tender and turning golden brown. Salt and pepper. Just as the lamb is finished resting, add your greens and toss quickly to barely wilt. Remove to platter with lamb and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. A little goes a long way. We’re talking 5-6 drops of something nicely aged.

Check seasoning. Finish with a bit of flaky Maldon and maybe some crushed pink peppercorns, if desired.

Winter will end!!!

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