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LAMB AND CABERNET FRANC-MERLOT BORDEAUX BLEND PAIRING

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Now, I’m not saying you would never find chicken nuggets in our freezer when I was growing up, but it certainly wasn’t the norm. I was lucky enough to have people around me who were (and still are) enthusiastic about authentic food. My brothers and I experienced a pretty wide variety of cuisine throughout the years, thanks to family traditions and my father’s twenty year career in the Navy. For example, a leg of lamb accompanied by mint jelly would make an appearance on our dinner table at least a couple of times a year. This was an old English recipe that had been passed down from my grandmother to my mother many moons ago.

Whenever it was served, my father, like clockwork, would recount a story from his time on the USS Trepang, a nuclear-­powered submarine commissioned right here in Groton, CT. This was the boat that took him up through the Arctic Circle and to the North Pole. He would tell us that on a submarine of 100­ plus men, it was only himself and his commanding officer who shared an appreciation for this underrated red meat. Luckily for the ship’s cook (and the CO), my dad was on board (pun intended) to show him how to prepare it. He even made sure to bring a jar of “the green stuff” back on the boat with him in between dives. I am certain these meals gave him the comfort of home during those long months spent at sea and away from our family. I keep a little glass tube of sea water he saved from the top of the world and I still think it’s pretty darn cool!

Admittedly, I did not enjoy this particular dish much throughout the years. Today though, I have a new outlook and a new recipe. Sorry mom and dad, but I prefer the delicate flavor a rack of lamb offers and how, unlike other cuts, I can cook it in under 30 minutes.

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This tends to be one of the busiest times of the year and cooking large meals can seem daunting. My aim with this recipe is to make life just a little easier and perhaps, a little more interesting. If you’ve got company coming this holiday season and you want to impress without spending hours in the kitchen, this is for you. Alternately, it’s a beautiful date­ night­ meal for when you want to mix things up a bit (hint, hint gentlemen)…! I’ve coupled it with our 2010 Cabernet Franc – Merlot Bordeaux style blend. The two are a natural pairing, and one you won’t soon forget.

Cheers to family tradition,
KP

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French Rack of Lamb with an Herbed Crust (Serves 2)

1 – 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs
2 tbsp olive oil based mayonnaise
1­-2 tsp of Dijon mustard (adjust to your liking)
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 rack of lamb (approximately 1.5 lb) – patted dry

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Start by chopping a combination of your favorite herbs. I like mint, rosemary, oregano, and thyme. A couple sprigs of each will do the trick.

In a small dish, mix the herbs with the mayonnaise and mustard.
*Suggestion – try adding minced garlic for an added kick.

Season both sides of the rack with salt and pepper, then layer the herb mixture over the meaty side using as much ­ or as little ­ as you like. Place the rack sauce side ­up ­onto a roasting pan, then into your oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 400 degrees. Roast for another 7­-8 minutes for a beautiful pink center. Remove from the oven and let rest for an additional 10 minutes before slicing and serving ­ 4 lamb chops per person.

Because lamb is a rich red meat, I like to round out the meal by serving it with seasonal vegetables and some crusty bread. Stir any leftover herbs into olive oil for dipping your bread.

Check out our Thanksgiving hours, and be sure to stop in before December 1 to purchase some of our 2010 Cabernet Franc – Merlot Bordeaux style blend! Click here for another delicious food and wine pairing with our 2012 ‘Gold Arc’ Estate Chardonnay.

“What do you mean he don’t eat no meat? Oh, that’s ok. I make lamb.”   -­ Aunt Voula, ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’

BEERD BREWING, ONE YEAR OF BEER

 

HOPPING INTO WINTER…

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On November 9th, Beer’d Brewing Company threw a celebratory “One Year of Beer” bash and I was fortunate enough to attend their sold out event with my husband. It took place in their unique space in the Velvet Mill in Stonington Borough that serves as both their operations and tasting room. With their great success it is hard to believe they have only been open to the public for a year. On behalf of all of us at Saltwater Farm Vineyard, I would like to raise a glass and extend a heartfelt congratulatory toast to the crew at Beer’d!

beerd2Their warehouse-style space was transformed for the evening with the soft glow of bistro lights and rustic wine barrels that made me feel right at home. Each table was topped with their signature hand cut foam mustaches and beards, along with LED lit growlers. A tented menu was placed within arms’ reach listing their beers on tap along side offerings available from Munchies’ Food Truck, the perfect compliment to my pint! Guests were buzzing around enjoying good company and listening to local bands, Rooster and Shipwreck Souls.

An entry ticket included 3 beer fills, allowing you to sample any of the five options on tap in your commemorative “One Year of Beer” pint glass. Personally, I sipped on Beer’d’s signature Whiskered Wit all night long, but I’ve also been known to enjoy their Midnight Oil (an oatmeal stout).

As often as we brag about the actual product, it is truly the team behind the beer that makes it so memorable. If you haven’t met Aaren the man behind the infamous beard, and his other half Precious, then allow me to introduce you to this fantastically quirky team.

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This young couple, though very serious about their craft, have a tremendously fun and lighthearted approach within the walls of their tasting room. You can count on three important things every time you visit: rotating fresh beer, killer chalk art, and friendly hospitality. And to help with that is their crew: Ben, Adam, and Keith. These guys were in full swing right alongside Aaren and Precious, smiling and bringing the energy from start to finish. Together, they operated like a well-oiled machine. Aaren and Precious continued to mingle with a room full of 200 guests; an eclectic mix of young and old, local and far, all of whom came to celebrate Beer’d. It became clear to me that people appreciate the local experience as much as they do the beer.

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Stop by Beer’d for a tasting or a growler fill to see what it’s all about. Check out CT Beer Trail to support other local breweries.

Cheers to our friends over at Beer’d,
KR

For more happening at the Velvet Mill, check out our posts here and here.

OPEN STUDIOS AT THE VELVET MILL THIS WEEKEND

kristen1COME SAY HI…

The artists at the Velvet Mill in Stonington will be hosting a holiday show and open studio stroll this Friday from 5pm-8pm. Be sure to visit Kristen who will be pouring our Saltwater Farm Vineyard 2012 ‘Gold Arc’ Estate Chardonnay and 2010 Bordeaux style red blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

The celebration will continue with demonstrations, tastings and more on Saturday from 10am-4pm. Sip wine while you explore your way through 30 studios and discover the people behind the art that makes up this great community.

Find out more about the Velvet Mill and open studios here. Look forward to seeing you out and about!

Cheers to local artisans,
SFLiving Team