Poor Wilson was brutally attacked by another dog, his eye severely damaged. And then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, his previous owners decided to dump him at a shelter. Boston Buddies (Southern California Boston Terrier Rescue) rescued Wilson, but their veterinarians were unable to save his eye. Yet, in spite of his bad experience, Wilson was a love bug.
After reading about Wilson on their website, I contacted Boston Buddies to say I was interested in him. I was told that he had already found his “forever home” and would be going there the next day. So, please, choose another dog. But I didn’t really have an interest in another dog, so I waited. A couple days later I got a call to say that his “forever home” had fallen through and could I meet him that day? I said that I was going to be out of town for the weekend and could take him on the following Monday. It turned out there was another family that wanted to take him that day, so he was placed with them. When I got home from the trip I received another call saying that Wilson did not get along with the other dogs in the home and did I still want him? YES! I WANT HIM! It sure seemed like we were meant to be together. That was in March of 2006, and he was three years old.
Nine ingredients remain the same. Only one ingredient varies – swap a grilled tomato for a grilled scallion to create two totally different presentations. We served these leg of lamb dishes as a test for the “Lean on Lamb” challenge to create healthy recipes for entertaining. The challenge is to cook a leg of lamb as the main-course for 8 people using no more than 10 ingredients (excluding salt & pepper) with a prep time of under 30 minutes.
After preparing 4 lamb dishes over several days, we decided on Leg of Lamb, Curry Quinoa Crust as the one to submit to the contest. That dish, served over Steamed Spinach with a Curried Heirloom Tomato Salsa with Mint and Avocado & Serrano Chile with Lime had it all – color, flavor, texture, balance plus the seasonal element. Though our Lamb Medallion Stack, Warm Anchovy-Pine Nut Vinaigrette with a Dijon Mustard Anchovy Crust, Polenta Cake, Spinach, Parsley, Tomato was pretty popular too, especially with that warm savory vinaigrette.
Chilled Marcona Almond & Poblano Chile Soup with Sherry Crab Salad Pillar with Avocado Diced Watermelon, Feta and Mint Borage Blossom Garnish
The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations. June’s summery theme is CHILLED SOUPS.
The chilled almond & chile soup has been a favorite here for over a decade – a STAR of a cold soup that’s hot, smoky, and nutty. If fact, I entered it in a contest at the Los Angeles County Fair years ago, and it won second place. I’ve updated the soup recipe, now using sweet Spanish Marcona almonds and dry Spanish sherry. The basic soup can be simply garnished with bay shrimp or a drizzle of Mexican crema and a few cilantro leaves. Or for entertaining, go all out and build the crab pillar, your guests will be delighted.
Here we are on the sparkling azure Mediterranean. I’m in the cucina with Chefs Norma and Debi, cooking for opening day of our virtual ristoranteCiao Fiore! Norma is in the process making ricotta fresca for the extravagant antipasti tavola, and Debi is using sodium alginate and calcium chloride to craft the strawberry caviar which will top her lavender & mascarpone panna cotta as a part of the fabulous dessert course.
My job is to execute the main course, and with the risotto already done, imagine my delight as the fishing boat pulled up to the dock, loaded with just-caught branzino! Fresh from the sea pan-seared fillets will be served with salmoriglio, a Sicilian fish sauce made with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and herbs. For our grand opening, this particular version of the classic sauce will be enhanced with Meyer lemon confit, red chiles, cucumber, and Castelvetrano olives. Borage blossoms will finish the dish, with their sweet cucumber flavor accenting the sauce while their bright blue hue mirrors the sea.