Lamb and Fennel Mint Salad

Recipe by Brenda Anderson for Smith Brother’s Butcher Shop
Photography by Chia Chong
Styling by Libbie Summers
Wine Pairing by Grapefriend 

The promise of spring on a plate. 

Lamb and Fennel Mint Salad
serves 4 

What you need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon anise seed
Juice of one lime
1 rack of lamb
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups mixed greens, washed thoroughly
Fennel Mint Salad Dressing (recipe to follow)

What to do:
In large sauté pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel, lime juice and anise seed, brown slightly, leaving fennel crisp. Remove from pan and set aside.

Allow lamb rack to come to room temperature and rub with cracked pepper, coarse salt and garlic powder. Cook rack of lamb in the same pan fennel was prepared in over medium high heat. Cook until medium rare (about 6-7 minutes) turning once halfway through the cooking time. Set aside. Let rest for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the meat away from bone and slice into 1/2-inch medallions.

To assemble the salad, divide salad green among 4 plates and top with equal parts of the fennel. Top with lamb medallions and drizzle Fennel Mint Salad Dressing over to taste. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing by Grapefriend:
You need something with enough body to match the pan seared lamb, but you’ve also got all that great anise spice in the fennel. A Spanish rosado will go with this like a champ: these rosés tend to be darker in color, and full of juicy red berry flavors. As a bonus, they’re the big bargains of the rosé world (most are around 10-15 bucks). I love the ones made from Garnacha grapes, but I like the Tempranillo-based ones too. Plus it’s spring so why not start popping some pink?

Fennel Mint Salad Dressing
Ingredients:
1 cup Fennel Mint Simple Syrup (recipe to follow)
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cracked pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until well mixed. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before using.

Fennel Mint Simple syrup
makes 2 cups

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup mint, rough chopped
1 cup fennel, rough chopped

Directions:
In a large sauce pan comb all ingredients. Once it comes to a boil, reduce temperature and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and let liquid cool.

 

Libbie’s Food Styling Props: (top image) Shot on an old small tabletop. Salad greens are in a green glass bowl picked up at a yard sale in Savannah, GA. Dressing is setting on the bottom of an uber cool butter dish. Dressing is in a Weck jar. Cool spoon I picked up in Birmingham, AL from Table Matters. Lamb is setting on an old pie tin from Habersham Antiques Market. (bottom image) Shot on the same old table top. The green glass salad bowl is now sitting on top of a milk glass serving bowl. The napkin used to be a duvet cover from my son’s bedroom that he never used, so had it made into napkins (PS I gave him a set for Christmas/PSS He wasn’t impressed). The uber-cool salad tongs are from Rethink Design Studio.

Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup

By Libbie Summers for Terra’s Kitchen
Photography by Chia Chong

There always seems to be leftover corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day –maybe it’s the alcohol consumption that reduces the appetite for chewable foods. For whatever reason, you’ll need something to do with your leftovers. This Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup recipe I did for the amazing meal kit delivery service Terra’s Kitchen is the perfect receptacle for any leftovers. It’s hearty yet somehow light and magically delicious.
Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipes, St. Patrick's Day Recipes, Soup Recipes, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life
Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup
serves 4-6

What you need:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or flake sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
16 ounces roughly chopped cabbage (big chops!)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup barley
1 lb. piece of prepared corned beef, cut into ¼-inch wide strips
Celery leaves for garnish, optional

What to do:
Read the rest of the recipe HERE

Monet’s Favorite Sandwich

by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

My obsession with the dining habits of Claude Monet began in college. I feasted again and again on the few English translations available of the notebooks he kept from his home in Giverny. At a time when my cooking skills were constrained by the size of my dorm room hotplate and my wallet, I would dream about the elaborate lunches Monet held promptly at 11:30 each day for guests like Renoir, Cézanne, and Degas. Some of the local ingredients that were mentioned in the notebooks included capons, chickens, berries, cheeses, and wonderful breads.

It wasn’t long after that I started making what I call Monet’s Favorite Sandwich. I thought: What if he was a sandwich eater and he put some of his favorite ingredients together between sliced bread? Wouldn’t it make the best sandwich in the world?

And it did.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love this sandwich. It has everything. Savory chicken, sweet raspberry preserves, creamy/salty brie, and the yeasty crunch of a baguette. Like Monet himself, this sandwich is kind of sweet and vicious. In the past, when someone asked me for the recipe, I told them to read Monet’s notebooks from Giverny. Now I’m a little sad thinking they may not have done so.

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Bread, Monet's Favorite Sandwich
Monet’s Favorite Sandwich
(warm roasted chicken, brie + raspberry jam on baguette)
serves 4

What you need:
1 loaf Napoleon Bread (page 116),
or your favorite baguette, split in half lengthwise
1⁄4 cup raspberry preserves
1⁄2 small roasted chicken, bones removed
and meat sliced or torn into large pieces 4 ounces brie
Fresh parsley leaves (optional)

What to do:
Preheat the broiler.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the bottom half of the bread on it. Spread the raspberry preserves over the bread. Top the preserves with the chicken. Cut the brie into chunks or slices and spread across the top of the chicken. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is just melted. Top with parsley if you like. Place the top half of the bread on the sandwich and cut into four equal pieces.
Serve warm.

 

Skier Barbie Loves Bean Soup

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

“There’s nothing I like better than having a big bowl of bean soup after a day on the bunny hill.” –Barbie in St. Moritz, 1962
Barbie, Vintage Barbie, Skier Barbie, Bean Soup, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life
Get 4 of Barbie’s favorite bean soup recipes HERE!!

 

Rabbit Cassoulet

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

It wouldn’t be bean week without at least attempting a cassoulet recipe. This one is my favorite for beginner cassoulet makers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rabbit Cassoulet
Serves 4-6

What you need:
 1 pound of confit rabbit meat*, pulled from the bone (Rabbit Confit recipe to follow)
¼ pound Great Northern white beans, rinsed and soaked in water overnight
2 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
1 bunch parsley
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2” pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bread Crumb Topping:
½ baguette, processed in a food processor until crumbs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil

What to do:
In a dutch oven or large sauce pan, add beans. Stir in stock, onion, tomato paste and minced garlic. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 2-inches of liquid. Bring to a boil. Using a piece of cheesecloth and a small piece of butcher’s twine, make a bundle/bouquet garni with the peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Drop the bouquet garni into the beans and reduce the heat. Simmer until the beans are just tender (approximately 45 minutes). Stir in diced tomatoes and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, rabbit meat and smoked sausage. Cook, stirring, just until sausage is lightly browned (approximately 5 minutes). Add meat to the beans. Salt and pepper to taste. In the same skillet, add the bread crumbs and garlic. Cook, stirring, until crumbs begin to brown. Stir in parmesan cheese and parsley. Remove from heat and set aside.

To Assemble Cassoulet:
Preheat oven to 350º F.

Transfer the bean and meat mixture to a casserole dish or tureen (I used my beautiful white “hare tureen” 8 ½” X 6 ½”  X 6”), making sure to layer the rabbit and smoked sausage. Spread bread crumb mixture over the top of the cassoulet and bake uncovered until the contents are bubbly and the bread crumb topping is golden (approximately 40 minutes).

*Rabbit Confit 

Confit (French, pronounced “kone-fee”) Is a general term used for preserving meat, such as rabbit , pork, duck or goose, that has been seasoned and then cooked and preserved in it’s own fat. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food and is a specialty of southwestern France.
What you need:
1 rabbit, dressed, cleaned and butchered (see a step by step guide to butchering a rabbit here)
2 cups fat (you may need more to cover the the rabbit in the pan), vegetable oil, lard or duck fat
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons Kosher salt

What to do:
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the garlic, pepper, thyme, rosemary, parsley and salt. Rub the mixture all over the butchered rabbit pieces and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 300º F.

Heat the fat in a dutch oven until it begins to just shimmer (do not boil). Add the rabbit pieces and bring the oil back to a shimmer. Make sure the rabbit pieces are completely covered in oil. You may need to add more at this point. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Midway through the cooking time, turn the pieces over in the oil. At this point, you may need to add more oil to make sure the rabbit pieces are completely covered. Remove from oven and allow the rabbit to cool in the oil. The Rabbit Confit can be stored with the pieces submerged in the fat in the refrigerator for several weeks. The meat should fall off the bones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libbie’s Food Styling Props: Shot on a table painted a light blue and then a thick black. A nail was used to scrape off some of the black paint revealing the light blue, then a layer of charcoal was rubbed on the exposed blue areas; Old dark wood cutting board from Blue Crab Antiques in Annapolis, Maryland; Large Old English platter borrowed from Amy Zurcher; Navy Blue linen napkins from Williams Sonoma (the button fell off my coat the morning of the shoot and I sewed it on the corner of the napkin for an extra layer…totally in love with it now); White Apilco Hare Tureen purchased at Williams Sonoma; long wooden handled serving piece from Habersham Antiques Market; Old silver forks were found at a Salvation Army Spring Warehouse Sale in Savannah, GA; Galvanized metal cup from Pottery Barn; White oval gratin dishes I’ve had forever and have no recollection as to how they ended up in my props.

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