Archive for Mark Bittman

Review: Lava Lake Lamb – Ground Lamb

Posted in Burgers, Organic Mail Order Meat with tags on May 15, 2009 by chomposaurus

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This month, Lava Lake Lamb, purveyors of fine organic baby sheep, were kind enough to not only kill and butcher some sweet little delicious sheep for me, they even agreed to send them to my house for free. I got a one pound packet of ground organic lamb, and did what any good American would do: I made me some burgers.

One of the best things about lamb is that it’s far more forgiving than beef for the amateur cook – it cooks more slowly and more evenly, and it does not lose nearly as much flavor between medium-rare and medium as a piece of steak will. That’s not to say you should burn it, of course. I cooked these burgers in the broiler – following Mark Bittman’s recipe for lamb burgers with cumin and onion. After 11 minutes they came out just right, pink in the middle but not red.

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The taste? Well that was divine. Lamb does indeed have a gamier flavor than beef, but it has a finer texture. This lamb was extremely juicy and it was enhanced by but not lost to the spices and onions. Generous portions of ketchup and mustard also aided the cause. But most remarkable is the sheer quantity of taste packed into each bite. With high quality meat, more flavor almost always means better flavor, and Lava Lake’s ground lamb is no exception. I suggest heading over to their site and ordering a pound or two today to try for yourself.

Next we’ll be attempting to roast one of their boneless legs of lamb. Wish us luck!

Thoreau and Flexitarians

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags , on February 9, 2009 by chomposaurus

Is eating meat more trouble than it’s worth? Henry Thoreau thought so, one of the many reasons he became a Vegetarian. Stefany Anne Golberg covers his conversion in an article for the Smart Set (h/t: The Daily Dish)

“The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness,” [Thoreau] wrote in Walden, “and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.” You can stand around in the forest, waiting to spear, skin, and roast a bunny for your next meal, but…why?

These days, since we see so little of the effort that goes into producing meat, choosing to pay for others to exert that effort instead, it’s easy to lose track of this. But you are spending more of your resources of money and health each time you choose meat over equally nutritious fruits, vegetables and grain. That’s why I and others like me continue to argue for smarter meat eating, which means eating less meat, but that meat is of a higher quality. Kind of like the way a long-term relationship is more rewarding than random hookups to all but the most lustful of individuals. Give up quantity for quality (of meat and of life).

Mark Bittman’s new book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes, contains a bold argument for Flexitarianism. In this way of life, a majority of one’s meals are vegetarian. Bittman claims that the best way to achieve this is to eat no meat before dinner. Not a bad plan, if you can kick the habit of that ham sandwich at lunch.