Awards and Making Room for More Cheese

Lamb and chick pea stew

Lamb, kale and chick pea stew- a breather.

Well The Fanciness is over, and, wow, I’m …. full. Eating pounds of chocolate, charcuterie, cheese, cupcake-flavored popcorn, and everything and anything that’s either caramel or chocolate and labeled fleur de sel-ed or “salted” will do that to you. And of course one doesn’t stop there. There are thyme and lemon zest cookies to try. By the way, did you know that Psy has a commercial for spicy ramen? They were playing it at the show.

In other news, I was honored to attend the Good Food Awards this past Friday in the Ferry Building. Because I was a judge, I had the chance to see the winners line up and receive acknowledgement for their hard work and general deliciousness. And then… I got to taste (seeing a theme for the past five days here?) the winners’s goods. Shout out to my friends at Jarred SF Brine and Briar Rose who won for their pickles and cheese. All the winners are tops, but these ladies are awesome, relatively new to the scene, and their creations are especially delectable. Slightly off-point and perhaps too unrelated, the first times Emiliana of Jarr-ed and of Sarah of Briar Rose and I met (seperatley) involved eating very rich pork. Emiliana and I met while she was roasting a suckling pig, caja china style, at the wine shop where I work, and Sarah and I shared fried pig skins in North Carolina while waiting for more pig to arrive at a BBQ joint. They both had me at crispy pork skin, and after I tasted what else they made, well, I was sold again.

Speaking of rich things and my love of pork fat, I’m going to do something very unorthodox for this blog, and post an un cheese-related recipe. With the pounds of cheese and salted pork that I ate over the past five or so days, this girl needs some veggies. After fifty and sixty-degree weather in the Bay Area the past couple days now just rolling over to misty and rainy skies, I’m also feeling the soup vibe. So today, I’m sharing with you one of my favorite original soup recipes. You know, in case, like me, you need to prep your tummy for more cheese for next week. Or later this week. Also, If you’re keen on seeing occasional cheese-prep-breather recipes, let me know, I have a few more I can share.


Lamb, Kale & Chickpea Soup

Inspired by Greek and Corsican food, this soup packs a lot of flavor. Olives, citrus, chickpeas and lamb are staples of these cuisines, and since they’re also some of my favorite flavors, I cook this soup at least once a month during the colder seasons. The chickpeas and lamb make it filling, and the kale, of course, counts for veggie points. I need nothing more than this soup and crusty bread spread with butter for a winter’s meal. Well, that, and a glass of wine. Use a mix of cured olives for the best result.
Serves 6-8


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into medium-sized pieces (keep the fat on)
1 1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, medium diced
2 celery ribs, medium diced
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 quart chicken stock
zest of one lemon
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup pitted, lightly chopped mixed olives
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
pepper to taste

Melt butter in heavy-bottomed soup pot on medium-heat. Brown lamb about 3 minutes on each side, then set meat aside. Add onions and garlic to still-hot pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add carrots, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook for 5 more minutes. Put lamb back in pot, cover with chicken stock, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bring to boil. Add lemon zest and juice, and olives. Cover, reduce to simmer, and cook for 40 minutes. Add chickpeas and rosemary and cook for 35 more minutes. Remove rosemary sprigs and discard. Add kale, recover pot, and cook for 5-7 minutes more. Using a potato masher, crush about half the chick peas to thicken soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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