I never got around to writing about how the lamb dinner actually turned out. And I never posted any mouthwatering photos of the food or sexy photos of the cooks in action. Now’s the time to make up for this omission!
Just to recap: way back then in September we did some butchering on my parent’s kitchen counter. Two whole lambs make a lot of lamb roasts (see below).
After taking care of the butchering on Saturday night we spent Sunday morning banging out a lot of prep. Among the tasks at hand: battering and roasting Mayflower Farm acorn squash, chopping kale, salt-roasting fingerling potatoes, and baking eight pies.
After all this we were quite ready for “family meal.” Eder had planned for this and had already gotten a good fire going to grill the livers, hearts, kidneys, and some ribs.
In the afternoon we readied the Cottage for the arrival of our guests.
Then we put on our game faces.
When the guests started to arrive we had cocktails to greet them. My dad had visited Berkshire Mountain Distillers and bartered lamb for Berkshire Bourbon, Ragged Mountain Rum, and Ice Glen Vodka. He and Kayla presided over the bar while Eder manned the grill and Mivi, Alex and I made last-minute crème anglaise and sent rounds of deviled eggs out to the guests on the deck. Maddy, Danielle, and Maeve were our faithful go-betweens.
After cocktail hour it was time to begin dinner service in earnest. Thank goodness Eder and Alex were there to run things!
We started our guests off with Alex and Eder’s famous gazpacho, dubbed “La Buena.”
Next, we sent out family-style platters and bowls of roasted beets with “green tahini,” kale salad with parmesan-anchovy dressing, and Eder’s asadura stew, a Basque stew made with lamb livers and hearts. While these dishes were heading out we began plating the roasted lamb with the acorn squash, roasted potatoes, and two sauces: mojo picón and mojo verde.
By that time, Adam Brown and Will Conklin were already in full swing, providing perfectly pitched musical accompaniment to the dining experience.
When the evening began we were still in the humid grip of August, but as it got dark the chill of a September evening came on, and it seemed fitting that we end our meal with apple pie. At Alex’s suggestion, I had made “Shaker” apple pie, which is apple pie lightly flavored with rosewater. It turned out well–a lovely, delicate pie. Or should I say, pies.
It took me this long to write something about the dinner because I was quite overwhelmed by the experience. It was a brainstorm that turned into a big project and a fantastic meal, and it wouldn’t have happened without a lot of generosity and cooperation. You could see it as either a simple dinner party or as a celebration of community.
It was exciting to organize because everyone involved brought something of their intelligence or savoir-faire to the project. The flowers on the table were grown and arranged by Will Ketchum in Stockbridge, who also grew the potatoes on the menu and the garlic we gave as party favors. He delivered them that morning, and shared coffee and pancakes with us. Our vegetables came from Indian Line Farm in Egremont, the first Community Supported Agriculture farm in the country. The lamb was raised in the fields behind the cottage where we ate. The booze we got by bartering. The crème anglaise was improvised. The music was live.
I loved how it turned out that our menu pulled from many corners of the world, making the evening a balance of local and global elements: Basque stew, Menorcan-style battered squash, mojo picón from the Canary Islands, apple pie from the Shakers, wine from Gascogne and Rioja, booze from Sheffield, MA, deviled eggs with Brooklyn-smoked bluefish, Moroccan-spiced meatballs, and a take-off on Caesar salad (which was invented in Tijuana!)
I couldn’t have asked for a better eating, cooking, and learning experience. My thanks, again, to all who participated.