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The Home Plate - Life and Lamb

March Madness

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True Aussie BeefWe talk a lot about sustainability and grassfed on this blog, so it’s great when we see news and research that shows American consumers are getting more enthusiastic about those topics and how Australian ranchers are meeting those expectations. A couple of studies have recently shown that Americans are now looking for grassfed as their most sought-after attribute in beef, ahead (albeit just slightly) of organic, local or natural. What’s more, folks have also developed a taste preference for grassfed, indicating that they thought grassfed beef was both healthier and tastier. 

Beef from grass-fed animals is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for cardiovascular health. It also offers vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants. It’s also a lean meat, something that the latest dietary guidelines report confirmed is part of a healthy diet. 

To get a taste for yourself, find it at your local grocery store, or just stop by your local Chipotle.

‘Tis the Season…for Resolving to Eat Better

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Probably the most common New Year’s resolution around the globe is to have healthier habits and especially eat better in the New Year. Add to that a common desire to do better by the planet, and things may seem to get complicated. Never fear, dear reader! We at Aussie beef and lamb are here to help. Our grass-fed beef and pasture-fed lamb tick both boxes at once, as both are good for you and the environment. And did we mention that they’re delicious?

Aussie Lamb Shanks Cooked With Chipotle and Spices

 

 

 

 

Try Chef Aaron Brooks’ Aussie Lamb Shanks Cooked with Chipotle and Spices, and you can tick the “eat more quinoa and greek yogurt” boxes, too! 

Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week 2015

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DMVRW Lamb Shank2 states + 1 district = 

Countless opportunities to enjoy Australian Lamb. Discover the all-natural, delicious choice at one of the below restaurants during Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week 2015. 

Acadiana

B Too

DC Coast

                                                         Graffiato

                                                         Indigo Landing

                                                         Indique

                                                         Mazagan

                                                         MXDC

                                                         Nonna's Kitchen

                                                         Russia House

                                                         Siroc

                                                         Smith Commons

                                                         Thally

                                                         Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro Reston

                                                         Willow

Snap a photo of your lamb dish during restaurant week and enter it for a chance to win big! Be sure to follow @RAMWdc on Instagram and use #AussieLambDC and #DMVRW to enter.

Connect with Australian Lamb on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by joining our mailing list.

Holiday Gift Guide

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Wondering what to get the cook or food lover in your life? You could go with a big leg of juicy Australian Lamb, complete with a snazzy red bow. Of course, there are other perfect gifts out there too that they’ll need to prepare that Australian Lamb. Here’s our handy guide:

Cast-Iron Skillet 

Hands-down, the one item any cook needs to have. Ideal heat conductors famed for ensuring even cooking, they can be used on the stovetop or in the oven, for sautéing, frying or even as a makeshift Dutch oven, for lamb stews and soups. Their remarkable durability also tends to make them a highly cherished item (ask Grandma or Mom about hers). Snag a basic 8″ or 10″ skillet for the beginner cook, or a more unusual size for the more experienced cook (just remember to keep their oven size in mind). 

Mortar and Pestle  

Handy for light mixing, crushing, grinding and mashing, to prepare blended foods like pesto (actually named for the pestle pounding) or guacamole, a mortar and pestle can be an indispensible kitchen tool. Quick to use and easy to clean, they can also double as eye-catching kitchen décor. While available in a variety of materials, many cooks tend to prefer ultra-non-porous ceramic and stone. Whatever material you choose, make sure both mortar and pestle are made of the same material, for even pressure and grinding. 

Good Knife 

Another essential and cherished kitchen item—for amateurs and experienced cooks alike—is a good knife. If you’re gifting for a beginner foodie, you can’t go wrong with a good chef’s knife, for chopping, slicing and dicing. Or, you can always round out their collection with one of three other essential knives: a longer, thinner slicing knife; a utility knife (a smaller, 4–6 inch version of the chef’s knife); or a paring knife. Quality tip: “forged” knives, while more expensive, tend to be sturdier and longer-lasting than their “stamped” counterparts. 

Artisanal Oils, Salts or Spices

 Every recipe needs some sort of oil, acid or seasoning—and while all cooks likely have regular old salt, pepper and olive oil in their cabinet, what about Meyer lemon olive oil, or classy French Fleur De Sel (delicate sea salt that can provide the perfect finishing touch to many a dish)? Hip, elegant and worldly, artisanal variations of basic ingredients can really appeal to a foodie’s creative, experimental nature. You may even get an exiting new lamb dish as a thank-you note!

Tagine

Considering what your foodie likes to cook is always a good approach. For fans of savory, slow-cooked dishes, you can’t go wrong with a tagine. A word that refers to slow-cooked dishes like this lamb leg, it’s also a cone-shaped pot traditionally used in Mediterranean and North African cooking. Comprised of a flat, circular base and a tall lid (designed to facilitate even heat and moisture circulation), it can be used to prepare tantalizing meals. It also makes an eye-catching conversation piece, with styles ranging from slick and modern to traditional and hand-painted.    

 

Reflections on a Trip Down Under

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Chef Conor Hanlon of The Dutch Miami recently returned from a trip to Australia, which he earned by winning a menu contest for his Australian Lamb Saddle with Goat Cheese Polenta and Romesco this spring. We caught up with Conor as he was preparing for a series of “Winter Wonderlamb” promotional events in Miami in his new role as an official “lambassador.” 

 Conor Reflections
MLA: Now that you’re back, what are some of your takeaways from the trip down under?

Conor: It was a bit of a whirlwind – 11 planes, 22 busses, water ferries, you name it…we covered a LOT of ground, and that was part of the learning. Australia is roughly the size of the US, but with a fraction of the people, so there’s a great deal of prime ranchland and pasture and wide open spaces. It’s perfect for raising lamb and beef in a natural environment, and it was great to get to see that firsthand, and especially to meet the people behind the products.

We visited small and large operations, but despite the high level of sophistication and professionalism, it never felt “corporate.“ These are family farms with multiple generations working the land. It also stood out to me that they considered themselves “grass farmers” – they spend a lot of time and effort making sure that their pasturelands will thrive for generations to come. They know that without the natural grasses, they can’t raise Aussie meats the way they want to.

MLA: Is anything coming to The Dutch menu as a result of your trip?

Conor: I was definitely inspired by the grassfed wagyu I saw (and ate!) in Australia. Seeing them graze on fresh nettles in their natural pasture is something I’ll remember for a long time, and I wanted to showcase that clean, natural flavor. I think everything tastes better on the bone, so we’re getting a 32oz tomahawk Australian ribeye, broiling it up and serving it with a local farm salad and a stack of housemade onion rings. It’s simple, but a dramatic presentation that people order once they see it walk through the dining room to another table.

Third-straight Victory

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We caught up with Smokey Bones VP of Culinary, Chef Jason Gronlund, shortly after his third-straight victory in the Chef Showdown at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Jason was demoing an Australian Lamb dish for the crowd, his Tandoori-marinated lamb chops.

Jason told the crowd that big, bold herbs and flavors are great on the grill and great with lamb - there’s a reason that they’ve been cooking lamb tandoori-style in India for centuries!

“I prefer Australian Lamb because they’re smaller racks, sweet and mild, not as heavily flavored. I also like to “french” my lamb racks, which is to clean the bone-ends of the rack. it makes for a great-looking presentation, especially when you’re serving “lollipop” chops,” said Jason.

Another reason to French the chops is for ease of eating, in keeping with Jason’s theory of hands-on dining: “If it has a bone in it, or had a bone in it, or you think it should have had a bone in it, you should eat it with your fingers!”

We think Jason would be right at home at an Aussie BBQ! Here are his top tips for grilling lamb:

Jason’s Do’s and Don’ts for grilling

  • Don’t crank up the heat too high - it gives you time to react to how your meat is cooking, and to go get a beverage when you need one 
  • Don’t use oil in your marinade - it helps keep the flare-ups down, and you don’t really need it. Oil in marinades dates back to a time when you wanted a layer of oil covering your meat to keep it from spoiling - with refrigeration, it really isn’t necessary, and doesn’t add much flavor
  • Do oil your grill before your start grilling to prevent sticking
  • Do cook lamb to about 135-140 degrees; medium rare really is best for lamb

Grilling Tips from the Pros

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We asked two chefs - who know a thing or two about the grill – for their top tips for summer grilling with Aussie lamb.

Biscayne Waterfront Marriott Miami Chef Joe Natoli:

Chef Joe Natoli“Start with a great product, like an Aussie lamb loin chop or other loin cut. Bring it to room temperature just before grilling; that helps you get that nice crust, but with a tender, moist interior.”

“Be careful not to overcook it – grassfed lamb, especially loin cuts, are naturally leaner, so they can dry out if you cook it too long.”

“At our restaurant, Catch, we like to use what we call “Catch Dust” - a blend of Aleppo pepper, sea salt, lemon zest, and parsley. It’s an all-purpose seasoning that’s simple, flavorful, and works really well with just about everything – but especially lamb on the grill.”

 

Four Seasons Miami Executive Chef Aaron Brooks:

Chef Aaron Brooks (Edge)“Use strong, earthy seasonings and marinades. They match well with the smokiness from the grill, and the deeper flavors of lamb, and the combination is awesome. I go for a spice blend that’s similar to the Egyptian spice ras al hanout. Korean gochugang, and chipotles are fantastic, too.”

“A real showstopper is a boneless lamb leg – usually roasted or braised, but you can pound it to a one-inch thickness, dust it with bold spices, and toss it on the grill. It’s similar to a flank steak, with great flavor and marbling.”