Lamb: A Delicious Sign of Spring

Growing up, my husband’s family had ham every single Easter, whereas at my house, our holiday meal centerpiece rotated between lamb, fish, or the occasional ham. We still debate over which one of our meals was the best. Of course, I think mine was always better as I loved the changing variety of that spring celebration meal. What did your family have on the spring celebration table growing up?

Although ham is an easy choice for a delicious centerpiece, especially when you have our signature Heavenly Ham® as an option, a roasted leg of lamb can be a bit more showy. Even though it looks and tastes ultra-elegant, it really is pretty simple to make at home. After experimenting with several recipes, one of my favorites is Rosemary & Garlic Lamb.

I also love how lamb pairs so nicely with other “springy” things like asparagus, goat cheese, tender lettuces, and the newly released rosés that combine to make a delightful meal. So if you haven’t mixed up your menu lately, spring is always a good time to start. It may be time to save the ham and eggs for the brunch table this year and look to lamb. (Even better, you’ll notice that we’re having a Leg of Lamb Sale in this week’s Club Deals.)

Speaking of lamb, my husband and his six siblings took turns sculpting the lamb out of butter for the table centerpiece (yes, it had cloves for eyes). It was a very big deal and as grown adults they still talk fondly about making that lamb-shaped butter.

But in my family it was all about the lamb cake. My mom had a lamb cake mold that she would get out every year to make a rich, plain pound cake in the shape of this adorable animal. Then my siblings and I would get to decorate it with white buttercream frosting, coconut flakes, and whatever color jelly beans we didn’t want to eat. Although I can’t quite remember what the finished cakes looked like, I do remember how much I love that frosting/coconut combo. Who cares about jelly beans?

I’d love to hear about your springtime traditions!

So Simple, So French

It’s referred to in my vagabond family of travelers as “that salad”. A lot of the times you don’t even order it. It just always shows up. It comes as a side dish, a first course, and a lot of the times it’s served like a heavy handed garnish to round out a plate. Over many wine-fueled meals my family has complained, “Why we can’t get this kind salad at home?” My son loves it and stated a long time ago he would eat salad everyday if I only made it for him back at home. So I did, and I am happy to say that he now makes it for himself!

Click here to view my recipe for salade verte.

“That salad” is the classic French salad called salade verte and it’s served everywhere in France. I am serious here—the corner bistro, the cafeterias, the Michelin starred places, fancy burger joints, and even at the breakfast buffet at your hotel.  It is, at its most simple, a lightly dressed lettuce. No croutons, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, etc. This salad doesn’t need any of it. It is perfect in its simplicity. Light, fresh, and delicious.

Since the salad is so simple, you’ve got to get it right when trying to recreate it at home. The lettuce that is most commonly used in France is what we here in America call Boston lettuce. Boston lettuce is part of the Butterhead family of lettuce. It is slighty bigger than Bibb lettuce, which tends to be easier to find around here. The leaves of both types of these lettuces are soft and tender, so you can usually find them packed in clear plastic containers that help prevent bruising.

For the dressing (a side note—the server will not give you a choice), it’s served with vinaigrette a la moutarde.  A classic vinaigrette made with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, oil (usually sunflower or olive oil), salt, pepper, and finely minced shallot. Not a lot of variation here, although sometimes in southern France they will sub the vinegar with lemon juice and they always use olive oil.

The more I travel back to France and other parts of Europe the more I am starting to see a trend on using a bottled dressing that tends to be whitish in color and a little sweet. I can’t tell you all how disappointing that is! What has made this salad so distinctive is the freshness of the just-made vinaigrette. Sometimes the fast shortcuts are NOT the answer!

I challenge you to get out your whisk the next time you want to make a salad! Master this and you will be enjoying this simple balanced salad for years to come.

Calling All Food Explorers!

Come with us. We’re going on a journey to faraway places and it all starts at one of the most humble destinations—your table and the foods that fill it. No bags or pass ports needed, just an appetite for discovery. Taking flight with us this month is our new Food Explorer series, which will feature culinary stops to some of the hottest food regions of the world in the months to come. First destination is France, so get ready to embrace the fromage, the food, and let’s not forget about the wine!

Our inspiration for launching this journey was not a whim. Travel has become an essential fiber of Dorothy Lane Market’s DNA. For many years at DLM, there has been an underlying philosophy woven into the culture: We travel, we taste, and we meet and learn from artisans and masters in their own craft from faraway places. Then, we bring it back to you. “That gives us passion,” says Calvin Mayne, DLM President. “We are bringing you these great experiences from around the world and it makes us happy and gives our work meaning.”

In addition to so many at DLM, Calvin’s love for travel is inspiring and it walks hand in hand with his love for great food of the world. “You see how people live, you taste, you eat … and those memories stay with you forever.” This is why you’ll find the great flavors of the world discovered during travel being brought back to DLM with authenticity and pride. You’ll see this at play when it comes to our Artisan Bread, Naples-Style Pizza, sushi, Italian-style meats, and DLM Handmade Mozzarella, to name a few. You’ll also find products that we’ve sourced from fine makers and artisans lining our shelves, from the robust wine selection to olive oils, cheeses, and cooking sauces.

“Where else do you go to a grocery store where we’ve actually visited the fisherman or where the Bakery director studied with French masters to learn how to make a baguette?” Calvin says, referring to Jack Gridley’s salmon fishing exploration to the brisk waters of Alaska, Scott Fox’s rendezvous with French bakers in Aurillac, France, Todd Templin’s wine adventure to Austria, all the way to more local treasures, like Dennis Chrisman’s trek to the Amish farms in Adams County, Ohio.

With that said, we are ecstatic to celebrate the foods from afar that you’ll find in our stores the year to come! If you’ve traveled to the regions we’ll be featuring, we hope to revive some of those most delicious memories. If you’ve yet to explore the destinations, then let us give you a small taste of what it has to offer.

27 Ways to Feast like a Parisian at DLM

A lot of folks think of art, romance, and the Eiffel Tower when France comes to mind. For us, it’s all about the food & wine! There is not a region of France that does not produce some great beverage or gastronomic morsel that is not in demand throughout the world, and we are so fortunate to have such a plethora of great French items here at DLM. So come along and have a French picnic or French-inspired dinner right here in Dayton!

 

1. LE VILLAGE SPARKLING FRENCH LEMONADE

Perfect for cocktails or a laid-back Saturday afternoon. Try it as the French do in a panaché: half lemonade and the other half a lager beer.

2. MACARON

Featuring a unique array of flavored shells and fillings, we get this French favorite from our dear friend Ghyslain.

3. MADRANGE JAMBON NATURAL HAM

No added nitrites, nitrates, water, or coloring, enjoy this ham on a baguette with a hint of Dijon mustard and cornichons.

4. MICHE BREAD

“Miche” is literally a French word for “loaf” and a fitting tribute to this bread’s rustic character. After tasting it on a bakery-lined street in Paris, we knew we needed to bake this bread at DLM!

5. J. LEBLANC HUILE DE NOIX WALNUT OIL

You’ll love the beautiful aroma of roasted walnuts from the south of France. For a vinaigrette, combine with Banyuls Vinegar or lemon juice.

6. LE PITHIVIER

Named after the town where it originated in the Loire region of France, this puff pastry has a light almond cream.

7. OYSTERS

Walk into any French restaurant and you will likely see an oyster dish on the menu. In fact, it’s estimated that France is the No. 1 consumer and exporter of this wine of the sea.

8. JACQUES GONIDEC SARDINES

The ultimate treat smeared on a cracker, bread, or even eggs. Hand packed in olive oil and available with tomato, lemon, or chili peppers!

9. GROIX & NATURE SALMON OR SCALLOP RILLETTES

Fishing is second nature to the inhabitants of the island Groix in Southern Brittany. We like these delicacies on DLM Italian Mini Toasts, warm blinis, or in a salad.

10. FICELLE SANDWICHES

With varieties like The Parisian, you’ll be picnic-ready with a few of these French-style sandwiches in your basket.

11. CROQUE MONSIEUR

French ham, Gruyère cheese, and our béchamel sauce, grilled to perfection at our Sandwich Station!

12. LE CHOCOLAT DES FRANÇAIS

Delicious and fun, these high quality French chocolate bars have a whimsical side with labels that remind one slightly of an Andy Warhol collection.

13. DLM BUTTER CARAMELS

The Paris-Caramels company’s reputation is based on the quality of the ingredients with only Charentes-Poitou PDO butter, milk, crème fraîche, and French cane sugar used in the making of these decadent treats.

14. LA MOUTARDERIE EDMOND FALLOT

Located in the charming village of Beaune (the heart of Burgundy), this mustard is unrivaled by any other taking this simple condiment to near gastronomic perfection!

15. LES COMTES DE PROVENCE

Jams with a wonderfully distinct flavor while not being overly sweet. Try spread over buttered Farmhouse toast.

Fromage of France

France’s varied terroir can sustain different milk-producing animals resulting in a variety of cheeses. Here are some of our favorites, clockwise from the top left!

16. MORBIER

A rich cows’ milk cheese with a traditional line of ash separating the morning and evening milk. This pungent cheese is great on a baguette with a glass of red wine.

17. P’TIT BASQUE

Sheeps’ milk cheese from the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains. This mild, delicate cheese is the perfect charcuterie accompaniment.

18. BRIE DE MEAUX

This is the luscious, true Brie from the region of Meaux. With its bloomy rind and earthy aromas, it’s simply divine with jams from Les Comtes de Provence served on top!

19. MIMOLETTE

An interesting cows’ milk cheese with a burnt orange color. It’s buttery in the palate with a slightly nutty, salty tone that makes it great in omelets!

20. LE PAPILLON ROQUEFORT

A sheeps’ milk cheese made in the world-famous caves of Roquefort. Simply smear on warm and crusty bread.

 

French Wines

21. LA FERME DE GICON CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ 2018

From the south of France, this is summer in a bottle with its bright, dry strawberry and raspberry fruit and floral tones. Made primarily of Grenache with a touch of Syrah, it is perfect with a cheese and olive plate.

22. CLARENDELLE BORDEAUX ROUGE 2015

A new favorite of ours with its blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Ample black currants and silky smooth tannins make it a very friendly dinner wine.

23. CHAMPALOU VOUVRAY LA CUVÉE DES FONDRAUX 2017

This Loire Valley wine shows a lot of stone fruit and orange peel wrapped in an elegant sheath of crisp acidity, pairing well with seafood. This is a seriously good Chenin Blanc from vines averaging 45+ years!

24. CLOS LA COUTALE CAHORS 2015

This is the ultimate dinner wine that is just the right balance of rustic old worldliness and total drinkability! A blend of primarily Malbec and a touch of Merlot, this wine is made for grilled steaks.

25. CHÂTEAU GRAVILLE-LACOSTE GRAVES BLANC 2017

A crisp, invigorating white wine that is made primarily from Sémillon in Bordeaux. It lends itself well to seafood, roasted chicken, or a salad with a vinaigrette made with Leblanc Huile de Noix Walnut oil.

26. FLORENSAC PICPOUL DE PINET 2017

A great everyday white wine that’s crisp, clean, and vibrant making it perfect as a crowd pleaser on the patio or paired with light seafood or poultry dishes.

27. DOMAINE DE VERQUIÈRE RASTEAU

Organically farmed Grenache and Syrah from a small family estate beneath the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Intensely flavored, it’s a beautiful wine paired with grilled foods or a hearty cheese and charcuterie plate.

The Gateway to Spring

The arrival of spring comes in many different forms, but there’s nothing quite like the brilliant colors of tulips illuminating our Floral department. Stuart Delk, Floral & Plant Director says it best, “Tulips are the gateway to spring.” Simple, yet elegant, these blooms have become a favorite flower during this season. But how did tulips come to be so significant?

A member of the lily family, tulips have a rich history. Because of its delicate nature and wide array of colors, this flower became a symbol of luxury in Europe. As the story goes, the price of tulips skyrocketed due to their extreme popularity and difficulty of cultivation. This frenzy is said to have caused a financial crash of the Dutch economy and caused what’s known as “Tulip Mania.” Although they have a complex past, or maybe thanks to it, tulips are celebrated each spring.

With their history rooted in the Netherlands, the idea that Dutch tulips are superior is a common misconception. Stuart states, “Dutch doesn’t necessarily mean quality.” We’re proud to receive our tulips from Mount Vernon, Washington. The cool maritime climate, defined by cold but not freezing winters transitioning to warm summers, paired with the fertile soil makes this location tulip paradise. In that area, spring has truly sprung when the fields are painted with these breathtaking blooms.

Throughout the month of April we will be carrying colorful cut tulips from Washington. Whether in a bouquet or an arrangement, these iconic flowers are a sure way to push away memories of the cold, wintry months and welcome spring with open arms.

Steps to Arranging Tulips Like a Pro

To keep flowers fresh, be sure to take them home and place in water as soon as possible.

  1. Clean your vase thoroughly. Flowers will last longer if the vase is free of contaminants.
  2. Fill vase with room temperature, clean water and flower food.
  3. Trim tulip stems with a really sharp edge. A crushed edge may make it difficult for your flower to absorb the food and water.
  4. Place several tulips in vase. A fuller vase will lead to a better looking arrangement.
  5. Keep it simple! Tulips are beautiful as they are—there’s no need to add foliage.
  6. Find the perfect spot. Place your vase in an area that is away from sunlight and heat drafts. These will cause your flowers to wilt quickly.
  7. Give the stems a fresh cut frequently. Trim the tulip stems every 2-3 days as tulips continue to grow after they’re cut.

Sausages with a Bang!

If you haven’t tried our bangers we make every day fresh in our Meat department, this weekend is a good time to start. We make both English-style and Irish-style (difference being the Irish has the addition of ginger) with just the right amount of fat to make the sausage pop and “bang” while browning them up in a skillet.

At my house, I like to roll them around in a sauté pan with a little oil and get the casing nice and snappy. We also have some really good bangers from a company called Jolly Posh. These sausages are larger in diameter and great for a quick Irish Banger Dinner or stuffed inside one of our Bakery buns with some whole grain mustard.

Started by Nicholas Spencer, Jolly Posh was inspired by traditional Irish foods and his hunger for the classic flavors of home (Ireland). Their all-natural bangers are free of hormones as well as nitrites, nitrates, and MSG. In our stores, look for their Traditional Pork Bangers and Pork & Herb Bangers.

Or try some of their white pudding, which is seasoned pork, oatmeal, and breadcrumb mixture that is awesome for an “over the pond” breakfast experience. Just slice it up, fry it till golden brown, and serve it alongside some of our local eggs. It’s magically delicious!

Cookies to END ALZ Contest

A huge “Thank you” to our 20 participants in the “Cookies to END ALZ” Cookie Contest. They were beautiful, delicious, and each came with a touching story of why they were entering. But when the dust settled (or powdered sugar) the Black Raspberry Cheesecake French Macarons came out on top as the winner. Followed closely by the Dulce de Leche Mexican Cinnamon Sugar and the Double Chocolate Marshmallow.

The winning recipe comes to us from Maggie Perry of Fairborn. View the winning recipe here.

We also would like to extend a sincere “Thank You” to all of you who purchased the limited-edition Laura’s Cookie Design. $1 from each cookie is being donated to the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter. Thanks to your generous support we are sending a check for $1,312 to help END ALZ.

Irish Cheddars to Treasure

It seems that in March, everyone is a touch Irish and enjoys a pint or two of great Irish beer, particularly with that favorite American pastime—college hoops! However, Ireland is known for a plethora of wonderful food traditions and amongst our favorites are the cheeses!

Oscar Wilde Irish Cheddar is aged for two years and made with the milk of cows that are pasture fed during the months of milk production in County Cork.

Dubliner is like a Cheddar in texture but with the sweet, nutty taste of a Swiss and piquant flavor of an aged Italian-style cheese. It’s perfect with an Irish stout and charcuterie.

Cahill’s Irish Whiskey Cheddar, originally made for festive occasions, is now a year-round treasure. It’s made using Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey that lends a savory, rich tone. You’ll also love Cahill’s Irish Porter Cheese, which is odd-looking, but is perfect as the centerpiece on a cheese board.

Fish Friday Find

When it comes to the farm-raised salmon we carry, we seek the very best. So many providers raise their salmon in densely packed waters with antibiotics so that they grow as fast as possible. We take it upon ourselves to source farm-raised salmon that’s antibiotic free, fed an organic diet, and given plenty of room. The farms also practice rotation to allow sites to redevelop naturally. “They’re raised the right way,” says Jack Gridley, VP of Meat & Seafood.

The Shetland Farm Organic Salmon we carry is raised in floating ocean pens about 100 miles off the coast of Scotland. The fast-moving currents of the cool water are perfect for raising salmon, which are certified organic by the UK.

Farm-Raised King Salmon from Creative Salmon Co. is certified organic by Canada. “The Farm Raised King Salmon is raised in Tofino Bay, British Columbia … the cold, clean, fast-moving water provides the fish with the same environment as its wild counterparts with plenty of room to swim and develop muscle,” says Jon Lemaster, DLM Springboro Seafood manager. “Both of these farm-raised salmon are from two of the best farms in the world and we’re very proud to have them in our cases.”

Getting to the Point

Wusthof KnivesAfter 20 years of teaching the knife skills class, I am still amazed what a lot of folks don’t know about knives. It may sound strange, but learning how to hold and use a knife correctly will help you work faster and safer. Sometimes all it takes is a little forethought before you just randomly start breaking down your veggies.

The benefit of good knife skills comes with uniformity. I can’t stress this point enough! Every time you lift your knife to cut or chop, think to yourself: Is this the same thickness? Is this the same size as the last piece? Plain and simply put, pieces of food that are the same size and shape cook at the same rate. I remember my mom fishing around a big pot of boiling potatoes looking for the biggest to see if potatoes were done yet! With uniformity, you don’t have to ‘go fishing’.

Another bonus to good knife skills and uniformity is presentation. We all know that we eat first with our eyes. There is a simple elegance to perfectly cut and sized vegetables that a ”rough  chop” will never be able to give. If you’re looking to get on point, here are a couple of my favorite knives that we always carry in the Culinary Center:

I love the Chef’s knife. It can handle a lot of the everyday tasks in your kitchen. Its stable and curved blade helps promote a rocking motion that enables you to have better control and a finer dice. Available in 3 sizes (6 inch,  8 inch, and 10 inch) I like to call the 8-inch knife the workhorse of the kitchen. The 6 inch is a good one for beginners or those who are a little shy about knives. The 10 inch can cover more ground when prepping for larger quantities.

A Bread knife can do things that the chef’s knife just can’t.  Think things that squish. You use a sawing motion when using this knife, so it’s perfect for bread, tomatoes, croissants, etc. The serrated blade is not meant for chopping.

The Paring knife is handy to have around. Whether you are paring, peeling, or slicing, the small size of the blade can tackle mincing garlic to peeling an apple. Most are now available with either a serrated blade or a straight one.

When it comes to Japanese knives, two of my favorites are the Santoku and the Nakiri. The hollow edge of a Santoku creates air pockets which help prevent thin cuts or soft slice foods from clinging to the blade. The straighter, blunt, squarish shape of the Nakiri facilitates a straight up and down motion for chopping and most veggie prep.

Feel free to come in and ask us any questions you may have. We love talking knives and are happy to set you up with a cutting board so you can try out whatever type of knife you are interested in.  Or sign up for our popular knife skills class.  I look forward to seeing you soon!