Lamb 5 Ways & Momofuku Milk Bar Cakes

Follow Me Foodie’s Sunday Night Dinner Series

Follow Me Foodie to Lamb 5 Ways & Momofuku Milk Bar Cakes!

Welcome to Follow Me Foodie’s Sunday Night Dinner Series! It’s a new addition to the blog and I hope you find it inspiring for your own recipes or dinner parties. It’s a behind the scenes look at what happens when I’m not eating out at a restaurant. It’s a peek at epic meal times in the homes of like minded foodie friends. There is the chef’s way and then there is the foodie way.

On this occasion we were celebrating a very special birthday hosted by my intense foodie friends Tanis and Dave. They’re the ones that also hosted that epic summer BBQ last year – see here. The theme was lamb 5 ways as well as 2 massive cakes from the Momofuku Milk Bar recipe book.
Everything was made from scratch by passionate foodies with no formal training.

When I say “made from scratch” I mean made from bare bones scratch. I don’t think I have many PETA activists reading my blog, and I’m sorry if I offended you with this picture, but it’s the circle of life. Remember when Mufasa from The Lion King explains to Simba “the circle of life”? The lions eat the antelope and when the lions die they turn to grass and the antelope eat the grass; so in this case just replace “lions” with “foodies” and “antelope” with “lamb” and there’s no difference. It’s a natural process, and for the most part nothing goes to waste and we respect every part of the animal.

Yes, this is a house and not an industrial kitchen. Sure, it helps to have the right equipment, but if you don’t, please feel free to skip this step and just head to your closest butcher shop.

Appetizers

Charcuterie & Pickles

House made Portuguese Cheese – It was very mild in flavour and not that rich and in between a fior di latte, buffalo mozzarella and a ricotta. It only ages for about 4 days so the flavour is very mild and the texture is quite soft. I was eating this like a sandwich and it was incredibly moist with a bit of added salt and it goes with almost everything.

Ingredients

  • 1 Quart Whole Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Dry Milk Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Rennet Tablet
  • Round Forms

For further directions and recipe see here.

Kusshi Oysters and Malpeque Oysters – These are two of my favourite oysters and they have incredibly different flavour profiles. The Kusshi (West Coast) oyster is from Vancouver and that’s the smaller one. The meat is sweet and clean with a cucumber finish. The Malpeque (East Coast) comes from Prince Edward Island and they’re very meaty, creamy, buttery, rich and smooth in texture. I prefer Kusshi to Malpeques, and not because I’m a West Coast girl, but for me it’s creme de la creme of oysters.

These salty sweet pickles were from the Momofuku cook book and it was just sugar, rice wine vinegar and a bit of fish sauce. They were simple and divine with the fresh oysters. I think they’re the same pickles used in Chef David Chang’s famous Momofuku Steamed Pork Buns too – see my post here.

You see that glossy oyster juice? Now stop pouring it out if you do. That’s the flavour of the oyster and the flavour of the ocean it comes from.

This is JJ, and the reason I’m showing this photo is because, not only is he cute, but I really believe in encouraging children to explore new foods from an early age. Sometimes it’s not that the kids who are picky eaters, but quite often it’s just the lack of exposure to new foods. Of course it’s not always, but at least give the window of opportunity.

Hamachi Sashimi – This is another one. When it’s high grade sashimi, don’t dunk it in soy sauce. If you did that at a high end Japanese restaurant, you might get your hand slapped… either by me or the sushi chef. Soy sauce is generally perceived as a “corrector” and wasabi an “enhancer”. The good stuff will only need a bit of wasabi and that helps to open up your palate to taste the fish. A touch of soy sauce is appropriate if it needs it, but stop soaking your sashimi in it. Of course if you want to, go ahead, but in that case you might as well just get super cheap sashimi.

Mains

Lamb #1 – Roasted Lamb Legs

As bloody hard as it was to not fill up on the appetizers, I had to save room for the mains. The mains were cooking in the backyard. Again if you don’t have an Il Forno oven, your regular oven will work as well.

Lamb #2 – Grilled Rack of Lamb, Chops and Tenderloin (Before)

Lamb #2 – Grilled Rack of Lamb and Tenderloin (After)

Lamb #3 – Lamb Sausage

The sausage was made with lamb neck as well as other random parts. It was a very simple recipe with few seasonings and spices and it just used a bit of white wine.

Lamb #4 – Braised Lamb

I tend to favour anything that’s braised, so this was my favourite. It was braised in red wine and tomato paste.

Lamb #5 – Lamb Shoulder Ravioli

If you want to try an excellent lamb cheek pasta I would also recommend the Braised Lamb Cheek Mafalda at Cento Notti – see my post for it here.

The spread ended up looking like this. Lamb 5 ways + potatoes 2 ways.

The one lonely vegetable dish was excellent though! It was roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and deep fried kale. I actually mentioned kale in my post about Food Trends for 2012 and how lots of restaurants are deep frying it now. That was the inspiration for this dish. As foodies who dine out quite a bit, we get a lot of ideas from our restaurant experiences.

And of course what’s a birthday without some cake?

This is the “Birthday Cake” and the “Banana Cake“. Both these cakes are from the Momofuku Milk Bar recipe book, but the recipe was increased by 6. The two cakes took 3 days to make and I really give credit to Tanis for putting in the effort and having the patience to do it. See here for the recipes!

16 Comments

  • Laura says:

    I love the lamb 5 ways…how long did the prep take for this epic dinner? I love the Il Forno oven in the backyard! Were the cakes “Birthday Cake” and “Apple Pie Cake”? I want to make the Apple pie one for my husband’s birthday in a few weeks…was it worth the effort?

  • Mijune says:

    @Laura – oh!!! I thought I had the names of the cakes down! Oops! it was the “Birthday Cake” and the “Banana Cake”… if you make one, go for the banana cake.. omg… time consuming, but SO worth it! The dinner actually didn’t take them too long because some things were made ahead like the cheese and sausage and everything else like oysters is just shucking and hamachi cutting. The cakes probably took longer than all of the food combined!! Baking takes so much patience!!! In the end it’s gotta be worth it and to me I think the banana cake was 110% worth it!

  • Hmm says:

    Sorry girl but the carcass pic is so unnecessary. We’re no longer cave men and women that must hunt for our food. There are some things that must be left unshown especially if there is is no value in its display. I think it’s your sadistic ancestory at bay here: if it moves eat it. Can’t wait for u to show us a skinned dig or cat carcass.

  • Laura says:

    Thanks for the info…I think I will be able to talk him into the Banana Cake! Did you hit Momofuku when you were in New York? Just wondering how the home made version compared to the real thing.

  • Properfare says:

    Loved having your there Mijune! One good thing about being a Food Person is that those around you are willing to let you take pictures while the food gets cold. 😉 Good point about the kid thing. I work hard to make sure that when food comes out noone is allowed to say it’s gross or weird. They are still picky though in their other ways so you can’t win. 😉

  • Daily Slif says:

    Two words: EP. IC.

  • Michael Kwan says:

    Drool. I love lamb. Pairing it with sashimi and oysters is a little different, but I love those too. 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Daily Slif – hahah

    Michael Kwan – definitely not pairing them!!! It was just the appetizers 🙂

  • Linda says:

    mmmm i still dream of that epic bbq you had last year… all that meat!

    wow, i hope i have friends in the future who love to throw dinner parties because your friends are pretty amazing! I love how much detail they put into their parties! i luv even more that children are able to experience all these diff foods they’re not usually used to! cheers to tanis and dave! 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – Agreed!!

  • Properfare says:

    Hmm: Just read the comment you made about the fact that showing the carcass pic is “unnecessary”. I can’t disagree with you more. SO MANY people think or prefer to think that their meat comes from a package and by doing that we trivialize the fact that an animal gave its life for us. Being a city girl most of my life then moving to our new home where we have a small hobby farm I began to really respect the animals that we raised and became more aware of the importance of treating the meat with respect. By hiding the processes necessary to put meat on our plates, I believe we make room for the unethical treatment of animals and unhealthy food preparation practices because we allow it all to take place behind closed doors. That photo showed that the lamb we served that night was hand butchered by us and was given the respect it deserves. On another note: Its very obvious you live in a first world country as your “Let them eat cake” attitude and life of privilege obviously has made you think you can easily judge those who don’t have the fortunate opportunity in life to choose the filet Mignon or prime cut meats. Many who to eat meats that to us are not desirable don’t do so because they are gluttons and eat everything that moves but do so because are limited to that which is available and affordable. Don’t be so self-righteous.

  • Ruth says:

    Looks beyond spectacular. @properfare – you nailed it! People need to see the documentary Food Inc., to realize how horribly some animals are treated in the effort to feed the population. You will never purchase meat or poultry in a supermarket again. Think about it next time you head to Costco- or choose small local producers who treat their animals respectfully in life and afterlife.

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