Good Things.

I have a few really great things to share with you all!

First off, I am proud to announce that The Ethical Butcher has been nominated for Treehugger.com's Best of Green Awards! Please go to the site and vote (you can do so daily), you'll find it in the Food and Health section of the ballot. This nomination totally took me by surprise and I am honored to be considered with established sites like Post Punk Kitchen.
Here's the link, vote every day until April 2nd!!

Second great thing is, I'll be presenting at a trade show next week! The Energy Trust Better Living Show is free to the public and an awesome way to see all the fun and innovative ways that folks are working to make many aspects of our lives more responsible and less destructive. I will be doing a cooking demo and talking a bit about my projects next Saturday, March 27th at 3pm. More info about the show in the link below. I'll be preparing and handing out samples of some beautiful Icelandic lamb from Dolce Farm and Orchards. Please come, check it out and taste some delicious local lamb!

Third, I am working on setting dates for a yet-to-be-named East Coast tour this Fall. I already have dates set for Toronto, Montreal and Brooklyn and am looking to add either Philly or DC to the list. On the left coast, I'll be hitting San Fransisco, LA and Ukiah and of course more events in Seattle, Tacoma and Portland. Keep posted, I will do more detailed calendar of dates soon.

Last, but not at all least, I have joined PBS in a timely, important and hopefully momentous project. On April 21st, the popular PBS show, POV, will be screening Food, Inc. nationally. As part of their 'Host a Potluck' project, they are encouraging families and friends across the country to come together, share healthful food, watch the film and discuss the issues. POV has selected a few sustainable food blogs to provide recipes and is holding a contest for the readers of each blog. Host your potluck and then fill out the form on POV's site to be entered to win lots of fun prizes!

I have included my recipes below and invite you all to take part in this nationwide event. This is really the first time the entire country will get a chance to get some sense of the reality of the damage that our food system has caused to the earth, animals and people. I will hosting a potluck myself this weekend and will post photos and video as inspiration. The evening of April 21st, 2010 can be a turning point in the minds of many Americans. The problems are real and we must begin to address them together to make any real changes. This may be the first step.

Here are the recipes I have sent in to POV, please feel free to tweak them to your liking. Comfortability and confidence in the kitchen are invaluable. Few recipes are written in stone, experiment and find out what works for you. You will see that I have included recipes for pork, lamb, chicken and two great sustainable seafood choices.

Recipes from The Ethical Butcher for PBS POV 'Host a Potluck' 2010
*all recipes for 8 people*

Tea and Plum Roasted Rack of Lamb and Spring Citrus Salad
with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

2 racks of lamb, frenched
2 tbs Earl Grey tea leaves
1 cup strongly brewed Earl Grey tea
1.5 tbs 5-spice*
1/4 c. and 2 tbs. plum chutney or jam
kosher salt as desired

1 tsp sichuan/szechuan peppers--berries of prickly ash
1 tsp. star anise
1/2 tsp cinnamon or cassia bark
1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp white pepper

For the best flavor, let this marinate for 4-12 hours. Sprinkle salt, tea leaves and 5-spice powder onto racks and rub in. Place racks and loose tea/spice mixture into shallow container. Cover and refrigerate.

When ready to prepare, set oven to 500 degrees F. Remove lamb from fridge. Pour on chutney and spread all over rack. Set racks bone side down on a baking sheet. Allow lamb to warm at room temp while oven preheats. In a small dish mix brewed tea and chutney, set aside. Once preheated, place sheet into oven for exactly 8 minutes. At that time, immediately turn oven down to 325 degrees F. Open oven and brush or pour about 1/3 of glaze on racks. Return to oven and allow racks to roast for 8 to 12 minutes. Check for desired temp:

rare-135 degrees
medium rare-140 to 150
well done -165

Allow racks to rest a few minutes before cutting. Cut between every second rib bone, each rack should yield 4 of these double chops. Serve with a fresh and acidic side, like this Spring Citrus Salad.

handful of spring salad mix (arugala, frisee, baby lettuces)
2 heads radicchio, julienned
4 heads baby bok choy, julienned
4-6 kumquats, very thinly sliced
1 cup very fresh snow or sugar snap peas, trimmed and bisected diagonally.

1 pink grapefruit, zest and juice of
1 blood orange, juice and pulp
1/4 c olive oil
2-3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely diced
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
kosher salt as desired

In medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and citrus juices. Once emulsified, add pepper, grapefruit zest and shallot, whisk to incorporate, adjust acidity to your liking by adding more vinegar then salt as desired. Place rinsed salad greens in large salad bowl. Add rest of ingredients and vinaigrette, toss.

Oysters with Pomegranate-Blood Orange Mignonette

16-24 local oysters, on the half-shell*

2-3 dried guajillo peppers
2 blood oranges, juice of
1 teaspoon pomegranate syrup, can sub pom juice
1 tablespoon kirschwasser
pepper to taste

Slice guajillos into 1/8th inch strips, put the slices of skin and seeds into a medium mixing bowl. Add pomegranate syrup, kirschwasser, juice and optionally, pulp of blood orange. Taste for balance and adjust to your liking. Pepper to taste, the oysters provide plenty of saltiness. Let mignonette sit for about an hour before serving. Spoon a small amount onto each oyster before eating.

Almond Grilled Rainbow Trout with Thai Coleslaw

4 farmed rainbow trout, boneless butterfly-cut*

almond rub-
2 tbs tamari
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 c ground almonds
1 tsp sriracha chili paste
2 tbs sesame chili oil
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
scallions, bias-cut

In a medium bowl, whisk together tamari, sesame oil and sriracha, add garlic, ginger and almonds, mix. Set aside. Pat fish dry, with fish closed, rub skin of entire fish in olive oil. Lay fish skin side down on a cutting board or baking sheet. Pat flesh dry. Spread mixture over flesh of each fish. Grill fish skin side down on medium-high for 7-9 minutes or until flesh is easily flaked with a fork. Serve with a slice of lime and scallions.

*Farmed Oysters and farmed Rainbow Trout are two of a few species on MBA Seafood Watch's "Super Green List". This distinction is given only to those species that are on MBA's "Best Choice" list for sustainability, high in Omega 3's and low in contaminants like PCB's. These are the fish we really want to eat!

1 head green cabbage, julienned
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
2 limes, juice of
1/2 tbs red chili flakes
1 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbs chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste

Place julienned cabbage in large salad bowl. In medium bowl, whisk together vinegar and lime juice then add herbs and chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Toss dressing with cabbage.

Woodland Herb-roasted Pork Shoulder
with Pan-seared Brussels Sprouts

5-6 lbs bone-in pork shoulder
1 1/2 tsp. chopped pine needles, from the green tips of new growth.
1 tbs. lavender
1 tbs. juniper berries
2 tsp. chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp ground star anise
1 tbs fresh sage
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 tbs. kosher salt
white pepper

whiskey-maple glaze for basting-
1/3 c. maple syrup
2 tbs. whiskey
pinch lavender
pinch pepper

May be marinated up to 3 days, the longer the better. Place shoulder in large bowl or on large baking sheet. Pour maple syrup over entire shoulder, making sure to get in all crevices. In a small bowl, mix kosher salt and all other ingredients, rub on shoulder in same manner as maple syrup. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-36 hours.

Remove from fridge and allow to return to near room temp while oven heats to 350 degrees. Once shoulder has lost its chill, heat a large preferably cast-iron skillet. If you do not have a pan that can go from stove to oven, you'll need both a skillet and roasting pan.

Heat the skillet on medium-high and when hot, place shoulder in pan fat side down and sear to a dark caramel. Sear on both sides then place shoulder fat side up. Baste with small amount of glaze. Move skillet from the stove to the oven, or move to roasting pan and then oven if necessary. Roast to 175 degrees F, about 3 hours. During last hour of roasting, baste shoulder in glaze every 10-15 minutes. Baste with remainder of glaze immediately upon removing from oven. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

brussels sprouts-
6 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
blk pepper

Blanch and drain brussels sprouts. Oil pan, add sprouts cut side down and heat to medium-high. Sear sprouts for 8-10 minutes until well-browned then add garlic. Toss sprouts and garlic, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes tossing frequently. Serve.

Fig-glazed Chicken
with Shaved Fennel and Apple Salad with Dukkah-Mint Vinaigrette

2 whole chickens
16-20 dried figs-rehydrated in madeira or port
1 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
2 cloves garlic slivered
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp blk pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat 350 degrees F. In large bowl whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add figs and surrounding liquor as well as garlic, mix. Quarter both chickens, place in roasting dish and pour mixture over all pieces. Cover plan and roast for 30 minutes, remove top and continue to roast for 40-50 minutes. Let rest before carving.

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
handful arugala
1 lemon, juice of

In large bowl combine sliced fennel and apple, toss in lemon juice. Add arugala, toss in mint vinaigrette and dukkah just before serving.

1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cider vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, whisk. Adjust to taste.

2/3 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts on ungreased baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, allow to cool. In dry skillet, add sesame seeds, cumin and coriander to pan and toast on high for about 4 minutes, stirring or shaking pan almost constantly. Grind hazelnuts, toasted spices, salt and pepper in food processor until a paste is formed. Can be used as dip with olive oil added, sprinkled on salads, vegetables and meats.

Enjoy and let's make April 21st the day America got smarter about the production and consumption of food!


Icelandic Lamb and the Guard Llama

There are days, where I think to myself "I have the best job ever!". Sometimes it's the moment I look around a room of full of happy diners I have just fed, but most predictably, it is the drive to and from local farms that makes me feel the most content in my work. The personal experiences and connections that are formed truly have a deep impact on me. Being able to see with my very own eyes the conditions that the animals live in and meeting the farmers themselves is an integral part of the philosophy that drives me. My sourcing is always with small and local farms, so I have promised myself that I will visit every single farm I source through. I have been to the local slaughterhouse many times and will continue to do so in the future. I feel proud to be able to stand on my morals as I build my business and reputation in food. Integrity is key in this battle. We have gotten so far off the track, even our attempts at fixing the problems have caused their own (organic farmed salmon, anyone?). The concessions that many "natural" and "organic" markets make to ensure profits and growth are anathema to the true idea of sustainability. By setting out my standards now, I will continue to let my ethics, morals and respect to guide my choices. Respect for the animals we eat, the land, air and water on which we depend and the people that produce our food should be the driving force. I can swear to the quality of life on every farm I use. I have no compunction about not using popular and lucrative but irresponsible items on my menus. I will not apologize for the true cost of locally produced meats and will always support small, local farms. When people ask why I chose the name "The Ethical Butcher", this is my answer.

My promise to visit every farm I source through is not a tough one to keep. The sort of farms I visit are not stinky feedlots crammed with filthy animals. Quite the opposite, my visits take me to pristine farms buried in picturesque rolling hills of vineyards and orchards, golden fields of wheat and the Oregon beauty that we are privileged to enjoy. I am greeted by guard llamas and turkeys before I even shake hands with the farmer, who is always warm, welcoming and eager to show me around. The hospitality is always unmatched as we share food and stories.

My visit last week to Dolce Farm and Orchards was no different. Annie Kosanovic Brown opened her Willamette Valley wind-powered farm and home to me and a friend who was visiting from NYC. We surveyed her land, she pointed out the acres of Italian plum trees and hazelnuts planted back in the 20s that surround the house and fields of animals. Annie then invited us in, we first entered the kitchen, drawn in by aromas of citrus and spices. The stove was packed with pans busy stewing lamb shanks and awaiting the spread Annie was soon to prepare for us. We headed out to the fields to meet everyone, including the purpose of my visit, her Icelandic sheep.

Prized for their wool as well as their meat, this breed is over 1,000 years old! It was a staple for the Vikings-the pelts, fleece, wool of the Icelandic had much to do with their success as the Viking made sails, ropes and clothing from this breed. The meat is the most tender, delicate I have ever had the pleasure of eating. As we approached the field, guard llama #1 sat judiciously near the gate, charged with protecting the ewes and ewe lambs. We were granted access and entered the field shared by the ewes and a flock of Delaware chickens. Dozens of eyes watched us as the ewes contentedly chewed their cud and ewe lambs played in a pile of hay nearby. We peeked into the chicken house and found a few freshly laid eggs for our lunch and said goodbye to the ladies. We were once again eyed by guard llama #1 as we left the field and headed down to meet the rams and ram lambs. The Icelandic sheep is known for its dramatically curled horns, which grow in toward the face in a large corkscrew. The ram with the biggest horns stood out right away. Mr.Salty's imposing figure was only emboldened by his bright coat as he watched us walk by, his field was guarded by guard llama #2, Bella. There's an ironic story behind that name. One that can only really be understood if I tell the story in person. Let's say she's a bit like the ugly duckling, but different, and if I see you around, ask me to recount the tale. I digress...

We continued on to meet the ram lambs, one of which is to be the lamb for my upcoming lamb events here in Portland. They were skiddish and turned their backs to us, so I only got a glimpse. I watched him for a while. It is these moments of clarity and accountability I am fortunate to have in my post-vegetarianism. Here I am, encompassed by this incredible farm and looking at the happy lamb frolicking with his lamby friends who will in just a few weeks be laying on my table awaiting my first cut. It is a surreal thought that I can not aptly articulate but wish every omnivore could have.

After meeting everyone, Annie suggested we head back inside for lunch. We had no idea of the splendor that lie ahead. Over hours of conversation we leisurely enjoyed mutton summer sausage, mutton fresh sausage with white wine and garlic, an omelette with fresh herbs from the garden, tomato-orange braised lamb shanks and butter biscuits with Annie's homemade Italian plum jam and chutney and a mind-blowing carrot flower honey she got a local beekeeper.
Carrot honey, enough said. After lunch, Annie showed us the pelts, raw fleece and handspun yarn that Annie makes and sells from her farm. Brings that whole "head-to-tail" idea home.

Annie's generosity was matched only by the quality of the food she shared with us. And I am so excited to be able to share this fine, delectable lamb with people over the two events I have coming up. Lamb is a wonderful alternative to beef, has a much lower footprint and little waste. Not to mention it is just plain delicious. If you think you hate lamb, chances are you have not had good, locally pastured lamb. Grain-fed lambs take on an unnatural amount of globular fat that tastes horrible and over-cooking often makes lamb tough. Good pastured lamb is some of the best flavored meat I have tasted. This particular breed just ups the anty. I love starting with whole animals and this will be my first foray into serving offal, this dinner promises to be absolutely filled with tender lamb goodness.

Here is the menu and more info:

Friday,March 5th 730pm-Heritage Breed Supper Club: Icelandic Lamb
*10% off for those who attended the first Heritage Breed Supper Club, email for details.

savory lamb baklava and stuffed dates
pita, labneh & tabouli
tea, 5-spice and Italian plum roasted rack of lamb
cocoa rubbed spareribs glazed with aleppo pepper and orange
dukkah* loin chop with roasted fennel and mint coulis
*dukkah is a mixture of hazelnuts, sesame seeds and many spices ground finely to a paste. delicious.
lamb tangine with candied pumpkin and herb-pistachio rice

$28/person, 2 for $50 SOLD OUT!!!! SOLD OUT!!!!
Guests encouraged to provide personal beverages. Limited seating.
609 SE Ankeny Unit A
Portland, OR 97214