Friday, October 28, 2011

Field trip to Olive Ewe Sheep Farm, in Lowell.

You guys rock.

I love it when you share a new product, ingredient, restaurant opening or special dish.  I love it that we all want to help each other discover.  I love sharing back the wealth of greatness available in our beautiful neck of the woods.

Silja sent me a message the other day.  “If you like lamb, I heard this was a great place…”

Lamb is my favorite special-meal.

Silja rocks.

I am now the proud owner of ½ a lamb.  He/she was born in February of this year on one of the most beautifully peaceful and romantically enchanting farms that I’ve seen in a long time. The Olive Ewe Katahdin Sheep Farm in Lowell. 

It is located just off of Hwy 540 and Hwy 264. 

As I pulled up into the driveway of sheep herder (rancher? shepherd? sheep master?) Todd Stephen’s home, I was greeted with this storybook view.

Out came Todd with his trusty, loyal and majestic-looking sheepherding Pyrenees dog, Juco.

We spent some time talking about his sheep, Juco and his seventeen-acre farm.  The herd even has a godmother, of sorts, whose name is Pinky Tuscadero.  She’s the ringleader and gets her name for an unusual ritual she goes through when she births.  She loses her hair and then gets a pinkish sunburn tint. 

Looks how handsome she is. 

She knows it. Flaunts it.

When I arrived, the sheep were grazing up on the hill.  Talk about a view straight out of the movie, Babe.  If Pinky opened her mouth and talked, I would not have batted an eye.  It would have, somehow, seemed perfectly normal. 

Then Todd said Watch this, watch what they do when I call themWatch their heads pop up and they’ll come running.

Run, they did.  Like the wind!

The last stop of the storybook tour ended with D-Mac, the gorgeous grunting gluttonous potbelly big.  He’s starting to grow his tusks back. 

He’s cocky about that.

You would think my spell check would no longer ask me to confirm the word gluttonous.  Surely it reads my posts and sees how I eat.

I digress.

You were wondering about my ½ of lamb, weren’t you?

Best part of the day… my take-home bounty! 

Soooo happy… that leg of lamb is just in time for Thanksgiving.  Were you around when I shared my family’s famous Thanksgiving Day marinated lamb recipe?

Are you a lover of lamb, too?

The Stephens birthed 35 baby lambs this year and has them butchered locally.  It looks like maybe, just maybe, there may be a bun in the oven for one of the ladies.  A late season surprise.

The Olive Ewe Farm does not have a website but they do have a facebook page.  Head on over there right now and check out their page and “like” it so you can be kept up-to-date on all the happenings at the farm, including pricing and availability.

Go on, do it.

Oh, another thing I learned during my visit with Todd is the easy digestibility of lamb for people with Crone’s disease.  One of his repeat customers has the disease and is unable to eat beef or poultry.  Apparently the fat in lamb is easy for him to consume.  That makes me happy.

Lamb rocks.

I highly recommend you checking this local gem out.  Maybe even split an order with a family member or friend.

My dad doesn’t know it yet, but he’s getting half of my bounty. 

After all, it was he who introduced me to lamb chops, rack of lamb, and marinated leg of lamb.

It’s the least I could do.

Eat well, my friends.  Eat well.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A beet salad to beat all salads.

beets avocado blue cheese apple pear salad Chat Noir beet salad

** Update:  I have since substituted pears for the apples and it notches up the pow! factor **

Mmmm, beets.

You’ve had them before, right?  No, No, I am not talking about the pickled beets that are gratuitously placed on a salad bar or buffet lane.

I am talking roasted beets.  Boiled beets.  Beets cooked overnight in a slowcooker.

Beets that bring out the warmth and depth of all things Fall.

Mmmm, see what I mean?

I’m sorry… did you just say that you’ve never had a beet experience like that?

You’re in for a treat. 

A beet treat.

Yesterday I mentioned how the foods and treats I marveled, ooohed and awhhhed over in travel this year can be easily be replicated. 

Let’s start with the over-the-top flavor explosion experience I encountered at an Upper East Side French bistro in New York City called Chat Noir Bistro.  Dennis and I were having an it-is-our-last-night-so-let’s-go-for-it-foodie-dinner, and this charming slip of a cozy and intimate bistro was just the ticket. 

I wanted to try everything different, you know what I mean, something that I wouldn’t normally have in my oh-so-normal life.

And there it was, on the menu.  Roasted beet salad.

It arrived.  My oh my!  Wasn’t this an interesting dish to behold?

And then, the first bite.  And the next bite.  And the next bite.  It was gone faster than I can write out the next bite.

Gone. Devoured.  Evaporated.

Pure flavor explosion!

Our maitre ‘d was tickled pink over our discovery!  He excitedly told me that he goes home and makes it for himself at night.  And he told me how to make it for myself.

Yeah, it’s that easy to make.

And yeah, it’s that good.

So, thanks to Mr. French Bistro himself, you and I have a new foodie recipe that will impress, delight, and surprise your family and guests.

Chat Noir Bistro’s Roasted Beet Salad
Serves 4


1 apple
1 avocado
1 red beet
1 tablespoon blue cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fine sea salt


1.     Boil water in pot on stove and drop in red beet, skin on.  This should take about 30 minutes.  Insert a knife into the flesh until it easily pushes through.  Side note, You may want to crock pot overnight multiple beets or boil multiple beets so you can have some on hand… for tomorrow night when you will want to eat this again.
2.     Remove beets from water.  Wearing your dishwashing gloves, remove skin.  It will easily come off but yes, it will be messy.  Have paper towels close by.
3.     It is up to you at this point.  I like to put my beets in the fridge and have them cooled for a bit.
4.     Dice up beet and put in bowl.  (Make sure it is a bowl that won’t stain.)
5.     Peel and dice up apple and add to bowl.
6.     Peel and dice up avocado and add to bowl.
7.     Add blue cheese.
8.     Add olive oil.
9.     Toss and add salt to taste.
10.   Dish into bowls or make a beautiful presentation like the Chat Noir Bistro delivered.  Next time I’ve got to do that!

What do you think?  Easy, right?

You may also find yourself making this treat… just for yourself.

Because you can. 

Eat well, my friends.  Eat well.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I am back from two weeks of glorious vacation, with my heart lifted, spirit stirred, mind motivated, and well, refreshed.

Contentedly refreshed.

All summer long I watched my friends head off on summer vacation and I thought Hurry Fall, I need you

The wait was worth it.

I did miss you.

Let’s catch up.

There is so much to talk about. 

And share. 

And the food, the glorious food!  Oh my, you are in for a treat this year!

The foods and treats I marveled, ooohed and awhhhed over in travel this year can be easily be replicated:  smoked fish, snapper tacos, grilled fruit, Cuban-style black bean soup, empanada, cheesy jalapeno grits, and beet salad.

Look for these.  They are coming!

I also have a ba-zillion Northwest Arkansas treats to share with you:  tasting recommendations, burger reviews, everything-else reviews, and fantabulous giveaways.

We live in a beautiful land.

Here’s to Northwest Arkansas and the bounty to be discovered.

Let’s live life to the fullest!

Eat well, my friends.  Eat well.


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