thursday night smackdown, downstairs, i wish.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I've probably mentioned Thursday nights before. That's when this amateur big band rehearses in the basement of our building for about 19 hours straight between 7pm and midnight. Last week we made a pact to go out to dinner every Thursday night from now on until the end of time in order to avoid ever hearing their "smooth but shitty" sounds ever again, but tonight An Insurmountable Obstacle materialized and now I am sitting at my dining room table listening to Blue Bossa over and over and over and over and over and over.

Very much like the video above, with about the same level of grating, amusical pointlessness, but with 12 people playing 1 instrument each badly instead of 1 dude playing 2 instruments badly. Except they've also got a drummer. And an electric bass player, for which there's no excuse whatsoever.


You may not take me for a Top Chef watcher, but I am one. Even though every season I try not to be one...it pulls me back in regardless. I'm not like a real fanboy or anything, but I did think that Stephanie's lamb dish with braised pistachios sounded like something my teeth would enjoy. So just in case the world ends and Bravo goes off the air, I'm putting her recipe right here for safekeeping.

I've made a couple of modifications to this based on what little I know about the English language: these recipes, it's as if whoever transcribes them is doing so while being chased by a pack of hungry werewolves, the screaming transcriptionist frantically typing on their Blackberry device with one hand while rummaging around in their pockets for a silver bullet sandwich with the other hand...


roasted lamb with mushrooms, braised pistachios, and blackberry gastrique.

1 rack of lamb, removed from bones (reserve bones)
2 tbsp yellow miso
thyme to taste
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 pint blackberries
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
Salt to taste
1/4 lb mushrooms
2t olive oil
1 tsp butter
pepper to taste
1/4 cup manzanilla olives, minced
1 shallot, minced

Clean silverskin from lamb and rub with miso and thyme. Let sit overnight. Brown bones in the oven. Meanwhile in saucepot, brown onions and garlic. Deglaze with red wine and let reduce. Add in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and 1/2 pint blackberries; let simmer. Add in browned bones and reduce to nappe (um, which means "to coat the back of a spoon" in Chefspeak. Come on, people). Season and strain.

Place remaining blackberries in nonreactive pot with white balsamic and sugar. Reduce to thicken and strain.

Place pistachios in remaining chicken stock; season with salt and simmer until nuts are softened.

Break mushrooms into bite sized chunks. When time to serve, saute mushrooms in one teaspoon each olive oil and butter, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Wipe miso off of lamb, season and brown all sides. Place in oven for a few minutes then let rest. Mix together olives, shallot and remaining olive oil.

To serve, place mushrooms on plate. Top with sliced lamb and spoon of tapenade. Place a few pistachios on each plate. Pour spoonful of sauce on top and drizzle with blackberry gastrique.

Serves 8.


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