Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Where's My Muse?

It's happening again...
I've hit the creative cooking wall and am dead in the water (to wildly mix metaphores).

This sad state of affairs has been going on for a week, and today is Clay's birthday and I have 10 people coming to dinner. I should be at the grocers or in the kitchen right now, but here I am pounding the keys looking for inspiration on my monitor instead of in a cookbook.

Speaking of which, I just bought Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures. On first scan through, I can see that I will be using this well written, nicely photographed book often. But not today it seems.

In my kitchen at the moment are two (count 'em, two!) legs of lamb. One is bone-in, the other boneless. This is "neighborhood lamb", folks. Comes from our neighbors just across the road. They are herbicide and pesticide- free, grass-fed animals and every year we buy one, cut and wrapped to specs and flash frozen. If you love lamb, as we do, this is nirvana.

And because he loves lamb, Clay wants it for his 50th birthday dinner. So there they sit, defrosting in the kitchen, not speaking to me. Not saying, "Oh, roast me!" "Braise me!" "Grill me!" Nada. I am bereft of inspiration. And not because I don't want to prepare a fantastic meal. I do! I really do. Where, oh where is my muse?

Check out the braised lamb dinner for 6 in the March 2005 issue of Bon Appetit. This is what I've been looking at for a week. It has all the elements of great comfort food, especially on a rainy day such as today. Plus it's elegant enough for a birthday party. I'll report back if I make all or part of the recipes.

Meanwhile, Happy 50th Birthday Clay! I love you. And I've got to get cooking...