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Emigh Lamb and Last of the Summer Tomatoes: A Recipe
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The lamb and tomato video is up on IG right now. IG close friends is for paid subscribers only. Remember to check out the step by step video of this week’s featured recipe, lamb and tomato, in Instagram Stories. Will be available until 9PM Pacific. If it’s not there, just remind me in my DMs and I’ll post it again for the people who may not have been able to catch it in time.
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SAZON IS SOLD OUT!
Thanks to everyone who is still purchasing and word of mouthing the B&B blends. Our sazon has sold out for the third (fourth?) time! We still have a limited supply of adobo in stock, so make sure you’re stocked up.
Good News: More achiote is on the way and we’ll be replenishing the supply.
Bad News: This will be our last replenish until 2024. So, if you’re thinking of purchasing for the holidays, you better catch this Pokémon fast!
The rains came early this year. Right on the first of September, giving us a sneak peek to the wet winter that’s in store. It rained just enough to send my neighbors into squeals as they bolted out their back door to collect all of the clothes on the line they’d hung the day before.
Delicate drops fell from the sky and turned the asphalt black. Mami and I drove the backroads near the town of Terminous where the roads and waterways become a perplexing entanglement of rivers, sloughs, lakes, bays, freebays, estuaries and confluences.
This portion of the river road might actually be the original road just being held together by the patches of tar. The narrow road is rough and bumpy from being washed out and washed over, sending the car (and its passengers) into an involuntary two-step. The narrow road getting you closer and closer to the onshore wind turbines and their mammalian companions…free roaming sheep.
The Emigh (pronounced “Amy”) family has been in the Solano County area since the 1800’s. Now split into two separate companies, Emigh Lamb and Emigh Livestock.
Emigh Livestock: Combine cattle and sheep operations on a commercial level by raising Wagyu-bred cows, Angus-bred cows and breeding ewes. Richard Emigh’s grandson, Ryan Mahoney, is the president and CEO of R. Emigh Livestock. They raise around 4,000 lambs per year for the nearby Superior Farms. Superior Farms is the largest lamb company in the United States.
Emigh Lamb: Richard’s son, Martin Emigh, runs Emigh Lamb with his two daughters, Catie and Sarah, and his son Eric. They sell their lamb direct to business and direct to consumer. Their ethos also seem to be a little more esoteric, something most chefs seem to love.
Either way, both companies have been in the Emigh family for four generations and both raise Rambouillet/Suffolk cross lambs in the dry hill ground that’s now known for wind farms. Only 30 miles away from my hometown.
The Emighs breed Rambouillet ewes to Suffolk or Suffolk/Hampshire cross rams to create great quality lamb. The mother sheep have their lambs in the dry hill ground. After a few weeks, they’re moved down to the alfalfa fields with their lambs, where they’ll feed on a combination of the land and legume grasses like clover and trefoil. And that’s all Emigh’s sheep and lamb eat.
The lambs are sheared of their thick wool during autumn so they’ll gain more weight and be more comfortable (not weighed down) during the wet winter months. In Spring the lambs are weaned from their mothers and kept on the irrigated pasture to grow until they are about 11 to 13 months in which they are ready for harvest. Each week they’ll hand select the lambs for the following week’s harvest.
Why 11-13 months? There’s no flavor in a young lamb under 10 months old. And there’s too much of what some would say is the wrong flavor in a lamb that’s older, that’s when the meat starts to get what people describe as “gamey.” The USDA classifies lamb over 12 months old as mutton. I personally don’t mind mutton or the pungent taste, but it’s a no-go with my partner.
You can try Emigh Lamb’s product at Frosty’s in Dixon, where they serve the Emigh Lamb Burger; 1/3 lb Emigh lamb patty, Manchego cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion and red pepper mayo served on a brioche bun.
We don’t eat enough lamb. Maybe you do. I don’t. And I love lamb. Sometimes the lamb chops are wrapped in plastic, a “Pick 5 for $25” sticker slapped on it, waiting patiently for some nice family to take them from the Lucky’s meat department to their forever home.
Richard Emigh passed away peacefully in his home in May 30, 2023 at the age of 93.
LAMB AND TOMATO STIR FRY RECIPE
1 large zucchini, small dice
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large heirloom tomato
1 pound of lamb, thinly sliced*
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons sofrito
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
Splash of sugar cane vinegar, like Datu Puti
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Sriracha, to taste (if you can find it!)
3 leaves of recao, optional
2 handfuls of fresh Thai basil
Cut your zukes into small dice and set aside. Cut your onion into thin slices and set aside.
Cut your tomato in half. Cut one half into a rough dice, this is the half you’re gonna mush. Cut one half into large chunks. Set both aside.
In a 10’’ stainless or cast iron skillet, over medium high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in your zukes. Saute for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan. Add in your sliced onions and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. It’s ok if they brown.
Add in your sliced lamb, your roughly diced tomatoes and sofrito. Start mixing and mashing the tomatoes down, ensuring all the juice goes into the pan. If you’re a salt hound, this is where you’d add your salt and pepper, but I personally didn’t add any salt or pepper to this dish.
Add in your soy and fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and sriracha. Toss until combined. Saute just until meat is brown. The whole thing should take 5 - 10 minutes.
Tear recao/culantro leaves directly into the pan. Throw whole basil leaves directly into the pan. Combine.
Add your zukes and the rest of the tomatoes back to the pan. Combine. You just want to warm the tomatoes through.
Serve with white rice or lettuce cups.
* You could also use beef or chicken. And if you can’t find it thinly sliced wherever you buy your meats, maybe consider purchasing something similar to Great Value Seasoned Sirloin Beef Philly Steak or Gary's QuickSteak Pre-Sliced Sirloin Beef for Philly Steak