Recently, I visited Harvest Home Farm to play a show in their barn. Owners Mike and Becky Poulos share their knowledge and love with anyone willing to come visit the farm. After the show, they kindly sent me on my way with an arm load of food and a warm, cozy sheep pelt, which I […]
Recently, I visited Harvest Home Farm to play a show in their barn. Owners Mike and Becky Poulos share their knowledge and love with anyone willing to come visit the farm. After the show, they kindly sent me on my way with an arm load of food and a warm, cozy sheep pelt, which I plan to sleep on during the crisp nights of hammocking in the fall.
Among the many items in the cooler of fresh-from-the-farm goodies were some lamb chops and wild blackberries, which I put to use in the following recipe* of my own. Enjoy!
Blackberry Sauce for Lamb Chops
By Scott Troyer
1 qt. Blackberries (fresh or frozen)
2-3 T. Honey
2-3 T. Butter
2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
1/4 c. Onion or Shallot finely chopped
2 t. Dried Rosemary crushed
2 t. Dried Parsley
2 t. Dried Tarragon
Cook the blackberries on medium high heat in a small saucepan until they have broken down and released most of their juice. Mashing them a bit will help release more of the juice too. Strain the berries through a fine sieve over a small sauté pan. Gently press the berries to remove the remaining juice. Reserve the berry pulp for baking or serving over ice cream, yogurt, cereal, etc.
Bring the juice to a simmer on medIum high heat and add the garlic, onions, and herbs. Stir continually to avoid burning. After the liquid has reduced to approximately half add honey until the desired sweetness is achieved. Continue simmering until the liquid is slightly thick (the sauce will thicken as it cools). Shortly before serving add the butter and stir until melted and completely combined with the sauce. Serve the warm sauce generously over freshly grilled or pan-seared lamb chops.
Makes enough sauce for 4-6 chops. Use more or less honey to achieve the right amount of sweetness. Other berries may be substituted. Wine can also replace the berries, in which case the recipe would call for far less honey. Most of the alcohol will be cooked off during the reduction process, so it is safe for children. Fresh herbs can replace the dried herbs and would actually be preferable if they are available. For a bit of showmanship sprinkle a few leaves of fresh tarragon on top of the sauce of each lamb chop.
*I don’t use recipes, but for the benefit of those that do, I’ve put this one together. If this doesn’t fit the MLA guidelines for culinary reference, I apologize; I’m a total hackchef.
Returning to a House Not long ago, Katie, Hoss, and I drove the 21 hour stretch from Florida to Wisconsin. We had been on the road playing shows and recording music for nearly two weeks. We had to hurry back to Wisconsin to drop Hoss off at his apartment before Katie and I headed on […]
Not long ago, Katie, Hoss, and I drove the 21 hour stretch from Florida to Wisconsin. We had been on the road playing shows and recording music for nearly two weeks. We had to hurry back to Wisconsin to drop Hoss off at his apartment before Katie and I headed on to another gig in northern Wisconsin. After what seemed like ages, we finally pulled into Oshkosh. As we made our way toward his place, Hoss said a funny thing:
I live here.
I think we were all struck by how odd this simple statement sounded. Of course he lives here; this is where his apartment is. But why did he live here? That’s what seemed so strange. We had driven thousands of miles, seen hundreds of towns and cities, and stopped at so many places, that it felt completely arbitrary to just leave Hoss here, in this town, a town that looked like all the others. Of all places, why Oshkosh? Why not somewhere else? But then again, why not Oshkosh? Why would any other town be better? Why would anyone specifically call a certain place home? What were we returning to? Whatever it was, we hadn’t needed it for 2 weeks, so do we need it now? In that moment, ‘home’ became a funny concept.
Mom & Dad’s House
Just a few days ago, my mom and dad put their house on the market. That’s a big move (literally) for them. They’re empty nesters – at least when I’m not crashing at their place in between tours. They are looking to find something more suitable for their lives now. I’m excited to see my parents trying something different, challenge themselves, make new connections. Moving after being stationary for so long is going to be tough, like finally walking after being bedridden.
Being the child with the most flexible schedule means I’m most likely to be pitching in to get it ready. I’m awfully daunted by the task of emptying a home that’s been accumulating stuff for 30 years and then prepping it for sale. Maybe an “AS IS” estate sale would be best. Just grab the family photos and make a clean break! Haha. I’m also a bit sentimental about giving up the only home that we kids have ever known. A lot has happened there. It’s been expanded and remodeled countless times to accommodate a growing and changing family of seven. It’ll be hard to let go.
Matt & Natalie’s House
This week I’ve been chilling here with my brother Matt in Indy. His house is a place where any night of the week you’re bound to find half a dozen or more people hanging out, eating, laughing, playing, and just generally living life together. Though it’s just Matt and Natalie’s house, it’s definitely become a home for several people (and a few animals), as well as me when I’m in town. It’s a ragtag bunch of characters whose lives all seem to intersect in a little house in the middle of Indiana and it’s a really beautiful thing.
Last night, as Matt and I sat on the front porch of his house, we talked about the big stuff in life: relationships, careers, church, money, family – a real heart-to-heart brother talk. Naturally, mom and dad’s house being up for sale was a big part of our conversation. We talked about what that home meant to us and what home really is. It made me think of a scene from Joe Dirt, where Joe can’t understand that an old cajun hillbilly is saying, “Home is where you make it.” This is a classic segment from a very funny David Spade movie. Warning: Joe Dirt is rated PG-13.
House ≠ Home
Being on the road so much has changed my perspective on what home means. I know that home is not a house, a building with beds and bathrooms, because I’m beginning to feel at home in most every place these days. Being a traveling musician, I don’t have a house or apartment to call my own. I keep a storage unit for some of the music equipment I don’t use regularly, so technically I’m a renter, but I don’t have a place for me. As lonely as that sounds, there is a certain non-revocable freedom when you realize that home is no longer a place, but a state of mind. Home for me has become wherever I am. As Metallica so eloquently put it:
“Anywhere I roam, where I lay my head is home.”
– from “Wherever I May Roam,” Metallica, Metallica
As Matt and I were talking about this last night, I was finally able to verbalize my thoughts on ‘home.’ I have learned to carry home with me. Home is having contentment, completion, and rest – the feeling that I have everything I need, want nothing more, and am at peace those around me, with God, and within myself. Home is the knowledge that there is no where to go, because here is where I am meant to be.
While on the road, I often camp out in my hammock. It’s a great way to camp because it’s easy, fast, and free. All I need is two trees. When I finally have that hammock strapped up around the trees, a wood fire burning nearby, and my shoes kicked off, I lay back, look up at the sky through the canopy of trees and breathe deep. At that point, I am home. There is nothing more to do, nothing more to get, and nothing more to achieve. I am just a human be-ing. Home truly is where you make it and I’m learning to make it everywhere.