Early Friday morning, Julius Lentz passed away. He was at home, in his own bed, with his wife by his side. And most importantly, he was in the bustling heart of NYC, the place he loved so well.
Of course it is sad and numbing when someone we adore leaves us. Sometimes it takes months to even begin the process of grieving. But when the person who is leaving us has lived a beautiful, full life and they are very ready to go? When this is the case, sometimes it is much easier for us to be happy for them and stand in awe of how incredible life is. First of all, how amazing to spend 91 years on this planet. Evan and I are trying to celebrate his life and all that he brought to others.
As a lawyer, Julius helped Lord knows how many people. If a client was having financial difficulty and might not be able to afford his help, Julius would figure out a trade agreement. His strong belief in justice prevented him from turning away from people who truly needed his help. When Evan and I visited him one time, the Lentz’s showed me this old wooden clock on top of the television. It was a payment from a client. From what I have heard, because of his big heart, Julius was definitely an underpaid lawyer.
As a grandfather, Julius thrived. Evan was the apple of his eye. Julius had a computer (advanced New Yorkers…what can I say) and would print pictures of Evan and I onto small stickers and send them to us. How cool is that?! Seriously cool.
In honor of Julius Lentz and in celebration of his incredible life, I made Lamb Tangine on Friday night. Bold Jewish food for a proud Jewish man. He would have loved it.
This dish is heavenly and I honestly can’t stop making it. The different textures of lamb, dried fruit and carrots make it really exciting to eat. Every bite has a lovely surprise waiting for you that will make you groan. Cinnamony, sweet, and warm… the thick broth begs to be sopped up with pita bread or hearty rolls. I also served it with brown rice to soak up some extra juices. By the way, have you seen this amazing technique for making brown rice?? No more gooey mess. Pinch My Salt is brilliant!
Lamb Tangine- adapted from The Jew And The Carrot
2 & 1/2 1bs (more or less) of lamb shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium yellow roughly chopped
2 cups of carrots chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 cup dried and halved dates
1/2 cup dried and halved apricots
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Anise seeds
2 Tablespoons Garam Masala or curry of your choosing (tumeric might be good. yummm)
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave or honey
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
In batches, brown your cubed and lightly salted lamb in olive oil. Place in a dutch oven. Now brown your carrots in the same pan with all of those yummy juices. About a minute before you turn the heat off, add the chopped garlic and saute. Spread the carrots and garlic over your lamb. Be sure to scrape the pan well and get all of those yummy bits into the dutch oven. Now add your dried fruit, onions and cinnamon sticks to the dutch oven. With your hands or a spoon, mix everything up a bit. In a bowl (I like to use a plastic cup with a snug lid to shake the be-jesus out of it) combine the broth, tomato paste, spices, salt and agave. Whisk together and pour this concoction over your lamb mixture. Put a lid on that baby, pop it in the oven and cook for 2 & 1/2 hours, or until lamb is cooked through and sauce is thick.
All photos were taken by the creative and very talented Mr. Lentz.