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August 4, 2015

Artful Exploration of Race

By Christine Riccelli

 

If you haven't had a chance to stop by Moberg Gallery's current exhibit, make sure to do so. Curated by Des Moines artist Jordan Weber, "Make Their Gold Teeth Ache" is an intriguing and provocative look at racial inequality and power struggles. Weber's goal is to illuminate African-Americans' "double-consciousness"--specifically, how people of color view themselves through white perspectives while attempting to maintain their identity.

 

We found several works by artists John Sims and Dread Scott especially striking because of both their simplicity and their power. "The Proper Way to Hang a Confederate Flag" (pictured, right) by acclaimed Florida-based Sims consists of a Confederate flag hung on a noose with an auction block underneath. Another work, a banner with the words "A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday" (top photo),  is, Scott explains, "an unfortunately necessary 21st-century update on an NAACP banner from the early part of the 20th century," when a similar flag had the same words except for "by police." Often referred to as as the "godfather of the artist-as-activist" movement, New York-based Scott has exhibited and performed across the country as well as internationally.

Other participating artists are Mitchell Squire from Ames; Rico Gatson, Brooklyn; Eliza Murie, Chicago; and Loren Holland, Elfin Finley and Koshin Finley, all from Los Angeles. The exhibit runs through Aug. 22.

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Lamb Lovers: Head to Whole Foods

By Wini Moranville

 

Lamb legs are more meaty than lamb chops and more tender than the arm.

Really. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

 

When I was staying in a vacation rental apartment in France recently, cooking up my all-time favorite cut of lamb--tranche de gigot d'agneau (lamb leg steak)--I lamented that I have never found this cut back home in Des Moines.

 

Less expensive and much more meaty than a lamb chop, and infinitely more tender than a lamb arm steak, the lamb leg steak is a tender, everyday-priced quick-cooking option for lamb lovers.


Trouble is, I've never seen it in Des Moines.

 

Until, that is, the other day when I went to Whole Foods. Chatting about lamb at the meat counter, I asked the meat pro if they ever had lamb leg steaks.

 

"I can cut them for you," he said, and he gladly sliced two steaks from a leg. I was thrilled, especially when I found their flavor every bit as good as anything I had bought in France.

 

Here's how I cooked them. Note that they're also a good grilling cut.

 

Lamb Leg Steaks with Herbes de Provence

 

Don't confuse lamb leg steaks with lamb shoulder or arm steaks--the latter are too tough for the quick-cooking method here.

 

Serves 2

 

1    10-ounce lamb leg steak, about 3/4-inch thick

2     teaspoons olive oil or sunflower oil

1     tablespoon snipped fresh parsley

1     shallot, minced

1/2  teaspoon dried herbes de Provence

1/2  cup dry white wine

1     tablespoon butter

 

Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the steak in hot oil over medium to medium-high heat until desired doneness (about 7 minutes for medium), turning once halfway through cooking time. Remove from pan; sprinkle with parsley, and cover with foil.

 

Add the shallot and herbes de Provence to the pan and cook a few seconds; add the white wine and boil until reduced by half. Swirl in the butter and continue cooking until the sauce reaches desired consistency.

 

Divide the chop in half and place each half on a serving plate. Pour sauce over the chops and serve.

 

Whole Foods is at 4100 University Ave., West Des Moines; 343-2600.

fyi: Mark Your Calendar

  • A lot of event information crosses our desks, but this first-time festival grabbed our attention: The inaugural India Day will be Aug. 15, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., on the front lawn of Living History Farms. Organized by the Indo American Association of Iowa, the event will showcase the various Indian communities that live in Greater Des Moines. You can enjoy Indian cuisine, live performances, arts and crafts, kids' activities, sports and more. Fun fact: Some 22 languages are spoken in India; Hindi and English are the most common. Free admission.
  • Celebrate hair as a form of contemporary and artistic self-expression at the Big Hair Ball Aug. 15 at the Des Moines Art Center. The event includes an hourlong choreographed runway show produced by local salons and volunteers, live music and more. Presented by Art Noir, the popular biannual event starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50-$85; find out more here.
  • Help support our community's refugees by attending Lutheran Services in Iowa's (LSI) annual "Empower Luncheon" on Sept. 17, from noon to 1 p.m., at Valley Community Center (4444 Fuller Road, West Des Moines). The fundraiser supports LSI's services, classes and programs for refugees. Tickets are $50 per person; purchase them here. If you want to get a firsthand look at how these services benefit refugees, register here to attend LSI's Global Greens' Farm Tour today from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy a potluck meal and stories from refugee farmers. The farm is located behind the Valley Community Center.
Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.
 

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