Archive for the ‘Cooking & Recipes’ Category

Rack of Lamb

Hi folks!  It’s been a while since I posted anything, the holidays have been busy.  And it has definitely been a while since I posted anything about food.   So here goes!

This year for the holidays Steve and I were going to stick around town.  Some family near by invited us to a Christmas brunch, which was super delicious, so I decided to plan something for Christmas dinner!  Well, laziness ensued that evening and we were still stuffed from brunch and snacking that we didn’t get around to eating a real dinner on Christmas night.  But the day after Christmas was as good a day as any to experiment with making Rack of Lamb!

I did some initial research online on how to cook rack of lamb, what to cook it with, what spices went well with it, etc.  and I stumbled on a few recipes on how to cook the meal.  One of the recipes wasn’t actually a real recipe, it was just a list of ingredients…the sauce sort of told you how to make it, but it didn’t explain how to cook the meat.  So I found another recipe that included some other ingredients that I didn’t particularly want to use, but explained how to actually prepare and cook the meat.  So I improvised my own recipe to create my own Rack of Lamb.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, it certainly turned out fantastic for a first try.  Feel free to change the cooking time too…I cooked mine a bit too long and it wasn’t as rare as I wanted…but still very delicious and juicy.  Oh and the sauce separated…like I said there was no real instructions with the sauce, so I did the best I could, it still tasted great though.  Here we go, lets see If i can remember what I did:

Note:  I didn’t really list amounts for herbs and such, I always just eyeball things or taste it if i can to get the flavor I want.  I wouldn’t put more than 1tb of any herb in with the crumbs though, but its up to you.

Ingredients: (Makes 2 servings)

  • Small rack of lamb (4 ribs)
  • bottle of red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 medium or large red potatoes
  • Beef stock
  • 2 small hand fulls of spring mix lettuce
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 1/4C butter
  • dried minced garlic
  • parsley, finely chopped (or dried)
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Boil a pot of water and a little salt and add the halved red potatoes.  Cook until tender.  They should be ready by the time the lamb is done.

Make Bread Crumbs!  Take the two slices of WW bread and stick them on a cooking sheet or some aluminum foil and stick them in the oven.  Bake them until they are hard all the way through, but not too burnt.  Let them cool for a little bit, then break them into small pieces and stick the pieces into a food processor.  Grind the bread until it makes fine crumbs.  Put the crumbs in a bowl.  Mix in some dried minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  Then add 2tbs of the olive oil and mix everything together.  Set aside.

Next prepare the meat by trimming off as much of the excess fat as you can and set the trimmings aside.  The fat will hinder the taste of the lamb if too much is left on.   Some people leave the entire rack of lamb intact, but I decided to cut them before cooking them so I could bread all sides of each rib.

Take a saute pan and put the remaining 1tbs of olive oil in the pan.  Heat the oil on high until is is hot and then add each piece of lamb into the pan.  Cook each side briefly until they brown.  This should not take more than a minute or 2. Place lamb pieces on a cutting board and use a paper towel to remove any excess oil from each piece.  Turn the heat off on the pan for now.

Take a glass baking dish and grease it with olive oil spray.   Then take your bread crumbs and rub all sides of each lamb piece.  Once you have a desired about of breading on the lamb, place each piece of lamb in the baking dish with the bones facing down.  At this point, if you wish, you can wrap the exposed bones in foil to prevent them from burning in the oven.  I actually forgot to do this, but the bones came out fine.  I will probably do it next time if I use bigger pieces of lamb.  Place the lamb in the oven and bake them for about 20 minutes.  I think mine were in for about 22 minutes and they were a little on the done side.  You can use a cooking thermometer to check the inner temp on a few pieces to cook them to the correct temperature (I don’t have a thermometer though…so I had to guess hehe)

While the lamb is in the oven it’s time to make the sauce!  Now, even though my sauce turned out tasting great, it separated, and I’m not sure why (I’m not an expert cook here)  So feel free to adjust this part of the recipe to make it better :P

Take the trimmings from the lamb and brown them in the pan used to brown the pieces of lamb.  Remove the trimmings and deglaze the pan with 1/2c of red wine.  Then pour a glass of wine in a wine glass and start sipping while you cook :) Add some rosemary and thyme to the wine in the pan and cook down to 1/3rd of its original amount.  Add the beef stock and reduce.  Whisk in the butter and cook until it starts to thicken (mine didn’t get that thick…again I think i messed up here, but I think it is supposed to get a little thick).  You can add some salt and pepper to taste, but I think the butter and beef stock add enough salt to the flavor.

Place the lettuce on two plates, add the halved potatoes, and then place two pieces of lamb over each potato.  Pour the sauce around on the plate and serve hot!

Let me know if there are some better ways to make sauce.  If I make this again (which Steve said should now be a weekly staple haha!) I will do more cooking research on sauces.  Enjoy!

Resources:

http://huntsville.about.com/od/food/ss/TeenCuisine_2.htm

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-to-cook-rack-of-lamb.html

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    Naked Tomato Soup

    The raw food challenge between my co-workers and I has come to a DRAW!  Most of us are going to continue eating more raw foods, but not totally raw.  Me?  I’m making some damn hot tomato soup.  It has very little salt, and no oils, the only fat comes from the parmesan cheese grated on top.  This soup was so good, and I made the recipe up all by myself!  Here is the breakdown:

    nakedtomatosoup

    Naked Tomato Soup

    Ingredients:

    • 4 medium vine tomatoes
    • 1/2 yellow onion
    • 6-8 large basil leaves (or to taste)
    • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
    • 1 6oz can of no-salt-added tomato paste
    • garlic salt to taste
    • pepper to taste
    • freshly grated parmesan cheese

    Skin the tomatoes and cut them into wedges.  Dice the onion into medium size chunks.  Place about half of the tomato wedges, half of the diced onion, basil, and vegetable broth into a blender.  Blend until smooth, then ad the remaining tomato, onion and tomato paste and blend it all together.  Pour the soup into a deep pot, add garlic salt and pepper to taste (I think I ended up using about 1tsp of garlic salt and 1/2tsp of pepper)  and heat it on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.    Portion into bowls, sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, garnish with a small basil leaf, and enjoy!

    This made about 4 cups of soup.

    Since this is my first recipe ever that I made and blogged about, I had to ask Steve what to name it.  He said “Naked Tomato Soup” because while I was skinning the tomatoes I hopped over to him to show him my cutting board full of naked tomatoes!  Hee!

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      Radish, Apple, & Mango Salad

      My new favorite cookbook!

      My first experiment of 2009, a light and flavorful fruity salad.  I was a bit skeptical at first with some of the ingredients being mixed together for this dish, but it came out absolutely wonderful!  I found the recipe in a cook book my mother gave me called Five-a-Day Fruit & Vegetable Cookbook. I have already tried a few recipes from this book and have loved every one so far.  This recipe calls for a mango, which I have never actually purchased or cooked with before.  I believe the mango was a bit un-ripe while I was prepping it, it was a bit difficult to cut and remove from the inner husk, but it still tasted wonderful.  When I make this again, I will be sure to let the mango ripen a bit more.

      Radish, Apple, & Mango Salad

      Ingredients:

      • 10-15 radishes I used 10
      • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
      • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
      • 1 small ripe mango, peeled and cut into small chunks

      For the Dressing

      • 1/2 c sour cream I used light
      • 2 ts creamed horse radish All I had was Beaver, but it worked fine
      • 1 TB chopped fresh dill
      • salt and fresh ground black pepper I used garlic salt because I garlic
      • sprig of dill to garnish

      radishapplemangoingredients1

      1. To prepare the dressing, blend the sour cream, horseradish and dill in a small bowl and seasonwith salt and pepper.

      radishapplemangoprep012

      2. Remove the ends of the radishes and then slice them thinly.  Ad to a larger bowl together with the thinly sliced apple, celery and mango chunks.   Cutting the mango was a bit difficult when it wasn’t ripe, so make sure it is before toy cut it into square chunks.

      radishapplemangoprep023 radishapplemangoprep04

      3.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and fruit  in the bowl and mix thoroughly but gently with a spoon so all of the ingredients are coated with the dressing.  Spoon desired amount onto a plate or bowl and garnish with a small sprig of dill!

      radishapplemangodish

      Ta Da!  This dish was surprisingly VERY delicious.  The combination of flavors was very playful.  The crunchy celery and radish with the smooth and sweet fruity apple and mango was delightful.  I can definitely imagine this as a new healthy and tasty party substitute for potato salad or fruit salad with whip cream.  Amazing!  If I ever have my own restaurant one day this is going in as a side or complimentary starter for sure!

      While chopping the mango, I came across the seed which was something I had never seen before.  It was large and looked like a lima bean and was inside a large husk which I carefully pried open with a knife.  I immediately jumped on the Internet to learn how to germinate and grow a mango plant from seed!

      radishapplemangoprep05 radishapplemangoprep06

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