Pistachio Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
I adore rack of lamb. It is one of my favorites. This was my first time making it at home. It turned out so good! I will definitely be doing it again, with some tweaks of course. One note – it is essential to have a meat thermometer on hand to determine doneness. I ended up having to put some of the chops back in the oven for a few more minutes. Not a big deal.
- 2 racks of lamb (remove some of the fat cap if there is a large amount, but you need some fat to sear it)
- Salt and pepper
For crust –
- ¾ cup pistachios (shelled)
- ½ – 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Coriander seeds (I put a small amount in the middle of my palm, maybe ½ tsp, then did it again)
- Rosemary – maybe ½ – 1 tsp
- Green Peppercorns ( ½ tsp)
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Mix all except the mustard in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste. I added a tiny bit of olive oil to help it come together. (I made the mistake of adding the mustard to the food processor. I should have spread the mustard on the lamb and then added the spices as a crust. My crust while delicious fell off when the lamb was sliced)
- Heat a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet to very very hot. Sear the lamb fat side down for 4 – 5 minutes until nicely browned. Flip and sear another 2 -3 minutes. Remove to a baking sheet.
- Coat the meaty side of the lamb with the mustard. Then pat ½ the spice paste onto each rack of lamb.
- Roast the racks of lamb in the preheated oven crusted side up for 15 – 20 minutes. The internal temperature should be:
¨ Rare: 120-130
¨ Medium Rare: 130-140
¨ Medium: 140-150
- Loosely tent the racks with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice chops (single or double, your choice) and serve on a warmed platter. They cool very quickly.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Radicchio, and Fried Capers
(Taken from Anne Burrell, with modifications)
I would definitely make this again but I would substitute maybe endive or red cabbage for the radichio. Or use more cauliflower and less radicchio. I like the bitterness of radicchio but it was a bit much for the family. The original recipe called for adding Perorino but I was making this with lamb so I omitted the cheese and instead added a bit of honey to mellow out the dressing and ease the bitterness of the radicchio.
- 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup capers, patted dry
- 2 radicchio, cut into chiffonade
- ½ – 1 tsp Rosemary
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add the cauliflower florets to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and toss. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until the cauliflower is very brown and crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to a large bowl and reserve.
- Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil. The oil should be about 1/8-inch deep. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the capers. As the capers cook they will open up and start to look like little flowers (very cute). Fry the capers until they are crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the capers from the pan, dry them on paper towels and season with salt immediately. (Go LIGHTLY on the salt, capers are already a bit salty but you did rinse them so a bit of salt is needed)
- Toss together the cauliflower, capers, and radicchio. Dress the salad with lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and rosemary.
It was also served with a simple quinoa that had some red chili flakes, salt, pepper and a little rosemary to tie it all together. Oh, and a really nice red wine.
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The weather last week was crazy. Mother Nature couldn’t make up her mind whether it was Winter or Late Spring. It was rainy,damp and cold which to Jeff and I means soup weather. My only request was that he make a soup that was creamy. This is what he came up with. Everyone here loved it and we are looking forward to making it again.
- 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ White onion (roughly chopped and caramelized)
- 2 Celery stalks (roughly chopped and sauteed)
- 2 Carrots (roughly chopped and sauteed)
- 7 Whole cloves of garlic (left whole and sauteed with onions)
- 6ish tomatillos, roughly chopped and sautéed
- 2 medium/small Batata
- 1 Poblano (chopped and sauteed)
- zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 1 Lime juice
- Oregano (leaves from 3-4 8” sprigs)
- 3 Haass Avocados
- Cilantro to garnish
- Vegetable broth (1 box – 1 qt)
- Heat olive oil in soup pot.
- Add onions and whole cloves of garlic. Saute until caramelized. This will take some time. Let them sit a bit before stirring. Watch so they don’t burn.
- Once the onions are caramelized, add the carrots and the celery. Saute until they begin to brown.
- Remove all the vegetables from the pot. Add the poblano pepper and saute for several minutes to soften and lightly brown.
- Remove the poblano pepper.
- Add the tomatillos to the pot. Saute until they just begin to break down and release the liquid.
- Add all the sauteed vegetables back to the pot.
- Stir in the vegetable stock.
- Add the chopped batata, lime juice, lime zest and the oregano.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and add the chopped avocado.
- Let cook an additional 5 – 10 minutes.
- Run the soup through the blender at puree in batches. If necessary, add water to thin the soup to your desired consistency.
- When completely pureed, place back in pot and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve garnished with Cilantro and plain yogurt (or sour cream/creme fraiche/crema)
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Oven roasting vegetables brings out the natural sweetness that lies within. For Passover we roasted fennel and caullflower both to be served at room temperature with a simple dressing. It went over quite well with our guests. Last night I roasted up a head of red cabbage. So good! The outermost leaves got a bit charred so we just tossed them but the inner leaves turned soft but not mushy and were just sweetened a bit from the roasting. The core softened to the point where my husband said it was like eating bone marrow…soft, tender and delicious. This will definitely be making a repeat visit to our dinner table!
Roasted Red Cabbge
- 1 head red cabbage, cut into wedges
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Place cabbage wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Toss with oil to coat all sides of the cabbage wedges
- Season with salt and pepper
- Put in oven and cook for 20 – 30 minutes. Depending on the size of the wedges.
Feel free to add whatever spices or herbs you wish. I did sprinkle mine with some red pepper flakes. A splash of apple cider vinegar and a bit of brown sugar would be a nice idea too. Somewhat of an homage to German style Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage.
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Several friends have been praising the benefits of Kale to me for a while now. We’ve had it a few times and it has been ok, nothing earth shattering until last night. Roasted kale chips. How could I have not tried these before? They were ridiculously simple to make and so well received by the family that we will be including them in our regular meal rotation for sure.
To make them –
Separate the leaves from a bundle of kale. Wash and pat dry. Remove the thick stem from the middle of the leaf and tear the leaf into small pieces. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Add some olive oil to toss them with, making sure that all leaves get covered with the oil. Salt and pepper to taste. I used a generous pinch of kosher salt and a few twists of pepper from my grinder. Pop them into a 375 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes. They will be crisp, airy and slightly browned.
The kale can be heaped onto the baking sheet, don’t worry about trying to make it a single layer. It will reduce down when it cooks.
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Sadly no picture but this was so delicate and yummy you should make it anyway. We had some leeks in the fridge that were beginning to look sad so I wanted to use them before they spoiled. We also had some boneless chicken breasts and a bottle of Chardonnay. That gave me all the inspiration I needed.
Chicken with Leeks
1 large leek (this leek was fatter and dirtier than any I had ever seen!) sliced into thin round slices and washed well
1 lb boneless chicken breasts (2 whole cutlets and 2 tenderloins)
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 – 1 cup white whine
1/2 tsp paprika
1 small handful chopped Italian Parsley
dash salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in medium-large saute pan over medium heat
Add leeks and a sprinkling of salt. Cook about 10 – 15 minutes until leeks are soft and tender. Stir occasionally.
When the leeks have softened and are just beginning to brown add the chicken directly on top of the leeks.
Salt and pepper to taste
Add 1/2 cup white wine.
Cook the chicken 8 – 10 minutes then turn over and cook another 8 or so minutes. If the pan looks dry, add a little bit more wine.
Add the parsley and the paprika.
Once cooked on the other side, transfer to a platter. Be sure to include all the leeks. You could deglaze the pan with more wine and make a pan sauce but I just poured the liquid over the chicken and called it a day.
There were almost no leftovers. Just a tiny piece of chicken and a spoonful of the farro. Not a single brussel sprout.
Served with: Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts which were super easy: cut sprouts in half, place cut side down on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Roast in oven at 350 for 30 minutes or so and Farro. Farro is an ancient grain that is very nutty in taste and looks a bit like barley. See here for more information about it.
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Lemon Balsamic Chicken, Maple Basil Coleslaw and Oven Roasted Potato Slices
Not too bad for a Tuesday night. The chicken is one of Hannah’s favorites and the potatoes are a family favorite. I wrote about a variation of them here. Onto tonight’s dinner.
The chicken. So easy.
Sorry about the fuzzy picture
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used 1 1/2 small lemons)
- 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (Two Peter sized handfuls picked right out of our garden)
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients except for the chicken.
- Take a gallon ziplock bag and place the chicken breasts in the bag.
- Pour approx half of the balsamic vinegar mixture into the bag.
- Squeeze the air out and seal the bag. Now mush it around to get all the chicken covered.
- Stick this in the fridge for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the chicken and saute 5 – 7 minutes per side.
- While the chicken is cooking place the remaining balsamic mixture into a small saucepan and gently simmer. Stir occasionally and let reduce by about half. It should become thick and syrupy but be careful not to burn it.
- Once the chicken is done, plate it and pour some of the reduced sauce over it.
Maple Basil Coleslaw
My mom makes a wonderful cole slaw using honey and apple cider vinegar. I was going to make that the one night but Jeff suggested trying maple syrup. I did and it came out wonderful. Very easy and a nice change from your typical coleslaw.”
- 1 head cabbage
- 1/2 green peppers
- 1/2 orange bell peppers or 1/2 red peppers
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- Core the cabbage and cut in half. Take each half and slice into the thinnest slices possible. Cut those slices into thirds. Each piece should be between one to two inches long. I don’t like my cabbage shredded but I also don’t like extra long pieces either so I do it by hand.
- Seed and slice the peppers into thin slices as well. (I cheated this time and just chopped them)
- Combine the cabbage and the peppers in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard and maple syrup. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add to the cabbage and mix well to ensure that all the cabbage is coated.
- Chop the basil and add. Mix well.
- Refrigerate to allow all the flavors to mix. I prefer to let mine sit overnight in the fridge.
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I didn’t want this post to be super long so I am breaking it up into pieces. This piece will feature the chicken. I asked the kids whether they would prefer chicken with lemon and olives or with tomatoes and honey. They voted for tomatoes and honey. Between the internet and the many cookbooks we have at work I was easily able to find a recipe that would work. I used this one for inspiration.
Chicken with Tomatoes and Honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 10 plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded. (I used 10 from a can of plum tomatoes)
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1/3 cup honey (I used Dutch Gold Wildflower, it’s my current favorite)
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1 One-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep, wide sauté pan that has a tight-fitting lid.
- Brown the chicken pieces on both sides and set aside on a plate.
- Sauté the onions in the same oil until soft and translucent (5-7 minutes).
- Reduce the heat and deglaze with 1/2 cup chicken stock, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon.
- Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften, stirring every once in a while.
- Add the saffron and honey. Stir well to dissolve, then add the cinnamon sticks and ginger.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pot, making sure they are covered with sauce.
- Turn the heat down to simmer and cover the pan with the lid
- Cook about 40 – 50 minutes, until the chicken is done but not dry.
The kids liked it a lot. Jeff said it was good but nothing extraordinary. I think I will work on it to improve it but I enjoyed it.
Moroccan Inspired Potato Slices
Found these on Food.com (a GREAT food site!). This recipe was the one that I used but as usual I made some changes. Not many but I will write the recipe out for you. These were so good. Everyone agreed that they were delicious, like homemade spicy potato chips. They are a “keeper” for sure. You could change the flavor profile easily by changing up the spices. If you wanted to make them more Italian, then you could use oregano, red pepper flakes, thyme and marjoram maybe with a little garlic. If you wanted more of a Mexican flavor then you could use some chili powder and garlic. It is a great basic idea to keep in mind for a different potato side.
- 3 – 4 baking potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground tumeric
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp red chile pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Don’t peel the potatoes
- Slice the potatoes into thin slices, about half the width of your fingernail is what the recipe said. ( I have to confess that I wasn’t all that careful and my slices were not even at all. But it was okay in the end.)
- In a large bowl, combine the oil and the spices. Put the potato slices in the bowl and make sure they get completely coated with the mixture.
- Place all the slices on a cookie sheet. (I used my silpat mat over a cookie sheet so they didn’t stick. Parchment paper will work here too)
- Bake for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown.
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