You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.

I know I’m a little behind on this one, but I had to share what we ate for Valentine’s Day. I hope you all had wonderful meals this V-day but if not, call a do-over with this dish. Or maybe come up with another reason to celebrate. President’s Day perhaps?

Do whatever you can to justify spending $20 on rack of lamb for two because yes, it was THAT good.

It was so delicious I dreamt about it all night after eating it. That probably makes me a weirdo…or maybe it was the red wine. Either way…moving on!

Image

First, let me say I was impressed that Turbo even thought of Valentine’s Day. Can’t remember the last time we officially recognized the Hallmark holiday with anything other than a card and maybe a peck on the cheek. But to his credit he asked me the week before what I wanted to do. We both decided that rather than get a babysitter and fight the crowds downtown we’d prefer a nice dinner at home (after Fuss went to bed of course).

I wanted to do something other than our go-to steak dinner, so after some Epicurious searching, I landed on this rack of lamb recipe. We both love lamb (especially at Canyon Grill or Boccaccia) but I always assumed cooking it was way over my head. Thank heavens for Epicurious reviewers who convinced me that not only was this dish doable, it was pretty hard to mess up. Score!

We fixed it with roasted red potatoes and lemon roasted broccolini. Both are VERY simple to make. Just chop about 5-6 red potatoes into bite-sized chunks and toss in olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. (I used some leftover fresh rosemary from the lamb recipe). Then coat broccolini in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast both in 400 degree oven (potatoes for about 25 minutes and brocollini for about 8-10). Just before serving broccolini give it a quick coating of lemon juice.

For the lamb, all you do is mix up a simple herb mixture…

Resist the urge to dredge a piece of crusty French bread through the middle, brown the rack of lamb in oven-safe skillet then coat with Dijon mustard and the herb mixture…

Then return to skillet and roast in the oven. Simple to make and phenomonally good. (And a fraction of what it would cost in a fancy restaurant).

Here’s the printable lamb recipe:

Herb Roasted Rack of Lamb (2 servings)
adapted from Gourmet, July 2006 courtesy of epicurious.com 

For lamb

  • 1 (8-rib) frenched rack of lamb (1-1/2 lb)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For herb coating

  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tablespoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard, for coating

Brown lamb:
Heat a dry 12-inch, oven-safe skillet over high heat until hot, at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, pat lamb dry and rub meat all over with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot skillet, then brown rack on all sides (not ends), about 10 minutes.

(NOTE: I thought it looked like it was overcooking so I shortened it to about 6 minutes. Hindsight I think 10 would have given it a darker, crispier crust, but it was still delish).

Transfer meat to plate.

Coat and roast lamb:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Stir together garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and oil. Brush meat with Dijon mustard while still hot, and coat meaty parts of lamb with herb mixture, pressing to help adhere. Return to skillet and roast 15 minutes, meat side up, then cover lamb loosely with foil and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 120°F, 5 to 10 minutes more. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. (Internal temperature will rise to 125 to 130°F for medium-rare while lamb stands.)

NOTE: I didn’t have a meat thermometer, so after about 5 minutes I cut into it to check. It was way underdone (probably because I shorted the browning time) but after about 8 more minutes it looked great and I skipped the tenting step. Again, this is really hard to mess up!!!

Happy eating everyone!

Advertisements

Greetings!

No, I didn’t die. Shew, you can all relax. 🙂 I’ve just been procrastinating – one of my specialties – because I’m no longer on the MSPI diet and many of my meals are chock full of dairy.

There! I said it! I’ve gone to the dark side. But, that also means there’s a light at the end of the non-dairy tunnel.

But today I have a post hopefully we can all enjoy —- de-cluttering the pantry! Maybe “enjoy” isn’t the best word…but let’s just go with it for now. This is how my pantry looked before. (Warning: Type As and those sensitive to clutter might want to close their eyes…)

A few close-ups for the full effect…

Clearly I had a problem. So when Nate Berkus highlighted a pantry re-do, I was riveted. Here is this amazing woman’s post on it. She is an inspiration.

Warning: I’m not nearly as crafty as Dina and my pantry doesn’t look half as pretty, but I’m still very happy with it. Maybe one day I’ll paint it something other that blasé beige and order those adorable “Wallies” things. (See procrastination reference above).

Anyway, this is what it looks like today…

Since I didn’t purchase the Wallies yet, I labled everything in Photoshop so you can tell what’s what.

I have really deep shelves and three really deep corners that could mean a lot of wasted space. I solved it with 12″ Lazy Susans (already had) and by putting jars or other holders behind pretty baskets. Like this….

Skinny wall shelves also helped corral a lot of small clutter…

And the IKEA shelves tucked into the former no-mans-land are where I keep everything else, including extras of anything or if all of the cereal doesn’t fit into it’s cute little container.

Ahhhh-mazing. I can actually SEE what I’m getting low on and I don’t hate opening my pantry door anymore. Woo hoo!

Oh, and it’s still Fuss’ favorite place to play peekaboo….

While I was at it, I also tackled the area under my stove. The shelves are so deep, I swear if I ever didn’t feel like cooking I could crawl in there and hide until Turbo ordered a pizza.

Things get lost, I have to stand on my head to reach anything, and pot lids would always come tumbling out every time I reached for anything. This is it before.

Now after:

Here’s a brief overview of what it took to get the job done:

1. Measuring

2. Measuring

3. Shopping trips to IKEA and The Container Store

4. More measuring.

My problem was that I needed to make sure I had enough of the clear jars, and both stores are an hour and a half drive, so there was no swinging back by if I forgot something. I also didn’t want to completely clear my pantry and leave it a total mess for several weeks, so I did a lot of arranging in my mind. For the record, I don’t recommend my method.

Once I hit IKEA though, all of my obsessive measuring paid off. I did it in under an hour! I swear that place is like Facebook…had I not been meeting someone for brunch I could’ve burned HOURS. This is what my cart looked like…

Chock full and under $200. I was so happy; I wanted to hug a Swede.

Here’s my shopping list for both projects, which costs a little less than $300:

PANTRY:

Wall installed shelves, The Container Store
Expand-a-shelf, The Container Store
Assorted SLOM jars for dry goods, IKEA
Clear plastic containers, IKEA
Antonius Wire Drawer Sets, IKEA
Assorted baskets, Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale
I already had the Lazy Susans in the corner, but they’re available at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as IKEA

UNDER STOVE:

Pot Lid Rack, The Container Store
Expandable Wire Shelves, The Container Store

Happy De-cluttering Everybody!