May 15, 2012

Dad's Delicious Lamb Loin Chops

Mmmm...  marinated lamb chops... What could be better?  Here's a recipe from my Dad, lamb marinated in red wine, onion and garlic, and can you believe it, powdered ginger?  We had these for Mother's Day with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and peas, what a treat!  My Dad was inspired to create this recipe after seeing a Persian friend of his marinate lamb in shredded raw onions.

Dad's Delicious Lamb Loin Chops
1 cup red wine
3 cloves garlic
1 medium yellow onion (quartered)

2 Tbsp. oil
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2-3 lb. lamb "t-bones," also called loin chops (they look like mini porter house steaks!)

Using a blender, combine the wine, garlic, and onion.  Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, allowing the dried spices to combine with the oil.  After allowing to sit for a few minutes, add to the blender.  Puree!  In a dish or a large enough zip lock plastic bag, combine the lamb and the marinade.  Use your hands on the outside of the plastic bag to cover the meat well, or, if in a dish, use a fork to move the meat around to get it nice and coated.  Marinate overnight- we marinate ours for roughly 24 hours.

When you're ready to cook these beautiful little chops, remove them from the marinade and discard it.  You may pat them dry with paper towels.  Salt the lamb one more time before grilling.  We cooked ours on the big green egg at a fairly high temperature (roughly 450).  We cooked them for 3 minutes on the first side, then 6 minutes on the second- which was sufficient to bring the internal temperature up to 130-135, which is relatively rare, but not extremely rare.  We like to use a digital meat thermometer, if you don't have one of these, you should consider getting one- what's nice about these is that you don't have to reset them in a glass of ice water the way you do with some dial thermometers.  Don't have a big green egg?  Use your oven at a similar temperature and use your thermometer to tell you when they are done.  These were a big hit with our son, who kept saying 'more steak!'  While it's not steak, a win is a win in getting a toddler to eat things that are good- so who's going to argue with him?  Yes sir, more steak.

Enjoy! What a great treat for summer grilling season!


May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!  We welcomed our little girl last weekend, hooray!  Everything went well, thankfully.  Here are some pictures- she is wearing a bonnet that I knitted for her and a garment called a 'day gown' that I also made for her- it is my first attempt at smocking.  If you're unfamiliar with smocking, it's a sewing technique that uses gathers that are then held in place with embroidery thread.  I have plans for more elaborate smocking in the future...

In the hospital, I was very fortunate to receive wonderful food brought to me by my family.  All the things I have missed eating while pregnant!  On the first day, there were baguette sandwiches with robiola cheese and fennel dry cured salami and prosciutto, absolutely wonderful!  On the second day, there were croissants with rare roast beef thinly sliced, with arugula, freshly cracked pepper and a hint of dijon and mayonnaise.  Since coming home from the hospital, my darling husband made hanger steak (rare!) with homemade bearnaise and french fries- we love this meal, we eat both the rare steak and the french fries with the bearnaise.  The fresh tarragon really makes this sauce divine!  Tonight, my father is making lamb chops that have been marinating in red wine, rosemary and garlic on the big green egg.

Here is our bow!  I was unfamiliar with this tradition until we lived in the South.  If you are unfamiliar with the tradition as well, when a baby arrives, a large, beautiful bow is affixed to a mailbox or other outdoor item to celebrate the birth.  It's such a standard that when I hadn't put out our bow for our little boy right away, I got several concerned emails asking if everything was alright!  A beautiful way to decorate your home and celebrate your family's exciting time!

I hope your mother's day is filled with fun, family and good food!

May 4, 2012

The Little Black Dress of Chicken

The Little Black Dress of Chicken...  yes.  Seriously, this chicken is good hot, good reheated the next day for lunch, good cold, good in a sandwich hot or cold, and good cut up as part of chicken salad.  Now what other chicken can say that?!  I have mixed feelings about chicken, as most of us probably do.  Chicken breasts can be so tasteless, dry, or too thick, and I often only get excited about the coating...  What if there was a chicken dish that gave you more surface area with a delicious coating while staying juicy and sufficiently flavorful?  Look no further, your chicken has arrived!

The Little Black Dress of Chicken
Chicken Breasts
1-2 eggs (beaten)
1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
onion powder
unsalted butter
olive oil

To begin, cut your chicken breasts horizontally so that each chicken breast half has been cut into three equally sized pieces (cut like a deck of cards, not into strips).  Place each piece under wax paper and pound using a mallet (the flat side is fine), until the thickness is uniform.  This will take different amounts of pounding, depending on the thickness of each piece.  You want them about 1/4-1/3" thick.

In a pan over medium-high heat- and I should qualify this here- our new home is charming, but the stove and oven are a relatively old Viking and the heat is SERIOUS.  So when I put my burner, which is a serious gas burner on medium heat, that is probably more like medium-high.  So, when I make this, it's just on medium heat, but if you have an electric range, or reasonably tame gas burners, you may want to use medium-high heat.  Back to the chicken!  Take about 1-2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, and 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil and melt in the pan.

Let's get our chicken ready!  I put the eggs into a bowl and beat them.  On a plate, I mix the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg and onion powder.  Feeling nervous about how much?  This is a good guideline- for about 1/2 cup bread crumbs, use about 1/2 tsp. salt, a little less than that of pepper, and about 1/4 tsp. each of the nutmeg and onion powder.  Mix the breadcrumbs and the spices together.  Coat each piece of chicken in the beaten egg, then the breadcrumb mixture.  Working in batches, cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, and add more butter and olive oil as necessary when adding a new batch.

This was a hit this week with my husband, myself and our little boy, who ate about 1 1/2 pieces himself!  It was also delicious for lunch the next day.  We ate ours with mashed potatoes and some roasted sweet potatoes, but you can eat yours with anything you like!  This can also be prepared ahead of time and either cooked right before you eat, or reheated (or not) when it's time to eat.  Enjoy!