I love lamb.
Lamb is such a great protein and an excellent source of essential amino acids, zinc, vitamins B12 and B3, and is relatively low in fat once it’s trimmed. Can’t beat that! As a huge fan of lamb, I’m always looking for new recipes to try out. I’ve recently adapted a quick and easy mustard crusted rack of lamb recipe from Emeril Lagasse and made a few small changes to make it my own. Since I’ve prepared it a number of times now, I can vouch that it is absolutely delectable.
Quick tip: Rack of lamb can be expensive to purchase however, if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, go there first for their excellent New Zealand rack of lamb. I always prefer organic, grass-fed, and local but, if it comes down to buying a $15 rack of good quality lamb versus a $40+ rack of organic local lamb, you can guess where I’ll be spending my money.
(click on pics for a larger view)
- 1 rack of lamb, trimmed (about 1.5 lbs) – if you have to trim the fat yourself, make sure to use kitchen scissors
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (I prefer whole grain Dijon for better texture and flavor)
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 1/4 cup of seasoned bread crumbs (I prefer organic panko )
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan (Do not use the stuff in a green canister! Grate fresh Parmesan yourself) (continues…)
My Special Guest Chef, Ryan Gromfin, trained at and graduated from Johnson & Wales Culinary School and has been a professional chef for over 12 years. Chef Ryan has worked at a number of 5 star hotels and restaurants, including the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. After years of working in fine dining establishments, Ryan is now applying his culinary expertise and experience to restaurant development and operations in the Central Coast area of California.
The Best Thanksgiving Turkey…EVER!
First of all, I wish people would cook turkey more often than just on Thanksgiving. If you choose to prepare your turkey using my method you will see that you don’t need to cook your bird for 8 hours, taking up the entire oven, and basting it every 20 minutes. It also doesn’t need to take up all the room in your fridge for 3 days. I gave up cooking whole turkeys many years ago because I hate dried out white meat that needs cranberries and gravy just so you can swallow it. I also decided a few years back that, as much as I love cooking Thanksgiving, I also enjoy spending the time with my family rather than only in the kitchen. Along with everything else included in my Thanksgiving menu, my turkey is prepared a day or two before, and only needs about 2 hours to cook. The trick is cooking the legs/thighs separately from the breast. This turkey carves easily, presents beautifully, tastes amazing, and guarantees success.
One Week Before Turkey Day: Unless you insist for other reasons, flavor doesn’t require that you buy an heirloom or organic turkey for $4.00/lb. But nor should you use one of those free turkeys you get for spending $100 at the grocery store. Order a fresh turkey from your butcher a week before Thanksgiving. It can have been previously frozen, but just make sure it has not been brined or has had any added water. If you’re not experienced in butchering birds, ask your butcher to separate the leg/thigh quarter from the breast and remove the rib cage from the double breast. Make sure to leave the bones in and skin on. Also, make sure the butcher saves the neck bone and rib cage (cut in 4 pieces). He can keep the liver, heart, and other trimmings. (continues…)
Foodie Friday is my newest weekly series about all things food. What does food have to do with a parenting blog? Everything. Other than love and shelter, children rely on us to nourish them well and help them grow healthy and strong. Food fuels the body and feeds the soul. I love cooking almost as much as I love eating. I will be sharing my own family recipes as well as advice and recipes from professional chefs. Foodie Friday won’t just be about recipes. I’ll be discussing other aspects of food, such as sociopolitical issues related to food and American food culture, in general. As I dish about dishes and feed your mind, I hope you work up an appetite for some good eats!
To get this Foodie Friday started, I need to discuss my most important icon for all things foodie and fabulous. I’m talking about none other than The Barefoot Contessa.
Ina Garten is the Barefoot Contessa and if you’re not familiar with her, please set your DVR to the Barefoot Contessa program on Food Network. What I love most about Ina’s cooking style is that it’s simple and elegant. Sure, her recipes tend to lean in the hearty (read: fattening) comfort zone, but she can also whip up delicious recipes that are very healthy and lean. Her lemon and garlic roast chicken (minus the butter and bacon) has become a weekly staple in my house. I found myself watching her program years ago and I became fixated on her approach and cooking demeanor. She also has this soothing and reassuring voice, as if to say, of course you can cook that! Some people take issue with her suggestions for “good” products only, such as “good” olive oil or “good” salt, which I take to mean expensive. She also always suggests homemade chicken stock. As much as I value her culinary opinions, I also value my time and wallet much more. I buy decent quality products that aren’t expensive and I buy chicken stock.
Ina is not a formally trained chef and it shows. But that’s what I like about her since I’m not either. Ina just really loved to cook and throw dinner parties, so she gave up her career working as a budget analyst in the White House to open a specialty foods store and catering service in the Hamptons. It became so popular that eventually Food Network sought her out for her own cooking show. As Ina would say, how fabulous is that?!? (continues…)