Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friday Night, Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb

Here is one that was new to me. I had never made A Rack of Lamb. I went to Whole Foods and I had a choice of American or New Zealand Racks of Lamb, the New Zealand ones were smaller and I think that's the one you might use for an appetizer size and the American ones seemed a better size for what I was doing so I got the American.

Pepper Jack Cheese and CrackersI didn't have alot of time today to spend most of the day coming up with something different and cooking so I made it easy on myself to just do a simple cheese and cracker plate and it did the trick.

Pistachio Crusted Rack of LambReally good. This was in the Bon Appetit December 2008 magazine under "fast easy fresh", which I always shy away from for a Friday Night Meal. But this said it's good enough for a dinner party and the timing was only 30 minutes from start to finish, I thought this would be perfect for tonight because I didn't have alot of time. You reduce pomegranate juice, dried currents and garlic then process it with some butter and spices. Rub it on the Rack of Lamb and press in a combination of Panko bread crumbs and chopped pistachios. Wow, so good!

Pureed Garlic, potato and marscarpone creme
I roasted a whole head of garlic in aluminum foil about 375 for 40 minutes or so. I heated some heavy cream in a pan and added the whole head of roasted garlic and mashed it together, seasoned with salt and pepper and whisked in room temperature marscarpone cheese. I put some boiled Yukon Gold potatoes through a potato ricer and folded in the marscarpone creme and a little cold butter. I finished the potatoes and put them in a small casserole dish then topped with about 2 Tbsp of butter, cover with plastic wrap and place it in the oven on warm. An hour later when I was ready to serve just mix the butter into the potato and serve. I learned that from Ann Burell on FN, she said that's how they do it in the restaurant to keep potatoes warm and ready to go all day.

Roasted Summer Squash
Just cut into angled pieces and roasted at 400 for 40 minutes with olive oil, salt and pepper

TiramisuIt has been a while since I made the real Tiramisu with Marcarpone cheese. I made up my own recipe last year using fresh ricotta cheese and I was making that version for a while. I made this one from Tyler Florance because the reviews were really good. I had to test it because the reason I didn't have alot of time to cook this weekend is because I am catering our Christmas Party at work, my third year doing it. Someone at work has requested a Tiramisu so I said I would make it. So like I said I had to test it and make sure it's not too rum-ee or Marsala-ee for work. I think it's perfect but for work I will use slightly less booze.

Friday Night, Double thick Veal Chops

With all intentions of a NY Strip steak I headed out to Whole Foods Market. Once I was there and looking at the meat case they had these amazing looking double cut veal chops that were on sale, and there was only one lonely NY Strip Steak... I thought...OK, change of plans...

Greek Potato and Almond Dip
I am always looking for different appetizer ideas and this was in the back of one of my magazines and it looked different so I thought I'd try it. It tasted alot like hummus. It has garlic, cooked potato, almonds, olive oil, lemon, fresh bread crumbs all combined in a food processor and spread onto crackers. It was good and interesting.

Double thick Veal ChopsI usually cook any thing like this on the grill but because they were so fat (about 3inches) I wanted to finish them in the oven anyway so I decided to do it all inside. And it allowed me to make a pan sauce with the drippings in the pan which was really good. I seared the veal for a few minutes on each side on the stove top and put the whole pan in the oven for about 15 minutes at 375 until it was cooked to medium. I removed the veal and kept it warm while I added some chopped shallots to the drippings and sauteed a bit before deglazeing the pan with some dry vermouth and reduced it slightly then finished it with cold butter. I spooned the sauce over the veal when I plated it.

Scallion Yorkshire Pudding
I saw these in a magazine and I thought hey that's different, I never make these. I have made them before but it has been a while. I added the scallions to the recipe because I thought it would be a bit more savory with the veal. The recipe calls for putting fat drippings from some other roast (in the magazine) into the bottom of the pop over pan (I used a muffin pan) but because I didn't make that recipe I just put in a bit of olive oil and it worked fine. These came out great and Tony liked them alot, it reminded him of when his mother would make them.

Minted PeasSomething different again. I made a mint pesto, similar to a basil pesto. I cooked some frozen peas in boiling water until just tender, it only takes 5 minutes or so, then I mashed half of the peas into a paste and combined it with the mint pesto then carefully fold the whole peas into the "pea paste pesto". Garnish with a chifinade of mint on top.

Pear Cranberry Cake with Brown Sugar Balsamic Swirl Ice CreamThis cake was good but it really tasted to me like something you may have for breakfast or brunch. The ice cream was really good and interesting. It was so good that I made it again for Thanksgiving to go along with the apple and pumpkin pies that our family brought. You make the ice cream base and it's made with brown sugar, egg yolks and a fresh vanilla bean. Once it is cold and churned in the ice cream machine you add the balsamic swirl which is made by reducing balsamic vinegar from 1/2 cup to 2 Tbsp and it becomes a sweet syrup.