Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spicy BBQ Lamb Rack

If ya feel like being fancy but, ya know, not so much. So good. So easy. Soooooo not so cheap. Ok, a rack of lamb can run you from about $15-25 even higher depending on how much baa you want for your buck (Oh, God, that was painful punny, I'm sorry). But just stow this idea away for a rainy day when you want to make something nice for your boo, or impress a bunch of people, or feel like Uncle Moneybags.

What you need:

  • rack of lamb, get it from a nice grocery store. Not your Kroger or Stop N' Shop. Nay nay, go all out and get it from Whole Foods or something. It'll be a leaner and better cut.
  • Bone Suckin' Sauce, I got the spicy kind, gurggle gurggle, drool drool. This might be hard to find so you can use whatever kind of BBQ sauce you want. But this is better.
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 small-medium size onions, this is to put on top of the lamb while it bakes. This makes the onions soak in some of the BBQ sauce while they caramelize. Nummy.
Alright, now take your lamb out of the packaging, rinse it and LEAVE THE FAT ON! Just do it. You can cut it off later if its so important. Place it in a baking dish of some sort, one with raised edges, NO baking sheets. If you use a baking sheet there will be a mess.

Coat all side of lamb rack with a light, even coat or salt and pepper. Make sure you get the ends and obviously don't waste too much of your time with the bone part.

Next, liberally base your lamb with BBQ sauce. As you can see, mine are laying in a puddle of joy. (Why I used a round dish, I'll never know.) Now's a good time to cut up those onions and sprinkle them around and on top of the lamb.

Here comes the waiting. I think I might have marinated my lamb for about 36-48 hours. Mostly because I kept forgetting. You don't have to marinate that long of course, 4-6 hours will probably do it. Just keep it mind the longer you marinate the better, the juicier. The less you marinate, not so much. But don't keep raw meat in your fridge too long or it will spoil and be nasty as hell.

Whenever you've decided you're done marinating, pre-heat the oven to 400-450. Yeah that's high, but here's kicker, you're gonna leave it in there a while. Like, a WHILE. Check on it after an hour, makes sure it's not burning, but I guarantee you, it's not done yet. Take another hour, nope, still too raw.

Now depending on how your like your meat, you might want to stop at around hour 3. Like I said, at this point it's up to you. I prefer my meat well-done.

After about 4 hours, this is what I came out with. First time ever making something like this, they came out soo juicy. Those are honey butter peas on the side, 1 can peas, 2 TBSP of butter, drizzle of honey. I happened to share this meal with a fervent vegetarian who had never tried lamb before. Unfortunately, I have the appetite of Shaggy and could have easily eaten the entire rack and barely been satiated. Oh, well. Sharing is caring.



Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Italian Style Anchovies, the way my grandparents made them

I know what you're thinking because it's the same thing all of my friends were thinking: Ew.

But that's likely because the only way you're had anchovies is on a pizza or Caesar salad. Lots of people say that anchovies are too salty. Well, you've probably never tried anchovies the way my Nonno (Italian for grandfather). When they're made this way, these little fish become addictive. I've made 3 plates of this stuff in the last week. It's so good, trust me.

So, if you want something a little different or you need a special appetizer or maybe just a snack, this recipe is simple, healthy, and delicious!

Ok, here's what you need:

  • red wine vinegar (a good brand like Star. I bought some Kroger brand red wine vinegar a while ago and it was garbage)
  • extra virgin olive oil (again, a good brand like Filipo Berrio)
  • 1-2 tins of anchovies in olive oil (you can get whatever brand of this you like. I prefer them from a tin rather than the ones you find in glass jars. Anchovies also can also come marinated in olive oil and capers. Never tried that, but I'm not a fan of capers.)
  • escarole (it's like lettuce but different. It's a little thicker, a little bitter, but it goes so well with a nice bite of anchovies)
  • celery with leaves (the leaves of the celery plant are delicate and tasty and also go very well with anchovies)
  • nice crusty bread, crackers, or French rounds (French rounds are those little pieces of crispy bread that you eat bruschetta on)

Now that you have everything you need, you will be astounded at how simple it is to make a plate of anchovies. First, crack open your first tin of the little guys and drain out some of the oil. Have a big clean plate ready and next to you. One by one, remove the anchovies from the tin, and rinse it under cool running water. Place the anchovy flat on the plate and repeat the steps. *If you're using more than one tin, make sure you organize the anchovies so that they all fit on the plate.

Once all the anchovies are rinsed and on the plate, take your red wine vinegar and pour it over the anchovies. You should use enough vinegar so that the anchovies are submerged. Now carefully trot the plate to your fridge (I hope you made some room) and let them sit in there for 2-4 hours.

During this time the anchovies are marinating in the red wine vinegar. I usually leave them in there even longer, like overnight. But that's because I usually forget. Either way you do it, it's a hard thing to screw up.

After your anchovies have been marinating for a few hours, take them out and drain them of the vinegar. Just hold the plate over the sink, carefully tilt it, and try to make sure that none of the anchovies fall off!

Right now, you should have a plate of anchovies and nothing else (maybe a little vinegar residue). Now take the extra virgin olive oil and pour it all over the anchovies so that they're covered with it. Put it back in the refrigerator for another hour or until you're ready to serve it.

When serving, I recommend that you first put some of the olive oil from the anchovy plate onto your nice piece of bread, cracker, or whatever. Then place a few anchovies on there. Garnish with celery leaves and/or escarole.

Personally, I prefer to take a huge bite of the bread and anchovies, then shove half a leaf of escarole in my mouth as well.

I'm not very lady-like, it's true. But hey - I know how to eat.



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lemon Garlic Lamb Chops

I never cooked with lamb until tonight and OH MY, GOD. These are so freaking fantastic. And easy AND cheap which is also important.

Ok, so, I got these three pretty good sized lamb chops for about $5, and the ears of corn were 3 for $1, and the Rice-A-Roni was something like $2-3. So that's a $7-8 meal with leftovers because there's no way you can finish all that Rice-A-Roni in one sitting by yourself.

Now for the recipe!

You Will Need:
  • lamb chops
  • garlic powder
  • lemon pepper
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
  • a lemon

Just take the lamb chops out of the packaging and plop 'em down on a cutting board. Cover each side with an even spread of garlic powder, lemon pepper, black pepper, and salt.

While you're seasoning the chops, get out a frying pan and pour some extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of the pan. I didn't measure anything in this recipe since I was flying by the seat of my pants, but I'd say about 3-4 TBSP of olive oil will do it. Set the heat on medium or medium-high.

Now, take your lemon and roll it around on the counter with the palm of your hand. Press kind of firmly. This with smoosh the lemon and make it more juicy. Cut it in half and squeeze it into the oil.

When the oil is hot, gently place the lamb chops into the frying pan. If you just plop them in there, the hot oil my fly up and burn you. I had to learn that the hard way and now I have a scar on my chin!
In this photo, they're not fully cooked, for me anyway. I don't really like my meat to be bloody. The time it takes to cook really depends on how rare you like your meat:

Rare: 3-4 minutes on each side
Medium-Rare: 5-6 minutes on each side
Medium: 7-8 minutes on each side
Well Done: 9-10 minutes on each side

Mmm, yummy. I ate one of the lamb chops while I was waiting for the corn and rice to cook. But, so, yeah, this was a very filling meal, my friends. And it was soooo good! I was actually startled at how good it came out so I hope you'll like this recipe, too.

Oh, by the way, to boil corn: boil the water first, duh, then corn. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Smother with butter and salt because that's the way it's done. Scrumpty!