Sunday, February 19, 2012

How romantic...

(from Giada DeLaurentis)

When I was about 13 or 14, my friend, Kendra, and I were babysitting and, obviously, we raided the fridge.  It wasn't one of the better stocked houses we had visited, but there were a couple of options, amongst them, mint jelly.  Kendra and I looked at each other, bewildered, because mint jelly could not possibly be good on toast.

Fast forward a few years...
My dad has been going to The Sugar Bowl in Gaylord, Michigan since he was 8.  I have been going there for as long as I can remember.  When I finally graduated from the kid's menu, my life improved greatly with the introduction of rack of lamb.  They season it with greek seasoning and grill it so that when you take a bite it sort of crackles and then gives way to such tender, flavorful meat and leaves your lips tasting like greek deliciousness.  And on the side: mint jelly.  Finally it made sense!

Anyway, all this led up to the Valentine's Day dinner menu.  Yeah, I crashed my parents' romantic evening together, but at least I suggested a nice dinner menu.  Crispy Rack of Lamb with Honey and Mascarpone (from Giada DeLaurentis) and Sweet Potato Fries with basil salt and aioli.  The sweet potato fries were also a recipe from Giada, but it's one of those recipes we made once and it was so simple that I have just always remembered it.  

The lamb itself was delicious.  We all agreed that we could do without the sauce.  It wasn't bad, we just like our lamb sauceless.  We are always trying to figure out how to get our sweet potato fries crispy without them getting burned, so this time we tried a little trick with an egg.  There was a slight improvement, but I think we still need to do some tweaking.  

Crispy Rack of Lamb with Honey and Mascarpone

3 (1-1 1/2 pounds each) racks of lamb, trimmed, with 1/4 inch of fat left on meat
1/4 c olive oil
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. herbs de Provence

1/2 c creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 tsp. honey (plus more to taste)
3/4 Tbsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 c mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
salt and pepper

1) Set mascarpone out to come to room temperature.
2) Start grill.  Drizzle lamb with olive oil, season with herbs de Provence and S&P.
3) Cook lamb on the grill, making sure the coals are hot enough to sear the meat and give it a nice crust.  Cook until medium rare (or longer if you're crazy enough to like it that way).  Allow lamb to sit 10 minutes before slicing.
4) sauce: in a small bowl combine creme fraiche, honey, cumin, and mint.  Add mascarpone and stir until combined.  Season with S&P.  Add honey to taste.

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Aioli

sweet potatoes
1 egg white
mayonnaise (or plain yogurt)
lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 350℉.
2) Wash sweet potatoes.  Cut into fry shapes, keeping them all about the same size so they cook evenly.
3) Beat one egg white until frothy.  Toss potatoes with egg white, plus S&P if you would like.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay potatoes out in a single layer, not too close or else they will get soggy.
4) Bake fries until they are getting crispy, turning them halfway through cooking.
5) Meanwhile, finely chop basil, combine with salt, and reserve.  Mince a clove of garlic, combine it with mayonnaise (and/or plain yogurt for a healthier approach) and lemon juice.  
6) When fries are finished, sprinkle them with basil salt while they're still hot.  Serve with garlic aioli.

1 comment:

  1. mmmm. so happy I found your blog. totally following. can't wait to read more. if you get a sec, I'd love if you'd check out mine. It's all about the adventures of a small town girl taking on the LA fashion scene. xo