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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Valentine's Day Honeymoon Quasi-Re-Creation

Ms. Garlic and I never go out for Valentine's Day, which even if you can get into your restaurant of choice tends to involve prix fixe specials that are inferior but substantially more expensive than the restaurant's typical menu.  And a restaurant meal budget can get you some very fancy ingredients for a home meal, so we prefer that.

Back in February, I made rack of lamb for the anniversary.  I use Thomas Keller's recipe, which reminds me of our honeymoon (we spent part of it in Northern California, and while Keller's most famous restaurant is far beyond our means we did eat at the much more affordable and still excellent bistro Bouchon.)    I pretty much follow the recipe as is, although as with most restaurant recipes about half the butter in the rub works fine.  You combine anchovy, garlic and butter with a mortar and pestle (or food processor -- we did the former, thanks Ms. Garlic for the mortaring and pestling!), add bread crumbs and herbs.  Sear the rack of lamb for a couple minutes, cover it with a mixture of Dijon mustard and a little honey, and then cover with the bread crumb mixture.

From here, we used a tablespoon of the lamb fat to brown some fingerling potatoes, which conveniently roast for pretty much the same time as the lamb.  For the other vegetable side, we made broccoli in a matter similar to this recipe, only 1)peeling the stems is a massive pain in the ass that yields very little benefit to me, but YMMV; 2)I add a minced shallot as well as the garlic; and 3)I use half dry vermouth and half water for the boiling liquid.

This year, we did splurge on the wine a bit -- again advantage of a home-cooked meal! -- and got the Merry Edwards Pinot Noir.  It's the first glass of wine I had on the Napa part of our honeymoon, and it's fantastic.

Every meal is terrific with Ms. Garlic, but this one is extra terrific.

Finally, let me add that if you roast with any frequency this is the BEST THING EVER.  It gives you the temperature as you go, and it's always reliable.  The other meat thermometers I had gave accurate temperatures maybe half the time, which is useless.  This one works. 

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