Actually it happened on a Thursday or potentially Friday. A colleague of mine asked, sarcastically I’m sure, “Do you have a blog?”
This happened over a month ago. A month of debating, setting the thought aside…forgetting almost entirely. Until yesterday, when I realized all my Facebook updates – the chagrin of my “friends” list – revolved either around what was cooking for dinner, baking in the oven, or happening with Parker (one adorable precocious snowshoe Siamese)
Parker is my kitchen companion. He sits on the breakfast bar – distance enough from where the actual cooking happens – and watches intently. He enjoys the faucet being turned on, pens being left in his vicinity, digging up marigolds in the garden, and chomping on chives, also in said garden. He supervises cooking and then hangs out during the eating, often munching on his own (potentially less tasty) cat food delight.
But enough about the cat. Let’s get to the food.
When I was younger, I painfully remember fumbling through a summer where my mom made my sister and I each cook one meal per week. This lasted two weeks total. Both my dishes involved tomato soup. I was in middle school at the most.
Now, slightly more grown up, and more familiar with the kitchen, my repertoire has increased. Cooking is fun. Cooking should be fun. Low fuss. Small mess (a rule, let’s face it, we all break every so often). Delicious. Enjoyable. Something shared. These are not new tenants of cooking philosophy, nor do I promise new insight on cooking and the many relationships we have with food. I’m just combining two things I enjoy: cooking and words.
Saturday, at the market (aka Sprouts Farmers Market and Fry’s – foodies around the world don’t hate, we all have budgets), I picked up Brussels Sprouts. Fond memories of brussels sprouts I do not have. Well those not so fond memories be damned. Tonight, I tossed them in olive oil, sprinkled some coarse salt, tossed again. Oven at 350. Cookie sheet lined with tin foil (love that easy clean up). 20 minutes. Crispy, salty, earthy deliciousness. Over dinner, we – the two people in this two person, one feline household – decided we’d be purchasing more Brussells sprouts sooner rather than later (read: tomorrow!). As tonight was Sunday, I purchased lamb – an extra special treat in a house that observes Meatless Mondays at least one day during the week and respectfully and budgetarily dines on chicken and pork on other evenings. Find my lamb recipe below:
*please note, recipes and I rarely use each other. Everything is an estimate. At least this time around
2 lamb shoulder chops
2 handfulls fresh, flat leaf Parsley
1 to 2 garlic cloves (your choice. my sister would probably use 3)
2-3 half inch blocks of decent Parmesan cheese (whatever is in your budget, really)
1 generous handful toasted pine nuts (toast in bulk, freeze what you don’t use!)
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil (I prefer Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Oven at 350
In a food processor, pulse the parsley, pine nuts, garlic and cheese together. Add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons olive oil while pulsing the parsley, cheese, nutty deliciousness. Scrape out of the bowl and into a storage container with air tight lid (we call them tupperware around the house). This lets me save whatever I don’t use.
On a clean cutting board, lay out the lamb shoulders. Use a spoon to place a hefty dollop (to preference) onto the meat, and rub in using fingers. Coat both sides. Wash hands (duh).
Heat a nonstick skillet to medium, with a drizzle of olive oil in the pan. Sear lamb 3-4 minutes on both sides. Remove lamb from the pan and place on a cookie sheet (lined with foil of course). Place in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes. The time will differ based on the size of lamp shoulder chop. This evening, mine were large (probably about pound .5 to .75 lbs total). Smaller chops = smaller cook time. Remove from oven and serve, with garnish of raw pesto if you like. Below is dinner, with the Brussels Sprouts mentioned above and some basic couscous.
please forgive somewhat blurry pictures. am still battling with my antiquated camera.