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Spring Mustard and Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops with Goat Cheese Polenta and Port Raspberry Sauce

9 Apr



This recipe is PERFECT for a Spring dinner party, Easter or Passover celebration. It is shockingly good. My own mother said it was one of the best meals she’s ever had. And, she can cook! The combination of nutty pistachios, sweet raspberry sauce, delicate lamb and tangy goat cheese. You’ll say OMG the entire time you enjoy it. I promise.
This comes together very quickly. I wouldn’t serve it for a large crowd because the lamb requires attention to temperature but it’s the perfect meal for a small intimate gathering. Enjoy!
Spring Mustard and Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops with Goat Cheese Polenta and Port Raspberry Sauce
For the raspberry port sauce
  • 1 cup Port wine
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the goat cheese polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
For the lamb chops
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon dijion mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 rack of lamb, Frenched (about 1 pound)
  • Salt and Pepper
For the sauce

In a sauce pot over high heat, combine port, raspberries, vinegar, sea salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by 3/4 and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Cover and set aside until needed.

For the polenta

In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, bring water to a boil. Once boiling slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking. Reduce heat to medium and continually whisk for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and add olive oil and goat cheese; stir. Taste and add any additional salt if necessary. Cover, reduce heat to the lowest setting, and set aside until needed.

For the lamb chops
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios, mustard, garlic, and rosemary until finely chopped. You can also do this by hand with a knife. Poor pistachio mixture onto a plate.
Season each lamb with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sear in a large cast iron skillet until brown on both sides. Smear the pistachio mixture on top of the rack. Put into the oven until the meat registers 130 degrees (rare). This will take less than 10 minutes. Watch it carefully!

Brown Butter Yeasted Waffles

31 Mar



Happy almost April! I’m so excited to have a week of sunshine and warm weather. I’m investing in grass seed, baseball tickets and long walks with Winston through the neighborhood. I hope you are as excited as I am to get outside and enjoy the change in season.

Last week, I missed National Waffle Day but got some inspiration for a Sunday morning waffle breakfast with strawberries, turkey bacon and espresso. These waffles are super rich and buttery. I enjoyed mine with pure Alaskan Birch Syrup! Open the windows this weekend and enjoy waffle making. Your neighbors will smell the brown butter all the way down the street.

Yeasted Brown-Butter Waffles

  •  3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  •  2 cups warm whole milk
  •  1/2 cup buttermilk
  •  2 tablespoons sugar
  •  1 1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoon)
  •  1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  2 large eggs
  •  1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •  Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  •  Pure maple syrup (for serving)

Melt 3/4 cup butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not burn), 5–8 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl; let cool.

Whisk milk, buttermilk, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in flour and brown butter; cover with plastic wrap and let batter sit at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.

Heat waffle iron until very hot. Whisk eggs and baking soda into batter. Coat waffle iron with nonstick spray and pour batter onto waffle iron, spreading it to cover surface (amount of batter needed will vary according to machine). Cook waffles until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Garlic and Rosemary Pork Roast

20 Mar


Today was beautiful. Yet, they are calling for snow on Tuesday. I can’t handle it. But, I’m surviving on freezer “iron chef” meals on these terrible weather days. I recommend stocking up on a couple roasts for the freezer to save for rainy days. This is the perfect recipe for a day when you don’t want to get dressed or leave the house. You will have to venture through the neighborhood for a rosemary plant. You won’t regret it and the pork is perfect for sandwiches (hello, Cuban sandwiches) the next day.

Garlic & Rosemary Pork Roast 

  • 4 pound pork loin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475°F.
In a bowl, stir to combine garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt, lemon zest, and pepper.
Evenly spread the mixture over the pork loin and place in a large baking dish or roasting pan.
Place it in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 425°F and continue to roast for 1 hour until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 155°F.
Allow to rest on a carving board for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Double Dumpling Recipe

13 Mar


About a month ago, my friend and coworker Dabney, hosted an interactive dumpling class at The Greensboro Children’s Museum Edible Schoolyard. It was really fun and laid back. And it also reminded me how much fun making dumplings can be with friends and plenty of wine.

Here are two easy recipes for dumplings.

Make a night out of it! And don’t blame me for the mayhem.

Pork & Cabbage

  • 2 pounds ground pork, minced in a food processor
  • ½ small head Napa cabbage, cut into chunks
  • 1 large head garlic, separated and peeled, minced in a food processor 
  • 1 4” piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks the size of the garlic cloves, minced in a food processor 
  • 4-6 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2-4 Tbsp sesame oil

Mushroom & Tofu

  • 3 cups cabbage, shredded on large holes of box grater
  • 8 ounces tofu (any firmness), crumbled
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

For the dumplings, buy at least one package of dumpling wrappers per recipe.

Both recipes are simple. Using your hands, combine ingredients until well-mixed.Place filling in wrapper and pinch to form an octagonal dumpling or press in a dumpling maker. Pan fry over medium heat with a dash of oil or just steam to serve.

Truffled Fontina and Mushroom Pizza

6 Mar


I’m not really sure if truffle oil is still trendy, but it is sure still delicious. It seems to make a lot of ordinary things really special – from popcorn to pasta to pizza. Ok, maybe those are all carbs and delicious on their own …but still better with truffle oil.

This pizza is a riff on a delicious offering at Wolfgang Pizza in Greensboro. With a glass of wine and a side so marinara, it makes the perfect meal. My friends and I experimented making our own and it was a big success. This recipe couldn’t be easier and was really delicious. Don’t forget the truffle oil!

Truffled Fontina & Mushroom Pizza

  • 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 pound cold Italian Fontina (or Taleggio), rind discarded and cheese sliced
  • 1 teaspoon white truffle oil

Put a large heavy baking sheet on lowest rack of oven, then preheat oven to 500°F.

Stretch out dough on a lightly floured surface, pulling on corners to form a roughly 16- by 13-inch rectangle. Transfer to a tray lined with parchment paper. Lightly prick onto hot baking sheet. Bake until top is puffed and pale golden in patches, 6 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven; prick any large bubbles with a fork and flatten. Scatter mushrooms over crust, then season with salt and pepper and lay cheese on top.
Bake pizza until edge of crust is deep golden and cheese is bubbling and golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with truffle oil (if using) and season with pepper.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

18 Feb


It sure ain’t Spring yet. So, I keep looking for great healthy and hearty recipes to warm up to on the weekends. This recipe for Baked Eggplant Parmesan was a great find and extremely exceptional.

This is not the super heavy and greasy eggplant parmesan you are used to at the cliche Italian restaurant. This recipe is time intensive but healthy, just as crispy as the traditional fried, savory and light. I really encourage you to make it!

Keep up the momentum and get sledding to spring!

Cooks Illustrated Baked Eggplant Parmesan 

  • 2 lbs globe eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (2 medium eggplants)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 slices high-quality white bread, torn into quarters (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 generous tablespoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaf, chopped
  • 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella (2 cups) or 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, torn for garnish

FOR THE EGGPLANT: Toss half of eggplant slices and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in large bowl until combined; transfer salted eggplant to large colander set over bowl. Repeat with remaining eggplant and kosher salt, placing second batch in colander on top of first. Let stand until eggplant releases about 2 tablespoons liquid, 30 to 45 minutes. Arrange eggplant slices on triple layer paper towels; cover with another triple layer paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt.

While eggplant is draining, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions, place rimmed baking sheet on each rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor to fine, even crumbs, about fifteen 1-second pulses (you should have about 4 cups). Transfer crumbs to pie plate and stir in 1 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside. Wipe out bowl (do not wash) and set aside.

Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in large zipper-lock bag; shake to combine. Beat eggs in second pie plate. Place 8 to 10 eggplant slices in bag with flour; seal bag and shake to coat eggplant. Remove eggplant slices, shaking off excess flour, dip in eggs, let excess egg run off, then coat evenly with bread crumb mixture; set breaded slices on wire rack set over baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant.

Remove preheated baking sheets from oven; add 3 tablespoons oil to each sheet, tilting to coat evenly with oil. Place half of breaded eggplant on each sheet in single layer; bake until eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with wide spatula after 20 minutes. Do not turn off oven.

FOR THE SAUCE: While eggplant bakes, process 2 cans diced tomatoes in food processor until almost smooth, about 5 seconds. Heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and garlic is light golden, about 3 minutes; stir in processed and remaining can of diced tomatoes. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes (you should have about 4 cups). Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE: Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Layer in half of eggplant slices, overlapping slices to fit; distribute 1 cup sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Layer in remaining eggplant and dot with 1 cup sauce, leaving majority of eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and cheese is browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; scatter basil over top, and serve, passing remaining tomato sauce separately.


Italian Sunday Supper

12 Feb



It seems fitting to post an ice cream dessert during a blizzard, right? Well, the ice cream is from this past Sunday when it was a bit warmer. The addition of lemoncello helped warm us up too!

This past Sunday Supper was an Italian spread for special friends. We gathered by the fire with some interesting treats from a summery cantaloupe and prosciutto to a delicious baked eggplant Parmesan. I also put together an interesting crostini with green olives, parsley, pistachios, lemon, anchovies and ricotta cheese. Sounds weird but it was a really great mix of ingredients.

With great friends and good conversation, it was a great dinner all together!

I’ll post the recipes soon. In the meantime, stay warm!

Italian Sunday Supper Menu

  • Cooks Illustrated Eggplant Parmesan
  • Ricotta, olive and pistachio crostini
  • Prosciutto and melon 
  • Lemoncello over Ice cream

Sunday Supper Indian Spiced Chicken Stew

5 Feb


This Sunday I actually watched the Super Bowl. Well, at least the first half and the halftime show. Bruno was great. We had to pass on the Puppy Bowl because my own puppy has the bad habit of barking and attacking any animal on the tube – and he doesn’t discriminate against extinct animals like dinosaurs.

While most folks were enjoying the traditional nachos and chicken wings, I couldn’t resist this month’s Bon Appetit recipe for Indian Spiced Chicken. I’m no pro at ethnic cuisine but this was simple and had a nice hint of Indian spice. It could not have been easier and chicken legs are a nice inexpensive cut of meat.

I made this in advance and served it by the tube. A great Sunday supper option!

Oscar Night Yorkshire Pudding

28 Jan


I know it’s Wednesday and there is some serious snow coming down but I want to share with you a fancy treat for your upcoming Oscar Night Party! If you didn’t know, I love the movies. This year I’ve already seen Philomena (great but sad), American Hustle (great acting but slow), Wolf of Wall Street (funny but really freaking long -and many more F words), August: Osage County (great acting but really freaking sad!) and some others I’m forgetting. I still need to see 12 Days a Slave, her, Captain Phillips,  Dallas Buyers Club, Inside Llewyn Davis and many others (let me know if you want to go)! When the red carpet rolls out, I need to be ready to make some bets with my friends over a fancy meal by the tube.

There is something fun about preparing some thing fancy for a casual night with friends. I made this delicious small plate for my friends over New Years Eve and it was a very big hit. The recipe is from the cookbook “Small Bites, Big Nights.” It is a fun book that isn’t terribly practical but I’ve enjoyed having it on my shelves for inspiration. This recipe is fairly simple but a special treat for any soiree you are planning for a small crowd. Enjoy!

Seared Beef on Mini Yorkshire Pudding with Horshradish Cream 

  • 1 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 more, taboespoon canola oil
  • 1 lb filet of beef
  • 1/2 bunch chives

Preheat at the oven to 400 degrees.

For the Yorkshire pudding, mix the flour and salt. Then gradually add milk and eggs. Allow to rest in a bowl for 20 minutes.

Pour a a thin layer of canola oil in the bottom of a muffin tin and place in the oven. Pour in mixture about a fourth way up. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until brown and puffed.

Whip up cream and add horseradish.

Season beef with salt and pepper. Sear beef in a hot skillet with canola oil until desire temperature.

Assemble Yorkshire pudding with sliced beef and a dollop of cream.

Sunday Night Roasted Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Green Beans

26 Jan



This recipe is an old standby and perfect for the chilly weather we have been dealing with. Turning the oven up to 450 is a welcomed task with very very cold hardwood floors. I actually made this dish on Friday night after work. I went into hibernation and ate the leftovers throughout the weekend. It paired well with the ice-cold red wine from my mud room floor (a new version on chilled red).

This is an easy supper for any night. Stay warm out there!


Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Green Beans

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, 1 sliced thin and 1 juiced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 to 1 pound green beans
  • 8 small potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 split chicken breasts, with bone and skin, I cut mine in half
  • 1 large pinch both salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (this is great for winter months). In a large roasting pan, spread about 1 tablespoon olive oil on the bottom of the pan. Scatter lemon slices on the bottom of the pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper. Add the green beans to the mixture to coat and transfer them to the roasting pan. Repeat with the potatoes and add them over the green beans – and then the chicken. Pour all the remaining oil mixture over everything. Roast for about an hour or until the chicken is cooked through and skin is brown.


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