Monthly Archives: August 2016

Curry Lamb Chops with Mint

Mint cools off this very simple, spicy summer lamb dish.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (I used pineapple mint from my herb garden…)

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon curry

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sea salt

4 lamb loin chops

Rough chop the mint and cilantro and place in a bowl.  Pour in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the paprika, allspice, curry and red pepper flakes.  Mix with a spoon and add sea salt to taste.

Lamb Marinade

Place the lamb chops in a plate and spoon the spice mixture on both sides.  Let the lamb marinate at room temperature for one hour.  Then, grill on medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side for medium rare, and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Consider serving with a side of grilled eggplant or ratatouille.

Cent’anni – “Texas Grapefruit”

Drink 1This summer I have been honing my mixology skills.  Among my go-to liqueurs/ingredients are gin, Lillet Blanc, Suze, Chartreuse, Aperol, Campari and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Of these, my base ingredients for most concoctions are gin, Lillet Blanc and lemon juice…and they have never produced an inferior cocktail.  It has reached a point where I must document and name my creations so that I (and friends and readers) can recreate them! Here goes…

This is one of the most refreshing, both in flavor and appearance.  The Cocchi Americana Rosa bitter tastes of grapefruit, so it seemed appropriate to incorporate some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.

Ingredients for One Cocktail:

1 jigger gin (I enjoy Damrak Gin’s citrusy flavor.)

1 jigger Lillet Blanc

1 jigger Cocchi Americano Rosa

0.5 jigger lemon juice

0.5 jigger grapefruit juice

Splash of Rainier cherry juice

Fresh mint for garnish

Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake over ice, and strain.  A vintage champagne coupe is the perfect vessel for this summer apéritif.

Summer Pasta with Onion, Bacon and Tomato

During this heat wave, a light dinner showcasing fresh ingredients is ideal.  This pasta with onion, bacon and tomato is simple enough to prepare while enjoying some Olympic events.

Ingredients:

1/2 sweet onion, diced

Extra virgin olive oil

2 slices slab bacon

1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes

Fresh ground pepper

6 to 8 ounces egg capellini

Fresh basil

Sauté the onion in several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until soft and translucent, about five minutes.  In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Slice the bacon into 1/4 inch strips, then halve each strip.  Add the bacon to the onion and sauté until lightly browned, about seven minutes.  Keep stirring the onion and bacon with a wooden spoon, and season with pepper to taste.  Stir in the tomatoes and sauté for several minutes until they “pop”.

Throw the pasta into the boiling water and stir.  The pasta is so delicate that it should only take about two minutes.  When al dente, remove the pasta with tongs and add to the onion, bacon and tomato mixture.  Also, add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan to help the sauce stick to the pasta.  Using a wooden spoon, coat the pasta with the sauce, and toss in some fresh basil.

Pasta!

Serve with grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.  Enjoy with a light red wine, such as a Grenache.

Rustic Summer Tart

For a simple, fruity dessert on a summer’s day, all you need is a good crust and some stone fruit…

Ingredients for the crust:

2 cup flours

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 stick chilled unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten

Iced water

Ingredients for the filling: 

4 red plums, pitted and cubed

4 nectarines, pitted and cubed

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

Mix the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  With a sharp knife, cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.  Rub the pieces of butter and the dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is broken into tiny pieces.  Make a well and add the egg and drizzle in the iced water.  Begin to knead the dough quickly into a ball.  Add more iced water until the dough is just wet enough to form a ball.  Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for an hour until it is firm.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and add flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and the work surface.  Roll the dough into a circle until it is about ¼ inch thick and place it on a baking sheet.

Toss the fruit with the lemon juice.  Arrange the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving the outer 1 1/2 inches of dough uncovered.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Fold up the uncovered edge of the dough and pinch so that it stays overtop the fruit.  Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg.

Rustic Summer Tart

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the fruit is golden and the crust is lightly browned.  Cool slightly before serving with a chilled French rosé, such as Château Pesquié Terrasses (2015) from Ventoux Rhône Valley Vineyards.  This blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah tastes of red berries and pairs well with fruity desserts.