Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter

This was weird. This was the first Easter that I have not celebrated with my sister and her family. Just Chris and I this year. Even the cats were snoozing for most of the day.

But what do I make for dinner???

We started with the world's smallest antipasto tray. Just enough for 2 of us and we wanted to save room for dinner. This was a small container that I picked up at Fresh Market.

The entire dinner came from The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook. The recipes resulted in perfect dishes. Roast Rack of Lamb with Whiskey Sauce. Pan-Roasted Asparagus and Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes.

Roast Rack of Lamb with Whiskey Sauce.
1 rack of lamb (8 ribs), frenched and well-trimmed of fat.
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oil

Whiskey Sauce:
1 shallot, minced (~3 tablespoons)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon flour
5 tablespoons Scotch whiskey (or another type)
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and preheat to 425º.

Pat lamb dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Carefully lay the lamb in the skillet, meat side down, and cook until well browned 3 to 4 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, and, using tongs, hold the rack upright to brown the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Transfer the lamb to the hot baking sheet in the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes until the center reaches 125º on an instant-read thermometer (for medium-rare).  Transfer lamb to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the fat remaining in the skillet and return to medium heat until shimmering.  Add the shallot and rosemary and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the flour until incorporated.

Off the heat, slowly stir in 1/4 cup whiskey, scraping up any browned bits, and let sit until bubbling subsides about 1 minute.  Carefully return skillet to medium heat and simmer until whiskey has almost completely evaporated 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the broth and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly and reduced to 1/3 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.

Off the heat, discard the rosemary sprig and whisk in the remaining tablespoon whiskey, parsley, butter, lemon juice, and any accumulated lamb juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cut the lamb racks into individual chops by slicing between the ribs, and serve with the sauce.

Next time I will let the meat get to 128˚. It was not too rare but a touch more cooking would not have done any harm. And I will double the sauce. We ended up with just enough. I do not think more would have gone to waste.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus

1 tbsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
lb fresh asparagus spear, trimmed  
Salt and pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add half of asparagus to skillet with tips pointed in 1 direction and add remaining asparagus with tips pointed in opposite direction. Using tongs, distribute spears in an even layer. Cover with a lid and cook until asparagus is bright green and still crisp about 7 minutes.
Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and cook until the asparagus is tender and browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Using tongs to transfer spears from center skillet to edges of skillet to ensure even browning. Season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with lemon juice and serve. 

 Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

2 oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tsp corn starch
1 oz Parmesan Cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 oz potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 thick
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425˚. Toss cheddar and 1 tsp corn starch together until well combined. Toss Parmesan and remaining 1/2 tsp corn starch together until well combined in a second bowl.
Heat oil in an 8-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth, cream, potatoes, salt, and pepper, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are nearly tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Off heat, stir in cheddar mixture and press potatoes into even layer, removing any air pockets. Sprinkle Parmesan mixture evenly over top and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to wire rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

We had a nice Chianti on the wine rack. Perfect pairing!

And dessert? I decided on just one pie. I think Chris liked Rice Pie best so that is what I made.
 This is my favorite pie recipe for Easter. Click here to try it yourself.


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