Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Way to This Woman's Heart

Oh, guys. I just polished off a 1.25 pound, fire-grilled lobster drenched in garlic butter at the Barking Crab in Boston, the city that will become our new home at the end of the year. Husband looked on with a mixture of love, awe, and disgust as I sent butter, cracked shell, and juices flying all over the place in my attempt to dig out every last morsel of meat.

If he was baiting me, it worked. Hook, line, and sinker.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blueberries with Barbados Cream

I'm indebted to Nigella Lawson's grandmother. Not only is she a crucial link in Nigella's existence on this very Earth, but she also handed down a simple recipe for creme brulee's lighter, less assuming cousin, which costars in this perfect ending to a summer meal.

Blueberries and Barbados Cream
Serves 4

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Greek/strained yogurt
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups blueberries

The night before (or morning of) your dinner, combine the cream and yogurt in a mixing bowl and whisk until thick but not stiff. Scrape into a shallow serving bowl about 8 inches in diameter and sprinkle with enough brown sugar to cover the top of the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8–24 hours. When you're ready to serve, bring the cream to room temperature and dollop over blueberries.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Famous Duos

Lamb and mint. Like Boris & Natasha, bourbon & ginger, and pink & gray in the 80s, they just belong together. Nothing really beats mint jelly, but in the summer, I like to take advantage of fresher offerings and make a mint pesto to slather on my lamb.

This recipe calls for roasted lamb loin chops, which I like because they provide a controlled, little portion of meat (and fat!) to have with a heaping salad. I usually eat just one, but if you're having friends over, plate two per person.

Or even better, if you're luckier than we are and have a grill, get a big rack of lamb rib chops and fire 'em up.
Summer cooking at its finest.

Roasted Lamb Chops with Mint-Pistachio Pesto
Serves 4

3 cups packed mint leaves
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
half a zucchini, grated
8 small lamb loin chops, about 2 pounds total
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

To make the pesto, combine mint and garlic in a food processor. Run it while slowly pouring olive oil through the tube until pesto reaches desired consistency. Add pistachios and run processor for another 15-20 seconds. Stir in the grated zucchini.

Preheat oven to 375°. Score the fat of the lamb to prevent curling and season the chops with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy, oven-proof pan over high heat, and add oil, heating until it ripples slightly when pan is shaken. Working in two batches, sear all sides of the lamb. Remove from heat and coat chops with pesto. Move pan to oven and cook until the meat's internal temperature reaches 145° for medium-rare, or 160° for medium, about 12–15 minutes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Love

Dear Summer, never end. Yours for life, Sarah.

My love for the season runs deep. For instance, I'm sweating my ass off as I write this, having just returned from the farmers' market, but you won't hear me complain because I'm too busy crushing on the bounty that awaits me in the kitchen. I plan to treat it well, making the most simple of meals that highlight these veggies, fruits, and herbs in their glorious, ripe state. The less cooking the better.

One of our favorite meals this season combines a beautifully basic Greek salad—which I learned to make on the island Amorgos—and roasted lamb loin chops with mint-pistachio pesto, finished off with cool blueberries topped with a dollop of Barbados cream. This menu is equally perfect for company and the weekly rotation.

Over the next few days, I'll post recipes for each dish. I'm starting with the Greek salad, which made Husband rethink his stance on salads altogether.

Greek Salad
makes 4 side dishes

Cut two riper-than-ripe tomatoes into wedges and slice a large green pepper into thin rings. Slice a cucumber thinly. If you'd like, dice up about 1/4 cup of red onion. Mix the veggies together with Kalamata olives and drizzle with a generous helping of olive oil, then some red wine vinegar. Season with salt and your choice of dried oregano (about 1 tsp) or fresh dill (about 2 tbsp).* Then, the best part: top with a big tangy, salty slab of Feta and eat!

*Or, if you're Virginia and like neither herb, try mint.

Monday, July 5, 2010


My ode to Summer continued this weekend as a few good friends helped ring in July with deliciousness. Friday night we discovered a true gem. Joe's Noodle House. Szechuan cooking at it's finest, including some mysterious ingredient that made our tongues numb. We couldn't decide if it was the actual peppers or some other ingredient like ginger. It was kind of weird, especially when you drank water after numbing the mouth. Worth it.

The best way to cool off the mouth? Agua fresca. My lovely friend Katie recently made some of the nectar of the gods, agua fresca, and posted it on her blog. Then my friends made some watermelon agua fresca, and I knew I was in love again. For the rest of the weekend I blended, strained, mixed and swooned. Fireworks. Stars. Hearts.

I also took a trip to the mexican market and bought awesome cheese to top off some juevos rancheros that I enjoyed with the Suburban Duo (they live in the suburbs, after all). Mmm. Tostados, refried beans, perfectly poached eggs, salsa, cheese, sour cream, patio, sun, agua fresca.

Waterfront, deck, refreshing viognier, perfectly crispy-skinned fish followed by luscious strawberry shortcake=perfect way to begin the weekend. We couldn't believe that after so many years of all of us living in DC we hadn't discovered Indigo Landing. And it seemed as though we weren't alone in only took 5 minutes to get an outside table. What could top that?

Crabs. It's that time of the year, and thanks again to the Suburban Duo, a feast of steamed old bay crabs, grilled calamari, huge succulent clams and some stubborn oysters all showed up at my door (because I was late and they were kind enough to come to me. Bless them). An afternoon spent picking crabs and indulging on riches from the sea=great 4th of July.

So what now, you ask? Well, since I've made a summer's resolution to be better about posting on the bloggy blog, I'm sitting enjoying yet another agua fresca accompanied by a delightful summer salad of fresh cucumber from my co-worker's garden, juicy ripe tomatoes, little balls of mozzarella, a couple pieces of avocado and lots and lots of fresh basil.

It's gonna be a good month.