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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter For Two


Baby and I had Easter to ourselves this year (except for a few calls to and from family). This did not, however, stop us from making a considerable amount of food. A lamb recipe courtesy of Eleven Madison Park inspired me to make a Greek Easter dinner, having made a Roman Easter holiday not too long ago via Saveur magazine. I thought to take another trip across the world! This was not exactly a sit-down: we lazed and grazed the entire afternoon, watching movies in between our preparations while maneuvering the dishwasher and putting out the next courses when we were hungry again. Our table was colorful; scribbled in pink and periwinkle blue with gold foil chocolate rabbits, brass candlesticks handed down to me from a relative and my Nana's beautifully etched Champagne glasses from the 1920's for a proper toast. So fun!  

Today's Menu
Avgolemeno Soup
Fettucine with Sauteed Artichokes
Roasted Rack of Lamb
Almond Fig Cake with Pistachio Gelato
Pommery Champagne

After having some jelly beans for breakfast, we launched into an easily made, classic velvety avgolemono soup with lemon and orzo (instead of suggested long grain white rice) shortly after noon. Also we cut corners by using purchased College Inn broth with roasted chicken thighs that we had on hand, instead of making our own arduous stock.

Our pasta course was served with fresh fettucine and canned artichokes--not the heart-breaking, endless peeling variety and only sauteed briefly, not roasted as the recipe suggests. We shared a split of starched and dry Pommery Champagne, Brut Classico with this dish.

Two frenched racks of lamb were the mains, seen here mainly unadorned, before we slathered tzatziki on it. I did not suffer over suspending and draining the cucumbers for 48 hours as the recipe suggests to make the cucumber yogurt; I merely ordered delicious prepared tzatziki from

Almond fig cake with pistachio gelato was a fine dessert, with of course some chocolate eggs and more jelly beans that were scattered about. This was a great finish with some high-octane Ouzo!

Happy Easter!

Soundtrack: The Beach Music Sound; Patio Pool Party; Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers; Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool; Miles Davis, Cookin' with The Miles Davis Quintet

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Easter Lamb

Easter is less than two weeks away--spring lamb is what's going to be on our table this year! Baby and I are making it easy with dinner for just the two of us. Not sure yet what will round out the rest of the menu but I'm thinking of a Greek slant this year based on the lamb recipe, with lemon chicken soup (classic Greek avgolemono) to start, a pasta course with grilled artichokes and a dish of dates and figs for a fine finish. Although I am not a fan of Greek retsina wine (shocking, I know), I do believe a chilled, fizzy bottle of Perrier-Jouet Champagne will be an ample substitute!

Lamb Rack with Cucumber Yogurt
From the I Love New York Cookbook:

Cucumber Yogurt
11/2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
2 cucumbers
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 clove garlic
11/2 tablespoons chopped dill
Line a colander with a quadruple layer of cheesecloth and pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth. Suspend over a large bowl and refrigerate for 48 hours, allowing the moisture to drain from the yogurt. Peel and grate the cucumbers on a box grater.
season with 1 teaspoon of salt and hang in a quadruple layer of cheese-cloth to drain excess moisture, about 1 hour. Measure 1 cup of the drained yogurt and reserve the rest for another use.
Combine the cup of yogurt and the drained cucumbers in a medium bowl.
stir in the lemon juice and olive oil. Grate the garlic on a Microplane grater into the mixture and fold in the chopped dill. Mix well and season with salt to taste.

Roasted Lamb Rack
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 lamb rack (about 2 1/4 pounds), frenched and tied
2 tablespoons butter
5 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed but kept whole
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Season the lamb rack generously with salt. Place the rack in the skillet fat side down and sear over high heat until browned, 21/2 to 3 minutes. Turn and sear the bottom for 1 minute. Turn the rack back onto the fat side and add the butter, thyme, and garlic. Baste the rack with the butter for 21/2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the lamb rack fat side up to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the lamb rack over, baste with butter, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove the lamb rack from the oven, turn it back over, and baste once more. Roast in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 130° to 135°F. Let the lamb rack rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the cucumber yogurt and heirloom tomatoes.

Thanks to Eleven Madison Park for the recipe and photo!