Under the wire.


Photography by Matt Hocking

When I first launched this blog it was titled “What I haven’t cooked yet,” which was the answer I would give when people asked, “what is your favorite thing to cook?” This works out well for me because I am a terrible planner. It’s not my skills that are lacking, but my motivation.

In all honesty, I love planning. Give me a project and I will dive into the acute detail needed for a success that appears effortless. It has taken me a long time to learn (while this now seems painfully obvious) that the true cost of planning is spontaneity, and that in spontaneity I find incredible, magical joy.  There is luxury and pleasure in deciding what you will eat at each meal only moments before consuming it. This is fundamentally why we struggle so greatly with leftovers.

This year’s holiday party was pulled off with a four day schedule, the last two days of which were scheduled down to the hour.

It is clearly not the quality of food. I often create amazing and satisfying new meals with already-prepared components that await in my refrigerator. In fact, a large container of homemade Salsa Verde has topped everything from scrambled eggs and breakfast omelets to tacos and grilled chicken for the past three weeks.  The struggle is in feeling like that moment of joy achieved through spontaneous choice has been stolen by calculated choice.

Spontaneity, however, has its own cost. That cost is revealed in my sitting here at 10:30 Sunday night writing this post in an effort to meet my goal of blogging twice every week this year. It is a commitment I made upon realizing that I spent much of 2016 teasing you with combinations that you expressed great a desire to prepare in your own kitchens, then failing to share the recipes that would allow you to do that.

So, I’m holding to my commitment, following through in order to meet this obligation. Enjoy the recipe and remember, preparing it will go a little bit easier with some planning. But why ruin a perfect good recipe that way?

Lamb Rib Chops With Mint Sauce

Serves 2

Photography by Matt Hocking

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 2 tbs Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil, separated
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper, or hot Paprika
  • 4 lamb rib chops
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbs cold butter

Directions:

  • Make mint sauce: Add garlic to mortar, or food processor, with a pinch of coarse salt and grind into a paste. Add mint with another pinch of salt and pound into a paste. Add vinegar and 1 tbs olive oil. Season to taste with pepper and more oil if needed.
  • Combine coriander and Aleppo pepper in a small bowl. Pat chops dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly season with coriander and pepper mixture.
  • Warm 1 tbs oil in a 10” skillet over medium-high heat. Add chops and cook 3 minutes to brown. Turn and cook 3 minutes longer. Reduce heat to med and cook to med-rare.
    Remove chops and reserve, tented with foil.
  • Increase heat to med-high. Add wine and reduce, scraping up brown bits. Add stock and reduce by half. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Serve lamb with pan and mint sauces.

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