Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lamb Chops

270. Easter Dinner this year was inspired by Rachael Ray. On her 30 Minute Meals show she made Lamb Chops with Greens and Crispy Orecchiette Pasta with Walnut Rosemary Pesto. It looked so delicious and easy to prepare.

The most difficult part was locating lamb chops. You will like this recipe if you enjoy bold flavors. Lamb has a unique flavor along with the rosemary pesto.


  • Salt
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 7-8 stems rosemary, 1/4-1/3 cup leaves, loosely packed
  • 2 cloves garlic, cracked from skin
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 4 shoulder lamb chops, bone-in, 8-10 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large heads kale, dinosaur kale or chard, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
Serves 4


Bring water to a boil for pasta, salt water and cook to al dente.

Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden and fragrant, a few minutes then cool. Add the nuts to a food processor with rosemary, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper and turn processor on. Stream 1/3 cup EVOO into food processor to form pesto then scrape into a bowl and stir in about 3/4 cup grated cheese.

Rub chops with cut clove of garlic then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chops and cook 4 minutes each side for medium rare doneness.

While lamb cooks, drain pasta and return pot to heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and butter in pasta pot and melt over medium heat. Place the pasta back in the pot and crisp 4-5 minutes, toasting the pasta. Season the pasta with salt and pepper and a little nutmeg.

Remove lamb from skillet and cover with foil to let meat settle. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium-high to high heat. Add onions and greens and sear them. Season the greens with salt and pepper and wilt down, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken stock and vinegar and turn greens to coat in vinegar.

Serve a chop alongside greens. Top greens with toasted pasta and drizzle some pesto over everything.

I did not want to cover the chops with the greens and pasta, so we plated them side by side.
I also made buttered carrots for color on the plate.

We also enjoyed a coconut cream pie for dessert.
Happy Easter!
Our table was decorated with Polish sugar animals.

"The story of Easter is the story of God's wonderful window of divine surprise."
~Carl Knudsen

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chocolates: Coconut and Peanut Butter Filled

269. When I lived in Ohio, every holiday, I would stop by the Amish farm that would sell chocolate by the slab and candy making supplies. They always had the freshest ingredients to choose from and I always came away with tempting goodies to make chocolate delights for my family.
It has been a couple years since I have had that privilege. Recently, we were traveling home from a conference and decided to take the rural route. As we drove, we realized we were driving through Pennsylvania Amish farms. And then we spotted an Amish store. There was chocolate by the slab and wonderful bulk supplies and foods to stock up on.

My tradition was reinstated this year. Homemade chocolates are on our menu for Easter dinner. Coconut and peanut butter filled bonbons and filled eggs. My filling recipes are my own recipe and are delicious.
Coconut Almond Cream Filling

(small batch)
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
3 Tablespoons almond paste
2 Tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon coconut extract
pinch kosher salt
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
heavy cream

Mix all together in a processor till smooth, and cookie dough consistency. Cover and set aside.

Peanut Butter Cream Filling

(small batch)
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch kosher salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
heavy cream

Mix all together in a processor till smooth, and cookie dough consistency. Cover and set aside.
Melt your chocolate in a double boiler.
In an egg mold place a small amount of chocolate in each section and move your mold around, tilting and tapping to cover the bottom of each section. Place in the freezer for about 10 or so minutes till the chocolate has set.
With a small teaspoon, scoop coconut or peanut butter filling and press into an oblong shape.
Place on the set chocolate. Then cover completely with more chocolate to hide the filling inside. Place back in the refrigerator till chocolate is set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Be careful not to leave the chocolate in the freezer too long because it will crack. Turn over and unmold the chocolates.
The filling is evenly distributed in the center and taste so good!
Repeat the same process with the peanut butter filling.
You can also make bonbon truffles. Just roll a tablespoon of filling into balls and dip in chocolate.
I drizzled milk chocolate on the dark chocolate bonbons and topped them with toasted coconut. Then, I drizzled dark and white chocolate on the milk chocolate bonbons.
I made these on a cold marble slab so the chocolates begin to set as soon as you place them down.
Once the chocolates were set I cut a few open to taste the finished product.
The coconut bonbons were perfect! The peanut butter bonbons are my favorite!

I think my family will be excited on to hide the chocolates...that is always difficult.

"I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process. It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?"
~Author Unknown


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