Wow, this is my first blog about my cooking and I am super excited to share it with so many of you here in Chicago. I have been cooking on my own for quite some time now as an adult, but the learning has been an ongoing process, like they say you can never stop learning! When I was in 2nd grade I cooked my first can of Spaghetti O's; 4th grade my dad taught me to clean my first raw chicken; 5th grade I was making breakfast for my sister and I consisting of pancakes, scrambled eggs and as a side of green beans (don't ask); here in the present I am always cooking something wonderful for my boyfriend Luke and I.
Many of my friends know that I love to cook and I will more than likely bring something or a few somethings to any of their parties.
My home growing up was not always rich and filling, but no matter what we had there was always a home cooked meal on the table. Whether it was something as simple as Kraft mac and cheese mixed with some cooked ground beef and corn to having something more elaborate like a roast beef with all the fixings. I believe that cooking can be genetic as far as the desire to cook, but it can also be a learned skill. I have honed in on my cooking skills since the moment I moved out on my own in 1997 and have been cooking and baking wonderful things since.
Now on with the real reason I am writing this blog to share my more cherished and favorite recipes with the home cook like you. Feel free to ask any sort of questions that might come to mind as we go along, I am not a cookbook type person when it comes to my cooking so please bear with me. You can adjust any of my recipes to your taste buds, these are just some helpful guidelines but you do not need to stick to them as if you were cooking from The Joy of Cooking, which by the way is not a real joy!!!
Today I am going to share with you one of my favorite recipe for lamb chops, roasted red potatoes with rosemary and oregano, and fresh garlic bread (this is one of my boyfriend's favorite things to eat). He would tell you that I have yet to make him a bad meal, but I can tell you through the 4 years that we have known each other I have cooked a couple of horrid meals that we just laughed about later. This will make a dinner for 2 with some leftover potatoes.
What you will need to pick up are the following items. I will assume that you do not have all the seasonings needed so forgive me if you have a stocked pantry like mine.
Eight lamb chops (preferably the rack of lamb French cut, we will slice them apart into what are called lollipop chops)
Fresh or dried rosemary
Fresh ground pepper (ground black pepper is fine as well if that is all you have)
One ziplock bag
One pound of red potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
One stick of butter (must be butter for this or your bread will taste like pure oil)
Bottle of Merlot or Cabernet (for drinking)
Let's start with the fun stuff. Take the rack of lamb and rinse it off, pat dry with paper towels and set aside in a bowl. Take your ziplock baggie and add 1/4 cup of the extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the dried or fresh rosemary chopped, 1 teaspoon of the dried oregano and 2 to 3 cloves of garlic smashed and then minced, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons of fresh ground pepper. Now take your rack of lamb and slice along one side of a bone to keep the chops even for cooking (if you cut on the inside of a bone cut on the same side of the next one) and add to the ziplock baggie, toss and set aside in the fridge. You can even prepare this the night before and marinate them overnight, I highly recommend this.
For the garlic bread you can make this ahead of time and then pop in the oven while you are roasting your potatoes. What you will need to do is buy a good loaf of French bread sliced in half lengthwise, one stick of butter and about 3 to 4 cloves of garlic smashed then minced. Melt your butter in a small pot and add the minced garlic. Once you start to see the foam building on the top layer of the butter remove from the heat and grab a basting brush. Brush both halves of the loaf of bread with the butter mixture and place on a baking sheet. If you are like me and love those little bits of garlic that sometimes get toasted go ahead and spread the minced garlic left in the pot on both halves of the bread. Set aside and bake in the oven with the potatoes or you can place into a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or till you start to see the edges turn brown and the garlic starts to turn a golden brown. Let cool then slice into pieces and set aside.
While the chops are marinating you can start on the red potatoes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Clean the potatoes well, leaving the skins on, and add to a pot of water with a little sea salt to boil. You want to par cook the potatoes till they are al dente, then set in the sink and run cold water over them to make them easier to handle. Once they are cooled, cut them in quarters or into approximately 8 pieces depending on the size of the potatoes, and place into a bowl. Once you have cut all of the potatoes, toss in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt then toss to coat all of the potatoes. Place the mixture on an ungreased baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until they start to turn brown. Set the potatoes aside and grab those chops from the fridge as the potatoes are roasting so they can start to come to room temperature!!!
Turn your oven to broil and make sure to line your broiler pan with aluminum foil; otherwise you will be scrubbing the oil out for days. Once the oven is hot enough take your chops out one at a time lining the broiler pan. Cook for about 2 to 5 minutes, and then flip over and let them cook another 2 to 5 minutes for rare to medium rare. If you want to cook them well done, broil for about 6 to 7 minutes on each side. Remove from the broiler to a bowl and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Plate 4 chops per person with some of the potatoes and serve with a couple of slices of the fresh garlic bread. You can also serve crescent rolls or dinner rolls instead of the garlic bread and just make the garlic butter ahead of time as your spread.
If you have any leftover potatoes you can save them and serve them up with breakfast the next day.