Anyhow, recently I broke down and bought a package of two racks of lamb at the local Sam's club. I decided that this would make a fabulous Shabbas dinner for Ken and I.
But I have to tell you that rack of lamb or lamb chops always reminds me of my friends Janet and Vivian. Both are adventurous travelers and a real kick to join! We're always laughing and having the best time together.
Janet retired about 10 years ago, after 30 years of working for the city of Anchorage. She wasn't about to sit around in a rocking chair, she was much too young for that. So she took a summer job working for Princess Cruises. Thank you Janet! We have reaped so many rewards of her job as her friends over the years. Vivian's been on several cruises with her. I went on a cruise with her back in the spring of 2001, during which we visited Puerto Rico, went through the Panama Canal and up to Costa Rica on the Pacific side. Janet, Viv and I, have also had many fun trips to some of the Princess lodges in Alaska.
One of my fondest memories was a weekend we took a room at the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge. See it here at http://www.princess.com/learn/destinations/alaska/highlights/wilderness_lodges/kenai/index.html
Janet arranged it so we had a cabin right next to the hot tub. This was a real bonus as it was mid-January, the temp was -5F, and we couldn't think of a better time to go hot-tubbing! After chasing out some raucious kids by playing Dean Martin music on OUR little boombox, we laughed and joked about our frozen hair as steam rose around us in that marvelous outdoor hot tub! If you've never hot tubbed in minus farenheit weather then you haven't lived a full life! What a time we had! After a good long soak we ran back to our cabin and dressed for dinner.
On the menu that night was a lamb chop smothered in mustard and rosemary. Well, that was something I had never had, so of course I had to be adventurous and order it. Oh, what a delightful dish that was! I was over the moon for the rich aroma of the lamb joining the fresh resiness from the rosemary. The heat of the mustard hit my tongue and made a wonderful unforgettable combination!
The rest of the weekend we ate in the cabin, having brought all manner of goodies with us. I'm glad we did, because I kept savoring that meal in my mind and developing the recipe based on what the waiter said, and what my tastebuds told me about the ingredients. We also couldn't afford to eat at the restaurant every nite of our visit!
So this past Friday I made sure I had plenty of my latest batch of Nut Brown Ale mustard, picked a few big branches of rosemary from my herb patch out back and started.
Click here for the recipe for the mustard: http://brewmaven.blogspot.com/2009/11/nut-brown-mustard.html. If you don't want to make your own mustard you can use any mustard you like, but a nice whole grain, or a brown mustard goes very well!
Make sure the lamb is dry.
Strip several branches of rosemary of their leaves and chop very fine. I had about a 1/2 cup of chopped rosemary.
Rub about 3 or 4 tablespoons of mustard on the lamb, making sure you get the ends if doing a rack of lamb. If doing chops, rub the mustard on both sides. If you are using a good whole grain mustard you just put a thin layer on because the whole grain mustard is usually much spicier and has more heat.
Roll the lamb in rosemary leaves, coating evenly all around. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.
I baked these racks in my convection oven at 350 degrees and used a Accurite probe thermometer to cook them to a temperature of 155 degrees. Lamb should be cooked to 160 degrees for rare, but remember that meats continue to cook once removed from the oven. According to Emeril Lagasse the meat will cook another 5 degrees after being removed from the oven.
We had our rack with boiled turnips, corn, salad, and homemade challah (egg bread). The challah had been in the freezer for a few months, but because I bake using the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" method...it still tasted fresh as the day I baked it when I warmed it up. I added cantalope for dessert.
What a fabulous way to bring in Shabbas! If we had gone out to a restaurant for this dinner it would have cost us $75-100 for two dinners. I paid less than $19.00 for the rack of lamb, which carved into 8 lambchops each. All totalled our dinner cost less than $22.00 for the two of us! Although I will say, at a restaurant we wouldn't have to do our own cleanup! LOL!
Thanks Janet and Viv for the added great memories!