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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Topping Last Week's Rack of Lamb

So, last week, I served my family a lovely Sunday dinner in the spirit of the dinners my Pap always served our family on Sunday.  The rack of lamb with roasted potatoes, cauliflower and greek salad was perfect.

This Sunday, it is rainy and we are tired.  Our Open House yesterday was great, but tons of work.  We had 5 families through the house, one for the second time so we're hoping for a contract so we can move on down the road.  Over our morning Peets coffee, I suggested to Joe that he and Jack might want to check out a movie this afternoon.  He agreed and they decided on, "How to Train Your Dragon".

As they were preparing to leave, I was online checking the Morel message boards to see where in the nation, folks are finding morels.  Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, and even Michigan had representation for the first finds of the season.  It was just torturous to read!  I still have at least two weeks before the Morels start popping in Garrett County.  That said, I just couldn't take it anymore, so I donned my raincoat and headed to the woods.  I hiked all my somewhat secret patches just for the sheer enjoyment of being out in the forest.  I visited my marker trees and found them in decent order after the long hard winter.  It was absolutely refreshing to be hiking around in the woods, rain or not!

I came home and still had an hour until the boys returned, hungry, from their movie.  With visions of Morels swirling around in my mind, I headed to the freezer determined that I must still have a bag or two of last seasons Morels.  I was not disappointed!

What to make...that was easy!  Morel, Asparagus Risotto with Baby Peas!

Morel, Asparagus Risotto with Baby Peas!
3T butter
2-3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz morels (sauteed in butter, reserve any liquid)
1/2 c. white wine
2 1/2 c chicken stock
1 1/2 c aborio rice
1 c (or more) asparagus chopped
1c frozen baby peas
3T freshly grated parmesean cheese

Sautee morels in 1T of butter, reserve any liquid they offer up!
Add 2T butter to skillet along with the garlic and green onion.  Sautee for a few minutes, add asparagus and sautee a few minutes more.  Add the rice and stir until all the fat is absorbed by the rice.  When the rice is somewhat golden, add in wine, mushroom liquid, peas and chicken stock.  When the mixture comes to the boil, reduce heat to medium and place a lid on the pot.  Cook for 25 minutes.  Add Parmesan cheese, salt to taste.

Jack walked through the front door and exclaimed, "Mommy found morels!".    If it counts that I found them in the freezer then, yes Jack, I did find morels.

The resulting dish was Morel goodness!  The savory, woodsy taste of the morels combined naturally with the fresh, spring taste of the asparagus and the finishing saltiness of the parmesean cheese!  Each bite only fueled my fever to get out and find some fresh Morels!

Last Week Rack of Lamb

Last Sunday, after a long weekend of preparing for our Open House that occurred yesterday, I decided to treat my family to a lovely Sunday dinner.  I love to cook for my family on Sunday.  It's the one day of the week when I'm not rushed, not expecting company, and not on some kind of schedule.  My Pap was a Sunday cook as well.  It was typically the same fare each week, 2 Roasted Paprika Chicken's....I looked forward to finding the wishbone each Sunday!  Maybe that memory is why I like Sunday dinner with my family.

So, the rack of lamb consisted of 8 ribs.   I rubbed the rack down with fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, and extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, then seared it in a very hot skillet, searing on both sides.  After a quick sear, I popped it into a 450 degree oven until the internal temp was about 125.  The result was a tender, rare lamb chop that my son said melted in his mouth!  This was so incredibly easy, and so very spring-like! 

Paired with rosemary-garlic roasted potatoes, cauliflower au-gratin, greek salad and  a lovely bottle of chardonnay, it was  a delightful Sunday evening dinner with my two favorite guys!

When Jack sat down to dinner I had to laugh!  He was filthy dirty from playing outside all day...but he did wash his hands before dinner....his face, not so much!