April, 2011


25
Apr 11

From NYC to the Poconos – Roasted and Herb Crusted Lamb Loin

While I’m planning my next successful dish to follow up my chocolate covered matzo (which got #1 on foodbuzz and I was overjoyed with excitement, thank you everyone who buzzed me to the top!), I wanted to introduce you to my friend Holly who hopefully will be a regular guest blogger. I previously mentioned Holly in my Food in Paris post. She spent 3 months in Paris  last summer and I was lucky enough to be able to visit her while she was there. Check out her blog on her Paris Adventures. It will make anyone jealous!

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After spending the past summer in France, I didn’t come back with a keen sense of the language or a new desire to become an artist.  What I did pick up in the land of haute cuisine was a renewed appetite for good food and a desire to brush up on my culinary skills.  It was this new found interest that propelled me to scour New York City in search of outlets for my passion.

Luckily enough for me, New York is also in the midst of its own foodie love affair and it was easier than ever for me to find inexpensive and creative cooking classes, join other like minded faux chefs in renegade cooking clubs and indulge in my new hobby by baking and cooking for friends and the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen.

One of the first cooking classes I signed up for this year was at a place called Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center in Brooklyn.  The center hosts hands-on cooking classes, lectures and events for both adults and children on various topics and cuisines.  They also promote healthy and sustainable living (they compost scraps from classes!) and a sense of community.  Ger-Nis is located in south Brooklyn, near the Gowanus Canal, and is also available for rental and usage for events, video taping and recipe testings.  Check them out if you are in the New York area.

I recruited a friend and we decided to try a dinner class so that we could learn to prepare a full meal we could then replicate for friends while away for a weekend in the Poconos.  The lamb roast dinner that we made during our class was delicious!  I recommend the recipe to anyone who enjoys a good roast, as it was fairly easy to prepare and can fool your guests into thinking you are a much better cook than you may or may not already be!

While away with friends in the Poconos we prepared the roast and it was a HUGE success!  Eight people devoured an 8 lb lamb in less than an hour.  There is nothing better than good friends, good food and some good wine.  But don’t take my word, try it for yourself!

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Grating and zesting in preparation for our big meal

The Veggies
8 pounds 2 ounces and a beautiful shade of pink!
Lamb in Pan
The girls handled the meat this trip and boy was it good!
Lamb Being Cut
PBR- Wine, Guinness, Miller Light, how’d this get in there?
PBR - Pabst Blue Ribbon
Chocolate Stout cake was a huge crowd pleaser- even at breakfast the next morning!
Chocolate Stout Cake
Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center
Roast Lamb Dinner
Teacher: Orianne Cosentino

(courtesy of Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center)
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
¼ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 (4 pounds) boneless lamb leg roast, tied

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl, combine mustard, garlic, herbs, cumin and salt. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan, over high heat, add canola oil. Add lamb and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and smear the top of roast with mustard and herb mixture.

Put lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and cook for (20 minutes per pound) 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 130°F for medium-rare or 140°F for medium. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

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15
Apr 11

Chocolate Covered Matzo

There is absolutely no excuse for my lack of blogging, I’ve done this before too many times. Trust me I still have been eating and cooking but haven’t felt inspired to share.  Until today!

As Passover is coming around the corner, I decided to tackle Chocolate covered Matzo. My friend Holly who is actually not jewish made this one time a couple of years ago when I was still living in New York City. It was so decadent and cured my 3pm chocolate craving at work. I knew I wanted to make it and every year since I had a taste I claimed I was going to make it. Nope, never did. About 4 years later, I’m proud to say I can now make Chocolate Covered Matzo. But to be honest, the site I found this recipe on,  says the recipe is easy to make with your kids, allowing supervision of course. However I won’t let that stop me from enjoying my creation because I’m back. :) (Back to blogging that is!)

Chocolate Matzo

Chocolate Covered Matzo reminds me of a chocolate covered pretzal. During Passover you can’t eat leavened bread, so matzo is a great substitute. Plus, I caramelized the matzo before the chocolate, so its a treat you won’t be able to pass up.

Caramelized Chocolate Covered Matzo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boards matzoh
  • 3/4 cup Passover margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt or sea salt

pecans

Chocolate Covered Matzo Ingredients

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray.
  2. Spread the matzohs in the pan in a single layer, breaking them to fit if necessary.
  3. Heat the butter or margarine and brown sugar in a medium saucepan to a boil. Pour evenly over matzoh, spreading with a knife to make sure the matzoh is well covered.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes, until the caramel is a golden brown. Turn off the oven, and remove the matzoh.
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the matzoh. Return the matzoh to the oven. Let it sit in the warm (turned off) oven for 2 minutes. Remove and spread the chocolate evenly with the back of a flat spatula or a knife.
  6. Top with nuts, if using. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

(BTW – David Lebowitz makes a similiar recipe but he adds vanilla and toasts his almonds). I don’t think the vanilla is needed but its worth trying next time around)

When making this recipe, I couldn’t decide between dark and milk chocolate and pecans and walnuts.  I preferred the dark chocolate and pecans over the milk chocolate walnuts.  Not only did the dark taste richer and more decadent, the dark chocolate chips spreaded easier than the milk for some reason.

While making this recipe, I also learned how to make caramel, butter and brown sugar! Who knew?. So next time, your eating caramel, remember its pure sugar and fat. :) I actually had a little extra caramel when making this recipe, so I made caramel chews by pouring it into little circles on a sheet and putting it in the fridge.  It was so good. I have to be careful next time I’m making this recipe and not leave any extra caramel. :)  For the small chance that I do have extra caramel, I may put the extra caramel in some type of fun mold shape.  Caramel Chews!

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