When I sit to write to you, I sometimes wish you were here in our little cubbyhole sharing my pot of tea, because I think it would help me to explain how amazing this or that is if you could watch my hand motions and if I could see your eyes. As pretty as the pictures are, and as much as I will pull out all stops to use the most descriptive adjectives available, I wonder if I am getting across the full gusto of my appreciation.
Really, what I am about to share with you must not come across ho-hum.
The thought of a real Saturday carried me through every day of last week. Stephen and I planned to make no plans and simply let the weather carry us through our day together. We lingered over coffee and breakfast. Then we biked (yes! After the last one's disappearance, I found an old Schwinn that is absolutely becoming a favorite) in the glorious chilly spring sunshine to our local used book store, and were incredibly lucky!
After spending an hour searching the stacks, we biked to the pool for a swim. Long smooth strokes in a quiet belly of water open the mind to wander and calm, and that was just what the doctor ordered.
We biked home just in time for a dark thunderstorm and lunch; grateful for the morning and a new stack of books.
After 50 pages and a few glasses of Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon, we started talking about what we would make for supper. This, my friends, is of course a favorite conversation. I had been thinking about a fresh pea and mint salad from Trail of Crumbs, and if one is going to have mint one might as well have lamb.
We started our menu with a lovely mint pea salad in a crème fraîche dressing topped with crispy fried pancetta, and just like that, this is what we designed:
over Fresh Pea Salad with Mint, Crème Fraîche, and crispy fried Pancetta.
So. Now is it even more clear why I wish I could fully express with big eyes and gesticulations how perfectly amazing this was? Gastronomically, astronomically amazing.
In the pea salad, we used Sopressata because Whole Foods was out of Pancetta, and it was a fine substitute. The salad was delicious as is, but I might use about half the amount of crème fraîche next time, or bump up the quantity of peas and fava beans.
The meal was everything we could have hoped. Complete with another thunderstorm pounding outside the open windows as we dined. Even now I am grinning ear to ear.
Today a friend asked, "What was the best day of your life?" Oh my! That is a question with many answers, but if I could say what a perfect sort of day would be, this would be near the top.
Here is to a perfect sort of day coming your way soon.
Panko and Coriander crusted Lamb Rib Chops with Spring Cherry Reduction serves 2
For Cherry Reduction:
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cherries (not tart), chopped
1 1/8 cup sweetened cherry or cranberry juice
For Lamb Rib Chops:
4 Lamb Rib Chops (each one is two ribs)
1/2 cup Panko* breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
cracks of fresh black pepper
1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, reduce cherries in juice for about 20 minutes until about 1/3 cup quantity. Set aside
2. Spread panko in a shallow dish and mix well with coriander and salt. Dredge all sides of each chop in panko and set aside
3. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Lay each chop in skillet and crack fresh black pepper over each one. Let cook 3 minutes and then flip over. If you like your meat medium rare, The chops should cook another 4-5 minutes on the back side and be finished. I do not like lamb rare, and so after pan searing the outside I finished them in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes. They were tender and perfect
4. Lay rib chop over pea salad or other salad of choice, and drizzle cherry reduction over chop. Enjoy.
*Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb sold at most grocery stores or specialty markets