Friday, February 15, 2008

A many splendored thing

I hate Valentine's Day. When I say I don't care if I celebrate, I DON'T CARE IF I CELEBRATE! That said:

Alexis: Valentine red velvet cupcakes from Buttercup Bakeshop, 2nd Ave between 52nd and 53rd Streets. This used to be my #1 spot for red v cupcakes, but since moving to CH and discovering Heavenly Crumbs, I can forget about this spot. The cupcakes are significantly smaller and drier, though still tasty. The icing is a little too sweet, and tends to dry up like Magnolia's (though still not as bad as that). I bought a box for my work team and saved two for home.

Alex: Ditto. I have not met a Cupcake that can hang with Heavenly Crumbs.

Alexis: Whole Foods was a fucking zoo. They were out of everything! Herbs, Prosciutto di Parma... I made do. Our menu: pistachio-crusted rack of lamb, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, salad topped with orange supremes, golden prosciutto, gaeta olives and almonds.
All much easier than it sounds:
Salt and pepper the fatty side. Pan sear it until the fat starts to crisp. Let cool, then smear the fatty side with Dijon mustard. I was lucky enough (or not - at $8 a tub) to find shelled pistachios, which I pounded on with a hammer to make the crust. Sprinkle a good layer onto the mustard and then bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes, then slice and serve. See? Nothing to it. Except I didn't sear or bake it long enough so it came out a little underdone. No worries, now I know for next time.
The key here is to roast the garlic. I used half a head - this is plenty for a serving for 2. Place the garlic, unpeeled, in some foil and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, wrap it up, and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350. You can tell when it's done by smelling it - it's not the pungent sauteeing garlic smell, it's a little sweeter. Take it out and let cool. Meanwhile, you should be boiling your potatoes. I used 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes. When these are tender, mash them roughly with a fork. Add heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Add the garlic - you should be able to squeeze them out of the skin and they should have the consistency of cream cheese. Whip these together with a hand mixer, adding more butter or cream until you get the consistency you want.
Make the orange supremes - cut, don't peel, the skin off. Cut in between the pith to make wedges. Slice or tear prosciutto into bite-sized pieces. Assemble salad - greens, orange slices, prosciutto, almonds, olives in a big bowl. Fresh pepper, good extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Toss and serve.

Alexis: Here's the finished plate - I really wish I'd been more patient with the lamb but it still turned out pretty good. And, I am having some for lunch today - leftovers are my favorite!

Alex: How lucky am I to have a woman that doesn't make a big deal out of Valentines Day? We all know that it’s just a money making scheme anyway. We won't give in to the man! But it was a good excuse to have a delicious meal. Lamb is probably my 2nd favorite meat (I'm from Texas so guess what’s 1st). The Lamb might have been slightly undercooked, but not by much. It was very tender and juicy and the crust was insane. Nothin' like a bit of Lamb and Mustard. I especially liked scooping up the pieces of the crust that fell of the meat with the Mashed Potatoes. Oh and FYI, my new favorite salad is one with Oranges in it. Woowee!

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