Tuesday Two Minute Tutorial: How to french a Rack of Lamb

This Tuesday’s Two Minute Tutorial is all about how to french a rack of lamb. And we’re not talking about kissing a cut of meat!

Frenching is removing the membrane between the rib bones of the lamb. The result are those fancy, restaurant-style, lollypop lambchops. And it is so much easier than you might think! This is one of those tricks that can turn a simple meal into a meal fit for a queen!

We shared the video on how to cook a rack of lamb yesterday, but this tip is a go-to when you need to cook to impress!

Tonight’s Feast: Rack of Lamb!

If you’re looking to spoil yourself tonight, how about serving up this delicious dish? Try this recipe below that we love!

Rack of Lamb with Rosemary Parmesan Pesto

Ingredients:

2 to 3 Racks of Lamb (each rack has 8 ribs and you need 3 ribs per person)
1 ½ cups (packed) parsley leaves and small stems
4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 medium garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

French your racks of lamb down to the tenderloin. Trim most of the fat off the lamb and place on a small rimmed baking sheet and season on both sides with salt & pepper.


“Frenched” Definition: A culinary term for the process of cutting away fat and meat from the bone end of a rib chop or steak for esthetic presentation. The bone is scraped completely clean with a knife, leaving a white bone that is often decorated with a “chop frill” (rack of lamb chops is a classic example) or used as a “handle” for eating.


The Dads: Frenching the Rack of Lamb

Place coarse chopped parsley, rosemary, grated Parmesan cheese and garlic into food processor. With machine running, gradually add olive oil until you get the consistence of pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the top of the meat with the pesto.

The Dads: Rack of Lamb with Pesto

You are now ready to roast the lamb or you can place in the refrigerator and store in advance for your dinner party. Simply remove from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to the time you intend to place in the oven, allowing it time to come to room temperature.

Roast 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast additional 15 minutes for medium-rare. 
Rare: 120 – 130 °F, Medium – rare: 130 – 140 °F, Medium: 140 – 150 °F, Well-done: 150 – 165 °F

Bon appétit!

Classic Comfort Food: Glazed Meatloaf

Try Dave’s favorite Meatloaf recipe for your next family meal! This comes out very light and still the perfect flavor! Dave demonstrates in the video below how to make this perfectly glazed meatloaf. We’ll warn you- this is not your mom’s meatloaf!

With fresh herbs and big flavor, this meatloaf takes a little longer than those other meatloaf recipes out there, but the proof is in the pudding… or is that loaf? We’re not sure, but you should try it out!

Great Party Dish: Pork Tenderloin!

This past Friday we were invited to a dear friend’s 60th birthday celebration. We wanted to bring an hors d’oeuvre that would be fun and satisfying for the crowd. They were expecting over 40 guests at the party so we wanted to make a few things that would be great with drinks and be substantial at the same time!

So, we made this wonderful Pork Tenderloin! We marinated them the night prior and then roasted a couple of hours before the party. This gave them a chance to rest and cool before slicing, since we wanted to serve this hors d’oeuvre at room temperature.

We placed the thinly sliced pork tenderloin around the platter and in the middle placed the dipping sauce. Next to the platter we put a cachepot filled with fancy toothpicks. If you don’t happen to have a cachepot, you can substitute with your favorite shot glass!

Here is a picture of how our’s came out:

The Dads' Pork Tenderloin

Of course our second appetizer was our ever famous fresh pizza! They saw it on our blog and insisted we make that as well!

Check out our Pork Tenderloin recipe below! Let us know in our comment section if you choose to make it or if you have any additional tips! Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin

Marinade Ingredients:
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• ¼ cup hoisin sauce
• ¼ cup honey
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon diced garlic

Coating on pork for roasting:
• ½ cup uncooked sesame seeds

Directions:
Combine the above ingredients, mixing well. Trim two pork tenderloins (12 oz each) and place in zip lock bag. Pour into bag the marinade and allow meat to marinate for 2 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. We find it is best if you have time to allow the meat to marinade overnight.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

On a piece of wax paper spread uncooked sesame seeds and roll pork tenderloins in the seeds to coat the exterior. Please pork on greased baking sheet and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Insert instant thermometer into the center of the meat to ensure it is between 150 to 155 degrees.

Let meat rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

The above dish is great for a dinner or served cold for a party. If you use it for a party the below dipping sauce works perfect. We recommend slicing very thin if being used for a party and serving with tooth picks.

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
• Juice of ½ a lemon
• Juice of ½ a lime
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• ½ tablespoons Mirin (Rice Cooking Wine)
• 2 green onions – just the green part, sliced very thin
• 1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
• 1 tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients and place into a dish for dipping!

Impress Your Guests with This Homemade Gourmet Pizza!

We mentioned recently that we had made a pizza from scratch for Harris’ mother’s Italian birthday, so we wanted to share our recipe with you! 

Gourmet pizza is always a great crowd pleaser and with Super Bowl Sunday coming up, this might be one of the best entrees to serve up!

Here is our recipe that worked great for us. But the beauty of pizza is that you can dress it anyway you like, so feel free to experiment with your own variations! What’s your favorite way to decorate your pizza? Have you made it at home before? What tips worked great for you that you would like to share? Leave a comment and we will let you know if we try any of your suggestions!

Arugula with Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Four Cheeses Pizza

The Dads: Pizza

For the Pizza Crust:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
¾ cups of warm water, not over 110 degrees
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

(Note: If you do not have a standup mixer, then mix it by hand using a wooden spoon. An electric mixer would be too difficult to use in this instance.)

Pour yeast into the warm water and allow to sit for five minutes.

Using a standup mixer first combine the flour and salt. Next, set your mixer to run at low speed and drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Pour in yeast and water until just combined. The dough will be sticky. Coat a mixing bowl with olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Toss the dough ball in the bowl with olive oil to coat the ball. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for one to two hours. It is best to place bowl in the refrigerator 24 hours ahead for the best flavor.

Punch the dough down and roll out to fit your greased pan (we used a standard baking sheet). Try to avoid stretching the dough.

For your Toppings:

1 unbaked pizza crust (as above)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch Kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1/3 cup basil pesto
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups red cherry tomatoes – sliced in half
1 ½ cups yellow or orange cherry tomatoes – sliced in half
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
4 ounces asiago cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan reggiano cheese, grated
½ cup ricotta cheese
4 ounce fresh arugula

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Place cut tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste in a medium size bowl.  In small skillet, heat olive oil, add garlic and stir for one minute and remove from heat.  Pour over tomatoes mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Set aside.

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Roll out dough very thin, dusting with flour and transfer to oiled baking sheet.  Drizzle a little olive oil over dough and spread evenly.  Spread pesto over dough.  Sprinkle mozzarella, asiago, and parmesan reggiano evenly over pizza.  With a spoon place a small amount of ricotta over the entire pizza and sprinkle with red pepper flakes to taste.

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Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes. Then cover top with arugula, then spoon over tomatoes mixture.  Cut into squares and serve.

Bon appétit! 

The Best Fresh Pasta: The Dads Tested- Italian Grandmother Approved!

We just ventured into making our own pasta and did a lot of experimenting! After trial and error, here’s the best fresh pasta recipe we found out there! Have you made pasta from scratch? Tips you would like to share? Send us an e-mail or leave a comment above! Enjoy!

The Dads Pasta

Ingredients:
• 3 ½ Cups Unbleached all-purpose flour (we prefer King Arthur)
• 5 Extra-large Eggs, Farm Fresh if you can get them
• ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
• 1 teaspoon Olive Oil

Directions:

Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board or the center of your countertop.

Make a well in the middle of the flour; sprinkle the salt over the flour.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk your eggs and olive oil together and gently pour into the well (be careful not to let the egg mixture burst through the wall of your well).

Using a fork, begin incorporating the flour starting with the inner rim of the well and working your way out. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape so the eggs don’t escape. If they do, don’t worry – keep on going and it will still come together.

As all the flour gets incorporated, you will have to begin using a kneading action with the palm of your hand as this will become a bit of a difficult mass to work. Parts of the mass will also become dry bits but just keep incorporating them.

Now use both hands to knead the dough, primarily using the palms of your hands. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board/countertop and scrape up any leftover dry bits and discard them. Lightly flour the board, if necessary, to prevent sticking and continue kneading for another 5 to 6 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and wrap securely in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. If you’re not planning to work the dough and cut into pasta at this time, you can refrigerate the dough overnight and cut the next day, but not any longer as it will turn dark in color.

Next is the fun part and that’s cutting the pasta! If you have a machine, make certain to use the rolling press, starting with the largest opening and slowing stepping down to the smallest opening. Once fully kneaded by the machine, select the size cutter to use and begin rolling the dough through the cutter.

We found it’s really helpful to have a second person working with you at this point as when you’re cutting the pasta it helps to have someone else holding and pulling it from the cutter as it cuts so as not to have it clump under the machine.

Then, hang to dry on racks or cook fresh. For a drying rack, we just used a rack from our oven turned vertical and hung the pasta over the rack. For the pasta that we were cooking right away, we just laid it out on baking sheets and cookie racks.

The Dads Pasta

The above recipe makes approximately 1 pound of fresh pasta.

Our Fresh Pasta Journey in the Harris & Dave Test Kitchen!

The Dads: Harris & Dave decided to learn how to make pasta and share with you. We’ve all watched the cooking channels and saw how easy it is to make so we decided to see if all that is true. We downloaded several recipes and began our experimentation.

We tried the method of using the food processor and realized you run the risk of burning out your motor and it’s not that much easier. Using the method of creating a well in the center of your flour directly on your countertop or cutting board and slowly working the egg into the flour worked just fine.

We also tried using different flour: Bread flour, All Purpose flour, and Semolina flour. We found we got the best result from using straight All Purpose flour. We were disappointed as we thought Semolina would be more authentic Italian but what we learned is Semolina was too coarse for this application and made the pasta too difficult to work with.

We tried recipes that called for Olive Oil to be added to the recipe. While we liked the flavor that added, it did make the pasta just a little more difficult to work with so we found less was better.

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We experimented with the number of eggs to use. While we loved the taste of more eggs, we had to balance that against tenderness of the noodle and pliability for cutting in the pasta machine.

We also experimented with cooking the pasta fresh right after you cut it, freezing before drying the pasta and drying on racks. We found if you’re not going to cook it right away, it is definitely best to let the pasta dry before freezing or it will stick together when you go to cook the pasta.

The end result is the pasta recipe which we will upload tomorrow! Stay Tuned!

Dave

Heart-Healthy Chicken and Mushrooms and New Year Resolutions!

It’s 2014 already! Can you believe it? 2013 was a whirlwind, so we can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us. And with such thoughts, comes New Year resolutions. We’re promising to meet with our trainer more regularly since we would like to shed some holiday weight and get fit. After all, healthy recipes have not really been in our repertoire lately with all of that holiday cooking! But recently, a reader asked us for a heart-healthy recipe, and we thought it was apropos to post our new recipe today!

This Chicken dish is low fat, heart-healthy, and the mushrooms provide a ton of other health benefits. In fact, did you know that Baby Bellas and Cremini mushrooms are low-fat, cholesterol-free and a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals that can enhance your health and help prevent disease? These nutrients include selenium, niacin, copper and pantothenic acid.

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Heart Healthy Lemon Chicken with Mushroons

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts – Pounded very thin – lightly salt & pepper both sides
  • 1 shallot – coarse chopped
  • 2 cups baby bella/cremini mushrooms – Sliced
  • I Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Chicken Stock

Directions:

Pound out the chicken and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

In a large skillet on medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. 

When the butter and oil bubbles, add the shallots and cook for two minutes. 

Next, add the chicken, turning once and cook until done. 

Squeeze the lemon juice from the lemon over the chicken and remove the chicken from skillet. Set aside.

Add the flour and mushrooms and cook into the skillet, stirring constantly for two minutes. 

Next, add the chicken stock. Stir with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients will merge to create a sauce. Just cook the mushrooms until you are satisfied with how done they are. 

Spoon the mushroom mixture over chicken and serve with your favorite vegetables. Here’s how we plated this up:

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