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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Indulgent Dinner for One

It's been a rough week on the job for me so I decided to indulge and really cook a nice meal for myself last night. During the week, when I am not having guests I usually eat well, but not "well". I will make a veggie stir fry or what I like to call Trash Can Cous Cous, which is where I root every veggie or piece of fish out the fridge and craft it into one spicy heaping mess. It sure does taste good though and leads to interesting ideas for later recipes.

Last night I wanted something rich and satisfying and more complicated than I would normally do for just one, but it came out very well and I will have to trot this out next time I have guest who eat meat over. Most of my friends and my boyfriend only eat fish, hence the seafood heavy menu here at 312 Square Feet. I marinated a lamb chop and made a kind of cherry and shallot confit for it with a wilted arugula salad. I cobbled together a recipe which is more a list of ingredients. You will have to play with it to see what works for more than one person.

Spiced Marinade for Lamb

For four Lamb Chops or one Leg of Lamb
2 garlic cloves
6 sprigs of thyme (pull the leaves off)
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
sea salt and pepper

Put the lamb chops in a casserole dish and pour the marinade over them. Turn them so they are completely coated. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hrs or 45min at a minimum. You can turn them to make sure that they are getting an even coating.

I threw mine on my grill or you can broil them.

Cherry Shallot Compote

1 cup stock beef or vegetable
2/3 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot chopped
1 tablespoon Madiera wine
sea salt and pepper

Cook the shallot in the butter until the shallot is soft. Add the cherries and warm. Add the salt, pepper, stock and Madiera. Cook for about 5 minutes over low heat until the cherries are plump. Raise heat and boil off most of the liquid. The cherries will release some red color and sugar to make a thick compote.

This is also great with roast duck.

Wilted Arugula Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon olive oil (sometimes I like to make this with bacon. So instead of oil reserve the bacon grease in the pan)
1/2 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper

In a large fry pan, heat the oil or if using bacon, remove the chopped bacon bits and reserve the grease. Add the mustard, Balsamic and seasonings and heat quickly. Throw the greens in and remove the pan from the heat. Toss the greens in the pan until covered in the warm dressing and slightly wilted from the heat. Add the bacon bits back in, if using. Serve immediately.

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