Friday, July 23, 2010

Cookbook Fun

Jon's not going to be happy to read this, but I have to be honest with you, dear readers: I had an illicit encounter this morning.  With a man.  A man who was not Jon.  Now, I know you'll all be crying foul.  But, really, nothing happened.  We had some coffee, we talked, we laughed - we even cried a little bit.  It was very fulfilling.

You're dying to know who this mystery man is, aren't you?  Well, I'll tell you.  It was Jamie Oliver.  That's right - I had an illicit encounter with the Naked Chef.  Oh baby, oh baby.

This is how it happened: I decided to have a dinner party, and I went to my shelf of cookbooks, and I pulled down my copy of the Naked Chef.  I may have been alone in the house, but coffee and conversation was definitely had.  (What?  You don't talk to cookbooks?  Don't lie, I know you do.)  Jamie's such a great listener - he was really very helpful.  Except then I cheated on him with Mark Bittman.  Sorry, Jamie.

So yes!  Thanks to Jamie and Mark - and to Martha Stewart, but we'll get to her later - I will be throwing a luncheon on Sunday for Jon and four friends.  The menu will be as follows:

assorted nibbles (to be determined, mostly by the contents of my fridge)
butterflied leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic
mini farfalle pasta with broad beans and feta
berry cobbler

Nom, if I do say so myself!  Of course, I can't take credit for any of the recipes.  The lamb belongs to Jamie and Mark, the pasta salad is Martha's, and the cobbler was taught to me by my mother.  The cheeses - I picked them out all by myself.  I will take credit for them!  I had a glorious hour in Borough Market (yes, again) where I watched the butchers butterfly the leg of lamb (very cool) and I grabbed fistfuls of broad beans (did you know that broad beans are also called fava beans?) and I spent entirely too much time in Neal's Yard Dairy tasting cheeses.  Anyway, recipes!  That's why you're here, isn't it?  The pasta recipe can be found here.  (I'm omitting the mint, mostly because I forgot to buy it at the supermarket, and substituting broad beans for the peas.  Actually, I won't be using a shallot either.  I guess I'm making the recipe up as I go along and it will look nothing like Martha's.  But hers does look good!)  The lamb recipe is below, and is an adapted amalgamation of Jamie's recipe and Mark's:

1 leg of lamb, butterflied, about 4 pounds
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp minced garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
extra bunches of fresh rosemary
2 lemons

Preheat the grill or broiler; the rack should be at least 4 inches away from the heat source.  (Delay this step until you're just about ready to cook if you choose to marinate the meat.)  Mix together the dried rosemary, garlic, and a pinch of salt with enough olive oil to make a nice paste.  Rub this mixture liberally into the lamb.  Top with extra bunches of rosemary, and sprinkle with the juice from a lemon.  (Honestly, I'm probably going to double the marinade - you can never have too much.)  Let the lamb sit for at least an hour if you can.  Grill or broil the meat until it is nicely browned on both sides, about 20-30 minutes a side.  Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing thinly.  Serve with lemon wedges.

I love cooking for people, I really do.  You should come over some time!

Happy weekend, all.

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