Valentines Day at Home

Hubby and I tend to celebrate Valentine’s day early to skip the crowds, and have a quiet evening at home when Feb 14 rolls around.  This year he requested rack of lamb, which is a favorite of mine as well.  I am particularly proud of this recipe which features a delicious chocolate balsamic vinegar from Sigona’s market–a fitting way to celebrate my favorite holiday.  

Mike & Sophie’s Rack of Lamb

1T Instant Coffee
1T Water
2T pure Maple Syrup
1 dried chili, cut into small pieces
2T Sigona’s Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1t coarse sea salt
1 Frenched Rack of Lamb, ~1.5 lb
1 butternut squash, washed and cut into quarter inch slices, seeds removed
1 package mushrooms, washed and quartered
1/4 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine Instant coffee with water in a small bowl and mix until coffee is dissolved.  Add Maple syrup, cut chilis, balsamic vinegar and salt.  Microwave for 15 seconds.  Cut the rack of lamb into pieces, with 2 ribs per piece.  Put into quart size ziploc bag, add microwaved mixture and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Put a single layer of butternut squash slices in the bottom of a baking dish.

In a medium skillet, heat a bit of oil on medium high heat and sear/brown the lamb pieces on all sides (reserve marinade).  Place on top of butternut squash in the baking dish, and bake in oven until internal temp ~ 160 degrees F for medium rare.  Meanwhile, add the mushrooms to the skillet containing pan drippings and toss quickly.  Add marinade & stock, scrape bottom of pan, cover and cook ~ 3minutes. Remove the cover, reduce liquid in pan until about a quarter remains and sauce becomes slightly thicker.  Remove lamb, & squash, let sit a few minutes, serve with mushrooms & sauce.  I paired this with a “bacony” buttermilk cornbread (recipe from joy of cooking), which worked well!

One of the best ever.

This is one of my favorite pictures ever. It’s my crazy family, doing our crazy Tseng (and Su) thing. We’re all in North Carolina, celebrating my grandma’s 80th birthday. In case you can’t tell, that’s her in the middle of the picture. I think she’s having fun. Notice how all the guy cousins responsible for carrying on the family name are down on the floor in front? This photo is aptly named, “Big Laugh”.