The Greatest Party of 2020 and Caveman Cooking

January 6 – January 12, 2020

Chicken chili pot (2)

Monday:                   Chicken Chili with Fixings

Tuesday:                   Philadelphia

John's and Cindy's soup

This is not our steak, obviously, but a pretty soup from John and Cindy in DC

Wednesday:            Steak with Baked Potato – Courtesy of Beez

jingelov hats

An Armenian Quick Bread Filled with Bitter Greens, Onions and Lemon Zest

Thursday:                 Jingalov Hats (Quick Bread with Greens)

mushroom toasts

Friday:                       Mushroom Toasts

bucatini all' amatriciana

Saturday:                  Bucatini All’ Amatriciana, Dressed Greens

chops rare

Sunday:                     Grilled Lamb Chops with Lavender Salt, French Fries, Salad

App of crudités with Beez’s Hummus

 

Even though David’s 40th birthday party occurred on Saturday, January 4th, early in this New Year, I am prepared to bet that it will hold its ranking until Billy and Emily’s wedding.

The party took place in David’s corporate offices, which feature a fantastic bar (I’ve already sent him my resumé), a separate space as large as an airplane hangar in which a good rock band was playing, spectacular food ranging from sashimi to lamb chops, and an array of beautiful young woman (foremost among them, Kathleen, David’s wife), stalwart young men and a fair sprinkling of elders.  It was a themed party (“dress like the 80s”) and you will see Beez and me somewhere below.  I was dressed as a sort of fat Don Johnson.  Beez being altogether more subtle and infinitely more with-it, featured the big shoulders of the era (who knew?).

Oh – there was also an ice-sculpture of an airplane – David pilots his own plane – through which a shot of whiskey poured in one side after coursing it’s way through the sculpture and achieving a pleasant coolness would shoot out the other side into a correctly positioned mouth.  (I’m afraid I dribbled a bit.)

Girls at party

Ann, Julie (who spent much of the eighties pregnant and managed to convey that at the party), Katie, aka Annie Hall, Annie and Beez with the big shoulders

Fat Don Johnson

Fat Don Johnson

It is difficult to pick a dinner from last week, because, frankly, they were all so good.  But Billy and Emily came out on Sunday and we were able, because of the warm weather to use the grill, and I had a chance to cook my first recipe from Michael Symon’s cookbook, Carnivore, a gift from Billy and Emily, and, well, the dish was as straightforward as Symon’s title, and his approach to life.  Now the more detail-oriented among you may question this – Lavender Salt is straightforward?  Yeah, it is.  You just crush a little lavender between your fingers and mix it with some Maldon salt and you’ll have a finishing condiment that, if you grill your chops correctly, will knock your socks off.  In fact, I intend to bring some lavender salt to David’s 41st birthday celebration, to complement the excellent chops he and Kathleen will undoubtedly provide again next year.

chops plate

GRILLED LAMB CHOPS WITH LAVENDER SALT

(adapted from Michael Symon’s Carnivore, served with greens and fried potatoes)

If you’re an ambitious cook, this recipe may, at first sight, seem too simple.  But cooking a lamb chop to medium-rare is no mean feat, especially over a charcoal fire.  And you can add as many fancy side-dishes as you wish, to soak up any excessive culinary energy.

Timing:

8 minutes to cook – 1 hour to allow chops to come to room temperature, during the last 20 minutes of which you will start your wood or coal fire or bring your gas grill to medium-high.

Ingredients:                         Serves 4 (can be easily doubled, trebled . . . )

Lamb Chops – If you are getting single rib chops, get 12 (3 per person), if double rib, get 8 (two per person)

1 tablespoon, dried lavender

¼ cup flaky sea salt (Maldon, e.g.)

Prep:

Trim excess fat from chops to reduce flare-ups.

Bring chops to room temperature (at least one hour).

Build charcoal fire for medium-high, or bring gas grill to medium-high and let heat for 20 minutes (about the time it takes for charcoal to come to heat after being ignited).

Rub lavender between your fingers and mix it with the salt.

Cook:

Brush chops with olive oil and put on the grill.  Single rib chops will take between 2 and 3 minutes per side to become medium-rare, double ribs about 4 minutes per side and another minute or so to sear the fat cap.

Sprinkle with lavender salt – enjoy.