It’s been a while since my last post due to unforeseen computer problems, more computer problems, etc. but Happy Holidays! to everyone reading this. I hope you all had a chance to relax and recentre over the past few weeks; I had a much-appreciated quiet Christmas in Seattle watching The Adventures of Tintin and eating rather copious amounts of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate covered pomegranate candies. Working as a cheese monger is always insanely busy and hectic at this time of year; I have spent 7 Christmas seasons helping people assemble their festive dinners and I can say with all honesty that I love all of it. Once I’m home however, I rarely feel inspired to make anything very special for myself to eat – I’ve been eating a lot of grain salads that I can make a large batch of at the beginning of the week (and Romer’s burgers.) A couple of evenings ago I was at the grocery store thinking that I wanted something special but nothing that took longer than 20 minutes to assemble and cook. I chose lamb chops because they quick very quickly seared over high heat and grape tomatoes because you can just rinse them and drop them into the hot garlicky oil to cook in a matter of minutes. The garlic is only crushed with the side of a heavy knife, no chopping or mincing required. Make sure when you’re stirring the tomatoes at the end in the pan that you scrape off any small bits of the lamb chops stuck to the bottom, their addition to the pan sauce is essential.
garlicky lamb and grape tomatoes:
Lamb chops (I used 3 small ones for a single person)
About a cup of grape or cherry tomatoes, rinsed
1 Tbsp. of light olive oil or vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, their skins removed by crushing the clove with the side of a heavy knife
1/4 cup of finely cut up parsley (cut with kitchen scissors for ultimate ease of preparation)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1. If you have the time, take the lamb chops out of the fridge and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper about a half an hour before you’re planning to cook them.
2. Over medium heat melt the butter and oil together in the pan. Add the bruised cloves of garlic to the butter and oil mixture and allow to cook for 30 seconds to a minute.
3. Drop in the grape or cherry tomatoes adding salt and pepper to taste, cook for approximately 8 minutes shaking the pan every few minutes so that the tomatoes become evenly blistered and soft.
4. Turn the heat up to medium-high and check to see that your garlic hasn’t browned too much, if they look like they are burning remove to avoid an unpleasant bitter taste. Once the pan is nice and hot add the lamb chops and cook according to your preference, I like mine very rare but I’ll leave you with this link of lamb cooking times as a guideline.
5. Quickly move the lamb chops to a warm plate and add the parsley to the hot butter/oil mixture, tomatoes, optional lemon juice, and bits of meat stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir to combine and pour over the lamb chops; season with additional salt and pepper if required.
Despite all of the chaos of the season I feel overwhelmingly positive about the state my life is in right now. Throughout December I’ve been oscillating between nostalgia and the here and now, somehow I’ve been able to balance the two by treating my first Christmas away from home as a chance to create something unique and special for myself. I’m feeling independent and fully capable of taking care of myself for maybe the first time ever in my life and I’m comfortable thinking of past years with those I love that are far away. I’ve been listening to both of these songs almost every night because one inspires confidence while the other recreates the absolute quiet of dense Ontario winter nights; both feeling completely right for me this December.
Bjork – Alarm Call
Low – Just Like Christmas