Sunday, February 17, 2008

Guest Blog #1: Eat Wyoming lamb, 100,000 coyotes can't be wrong.

The following is the first of many guest blog appearances by the friends and family who inspire my own culinary, crafty, artistic, life-enhancing endeavors, as documented here. Much thanks to my Dad for sharing his recent kitchen achievement. My parents are wonderful chefs, and I spend a good deal of time on the phone with them in my own kitchen seeking advice. Read on for some advice from a wonderful culinary mentor...

Eat Wyoming lamb, 100,000 coyotes can't be wrong.
by Mike Rawley

"Eat Wyoming lamb, 100,000 coyotes can't be wrong." You see this bumper sticker sometimes in Wyoming and it's good advice. Tonight we prepared a rack of Wyoming lamb for Valentine's Day. The meal was just delicious, and it really couldn't be easier.

The first step in a delicious meal is quality ingredients, so buy a really good rack of lamb. Our lamb was a very delicious and generous gift from Sarah's mom, Marj. We rubbed the eight-rib rack with good olive oil (“EVOO” for those Rachael Ray fans), sprinkled generously with sea salt (ours was from New Zealand), fresh cracked pepper, and tucked a big spring of fresh rosemary under the rack. Then we put the rack of lamb into a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.

The key to great roast (or grilled) meat is to let it rest out of the oven. While the lamb had a little nap, the small red potatoes browned in the roasting pan and the fresh green beans and carrots took a quick dip in boiling water. What could be easier or better? Combine with a good bottle of Malbec from Argentina and you will be eating better than Henry VIII. The really great thing about this meal is that the chops have a handy handle, and the proper way to eat green beans (haricots vertes in French) is with your fingers. Not only is dinner easy but it's fun as well!

What Valentine's day is complete without chocolate? I'd recommend a chocolate stout cake (courtesy of Ellen Michelle). With a pound of butter in the cake and another pound of chocolate and pint of cream in the ganache how could you go wrong? If you are a hopeless romantic get a heart shaped pan and really impress you sweetheart.

Sarah and I wish everyone well. Bon Appetit!

Chocolate Stout Cake
from Bon App├ętit | September 2002

Ingredients

Cake
2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream

Icing
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preparation

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

For icing:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

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