Shoyu Chicken

Shoyu Chicken is a classic Hawaiian plate lunch dish. Served with ice cream scoop balls of white rice and mac (macaroni) salad with tons of mayo, shoyu chicken is a perfect comfort food. I make it here in New Jersey sometimes to bring a little taste of Hawaii to the East Coast. My ingredients and cooking technique aren’t entirely traditional, and I never make it the exact same way twice, but it always comes out sweet, salty, and juicy, which is what matters.
For the chicken, I used:
  • 1 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup mushroom-flavored dark soy sauce (can generally be found at Asian and particularly Chinese food stores; I get mine at 99 Ranch in Jersey City)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake
  • 1/4 tsp five spice powder
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons minced ginger – fresh is best but I didn’t have any, so I used the jarred kind
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cubes of Chinese rock sugar (can generally be found at Asian and particularly Chinese food stores; I get mine at 99 Ranch in Jersey City) – can be replaced by extra brown sugar
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 3 skin-on chicken thighs (this amount of sauce could probably have worked for  4 or 5 thighs)
For the gravy, I used:
  • All of the cooking liquid
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of Wondra mixed 1 to 1 with water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Water, as needed
I mixed everything but the chicken in a pot and brought it up to a boil, cooking until the rock sugar dissolved. I tasted it to make sure the proportions were right. If you don’t know what shoyu chicken is supposed to taste like, just adjust the mix of ingredients until it tastes good to you – should be salty, sweet, and rich. I added the chicken, brought back to a boil, then turned it down to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, flipping each piece over once or twice while they cooked.
Chicken cooking in liquid
I pulled the chicken out of the cooking liquid (be sure to reserve this to make the gravy) and put on a baking tray (wrapped in foil because that sugary sauce gets messy!) in the oven at 350F. You can also do this on the grill – that really is the best option, just not in the cards for someone in a city apartment with no outdoor space. After about 10 minutes I took the chicken out and made sure that it was at least 165F inside with a thermometer. I finished it off by putting under the broiler (on high) for about 3 minutes. Be careful not to leave it in too long; it will burn easily.


To make the gravy, I brought the cooking liquid back to a boil, and whisked in some of the Wondra and water mixture. I whisked in the cream a little bit at a time, and a little water, and simmered until it thickened a bit and tasted right. This is where you can add more water to thin it out if needed. I served the chicken with the gravy, white rice, and some chopped green beans.
Shoyu Chicken plated

Porcini Mushroom Mashed Potatoes

I make mashed potatoes fairly often, and usually I keep it simple with garlic, butter, salt, and cream. Sometimes I cook the potatoes in chicken broth, or mix it up with add-is like chives and sour cream or roasted garlic. For Friendsgiving dinner this past weekend, I accidentally ended up making something new, which actually came out very tasty. I wanted to avoid using chicken bullion to make the dish vegetarian, since I wasn’t sure if everyone at the potluck would eat meat), and I’m running out of the mushroom Better than Bullion that I usually use in these situations, so I picked up some dried porcini mushrooms. My plan was to use the mushrooms to subtly flavor the cooking water for the potatoes and then go with a chive and sour cream flavor profile, but the flavor from the mushrooms was so strong and delicious in the cooked potatoes that I shifted gears and decided to add chopped porcinis into the mashed potatoes to honor that ingredient. I thought it gave the dish a bit of a potatoes and gravy taste, without actually having gravy. It was an accidental creation, but I will definitely make it again!
For the mashed potatoes, I used: 
  • 2 1-oz packages of dried porcini mushrooms (I used Urbani mushrooms which were on sale at Eataly last week)
  • 5 lbs. of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces (about 6 or 8 pieces per potato) 
  • About 4 or 5 oz. of good salted butter – I used Ploughgate Creamery cultured butter that I got at Eataly when I picked up the mushrooms. It’s worth it to use good butter – there are so few ingredients in the dish, so the extra flavor in each one helps
  • About a pint or maybe a little less of heavy cream
  • Two tablespoons of crème fraiche
  • Kosher salt
This made the perfect amount for a potluck event, making a deep casserole dish brimming with creamy potatoes. 
To start, I simmered the mushrooms in a large stockpot of water with some salt for about 30 minutes, until the mushrooms were very tender and the water had a rich flavor. I removed, chopped, then set aside the mushrooms.
I simmered the potatoes until very tender. I reserved about two cups of the cooking water, then drained the potatoes. I pressed the cooked potato chunks through a ricer (makes for fluffy potatoes without overworking) back into the stock pot, along with a few tablespoons of the butter.
I poured in some of the cream and some of the reserved cooking liquid, then used a potato masher to gently combine everything. I continued to add butter, cream, and cooking liquid until they were the right texture – creamy, and just a little thinner than I wanted them to turn out eventually. I folded in about three quarters of the chopped porcinis, the crème fraiche, and some kosher salt, to taste. Finally, I poured the mix into the casserole, heated at 350F for about 15 or 20 minutes, and then they were ready to put into an insulated case and take to the party.
Porcini Mashed Potatoes

Slow-Cooked Chili

Today I put my eight-quart Instant Pot to work making a huge batch of chili. It’s a great weekend meal to make, and I love having bags of it in the freezer for cold nights when neither James or I feel like cooking. I used bacon and ground beef, in addition to a ton of beans, but you could easily make a vegetarian version by leaving out the meat and swapping the beef bullion for a mushroom or vegetable variety. It looks like a lot of ingredients (and it is) but the great thing about chili is that you can throw in pretty much whatever you want and have available and it will taste good.

To make the chili, I used:

  • Five slices of bacon, roughly chopped
  • Just over two pounds of 85/15 ground beef
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil
  • One and a half onions, diced
  • Two cubanelle peppers, seeded and roughly diced
  • One jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • Four garlic cloves, chopped
  • Three tomatillos, diced
  • Two tomatoes, diced
  • Two tbls chili powder
  • One tbls garlic powder
  • One tsp ground white pepper
  • One tbls shichimi togarashi
  • Two tsps smoked tomato powder
  • Two tbls Tajin seasoning
  • Two tbls tomato paste
  • One tsp onion powder
  • One tbls Worcestershire
  • One tbls A1 sauce
  • One tbls beef better than bullion
  • 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • One and a half cans (using the can from the tomatoes) of water
  • One 15-oz. cans of red kidney beans, drained
  • One 15-oz. can of dark red kidney beans, drained
  • One 15-oz. can of pink beans, drained

I started by rendering the fat from the bacon using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot; once it was crispy I removed it and and added the ground beef in to brown. When it was cooked, I drained  and set it aside. I added some olive oil into the pot and cooked down the onions for about 10 or 15 minutes. When the onions were soft and starting to get brown, I added the diced cubanelles, jalapeño, and garlic, and cooked until soft. I added all the dried spices and tomato paste, and let them toast up with the cooked vegetables for two or three minutes, stirring constantly so they wouldn’t burn.

Finally, I added in the rest of the ingredients and set the pot to the normal slow cook setting for six hours. At that point I briefly ran an immersion blender through the mix – still leaving lots of chunks – and then served with diced onion, tomatoes, and tomatillos, shredded cheese, Mexican crema.

Cast Iron Roasted Chicken

Tonight’s dinner was a whole roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and haricots verts. It was a simple meal to make, nothing fancy, but it tasted great and was really satisfying. Something about roasting a whole chicken just makes it feel like fall.

For the chicken, I started by preheating my nine-inch cast iron skillet in a 500F degree oven with just a little bit of corn oil. I prepped the chicken by making a cut in each leg so they would lay flat in the pan. Just pull the drumstick out, slice the top part connecting it to the body, then flip it over and press the legs until they lay flat. I used my finger to make some pockets underneath the skin on both sides of the bird, which I stuffed with small pieces of softened butter. I sprinkled on some roasted garlic and mushroom powder and kosher salt, rubbed the bird down with a little olive oil, then put it breast side down in the pan. After 15 minutes at 500F degrees, I turned it down to 350F degrees and turned the bird to sit breast side up. I put it back in for about 30 or 40 minutes, until it was cooked through – 165F degrees.

For the mashed potatoes I used:

  • Four yukon golds
  • Three smashed cloves of garlic
  • About three tablespoons of butter
  • A half cup or so of half and half
  • A few dashes of salt

I boiled the potatoes and garlic in salted water until cooked, then pressed them through a ricer. If you don’t have one it’s fine to use a potato masher, fork, or even an electric beater, but I think you get the best texture with a ricer. I also find it saves time when I’m making refried beans or anything else that needs to be mashed.

For the haricots verts, I started by rendering three slices of uncured applewood smoked bacon, diced, in an ovenproof skillet. When the bacon was about done, but still a little under, I added half a package of haricots verts and a pinch of salt. After cooking for two or three minutes on the stovetop, I threw them onto rack above the chicken in the 350F degrees oven. I meant to pull them out after 10 or 15 minutes but forgot, so they stayed in for probably about 20/25 minutes, which was a little too long, but they were still delicious.

Beef Stroganoff

I had a conversation with a coworker recently about foods we ate as children, and the topic of beef stroganoff came up. They mentioned that they really disliked the boxed variety of it that their mom used to make, and it was such a turnoff that they haven’t eaten the dish since. I have been thinking about stroganoff ever since that conversation, and decided to take a stab at an elevated version of the dish. If they ever want to try it again, I think that this preparation could probably change their mind about this classic dish. I paired buttered egg noodles with sous vided prime sirloin steak (I know its unnecessary to buy a prime steak when you’re going to sous vide it and cover it in creamy gravy but I don’t regret the decision, it was incredible!) and a rich shiitake and cremini mushroom gravy.

For the beef part of the stroganoff, I started with five fairly small prime sirloin steaks to serve four people and have plenty of leftovers. After seasoning the steaks with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder I cooked it for an hour or so with my immersion circulator at 115F degrees. Once they was done I let the steaks cool completely, then seared them off on the grill just until browned.

The gravy got by far the most time and attention of any of the components for this meal. I used:

  • Two tablespoons of salted butter
  • Two medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • Two shallots, thinly sliced
  • Three garlic cloves, minced
  • Two or three tablespoons of flour
  • 12 oz cremini mushrooms, sfliced
  • 12 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • A pinch or two of crushed dried rosemary
  • A few shakes each of dried basil and dried parsley
  • A few shakes of garlic and mushroom powder
  • About a teaspoon of dried mustard
  • A little less than a cup of pinot grigio
  • A few tablespoons of veal demi glace (half of a seven ounce container)
  • Two tablespoons of beef better than bullion
  • About two or three cups of water
  • Almost a pint of heavy cream
  • About a third of a cup of sour cream

I started by sautéing the sweet onions at medium heat in the butter, with a sprinkle of kosher salt. When they got soft and a little brown, I added the shallots and cooked until translucent. I added the garlic and cooked for a minute or two, then added the flour and cooked for another two minutes or so. Next I added the sliced mushrooms, dried herbs, and the mustard and garlic powder. I cooked on medium high heat for several minutes, until the mushrooms were tender, then added the wine and let it cook on medium until evaporated. I added about half the water, then stirred in the demi glace and bullion. I brought it up to a boil then slowly stirred in the heavy cream. Once it came back to a boil, I tasted it, and added the rest of the water to thin the flavor out just a bit. I let it simmer on low for about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it was thickened up and tasted great (but still just a little more rich and salty that I would usually serve it) I took it off the stove to cool for about five minutes. Just before serving, I stirred in the sour cream until fully incorporated.

I served the steak and gravy over simple buttered noodles. I used 18 ounces of wide egg noodles (one and a half bags) cooked until tender and half a stick of butter. This made more than enough for four people plus leftovers.

Short Ribs with Polenta

For dinner tonight, I made braised short ribs with a cheddar and Colby Jack polenta. My plan was to do the short ribs slowly, either on the stove or oven – I’ve done both before – but I got started a little too late this afternoon. I wanted fall-off-the-bone-tender meat, but didn’t want to eat too late, so partway through my prep I shifted gears to using a pressure cooker – my 8-quart Instant Pot. The meal didn’t suffer for the switch – the meat came out so tender I ate it with a spoon! I used some traditional ingredients in the short ribs, along with a few Asian products I usually throw in to build out the flavor a bit more. The first time James saw me put oyster sauce in short ribs he thought I was nuts, but it is really great in stews and braised dishes like this – it just adds some depth, salt, and richness! Today, I used:

  • Six thick, bone-in beef short ribs
  • A few beef marrow bones, salted and roasted at 425F degrees for about 20 minutes (these aren’t really necessary if you can’t find or don’t want them – I just used them today to make the broth a little richer and beefier)
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One chopped sweet onion, diced
  • A few celery hearts, diced
  • A few carrots, diced
  • Two or three cloves of garlic, minced
  • A tablespoon or two of tomato paste
  • Two tablespoons of flour
  • Two or three tablespoons of beef bullion
  • A teaspoon or two of mushroom bullion
  • A dash or two of garlic powder
  • A dash or two of onion powder
  • A dash or two of smoked tomato powder
  • About two tablespoons of mushroom flavored dark soy sauce
  • Three tablespoons or so of oyster sauce
  • About half a bottle of red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • A cup or so of water
  • A few sprigs of thyme


This was enough for me, a very hungry James, and some leftovers, so it should serve three or four people.

I started by browning the meat in an oven-safe braiser. I planned to do everything in the pot, then throw it in the oven at 350F degrees for a few hours, like I usually do, but realized as I was going that I started way too late, so I cooked everything on the stove then transferred it to the pressure cooker once I was ready to put the meat back in. If I had known I was using it from the start, I would have cooked everything in that pot on the brown setting. After about two minutes or so a side, to brown the meat up, I removed it from the pan and set it aside.

Browned short ribs

I added the mirepoix (carrots, onion, and celery) and the olive oil, and cooked for about 15 minute or so on a medium heat, to soften everything up. I added the garlic and cooked for just a minute or two, then the tomato paste for another few minutes. I added the flour and let that cook out for a minute or two, then added the rest of the seasonings (everything on my list from beef bullion through oyster sauce) and let them cook together for two or three minutes. Once it all started to stick a bit to the bottom of the pan, I added in the red wine to deglaze, then the water, cooked marrow bones, and thyme. After about five minutes, I checked to see if the taste was where I wanted it to be (it was) and then I poured everything into the pressure cooker. After putting in the reserved short ribs and making sure that the liquid covered a little more than 3/4 of the way up the ribs, I sealed it up and set it to pressure cook for 50 minutes using the meat setting on my Instant Pot.


As a side, I whipped up a quick cheesy polenta. I used the package directions as a place to start, but added more water than it said. I added some chicken bullion instead of salt, and threw in a pat of butter. I brought that up to a boil, whisked in the polenta, and cooked for a few minutes, stirring frequently. I added some heavy cream, a little garlic powder, salt, and a few handfuls of cheddar and Colby Jack cheese, and continued to cook and season until it was the taste and texture that I like. Once the meat was done, I let the pressure release very slowly over about fifteen minutes or so, then served the meat and cooking liquid over the polenta. Sometimes to be fancier I take the broth, strain off  the fat, and cook it down with a little flour to thicken it up and make a sauce, but I was already running behind and feeling a little lazy today, so just serving it right out of the pot was fine.


Elk and Beef Sliders with Street Corn

In keeping with the easy vacation mode of cooking, I kept it simple tonight with sliders, corn, and asparagus. Simplicity was especially important because Tuesdays are the one day of the week that I always feel sick and wiped out. I do an injection of an immunosuppressive medication every Monday night to treat the arthritic symptoms of lupus. The medication helps me feel and function better throughout the week, but makes me really fatigued the day following the injection, with dizziness and nausea if I try to do too much. For that reason, James did most of the prep for the meal today, and he and my aunt did the grilling, which was really helpful.

To honor the unique ingredients that can be found out here in Colorado, and make the sliders a little more interesting, I bought both elk and ground beef and mixed them. I would have used 100% elk, but I’ve never cooked it before and wasn’t sure if everyone I was cooking for would like it, so I made a blend. For the slider patties, I had James mix up a pound of ground elk, a pound of ground beef (85/25) and a little each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I have heard that you have to be careful about overworking elk, so he mixed them delicately until just combined, then formed about 10 small patties, plus one special request regular size burger patty. To combat the leanness of the elk, I cut small cubes of butter, which I put in the freezer for a few minutes, then stuffed three cubes into each patty, and worked the meat over to cover them. I also made slider patties with an additional pound of regular ground beef (85/25), in case anyone didn’t like the elk. When we were about ready to eat, my aunt threw them on the grill and cooked them to medium rare, about 10 or 15 minutes. At the end, she topped them with some swiss cheese.

To spice up the corn, I duplicated the street corn style grilled corn I made while camping a few weeks ago – For the creamy topping, I mixed equal parts sour cream and mayo (maybe half a cup of each, or it could have been more) with the juice from one lime and some salt. James pulled back the husks (leaving them on) and removed the silk from eight ears of raw sweet corn. I soaked them in cold water for about twenty minutes before cooking, then James grilled the ears in the husks until they were tender, about 15 minutes. Before serving, I peeled the husks back (to use as holders for the corn) and spread on the creamy mix. I finished by sprinkling with shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend with pepper flakes and other ingredients.

For other sides, I roasted some asparagus in a little oil with shichimi togarashi at 350F degrees until done. Usually I roast them at 400F degrees; not sure if it was the stove or the altitude but that seemed too hot, so I turned the temperature down a bit. I also baked off a tray of tater tots by special request. We never do that at home, but I must say, they were delicious!


Lamb and Couscous in Colorado

I’m in Breckenridge, Colorado, on vacation with James, my parents, and my aunt and uncle, who have a place in a great place right on Peak 8. I have been here in the winter for ski season, but my favorite trips are always the ones at the end of the summer/early autumn. The weather is perfect for hiking and the aspens are starting to change to a beautiful yellow, standing out on the rolling green mountains all around.


My aunt Kris and uncle Miles, with me in the background

Being up here presents a unique culinary challenge – cooking at altitude. Things are different here at 10,000 feet, and depending on what you are cooking, you may have to make substantial changes. Luckily, I have some help… my uncle, the chef, has been cooking up here for more than 10 years, and has learned a lot from experience. For dinner tonight, I kept it pretty simple, since we were out doing stuff most of the day. I made lamb loin chops, cous cous, and roasted carrots. I took a lot of shortcuts (i.e. boxed couscous, sliced onions, and pre-made tzatziki) because it’s vacation and who wants to spend the whole time cooking?

I did the carrots first. James peeled them for me, so all I had to do was slice and spread them out on a baking sheet with a drizzle of vegetable oil, a few turns of salt and a sprinkle of dried dill. I did them at 400F degrees, flipping once, until they were nice and brown on both sides. I started with a two pound bag; it looked like a lot in the store but after they cooked down there was barely enough for six people to have a satisfying portion.

Carrots after

For the other side, I made couscous. I used a boxed kind – you can get plain stuff without the seasoning packets, but when you’re traveling and cooking in a vacation home kitchen with limited (or no) spices, bullions, and condiments, the packaged stuff isn’t the worst idea. To spice it up, I added some seasonings I found in the unit, and cooked up an onion and some mushrooms for texture. I used:

    Two boxes of instant couscous, one parmesan flavor and one garlic and olive oil.
    8 ounces of sliced mushrooms (I always cut my own at home but once again it is vacation, so I felt okay about cheating)
    A medium sized sweet onion, chopped
    Garlic powder
    Onion powder
    Herbs de provence (at home I would have used some za’atar)
    A splash of dry white wine
    A tablespoon and a half of salted butter


I started by cooking down the onions with salt and the spices in a little olive oil until soft, then added the mushrooms, which I cooked until tender and brown. I used the wine to deglaze the pan. Once it had cooked out, I added the water. The high altitude directions said 1 1/3 cup water per box, and to add two minutes to the resting time. My uncle explained that at this altitude, water boils at a lower temperature, so more of it boils off (evaporates) than would at sea level, and if you are boiling anything, it takes longer, since it is cooking at a lower temp.

I added a little extra to account for the water that would be absorbed by the onions and mushrooms, to account for the extra time it would be sitting before serving, and because this is a very high altitude, for a total of about four cups of boiling water, which was definitely too much. I also added a tablespoon and a half of butter and the seasoning packets. I let it boil for half a minute, then added the couscous, covered it, removed it from the heat and let it sit until I was ready to serve, about half an hour later. About 15 minutes in, I threw a paper towel on top and put the lid back on. This was a helpful suggestion from my uncle about how to pull some of the moisture out of the couscous without putting it back on the heat.

For the protein, I used two Costco packages of lamb loin chops, a total of 16 chops, which was more than enough for six people and a few helpings of leftovers. I brushed the steaks with a few tablespoons of olive oil mixed with herbs de provence and dried dill, and seasoned with salt and pepper. James and my uncle took them out and seared them off on the grill for just a few minutes a side. Then they brought them in and finished them in the oven at 400F degrees until medium rare. The steaks were all different sizes, so they had to come out of the oven in a few different batches to be sure they were all cooked just right.

It definitely wasn’t a fancy meal, but it was tasty, low-stress, and it didn’t take long, which is just what you want on vacation!

Finished meal - lamb and couscous

Buffalo Wings

Wings with blue cheese is one of those dishes that I hardly every eat when I go out – I make them at home exactly how I like them, and when I have them out at a restaurant or bar I usually end up disappointed. When I do them at home, I like to add a good amount of duck fat to the oil to add some flavor when I fry them, and I also make a ton of thick blue cheese dip, which I spread on far more liberally than I would feel comfortable doing in a public setting. I have been craving wings since the first week of NFL preseason games, so I made them for dinner tonight.

To make the wings, I used:

  • 2 duck legs
  • One package of chicken with about eight wings
  • Lots of corn oil
  • About a cup of flour
  • A tablespoon or two of garlic powder
  • A teaspoon or two of Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • A sprinkle of white pepper

This made enough wings for James and I to pig out to the point of feeling sick, plus duck meat for my lunch salads this week. I started by trimming the excess skin and fat from the duck legs, and putting that, plus the duck (skin side down) in a cold pan, then letting it slowly come up to medium heat to render the fat. I cooked the duck on the other side for a minute or two, just to get some color on it, then baked it in the oven until it was over 165F degrees. I saved the meat for my lunches this week, and just kept the pan full of fat for this recipe. Once the skin had shrunk down to just a few hard, crispy bits, I pulled them out and was left with a good amount of fat.


To prep the wings, James broke down the chicken, separating the wings and drumettes, and taking off the tips, which I discarded. I mixed the flour and all the seasonings together, and dredged the chicken in the mix.


I added enough corn oil to the duck fat to give the wings room to cook, then brought it all up to 300F degrees (you can go hotter than this, but I find that as long as you don’t overcrowd the pan the temp creeps up a bit as they are cooking, and also gets hotter for the second batch, so I like to start on the low side) before dropping the chicken. I fried the wings in two batches until golden brown and crispy, and finished in the oven at 300F degrees for a few minutes to make sure they were cooked all the way through. To make a classic Buffalo sauce, I melted about a stick of butter and added an equal amount of hot sauce, using a mix of the classic Frank’s RedHot and some Camouflage Hank Sauce, which I love and have been using a lot lately. I tossed the finished wings in the sauce and they were ready to go.


For the blue cheese dip, I used:

  • About equal parts sour cream, mayo, and crumbled blue cheese
  • A sprinkle of onion powder
  • A splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • A small splash of lemon white balsamic vinegar
  • A sprinkle of kosher salt
  • A few chives, minced


This made a big bowl, which was more than enough to slather every wing in, plus leftovers that I will think out with some milk to make salad dressing. I just mixed everything together and let it sit in the fridge for a bit to set up before serving it with the wings.

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Extra Topping

Several years ago, I came across this recipe for rack of lamb. I loved the flavors of the herbs and the mustard with the lamb, and I have been making a version of it ever since. It’s an easy and delicious way to show off for family and friends, or just to treat yourself with on the weekend. My biggest issue was that there was never enough herby bread crumb crust – my favorite part – so as I do with with my Mac-nut crusted fish, I started making extra breading to use as a topping. Today I made two vegetables side dishes – simmered radishes and sautéed mushrooms.

For the lamb, I used:

  • One frenched rack of lamb (I got this one in Costco; they also have them at the regular grocery store sometimes)
  • A handful of finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Three or four tablespoons of finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Three or four tablespoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • A few cloves of garlic, minced
  • A cup and a half or two of seasoned breadcrumbs
  • A pinch of salt
  • Dijon mustard
  • Whole grain mustard

This was enough lamb for both James and I to have a hearty serving and for some leftovers, but it could feed three or four people if you size down the portions. A note about the herbs – sometimes it is fine to use dried, but for this recipe, I think the fresh herbs are important.  Something about bright, fresh mint with lamb – it just brings it to another level.

I started by trimming some of the fat from the rack – leaving some on, because it is really delicious! The picture above is the rack after trimming. I mixed together the herbs, garlic, seasoned bread crumbs, and salt, and divided the mixture in two. I reserved half for the topping and put the other half on a large dish to crust the lamb. I seared off the lamb in a hot pan, with the fat side down at first. I let the fat render a bit, about four or five minutes, until it was brown, then did it for about 90 seconds each with the bones down, then standing with the ribs up. I brushed on some dijon mustard, then a coating of whole grain mustard, then rolled it in the breadcrumbs. I threw it in the oven at 375F degrees for about 15 minutes, until it hit 115F degrees – I like it rare, but feel free to cook longer depending on your preferences. While I was waiting, I heated the rendered fat (in the pan that I browned the meat in) over medium heat for a few minutes, then added the reserved breadcrumbs and about a tablespoon of whole grain mustard. I cooked the breadcrumbs until toasted, about five minutes. When the lamb was done, I took it out to rest and warm up a few more degrees.

For the radishes, I used:

  • About a pound of radishes, ends trimmed
  • 1/3 stick of salted butter
  • 1 cup of water

This was plenty for two people plus leftovers. I put everything in a pot, brought it to a boil, then simmered, covered, on low until really soft, which took about 25 minutes. So easy, and a really delicious side dish.

For the mushrooms, I used some shiitake and maitakes that I got yesterday at Mitsuwa, which has an incredible mushroom selection. I sautéed them in a little olive oil with some salt, then tossed in some finely chopped rosemary and thyme, to carry the flavor from the herb crust of the lamb into this dish. I cooked them until soft and browned, deglazed with a little cooking sake, waited for the liquid to cook off, and then they were ready to serve.