Lamb Chops w/ Rosemary Balsamic Reduction:
Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s April!
It seems the older we get the faster and faster time flies by. The kids were out of school all week for Spring Break and we decided to do fun family stuff around town. The truth is, we really wanted to go on vacation with the kids but I dropped the ball and didn’t book anything in time. Going on vacation is a planned production with two kids and I didn’t have it in me!
We decided to be tourist in our own city of Los Angeles. We went to The Griffith Park Observatory; we hadn’t been there for many years and it’s such a beautiful location and a magnificent view of Los Angeles. As we settled down into the Samuel Oschin Planetarium for the show, “Centered in the Universe” (which takes you on a journey of cosmic exploration and discovery) I went on my own journey of sleeping through the entire show!
The next day we took the kids to our favorite beach, Paradise Cove. If you haven’t been to Paradise Cove in Malibu, do yourself a favor and go. After lunch I laid down on the sand and guess what? I fell asleep!
Are you seeing a theme here? I’m tired and I’m getting my sleep! I’ve been working hard all year. Working hard on getting fit, working hard on eating healthy, working hard on cleaning out junk in my house and always working hard on my kids. I guess just working hard on getting my life the way I want it to be with no excuses.
Spring Break has given me time to relax and just enjoying being and getting my sleep!
I’ve missed a few workouts, ate some food that I usually would avoid and oh, yes, enjoyed a couple of really great cocktails. That’s what taking a break is about. A break from your regular routine.
Today is Good Friday, a time to reflect on Jesus Christ and a time of prayer. We will light some candles tonight in honor of the crucifixion as we spend time together as a family decorating our Easter Eggs for Easter Sunday!
Have a great Easter!
Ali in the Valley
Our Easter Menu:
Ali in the Valley’s Easter Cocktail
Lamb Chops with Rosemary Balsamic Reduction
Mac and Cheese
Lamb Chops with Rosemary Balsamic Reduction:
Photo by: Ali
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves 1 teaspoon minced garlic Kosher salt 6 (4-ounce) double lamb rib chops (2 ribs) with bones attached, ribs frenched 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons minced shallots 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 cup balsamic vinegar 1 large or 2 small rosemary sprigs 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, parsley, rosemary, and garlic. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside.
Set a 12-inch oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the black pepper. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil to the saute pan and place the lamb, fat side down, in the pan. Sear the lamb until the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook the lamb, turning to cook evenly on each side, about 2 minutes each side. Baste them with the herb and oil mixture. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the lamb is rare, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can grill the lamb chops.
Make the balsamic drizzle while the lamb is cooking: Set a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the shallots to the pan and sweat until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the garlic to the pan and sweat for 30 seconds. Pour the balsamic vinegar into the pan and bring to a boil. Add the rosemary and allow the balsamic to gently boil and reduce until only about 1/4 cup of balsamic remains, about 10 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Remove from the heat and swirl the butter into the pan. Remove the rosemary sprigs before using.
When the lamb is rare, remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. To serve, slice each double chop in half, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
Ali in the Valley’s Easter Cocktail:
Photo By Ali
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier Prosecco, chilled
In a Champagne flute, mix together orange juice, lemon juice, and liqueur. Fill with Prosecco. Serve immediately.
Photo by: Michael Brian Photography
2 ripe avocados (sliced) 1 red onion (sliced) 1 cup of baby organic heirloom tomatoes (sliced in halves) 1 cup of kalamata olives pitted (sliced in halves) 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese 1/4 cup of capers 1 small punch of cilantro leaves (roughly chopped) 3 cloves of garlic (minced) 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste
Mix dressing with the capers, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in separate bowl. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over tossed ingredients.
Mac and Cheese:
Photo by: Michael Brian Photography
6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 pound elbow macaroni 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 cups whole milk 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper Pinch cayenne 2 1/2 cups grated sharp and extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces) (half or each) 6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown. Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and 2 cups of the cheese, and stir well. Add the noodles and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese with the garlic, and Essence. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Essence or Creole Seasoning:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika 2 tablespoons salt 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Recipe for Garlicky Asparagus:
Photo by: Ali
1 pound (1 bunch) fresh asparagus, bottoms trimmed if necessary 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp water 4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half Salt and pepper to taste Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large sauté pan with a lid, on high heat, add the asparagus, olive oil, water, and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes uncovered, or until the water has almost evaporated. Toss the asparagus with tongs, cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Remove the lid and toss the asparagus again. Put the lid back on and repeat until the asparagus are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. The asparagus may brown slightly in spots, which adds to the pan-roasted flavor. Add salt and pepper. Serve hot.
This is delicious garnished with shaved Parmesan cheese.