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I love to cook.  Cooking is a wonderful way to shake off the stresses of the day and keep myself busy during the week-end.  It’s also a chance to sip wine and listen to Beethoven – two of my favorite activities.  More significantly, spending time in the kitchen allows me a chance to reminisce about the lovely people in my life who have helped me become a better cook, like Aimee, Sandy, Meera, Susan, Bev, and Lee – and that makes me happy.  Recently, I read a NYT article about The Four Seasons restaurant, where I have had the good fortune to dine with Kiki, and was inspired to make their recipe, Chopped Lamb Steak with Pine Nuts. My version was probably not as refined as the restaurant’s but it was still quite tasty and I will certainly make it again.

The secret ingredient is Sweet Hungarian Paprika. I love box and that color red. (Yes, the little girl figurine is a Hummel – a gift from my sister, Lee.)
Chateau de Combes
Is it the cooking or the wine that makes kitchen time so relaxing? This Chateau de Combes was a bit tart up front but once it opened up it had the flavors of spicey cherries, tobacco, and (expensive) leather. Yes, I have been working on my wine palate!
Lamb patties
The recipe instructs the cook to make “five-inch egg-shaped patties”. Mine were not so pretty. Next time, I will stick with a more traditional burger shape.
lamb in butter
You can cook the patties in the broiler or sauteed in butter. I tried them both ways. Sauteed in butter is the way to go. It keeps the meat tender and juicy. Six minutes per side over medium heat gets a nice sear without overcooking the lamb.
For the side dish, I made a butter lettuce, flat-leaf parsley, and fennel salad with my shallot vinaigrette. Thanks to my cousin, Bobbie, and my friend, Meera, I do make the best vinaigrette around. Bobbie taught me to add salt to the vinegar until the vinegar tastes sweet. Meera encouraged me to use dijon mustard to make a truly French vinaigrette. I add just a touch of dijon and it brings flavors of the dressing together. Thanks ladies! Because of you, I have this dressing nailed!
Ta-dah! I just love this salad! (Yes, I know I need to work on my food photos but trust me, this is a delicious salad combination.)
Miles aka Wiggles aka Pupchop is always ready to assist with tasting or cleaning the floor.
Dinner is served
Dinner is served! This meal is dedicated to all the lovely people in my life who helped become a better cook and with whom I have enjoyed so many wonderful meals! Thank you, friends!

Listen to Beethoven! This piece is, “Presto” from Piano Sonata No. 6 played by Jonathan Biss.  Whatever your musical tastes, Beethoven will be a welcome addition to your library.

4 thoughts on “Inspirations

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