Cooking out of my comfort zone

By Christina Collins

Last year was a looooong year. My attention was focused on my day job- I over committed myself to committees and projects and social obligations. It left me overwhelmed and with no time to spend on myself, traveling or working on any of my hobbies- like Feast & Merriment! But it’s a new year, and although my work schedule hasn’t changed much, I am over take-out and boring pan-seared chicken. So, I am committed to make the time to cook and to cook what I love. I am resolved to try new recipes and have my meals be totally and completely ‘Sassyfying!’

One of the recent challenges I embarked on was a rack of lamb. I love lamb- I always have. I grew up eating it with my grandmother. My uncle would sear individual loin lamb chops in a cast iron pan with olive oil, salt and pepper to an even medium. She liked them ‘pink’ inside, and we ate them with classic mint jelly. (Mint jelly is no longer my favorite sauce, but back them it was delicious and marked a special occasion!)

Remember to step out of your comfort zone in the kitchen once in a while. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck making the same ‘ole things all the time.

I’ve grilled and pan seared lamb over the years, but I never roasted a rack. No particular reason except that it’s expensive and I was scared to screw it up. But how do you learn if you don’t try- right? I did not head out to the butcher expecting to come home with a rack of lamb- it wasn’t even on my radar. But it was featured and on sale and decided to be impulsive.

I brought it down to room temperature and made a herb rub for it. I melted some butter and olive oil together, added minced garlic, chopped parsley, chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, dried thyme, dry mustard and lemon zest. I mixed it together to a paste consistency (tasted it) and then rubbed it all over the lamb. I let it sit for about an hour until ready to roast.

I heated the oven to 425 and cooked the roast, fat side up, for about 30 minutes- checking it for doneness every few minutes since I wasn’t sure how long it would take. Once I decided to pull it out, I let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. I decided to serve a very good quality, thick, tzatziki sauce in place of a mint sauce- it was an excellent decision and I can imagine having lamb with out tzatziki again.

In conclusion, remember to step out of your comfort zone in the kitchen once in a while. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck making the same ‘ole things all the time. I stepped out of my comfort zone with this lamb and it was well worth the risk. I can’t wait to make it again!

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