Rangers, 2 vs. Devils, 3: Lamb Chops with cilantro-mint herb sauce
Like many hockey fans, I was elated, overjoyed and just plain relieved that the lockout ended this summer. Growing up in a family that was not much for athletics, I never had much of an interest in most sports except hockey. Watching baseball or basketball bored me, but I was always ready to watch a hockey game. I'm sure my interest is in large part due to the fact that I figure skated for many years--just being around pucks, sticks and of course cute hockey players had a big influence. So, the New Yorker that I am, I grew up an avid Rangers fan. And, of course, like any good Rangers fan, I DESPISE the New Jersey Devils.
So this year, after all the hoopla of actually having a season, I proposed my first ever sports bet to my friend Y.O./J.C. (he has two names--it's a long story involving a fengshui master, his parents and his supposed future), a New Jerseyian now living in Manhattan who has a misguided love for the Devils. As they are in the same division, the two teams play each other eight times during the regular season. I felt that this was equal to eight dinners and therefore made a bet with him.
Alas, the first game was a loss by my beloved Rangers to those evil ones across the Hudson River. That meant I had a dinner to cook. What to make, what to make.
I decided to center the meal on lamb chops. I must tell you, dear reader, I LOVE lamb chops. It's just one of those foods that gets my mouth salivating at the mere thought. I have terrific memories of Mama Rose using the toaster oven to gently cook the individual chops and I would wait patiently by that square little machine watching the meat sizzle and brown, ready to grab one as soon as I saw my mother's look of approval.
Normally I roast the chops "naked." No, I do not cook without wearing clothing. What I mean is that I just don't usually marinate my chops before they go into the oven--I cook them plain. Other than in restaurants, I hardly ever eat lamb chops that have been pre-marinated. Therefore, I decided I should try to marinate them this time and settled on a cilantro-mint mixture. Unfortunately, this did not happen. Why? Well, I forgot to do it the night before. Doh!
So instead, I roasted the chops "naked" in the oven and made the mixture into a sauce.
Lamb is a meat with a sometimes overpowering earthy flavor and therefore I like it paired with simple veggies, like green beans. So I steamed a bunch I picked up from Fairway on my way home from class.
To round out the meal I made a simple dish of wheat pasta (which I found very rough and dry--I don't think I'm going to buy it again) topped with Victoria Marinara Sauce.
To finish, I opened up my last bottle of wine from my trip to Venice two years ago. The bottle of Domini Veneti Valpolicella Classico Superiore 1999 was a perfect match--this slightly light bodied variety with some floral hints complemented the deep earth flavors of the lamb.
We both enjoyed the meal (although I'm sure he was gloating over his win) and I was able to prepare it in less than an hour. Afterwards, Y.O/J.C. and I went to 44 and ½, though I can only recall one of our desserts, the lemon tart. My memory of our time there is a bit fuzzy--I had just consumed a half bottle of wine.
Since our meal, the Rangers have won 3 games against the Devils! Y.O./J.C. doesn't cook so he'll be taking me out to eat to keep up his end of the bet. First up: L'Impero in Tudor City. Stay tuned!