Good Better Best Food: Easter Prep and a Wine Review

Easter is right around the corner and this rack of lamb is perfect for a smaller Easter dinner (or go larger and double this recipe!).  You could also make this for a special dinner or for a great night with friends.  I call this lamb dish "lamb for people who think they don't like lamb." aka Running Daddy.  The secret to great lamb is two things 1)marinade 2) don't over cook it!  The Clarendon Hills Cabernet from Wine Chateau was the perfect addition to this meal and really enhanced the evening.

Good Recipe
1 (1 1/2 lb) French-cut rack of lamb (8 ribs)
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 small minced shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Combine vinegar, 2 tsp rosemary, and garlic in a Ziploc bag.  Add lamb to bag and close.  Marinate the lamb in the refrigerator for 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove lamb from plastic bag and reserve the marinade. 

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper.  Pat remaining rosemary into the meaty side of the lamb. 

Place lamb meat side up on a baking pan and bake lamb for 20-22 minutes until the lamb registers 145 degrees with a meat thermometer.  I started checking the temperature at around 18 minutes so as to not over-cook...I was obsessed with not over-cooking it  Let the meat rest on a cutting board.

Heat oil in a large non-stick fry pan over medium high heat.  Add shallots and cook 4 minutes.  Add wine and reserved marinade.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer around 8 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.

Add broth and 1/8 tsp of salt and simmer about 5 minutes until reduced by about 1/3 cup. 

Combine honey and cornstarch then add to broth mixture.  Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute while stirring constantly.

Slice the lamb into 8 chops.  Serve the sauce over the lamb. 

To make Better add one element of organic lamb, farmers market or home grown rosemary or organic chicken stock.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic lamb, farmers market or home grown rosemary and organic chicken stock.

I roasted potatoes along with the lamb and served with a beautiful salad. 

This meal really came together with the addition of the Clarendon Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Brookman from our friends at Wine Chateau in New Jersey.  This Cab is full-bodied, with hints of black cherry and  a smooth finish.  Definitely a perfect dance partner for the lamb.  Running Daddy even commented that the Clarendon Hills Cab went well with his Tag a Long Girl Scout Cookie he had for dessert.  While this Cab has a higher price point at around $42 (Wine Chateau currently has it for $34.97) you will not be disappointed with this selection for your special occasion meal.  Even if you don't live in New Jersey, you can order from them over the web and they will ship directly to you.  Put together a case or a mixed case and the shipping is on them!  You cannot go wrong.

Enjoy the Best Food and the Best Easter!


Good Better Best Food: Passover Prep and Wine Review

While I am a life-long Catholic, I have been blessed since I was a little girl to have been friends and surrounded by loved ones who are of the Jewish faith.  I love both of these religions so much and have deep appreciation for how the Jewish traditions also involve lots of amazing food. 

A few Sundays ago, this Irish-Italian-Slovak girl tried her first brisket.  It was time consuming, so don't try this on a weeknight, but turned out amazing.  In addition, my dear friends at Wine Chateau in New Jersey sent a kosher wine to try with the brisket.

So here is the a Passover Preview....Good Better Best style!


1 3-5 lb beef brisket
2 Tsp. olive oil
2 medium onions
6 carrots
8 cloves of garlic peeled
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2 clementines or tangerines

Preheat oven to 325degrees.  Season brisket with salt and freshly ground pepper on all sides.

Place Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat and add oil.  Brown the brisket on all sides about four minutes per side.  Remove and set aside.

Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pot.  Cook until soft, feel free to add a little extra oil if necessary.

Add vinegar and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add white wine, cook and stir for about three minutes while allowing the liquid to reduce slightly.

Return brisket to the pot and add stock.  Bring to a simmer, then add thyme, and bay leaf.

Slice clementines, add to the pot along with the zest of 1/2 of the clementine.

Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

Reduce heat to 275 degrees and bake 2-21/2 more hours.  Keep an eye and meat thermometer on this as you want to make sure you hit 185 degrees internally but not more.

Let the meat rest on a cutting board.

Slice meat on the bias.

Using a spatula, remove the carrots, onions and garlic from the pot and keep warm.  Strain the remaining items in the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.  Simmer uncovered until slightly thickened.  Serve over meat.

I served this with carrots, Texmati rice and the amazing Alexander Syrah from Wine Chateau

While the kosher wines of the past were very good, the Israeli wines have come a long way.  This Syrah from the Galilee region was not only the perfect companion to this Passover prep brisket, it would hold its own at any other type of special gathering.  While a little more pricey at around $45 per bottle (although Wine Chateau has it right now for $32.89), it is a delightful wine to share at your table of family and friends.  In addition, if you brought this wine to a Seder, your hosts will be impressed and delighted!

The Alexander Syrah had definite tones of red. luscious fruits with a hint of spice and oak. 

If you would like to order the Alexander Syrah, reach out to Wine Chateau and they will ship anywhere.

To make your brisket Better add one element of organic meat, broth or organic/farmers market/home grown carrots, garlic or clementines.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic meat, broth or organic/farmers market/home grown carrots, garlic or clementines.

Enjoy the Best Food and Happy Passover!

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