Grilled Lamb Chops with Yogurt Sauce

Once upon a time, eating lamb was something reserved for an evening out; rack of lamb in a swanky restaurant or lamb chops passed around for an appetizer by a white gloved waiter. With that kind of swagger, it can be pretty intimidating to try making them at home, but this recipe is a breeze. If you love lamb chops, give these a try. The garlic and lemon on the lamb are a perfect match for the creamy dill yogurt sauce, and sure to have you wondering why you aren’t eating more lamb at home.

Options for purchasing pre-cut lamb chops near my house are limited; they command a steep price tag at the local butcher or Whole Foods ($25-$30 per pound!), but Costco carries rack of lamb already frenched for around $10 per pound. Most come in a 7-8 bone rack, with the bones already trimmed, so it’s just a quick slice between each bone, and we are ready to go. I will certainly cut my own for that kind of savings. They are easy to cut; stand it on its end (with the bones pointing upwards) and cut between ribs using a single stroke. That’s all there is to it!

Ingredients (serves 4):

Yogurt sauce:
½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Honey Simple Syrup
1 tsp. dried dill
½ tsp. dried Greek oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Lamb chops:
2 lbs. lamb chops
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges

At least one hour before starting to prep lamb chops, whisk together yogurt sauce and set aside in fridge for to let flavors marinate together.
Allow lamb chops to come to room temperature before grilling. In a small bowl, grate garlic into olive oil. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper on both sides, and rub garlic mixture all over chops. Preheat grill to 400 degrees.  Cook until desired temperature, 4-5 minutes per side for medium. Remove from heat and squeeze with a lemon wedge. Serve lamb chops with a big dollop of yogurt sauce spread on each plate. Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
Il Tarocco Chianti Classico 2015
Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2010

Best Baby Back Ribs

Best Baby Back RibsLiving in Texas, good BBQ is everywhere. I love baby back ribs, but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to smoke ribs at home or pick some up at the local BBQ joint. This is the easiest way to make tender, juicy ribs, and takes no special equipment – just an oven.  You won’t get the same smoky flavor as traditional BBQ, but with the right spices and sauce, you won’t miss it.  Use your favorite store bought spice rub and BBQ sauce, or if you are feeling fancy, make your own!

 

 

Best Baby Back Ribs 3The key is to cook the ribs long enough that the meat is tender and juicy, but retaining enough structure that you can sink your teeth into the juicy meat to pull it cleanly off the bone. If the ribs are overcooked, they can dry out, or even worse, completely fall apart and become mushy.

Good ribs need to have good texture. These are words to live by.

 

 

Best Baby Back Ribs 2Ingredients:
3 lb. rack baby back ribs
¼ cup spice rub
1 cup BBQ sauce

 

 

 

Best Baby Back Ribs 4Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Rub spice mixture on rack and place ribs (curved rib side down) on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake 2.5 hours. Remove from oven and turn broiler to low. Discard foil, brush with BBQ sauce and finish under broiler until starting to caramelize, 5-10 minutes (depending on broiler flame and how close top rack is to flame). Let rest 5 minutes, slice and serve with extra BBQ sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Wine Pairings:
District 7 Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Montgo Monastrell 2012
Solanera Vinas Viejas 2013

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Corn and Black Bean SaladSummer means grilling, and if the cooking is being done outside, it’s time to whip up some easy sides that are packed with veggies and don’t require turning on the oven. I love making dishes that use a bunch of fresh ingredients, but sometimes if I’m using a piece of an onion or half a bunch of cilantro, as much as I plan to make something with the other half, a few days later I wind up throwing a wilted bunch of cilantro in the trash. Making this Corn and Black Bean Salad on a night when I also make Guacamole for an appetizer, uses several of the same ingredients, so less waste and the flavors complement each other nicely. Besides, everyone loves to snack on Guacamole while waiting for dinner!

Corn and Black Bean Salad 2Ingredients:
16 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
2 tbsp. red onion, minced
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, stems removed and chopped

For the dressing:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of ½ lime
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. canola oil
¼ tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper

Corn and Black Bean Salad 3In a medium bowl, mix together corn, black beans, diced bell pepper, diced jalapeno, minced red onion and chopped cilantro. In a separate bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, lime juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in canola oil, cumin, salt and pepper and pour dressing over vegetable mixture. Stir and refrigerate for one hour before serving to let flavors fully incorporate.

Enjoy!

 

Note: this makes a great summer side, but I’ve also been known to make this as an appetizer and scoop it up with some chips!