served with Zucchini Couscous, Apple & Goat Cheese Salad & Huckleberry Lemonade. Finished off with Creme Brulee for dessert.

Honey Mustard & Pecan Crusted Lamb Chops

1 rack of French cut lamb chops (2-3 lbs)
1/2 cup pecan pieces, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons honey mustard

  1. On a baking sheet lined with foil, place rack of lamb.
  2. Rub rack liberally with the honey mustard.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the pecans, rosemary, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the coated rack and press into the honey mustard glaze to secure.
  4. Roast for about 20minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven, or until an internal temperature reaches 140º for medium rare.
  5. Garnish with rosemary.

Zucchini Couscous

1 1/2 lbs zucchini (about 3 large)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
1/2 small onion, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup boiling water
2/3 cup couscous

  1. Cut zucchini into 1/4-inch dice.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet cook zucchini in oil with garlic, onion, and salt and pepper to taste over moderate heat, stirring until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add water and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in couscous and remove skillet from heat.
  5. Let mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  6. Fluff couscous with a fork.
  7. Cover for 5 minutes.

Apple and Goat Cheese Salad

6 cups torn mixed salad greens
2 medium apples, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup green grapes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

  1. In a large bowl, combine the greens, apples, raisins and grapes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice and garlic.
  3. Pour over salad and toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with walnuts and goat cheese.

Huckleberry Lemonade

We set out to make huckleberry lemonade.  The lemonade was easy; we added a teaspoon of huckleberry flavor to each quart of lemonade.  It tasted great but looked plain.

We decided to make huckleberry fruit flavored ice cubes with soda pop, flavor, and color.  For each can of lemon-lime pop—one can makes a tray of ice cubes—we added a teaspoon of flavor.  (We wanted plenty of flavor in our ice cubes.)  So far, so good.

Then we added Americolor Electric Purple food color gel.  We love food color gels; they are much more concentrated than liquids.  But they are semi-solids, gels, and don’t dissolve in water as well liquids.  In this case some of the solids remained suspended in the soda and we couldn’t get the color we wanted.

So we made blueberry lemonade with blueberry ice cubes.  We made ice cubes from blueberry syrup and used them in lemonade with one part syrup with two parts soda pop before freezing the ice cubes.  (Other syrup choices include boysenberry, cherry, raspberry, peach, and strawberry.)

You can also puree fruits and freeze them into ice cubes. Use the ice cubes in lemonade or other drinks. Peaches, raspberries, and cherries work well. Strain the fruit puree before freezing to make it smooth.

So you can make fruit flavored ice cubes with flavoring, pancake syrup, or fruit puree.  If you like, you can drop a berry or little puree in each ice cube space.

Crème Brulee

Crème Brulee is an impressive dessert.  If breaking out a torch to melt the brown sugar on top seems like too much, don’t worry.  You can finish these in the oven under the broiler. 

9 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar

  1. To make the custard, mix the egg yolks, salt, and the granulated sugar together until they are combined.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan on medium heat until it just starts to bubble, not boil.  Gradually stir in the hot cream into the sugar and egg mixture.  Add the vanilla.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Place a folded towel in the bottom of a baking dish.  The towel will insulate the custard from heat on the bottom of the pan.  Set 4 eight-ounce or 8 four-ounce ramekins on the towel.  Divide the custard mixture between the ramekins.  Set the baking dish with the ramekins on the shelf of the oven.  Carefully pour hot water in the pan—without splashing water into the ramekins—until the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover the pan with foil.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the custard is just set.
  5. Let cool in the pan with the water, then remove the ramekins from the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or until chilled.
  6. Use a paper towel to dab up condensation on the tops of the desserts.  Sprinkle the tops with an even coating of brown sugar.  Place the rack high in the oven and set the oven to the broiler setting.  The tops of the ramekins should be close to the broiler.
  7. Heat for a few minutes under the broiler, just long enough for the brown sugar to caramelize.  Serve immediately or return to the refrigerator to chill.

Baker’s Notes:  Baking times for the custard vary substantially and depend on the pans used, how hot the water is, and how deep it is.  You should bake until the custard is gently set.

You want to heat the brown sugar quickly so that it does not heat the custard.  Of course, you can use a blow torch.  Serve the same day or the caramel topping will become soft.  We sometimes place the ramekins in the freezer to chill more quickly.  Do not let the custards freeze.

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