Here is something you will enjoy and something you've always enjoyed doing.
Popping Bubble Wrap!!
Click on the above and have a ball.
Don't you just hate when you wash sweatpants or a sweatshirt and the drawstring comes out? Reader Mark says all you need to fix it is a wire hanger and tape.
1. Untwist the coat hanger so it is one long wire.
2. Tape one end of the string to an end of the coat hanger.
3. Stick the end of the hanger through one of the holes that held it in the hood.
4. Scrunch, slide or do whatever works best for you to get the end of the hanger to the other hole.
5. Once hanger is out and the sting is back in, double knot the ends of the strings so you don't have to do this again.
The most important thing to remember about cooking a lamb roast is to not over-cook it. Lamb has such wonderful flavor on its own, and is so naturally tender, that it is bound to turn out well, as long as it is still a little pink inside. There is some debate over which method yields the best results - slow cooking at low heat the entire time, or searing first on high heat and then slow cooking. James Beard in his American Cookery prefers the slow-cook-low-heat method (he rubs the roast with salt and pepper and cooks it at 325°F the whole time.) We generally get great results with the searing method, starting at high heat and then dropping the temp which is the method described in the following recipe.
Another point where there are wildly varying opinions is the internal temperature that constitutes "medium rare". I've seen references that range from 120° to 145°F. For this roast, I pulled it out at 130°F. As it rested the internal temperature continued to rise a few points as the meat continued to cook. We like lamb on the rare side of medium rare, and this roast was perfectly done to our taste. Clearly an accurate meat thermometer is essential. Our ancient mercury meat thermometer has proven over and over again to be much more accurate than the instant read thermometers we have.
The marinade we used on this roast comes from my friend Suzanne and it works quite well. A simpler marinade of rosemary, olive oil, garlic, pepper, and lemon juice would do the trick quite nicely too. One can also make tiny slices into the surface of the roast and insert slivers of garlic and herbs. One thing to remember about marinating is to not include salt in the marinade. Salt will dry out the roast. Best to lightly salt the roast, if at all, 15 minutes before you take it out of the oven.
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup white wine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 Tbsp of fresh chopped rosemary or 1 Tbsp of dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
Blend ingredients in a blender, just a few pulses until well mixed.
1 (6-pound) leg of lamb, bone-in or boneless. If boneless, the leg should be tied up with kitchen string by butcher.
1 Place lamb and marinade into a plastic bag. Squeeze out as much of the air as possible from the bag and seal. Wrap again with another plastic bag to ensure that the marinating lamb doesn't leak. Marinate over night in the refrigerator. Remove the lamb, still in its marinade bag, from the refrigerator 30 minutes before putting in the oven to help bring the lamb closer to room temperature before roasting.
2 Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange two racks in the oven - a middle rack to hold the lamb, and a lower rack to hold a roasting pan with which to catch the drippings. Place the empty roasting pan in the oven while the oven is pre-heating. Note that this arrangement of racks and pans, with the roast sitting directly on the oven rack, will create a natural convection of heat in the oven, causing the roast to cook more quickly than if cooked the traditional method in a rack in a roasting pan.
3 Remove the lamb from its marinade bag (you may want to temporarily place lamb in another roasting pan, just to make it less messy to work with.) Arrange fattiest side up, so while the lamb is cooking the fat will melt into the meat. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast, not touching the bone if your roast is bone-in. Place directly on middle rack of the oven, with a roasting pan on a separate rack a rung lower, to catch the drippings.
4 Roast at 425°F for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 300°F and roast an additional hour (for a 6 pound roast), about 10-12 minutes per pound. Note that the method of cooking directly on the oven rack will mimic a convection oven and the cooking time/oven temp needed will be less than you would need if you cooked the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. If you are cooking the roast in a roasting pan, rack or not, start the roast at 450°F and then reduce the heat to 325°F. Also, the shape of the roast will have an impact on the cooking time. Our roast was rather long and thin, so it cooked up fairly quickly. A thicker roast may take longer than expected.
At this point start checking the meat thermometer. Remove from the oven anywhere from 130°F to 135°F for medium rare. Sprinkle with salt about 15 minutes before removing from oven. Lamb should never be cooked until well done or it will be too dry. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Cut away the kitchen string and slice with a sharp carving knife, 1/2 inch thick slices, against the grain of the meat.
5 While the roast is resting, use a metal spatula to scrape up the drippings in the roasting pan. Use the drippings to make a gravy, or use just the drippings themselves to serve with the lamb.
Serves 8 to 10. Serve with some homemade mint jelly for an added treat.
| 5 navel oranges, juiced (about 1 cup orange juice|
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier (optional)
6 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 orange, zested
1/2 cup grenadine
Basic Dessert Crepes, recipe follows
Vanilla ice creamIn a large skillet over high heat, bring the orange juice to a boil. Add the sugar, reduce to medium heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the orange liqueur and orange sections. Set aside.
In a pot, combine the orange zest and grenadine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Working in batches, gently place a crepe into the pan holding the orange juice and orange sections. Leave for 1 minute to absorb some juice.
Using a narrow spatula, remove the crepe to a warm serving plate. Roll the crepe into a cylinder. Spoon on some orange sections. Using a fork, pick some orange zest from the grenadine syrup and distribute it over the crepe. Top with vanilla ice cream and serve immediately.Basic Dessert Crepes:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon rum or Grand Marnier, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 lemon, zest finely gratedMelt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter becomes brownish ? this gives it a nutty flavor. Don't let any of the butter turn black. Have a small bowl nearby so that you can pour off the butter as soon as it turns brown. Let cool.
In a large mixing bowl (alternately, use a blender to mix all ingredients together), blend the sugar, cake flour, and salt. Add the eggs and whisk well. Whisk in the oil and the brown butter. Pour in about 1/2 cup milk and whisk ? the mixture should form a thick paste. Pour in the remaining milk a little at a time while mixing and then add the rum (or Grand Marnier or vanilla bean), and lemon zest.
Heat the crepe pan over medium heat for about a minute. Cover the surface of the pan with clarified butter until it gets sizzling hot.
Ladle some batter onto the middle of the 8-inch crepe pan and immediately start swirling the pan to distribute the batter over the surface. Pour the batter so that it's very thin on the pan ? and remember, move the pan, not the ladle.
Cook the crepe for about 30 to 60 seconds (heat may vary) or until it's brown around the edge and dry in the center. Using a thin spatula (it resembles a long tongue depressor), flip the crepe quickly and cook for about 15 seconds.
Using the spatula, remove the crepe to a warm plate. Sprinkle the crepe with sugar. Repeat with the remaining batter. (After the first few crepes, you shouldn't have to add more butter to the pan.)
Yield: 6 to 8 servings