I was fully intending on doing a practice run the week before making Valentine's Day dinner for my boyfriend, but I was prevented by the "Snowpocalypse" as they are now calling it. I had decided on a recipe for Rack of Lamb weeks ago, and I had my heart set on doing it, so instead of backing out, I enlisted the help of my boyfriend for the scary parts (i.e. cutting the meat). I would have done it myself, if I had been able to practice, but it was a $55 piece of meat and I wasn't about to mess it up. The directions for stuffing the lamb were surprisingly clear and easy to follow. Using a wooden spoon to widen the hole and push down the stuffing was quite clever. I just wish I had prepared it earlier so the lamb could have marinated for longer. (Tip: While we were waiting for the lamb to marinate, we toasted a some french bread, lathered on some olive tapenade and covered it with the remains of the feta cheese stuffing.) The only thing lacking in that particular recipe, which was mentioned by one of the reviewers, is that the cooking times are off. The recipes says to cook the lamb for 25 minutes, but my 2.5 lb piece of meat took more than an hour. It did occur to me that maybe the directions are supposed to read "25 minutes per pound".
Only the day before did I decide on stuffed peppers for the side dish. I wanted to continue the Greek theme with the peppers, which are stuffed with orzo, mint, tomatoes and pecorino romano cheese. They were really easy to make and instead of cooking all the peppers right away, we saved the stuffing to make fresh peppers later in the week.
We ended the meal with pears poached in brandy and cloves with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We cut the pears in half and took out the seeds. Then, using the last of my boyfriend's Napoleon Brandy, a dash of cloves, and a hint of lemon juice, we simmered the pears on low heat for at least forty minutes ( they felt soft when poked with a fork). Served a la mode - it was quite decadent!
I will post actual pictures soon - I just have to pull them off the camera!