Blackened Chicken Kale & Romaine Caesar

Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad

Once upon a desire-to-recreate-a-recipe time, I looked up how to make blackened chicken and wrote it off as a smoky mess hassle.  Months {and an extreme blackened chicken caesar salad craving} later, I decided to scroll further down Google search results and find a recipe that used a stovetop rather than the oven.

Homemade Blackened Chicken

I purchased all six spices from the bulk department, spending a whopping 40-ish cents on seasonings. And I generously coated the chicken breasts per this blackened chicken recipe, wishing later that I was a bit more generous.  I could have used more of that crispy blackened crust I was hoping for.

Side note: I’m seriously considering tossing my spice collection and going the bulk route from now on.  So fresh, so cheap!

Homemade Blackened Chicken 2

When the chicken was finished, I filled a large bowl equally with bite-sized pieces of kale and romaine.  And then I used my hands to mix in homemade caesar salad dressing {a recipe that I plan to perfect and share soon} until all of the greens were lightly coated.  After topping with the sliced blackened chicken, it was the exact salad I had been craving for so long.  And without a single sound from the smoke alarm!

Frenched Rack of Lamb – @MarxFoods

French Rack of Lamb with Mint Pea Quinoa

Coming home to a package full of Silere frenched racks of lamb will undoubtably be a highlight of my 2015.  From a Kristin perspective, I love lamb {and not just because I get a good chuckle out of saying something so similar to “I love lamp”}.  I truly love lamb.  It’s tender, tasty, and makes for such a special dinner. From a FoodFash perspective, I love lamb even more.  My favorite dishes to prepare are those that require minimal ingredients to compliment the main act.  Lamb has such a distinct flavor, calling for the simplest of seasoning and an even more simple side.  And… it couldn’t be an ounce more beautiful to photograph.

Being selected by Marx Foods to review such a lovely cut of meat?  Yeah, a total highlight!

Marx Foods French Rack of Lamb

Within minutes of receiving the lamb-licious package, I started researching what constitutes a quality cut.  Through some time with the internet and the restaurant operations team I work with, I found that one should evaluate taste, texture, fat, and how the lamb is bred.  I prepared the racks per Julia Child’s instruction {minus the bread crumbs} and served with a delicate mint, parmesan, and sweet pea quinoa.

Frenched Rack of Lamb Marinade

I started off with evaluating fat and breeding before putting the meat in the oven.

Fat - The Silere racks of lamb have slight marbling and a generous fat cap.  I prefer the leanest cuts of meat, so I was really satisfied with the marbling in the Silere racks. Once the meat was cooked to mid-rare, there wasn’t a fatty interior bite to be had.  However, the fat cap was a different story.  Even roasting at a high temp did little to dissolve the fat cap, which I later found to be both good and bad.  Beginning with the “bad”, marinade has a difficult time penetrating through fat and crusting the fat cap side of the rack has little purpose if you’re like me and plan on trimming the fat immediately.  That being said, roasting the rack with the fat cap facing up creates a shield that traps water in the meat, benefitting the meat by keeping it moist.  Since my goal was subtle flavor and no crust, keeping the fat cap did no harm.  And lastly, the Silere frenched racks arrived truly “frenched”.  They barely required any fat trimming between the ribs, which was a huge time saver!

Breeding - When comparing Colorado lamb to New Zealand lamb, New Zealand lamb historically has a negative rap for breeding lamb for wool production first and meat production second.  Silere lamb, though from New Zealand, is bred with meat production in mind.  And much like the prestigious Colorado variety, Silere lamb graze naturally on native herbs and grasses, are free of hormones and antibiotics, and are raised to a mature 18 months of age.

Roasting French Racks of Lamb

After roasting the frenched racks, I was able to evaluate the fun parts: taste and texture.

Taste/Texture - The Silere frenched racks had a flavor that was unmistakably lamb, but was very delicate in the gaminess department – a perfect combination for me since, as mentioned above, I favor subtle and simple flavors over those that are overpowering.  And the texture was super smooth and tender, almost resembling that of a nice filet.  Both of these qualities, subtle gaminess and smooth texture, can be attributed to how the lamb was raised, what the lamb was fed, and how long the lamb was allowed to mature.

Not only was the entire FoodFash dinner table beyond satisfied with the quality of the Silere frenched racks, they enthusiastically requested that I prepare the Silere loin fillets ASAP!

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Although I received compensation to review product provided by Marx Foods, the recipe and opinions in this post are completely my own and based on my experience.

Unconventional Love Songs For Valentine Season

Valentine Season

A couple years ago, I created a Love Songs for Saint Valentine post that included a collection of some of my favorite love songs to date.  And although these songs still make a regular appearance on my playlist, the love songs I gravitate to in the present day are more relevant to a love that is gritty and imperfect.  Kind of. Like. My pie crust.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Poor Song

Daft Punk – Something About Us

Diamond Rings – You & Me

Hot Chip – One Life Stand

French-ish Omelette with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

French Omelette with Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Ages ago, a friend of mine was talking about his upcoming week in culinary school and how they were taking on the French omelette.  French omelette?  Aren’t omelette’s all the same?  He explained the difference and I’ve been wanting to tackle the French omelette ever since.

Eggs for Omelette

I spent a few minutes watching Jacques Pepin and Julia Child videos {seriously}.  I preferred Pepin’s style and, with his instruction, was able to execute a mighty fine first attempt at a French-ish omelette.  I say French-ish because I used asparagus and goat cheese in lieu of traditional herbs.

Chopped Asparagus

A regular {non-French} omelette, in my opinion, tends to be dense, requiring a ton of filling in order to make the egg less overwhelming. With the French omelette, that’s not the case.  This version is so light and fluffy, you barely need any additions.  Simply put, I adored this omelette and can’t wait until the weekend rolls around so I can make it again!