Seared Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce and Roasted Okra With Chili Oil
So, this long distance relationship I am in with my very own husband is working alright by most standards. It’s long, afar, with very short weekends here and there but we have, without even saying it outloud, understood that every minute counts. There is no bickering, no wondering, no hint. Just plain us. I am not saying this situation, him in South Carolina until June and me in Alabama now is easy, fun or a learing experience of the "a couple’s journey through discovery and awareness" (seriously. Ugh).
How we navigate and manage the distance and absence is not only revealing of who we are in our relationship but also of what we have been building in the fifteen years we have been together. I am really proud of who we are as a couple but I am even more grateful for having such a strong partner. Call this my two Valentine’s Day paragraph a week later which is appropriate since we don’t really partake in the red and pink celebration. Except…
Except this year. I think the distance made us a little bit softer, a bit mushier than usual when last Thursday came about. He sent roses. I got him a present. We exchanged funny cards and texts worthy of first crushes. And I really wanted to head home and cook him a nice meal. I know. Easy way for Valentine’s Day. What can I say? My husband, after all this time together, still thanks me at the end of every meal. For the thought and care. For the food itself. For the nurturing of conversations and laughs around a warm plate.
It’s the little things.
This past weekend that he came to visit, I decided to splurge a little and come up with a nice meal of Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce, Roasted Okra With Chili Oil and fresh baked bread. It wasn’t complicated and we sat down and caught up. We usually eat meat about once a week, the bulk of our diet being seafood and vegetarian meals. I just could not help thinking about my grandmother who used to tell me growing up how she would always regal my grandfather with grilled lamb chops when he’d come home in between two war campaign. I smiled. I headed out to the store and got natural raised lamb chops, bright red and succulent and started cooking.
A good meal. A glass of wine. Hosting our first get together with new friends and neighbors here in Birmingham. A good weekend. A lazy one too. For once, no moving boxes, no U-Haul to unload, no storage unit to visit. Just cozying up on the couch watching all movies most of the morning. Driving around town and looking at neighborhoods where we might want to live more permanently here in Birmingham.
Just taking a breath and catching up.
Seared Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce:
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 blood oranges, halved then quartered
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoon fresh thyme, divided
1/2 cup blood orange juice (from 2 oranges)
4 lamb chops
1 teaspoon butter
salt and pepper to season (according to your preference)
In a large non stick skillet. heat one teaspoon olive oil over mdium heat and add the quartered blood oranges. Add the minced garlic and thyme and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the blood orange juice, cover and cook over medium – low heat another 5 minutes. Uncover and spoon the content of the skillet into a bowl. Reserve.
In the same skillet, heat up the remaining olive oil and the butter over medium high heat. Add the lamb chops and cook for about 5 minutes on each side (for medium rare). Season with salt and pepper and add the remaining thyme. Divide the lamb chops among four plates. Let them rest while you reheat quickly the blood orange sauce.
In the same skillet, over medium high heat, pour the reserved blood oranges and sauce and reheat briefly. Pour over the lamb chops. Time to eat!
Roasted Okra With Chili Oil, slightly adapted from Southern Comfort.
1 pound fresh okra
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chili oil (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 400F and position a rack in the middle.
Cut the okra pod in half lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss together the okra, salt, pepper and chili oil.
Spread the okra in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until brown. Serve immediately.
Chili Oil (makes 1 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 cup olive oil
In a small saucepan, combine the garlic, red pepper flakes and oil. Bring the oil to a low bubble over medium low heat. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
At this point, you can decide to strain the oil or keep it as it is. I keep mine as is in a small jar in a dark place, away from other heat sources so it stays fresh.