Lesson #3 about Hawaiian cooking: moderation is not a factor. A recipe for mashed potatoes, which I will not be making, involves two sticks of butter and a good splosh of heavy cream for four people. Holy moly. I'll bet it's delicious, but my conscience just can't do it.
I'm trying to decide if the recipe for Oriental Lamb Chops with Rotelli Pasta (pg 50-51) has a typo. It says that the lamb chop marinade includes 3/4 CUP of minced garlic. Whaaaaat?? Could that possibly be correct? Even if I had the patience to mince that much garlic, which I don't, the half-a-head I had on hand wasn't going to get me to 3/4 cup. I also needed some for the pasta, so four cloves went in the marinade and three were reserved for the pasta.
Also in the marinade: soy sauce, fresh ginger, a lot of brown sugar, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, fresh cilantro, and salt. This wasn't hard to throw together. I just had to remind myself at noon to do it. The instructions say to massage the marinade into the meat for 5-10 minutes. I felt ridiculous when I started doing this, but after about two minutes, I could tell that the meat was tenderizing, and by the end of five minutes, it was practically falling off the bone, uncooked. After they sit in the fridge for 4-6 hours, broil them for 3 minutes per side. The book says that will give you a medium rare. That gave me a raw. I threw it back under the broiler for a minute, and the chops came out perfectly.
|Heeeeere, lamby, lamby, lamby!|
The chops were sweet and tender, and the drippings that mixed into the pasta made everything even more delicious. Flavors of ginger, garlic, and soy were all there, but subtly.
As I ate this, I flashed back to a dish my Dad made just a few times when I was growing up. He'd taken a Chinese cooking class, and had a few favorites that he would make over and over. My favorite, and one that I don't remember him making often (blast!) was a sweet, caramelized fried pork. Obviously, lamb and pork taste nothing alike, but eating this lamb zapped me right to that pork. I have the binder where Dad kept all of his Chinese recipes. The ingredient list is so very very specific--as in, you are instructed not to deviate from the recommended brands--that I've just been hanging on to it as a keepsake and haven't attempted to cook from it yet. This lamb makes me want to try, though I think it's a lost cause until I can get my hands on a good Asian market.
Conclusion: I loved this lamb. I'd worried that it would be salty from all that soy sauce, but it wasn't. It was a lovely balance of salty, sweet, and herbal. We're off to a good start. I liked the pasta, but in the future, would probably just stir-fry some vegetables and serve it on rice.
I'm going to do my best to steer away from the cream and butter-based dishes. We'll see.
As a side comment, I was a little put off that the pic that accompanies this dish in the book shows none of the vegetables specified, but does show strips of red pepper, which are not in the recipe. Weird.