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Chuck Dressler offered many great recipes in his 2011 Talk of the Table column, ending all his articles with his trademark “As always, enjoy the cookin’ and then the eatin’!”

September 2011

Continuing with the August theme of barbecues and lamb, Chuck Dressler got these recipes from 365 Great Barbecue and Grilling Recipes by Lonnie Gandara. The asparagus is his concoction, the rice came from a bag, and the salad - great for when strawberries are in season - is one of his wife Doris’s favorites.

GRILLED RACK OF LAMB

Doubling the marinade allows the lamb to soak in the flavors. Four to six pounds of lamb may sound like a lot for four people, but remember this is before trimming and there is a fair amount of weight in the bones.

  • 2 racks of lamb, 2 - 3 pounds each before trimmed of fat
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or ½ teaspoon dried

Place the lamb in a glass ovenproof dish. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients, whisking to blend well. Spread marinade over the meat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and marinate for two hours at room temperature, or longer in refrigerator. Meat should be at room temperature before grilling.

Prepare a hot fire. Scrape off and reserve as much marinade as possible from the lamb. Place the lamb, meaty side down, on an oiled grill set four to six inches from the coals. Grill, turning once or twice, until lightly browned outside, about eight minutes.

Continue to grill, turning and basting with the reserved marinade, until lamb is well browned outside but still pink and juicy inside, about 7 - 12 minutes longer. Let the lamb stand for about five minutes before dividing into chops and serving.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH ONION

Depending on how well done you like asparagus, if you prefer thick or thin shoots, and if you add to the basic recipe, this will be on the grill for a minimum of 30 minutes. Thicker shoots extend cooking time as does the use of add-ins. This dish can be prepared in a 350 F oven following the same instructions below but placing the bundle in a baking dish. Start with 30 minutes and then check the asparagus for tenderness.

Basic Recipe

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil of your choice (Virgin, Extra Virgin, flavored, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel the garlic cloves and arrange in a row the length of the asparagus stalks on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil big enough to wrap the veggies and not leak when handled.

Rinse and snap off the ends of the asparagus leaving the tender part of the shoot:  taking the asparagus between your thumb and forefinger, bend it gently; it will snap where the woody part ends and the fresh, juicy asparagus begins. Pat the shoots dry with toweling and place them on top of the garlic cloves, alternating the ends to ensure even cooking.

Drizzle the stack with your olive oil choice; sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

Wrap the stack in aluminum foil, place on grill away from the flame and turn every 15 minutes.

Add-ins

Try bell peppers, onions, red potatoes, or squash (not all at the same time, of course), adding in before step three above. You may want to pre-cook potatoes (30 - 60 seconds in the microwave) or zucchini (boil for one minute). Using red or yellow bell peppers make a colorful dish. I prefer a seasoned olive oil to add a little more “BAM!” as Emeril Lagasse says. My favorite is a Harissa flavored oil that I got from Old Town Oil in Chicago (http://www.oldtownoil.com). Per Wikipedia, “Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce commonly eaten in North Africa whose main ingredients are bird's eye chili peppers, Serrano peppers and other hot chilies and spices such as garlic paste, coriander, red chili powder, caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil.”  Sounds like “BAM!” to me!

SPINACH-STRAWBERRY SALAD

This salad is hard to beat. Even young children eat it as evidenced by my own daughter and her family!  Trust me when I say that they are not even remotely adventurous eaters, looking on anything green with great disdain.

  • 1 pound fresh spinach, washed, spun dry, stemmed, and ripped into pieces
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced (more if you’re into strawberries)
  • Sweet French dressing (recipe below)

Prepare the spinach and strawberries and chill in refrigerator. Prepare and chill the dressing.

Just prior to serving (this is important), toss the spinach and strawberries with just enough dressing to coat the spinach leaves. If you put on too much dressing or put it on too soon, the spinach will quickly wilt into an unattractive, mushy dish. Serve additional dressing on the side.

Sweet French dressing

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil (canola/vegetable - I use olive oil)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all the ingredients and stir or whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

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