An Extraordinary Dinner In

Try Something New for a Romantic Evening for Two

Article by Chef Frank Utermohlen

Photography by Chef Frank Utermohlen

Originally published in Anthem City Lifestyle

Grilled Lamb Chops

1 rack of lamb chops

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place the rack of lamb on a large cutting board. French the bones with a sharp filet knife, stripping cartilage and fat around the bone. This will give an aesthetic look for the final presentation. Lay the rack flat and slice in between each bone to make rib chops.

Lightly rub oil on and season chops with fresh cracked salt and pepper. Place chops on preheated grill. With tongs, turn each piece 90 degrees after 2 minutes. Flip meat and repeat the process. Cooking time should be 4–5 minutes total for a nice medium-rare chop. Let rest 3–4 minutes before serving.

Dark Chocolate, Cherry, and Orange Risotto

3 3/4 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp olive oil

2 Tbs finely chopped red onion

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dried cherries

1 orange

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and onions and stir until onions are fragrant and become translucent, 30–45 seconds. Add rice to the onions and oil and stir until grains are toasted and glossy, about 3–5 minutes. Add cocoa and stir well to coat the grains. Once grains are coated, add 1 1/4 cup of stock, lower heat to medium low, and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid absorbs, about 4 minutes. Add cherries, juice from the orange, and 1/2 cup of stock. Cook and stir until the liquid absorbs, about 5–6 minutes. Add the remaining vegetable stock and continue cooking until rice is tender. Fold in the chocolate pieces and stir until completely melted.

Remove from heat and serve with the grilled lamb chops. Garnish with your favorite micro green or arugula.

Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad

1 pound large asparagus

1 1/2 cups baby arugula

4 dried black mission figs

1 cup red wine

2 Tbsp crumbled Stilton cheese

3 Tbsp champagne vinaigrette

Place the asparagus flat on a work surface, and one at a time, run a vegetable peeler from the tip to nearly 3/4 of the way down to the stem. Turn the spear over and repeat on the other side. Place the peeled asparagus in a bowl.

Place the figs and wine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the figs are soft, about 5–8 minutes. Remove the figs from the pan with a slotted spoon and refrigerate until ready to serve. Continue cooking the wine until reduced to a thick syrup—1–2 tbsp—which should take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool before using.

To assemble, combine asparagus, arugula, in a bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Place salad onto plates. Cut each fig in half and place around salad. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp of cheese over each plate. Drizzle with wine reduction and serve.

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