Whilst many of us have empty nests, we console each other during some of the holidays with pot luck dinners that do not over tax the host, and allow individual's specialties to shine. Last year, with the girlies home, I went all out with the flowers and daughter #2 did an amazing job arranging them.
This year I struggled with my selection of Ranunculus, Tulips, Daffodils and Iris. Despite the tape I grid over the containers, my dainties flopped over like tired ballerinas.
After much pushing, and tucking piled upon even more dissatisfaction, I ripped them out of the largest container and tried working with smaller more manageable bouquets. The fabulous effect of last years flowers was derived from massing many small arrangements creating an exuberant interior garden. Now, I remember. This year, the flowers were pretty, but nothing like daughter #2's effusions.
We have a ginourmous kitchen island that is the center of the action. We dance around each other, weaving in and out between cooks and guests with the practiced rhythms of a minuet. Mrs. R. and I are in charge of the main course and as usual it was an experiment. The food critics present gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, so I will happily share it with you. It is extremely easy so I encourage you to give it a try. Cooks Illustrated is a trusted source for my frequent safaris to the culinary frontiers. Rethinking Leg of Lamb in the April 1013 is without a doubt the best version I have ever tried.
1 butterflied leg of lamb, (6 to 8 lbs)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 piece ginger, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and smashed, (1-inch)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
3 bay leaves
2 strips lemon zest, (2-inch)
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice