Sunday, March 22, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

We had our St. Patrick's (inspired) dinner the Sunday before the 17th, since my husband's work schedule makes week night dining a challenge. I settled on a menu of lamb chops, boiled potatoes and steamed carrots, with a Guinness cake for dessert. After buying all of the necessary provisions I realized there was one small hitch with Sunday Dinner this week - I wouldn't be home to cook it. Months ago I had snapped up tickets to see The Drowsy Chaperone at a Sunday matinee. I could easily make the Guinness cake ahead of time and throw together the main meal after the show, but my husband stepped up and offered to do the mains for me. Which was awfully decent of him considering his specialties are grilled cheese and...well, grilled cheese.

When I arrived home from Drowsy the husband had dinner under control. In fact, he had dinner well in command. I had left him with a simple recipe found on Epicurious for Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops and despite his inexperience with pan-frying he pulled off the perfect chop. I often find I don't do pan-fried well. I either get the pan too hot and burn the meat from the get go or I start off at too low a heat, get impatient, jack up the heat and burn the meat gradually. Our chops this night were perfectly done, right down to the lovely lemon-garlic sauce drizzled haphazardly around the plate. Which reveals the hidden dangers of offering to help cook dinner. From now on, the husband is in charge of pan-frying.

As for the Guinness cake, also an Epicurious find (Guinness Stout Ginger Cake), it was good although it had its shortcomings. I was trying to recreate a similar cake I experienced at JK Wine Bar when in Toronto this past January. (Yes, I experienced the cake. It was that good.) It came at the end of a truly outstanding dinner, my second at the restaurant in as many days. So when thinking Sunday dinner for St. Patrick's, I immediately thought of the JK cake. My version tasted good (great ginger flavour, nice and moist) but presentation wise, it was a bit disappointing. I had to dig my cake out of the bundt pan I baked it in, despite having greased the living daylights out of every nook and cranny.

I managed to put it back together but in the end my cake looked like it was wearing a bad toupee. Still, it ate fine. All of my boys liked it, the husband with coffee, the kids with a generous dollop of Cool Whip.

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