I'm at home on spring break right now, and for the past few days my parents have been out of town, vacationing in Puerto Rico. They got back late last night, and I decided that I would cook them a fancy dinner to welcome them home. Cooking your parents a meal is a great way to distract them from the scratches your friends left on their nice glass coffee table on Saturday night, or to get them in a good mood before handing them the $300 bill you received at the dentist the other day. Or, you know, something you do because you're a generous, giving person. Yeah, that's it!
I must admit that I really enjoy being in a big, empty house all alone. My family has a country home in Pennsylvania (ooh la la), and all throughout my high school and college years my parents would go almost every weekend. I opted to stay in the city, reveling in my total freedom. I have many fond memories of lazy summer afternoons spent with friends on my deck, grilling the choicest bits from the fridge on our little gas grill and afterwards sitting around bloated with a communal carton of ice cream, and many spoons, in the middle of the table. So the past few days have been a nice mini-vacation for me. But all good things must come to an end, as the saying goes.
So let's get to the food. As a rule, I almost never cook from recipes. I usually just grab a bunch of ingredients that I think will complement each other and go to town. I love cooking because it's so forgiving: you can taste your food as you go along, and if your instincts prove to be totally misguided, you can almost always correct the dish. But when cooking for others, I often will turn to recipes, especially when trying out something I've never made before. Such was the case earlier this evening, when I prepared a particularly succulent-sounding lamb dish for my parents.
The finished product:
Martha Stewart's Parmesan Herb Crusted Lamb Chops
(I mixed the parmesan, herbs and breadcrumbs together before coating the chops)
Jonathan Waxman's Roasted Cauliflower with Bread Crumbs
(I added anchovy paste to the olive oil and substituted capers for olives)
Giada DeLaurentis's Spring Vegetables
(I didn't use morels because I'm cheap)