My Anniversary Dinner - A Romantic Meal!

The 11th was our anniversary.  It's been 4 years, and we couldn't be happier.  Seeing as we just moved into a house, we decided that instead of going out like we normally do, we would make a nice dinner at home to enjoy.  We also had agreed on no gifts, but of course neither of us followed the rules.

I decided last minute to grab something because I felt bad showing up empty-handed.  I got him a bbq "gift bag" of sorts.  A new set of bbq utensils, flavored smoking chips, a smoker box, various high-end bbq sauces, and of course a beer bottle holder so his hands don't get cold but his beer stays cold.

He surprised me with gorgeous diamond earrings.  They are beautiful and it was so sweet of him.  Thanks babe, love you always!!

For dinner I wanted to make something very special.  I made Emeril's Seared Petite Lamb Chops With Rosemary Balsamic Reduction, a Mint Pea and Feta side dish, and a Spinach, Tomato & Bocconcini Pasta Toss.

So good!!

Seared Petite Lamb Chops With Rosemary Balsamic Reduction
2T chopped parsley (I used a squirt of the tubed parsley, I like them because the herbs stay fresh for a long time)
1 T chopped rosemary (I used dried, no fresh on hand)
1 tsp minced garlic (I used about 3 cloves)
coarse salt
6 lamb chops, bone in
2 tsp pepper
2 T minced shallots (I used 1 shallot)
1 tsp minced garlic (I used 1 clove)
1c balsamic vinegar
2 small rosemary sprigs (again, just shook some dried seasoning in there)
2 T butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl combine EVOO, parsley, rosemary and garlic.  Set aside.  Put a 12" oven safe saute pan over medium-high heat.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper.  Add 1 1/2tsp of EVOO to the pan (I don't measure, I did a c couple of swirls around the pan).  Place lamb in.  Sear until the skin is brown, about 3 minutes.  Continue cooking 2 minutes per side.  Baste with the herb & oil mixture.  (I was basting each time I flipped, so once on each side.  I then poured the remainder of it on top before moving to the next step).  Transfer pan to oven and cook for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile to make the sauce, put a saucepan over medium heat.  Add remaining 1 1/2tsp EVOO.  once hot, add shallots and let cook 1 minute.  Add garlic and let cook 30 seconds.  Pour in vinegar and bring to a boil.  Add the rosemary and allow to gently boil until the sauce is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes (mine took about 20 minutes and still wasn't 1/4 c but it was perfect).  Season with salt & pepper.  Remove from heat and swirl butter into the sauce.  Remove the rosemary sprigs (if used) before serving.  By now you should have removed the lamb from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  Drizzle the lamb with the balsamic reduction and serve.  Fabulous!!

Unfortunately I don't remember where I got the below recipe, but it makes a great side dish -

Spinach, Tomato & Bocconcini Pasta Toss
5c pasta (any kind)
1 onion thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic thinly sliced
2c cherry tomatoes
salt & pepper
hot pepper flakes
4c baby spinach
1c cubed bocconcini cheese (I bought the mini size and cut them in half)

Cook pasta in salted water.  Drain, reserving 1/2c cooking water (I forgot to do this, so I ended up using the brine in the bocconcini container instead.  I boiled it for a minute to make sure it was safe).  Return pasta to the pot.  In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic 6 minutes.  Add tomatoes and seasonings and cook 5 minutes.  Add pasta along with the spinach, cheese, and half of the reserved water.  Cook about 2 minutes, adding water as needed until spinach is wilted and cheese begins to melt.

My last side dish was a pea, mint and feta salad.  I don't have the measurements for this one, but I'll explain as best I can.

Mint, Pea & Feta Salad
2c fresh or frozen peas
feta (lots)
1/2c torn mint leaves
lemon juice
olive oil
salt & pepper

Cook the peas in boiling water & drain.  Add crumbled feta, torn mint, and dressing seasonings.  Let sit for a few minutes before serving to allow the mint to permeate through.

Such a fresh, easy side dish.  The mint goes so well with the feta and peas, and mint is also a wonderful addition to any lamb meal.

We had white wine with this, and of course candles everywhere.

Our first candlelit romantic dinner was a success - great food and even better company.

Try it out on your sweetheart!