Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cheap Guy Tip #73 - Rack of Lamb Genghis Khan

Rack of Lamb Genghis Khan, as served at The Lark
Okay, so rack of lamb isn't exactly cheap. But it is delicious. For a special feast, it's hard to beat a rack of lamb. This rack recipe was the favorite dish of Genghis Khan and dates back more than 900 years. This version is from Marcus Haight, currently a professor at a prestigious cooking school. For 17 years, Marcus was the Chef de Cuisine at The Lark, a 4 star restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Before that, Marcus put in time at both Le Bec Fin and at Les Francais, with my mentor, Jean Banchet. For decades, Le Bec Fin and Le Francais have been considered by most experts to be the two best French restaurants in the US.

First up, Marcus' recipe exactly as he wrote it. After that, some of the secrets that take this dish from great to spectacular.

Rack of Lamb Genghis Khan - Serves 6

3 lamb rack (8 ribs each), trimmed, silverskin removed
1 cup Hoisin sauce
Lamb marinade

Place the lamb and marinade in a plastic bag, tie and place in refrigerator for 48 hours. Remove lamb from marinade and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Brush with hoisin sauce. Place lamb on rack in shallow roasting pan and roast in a hot over (450 degrees) for 15-25 minutes for rare lamb, depending on the size of the racks, or longer for a greater degree of doneness. Let rest 6 to 7 minutes before carving.

Lamb Marinade

1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
3 teaspoons curry powder
1.5 teaspoons cayenne pepper, ground fine
2 teaspoons Coleman's mustard powder
2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients

I don't like to mess too much with recipes that have been around for 900 years, but there are a few tips that can greatly improve this already great recipe. First off, forget the oven. You can't get the kind of carmelization that makes this dish work (see photo) in a home oven. By far the best way to cook this dish is over hardwood burned down to coals. Alternately, grill over a charcoal or gas grill with wood chips to add smoke flavor. For either method, a very hot covered grill with the racks placed for indirect heat work best. If you're cooking over an open pit, keep the racks to the sides and out of the direct heat. You want it hot, not flaming.

Grilling instead of roasting takes a little extra care. Keep a careful eye on your racks. Use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. Lamb is best served rare to medium rare. For rare, pull the racks when the internal temperature in the middle reaches 120 degrees. For medium rare, 130. Medium (just a touch of pink), 140. Well done, don't even bother making this dish. It's a waste to overcook lamb.

After removing the racks from the grill, let rest about 10 minutes before carving. Separate the rib chops into individual rib portions, serve.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Schadenfreude - Darrell Issa's Car Alarm Company Is Doomed

The convergence of automobiles and smart phone technology spells the end of the line for high end car alarm companies like Viper.
I was recommending a phone tracking/recovery app, AntiDT (Anti Droid Theft) to a friend on Facebook and I had an interesting thought. With smart phone technology being integrated into cars, and powerful free tracking/recovery apps like AntiDT available for both Android and iOS, there's no point in expensive car alarm systems like a Viper any more. This video shows what AntiDT can do...

Your smart phone equipped car will call your cell phone, text you and email you if it's stolen. You'll be able to track your car on your phone or computer in real time using GPS and cell tower data. Not only will you be able to remotely shut down your car, you'll be able to take a picture of the thief and even lock him in. With the exact location, the cops will be there in minutes. All for free.

Gosh, that's sure going to be tough on high end alarm makers like Viper. Probably drive 'em right out of business. What a shame. If I sound facetious, it's because the company that makes Viper alarms was founded by and is still owned by none other than wingnut PITA extraoridinaire Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee and source of endless BS investigations based on every wacky wingnut conspiracy theory poutrage du jour.

Jeez, that's tough, Darrell. Bad luck. My heart's pumpin' pisswater for ya...

Update: A friend brought up a good point I didn't address in the post...

"There's a lot to be said for an alarm blaring to dissuade a thief who just smashed in your window to not be too thorough when rifling through your car looking for stuff to take."

Very true, but it's a virtual certainty that a new car equipped with smart phone technology will also have at least a basic, very loud, alarm. Combined with smart phone tech, this is still enough to seriously impact Viper's business. Sure, they can still sell alarms for older cars, but their bread and butter market - expensive new cars - goes away. I doubt they can survive on legacy cars only.