A Fancy Feast

First Date Dinner

Cooking is something that I have always enjoyed, especially when I get to cook for others. My daughter has always been a trooper and eaten nearly anything I've ever made. I've known picky eaters my entire life and I was going to do everything I could to make sure she wasn't amongst them. I started when she was about one, making her beef bolognese and scallops, and it just grew from there. This meal right here ranks at the top of her list of homemade dishes, and it is sure to impress a date if you invite them over to show off your culinary skills.


Roasted rack of lamb with spicy fried potatoes and roasted butternut squash


For the lamb:

- rack of lamb

- 2 tbsp sea salt

- 2 tbsp sugar

- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

- 3 tbsp butter


For the balsamic reduction:

- 2 cups of your favorite balsamic vinegar

- 2 tbsp honey

- 3 figs, sliced


For the potatoes:

- 1 pound baby potatoes (I like to use rainbow baby potatoes)

- 3/4 cup sour cream

- 3/4 mayonnaise

- 2 cloves garlic, grated with a zester or chopped

- 1 tbsp sriracha (or more if you like it spicy like me)

- 3 tbsp lemon juice

- 2 cups bacon fat (or canola oil if you don't have bacon fat lying around)

- salt & pepper to taste


For the butternut squash:

- 1 whole butternut squash, diced in 1 inch cubes

- half pound cherry tomatoes, halved

- 1 red onion, sliced

- handful of basil leaves, chopped

- 1 tbsp red chili flakes

- olive oil

- salt & pepper to taste


1. Mix sugar, salt and rosemary together in bowl, then coat rack of lamb and set aside.

2. Boil large pot of water and add salt to season the water. Once boiling, add potatoes and cook until fork tender.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butternut squash, tomatoes, red onion and basil on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper and red chili flakes. Toss to coat all and place in oven. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until squash is tender. Toss occasionally for even cooking.

4. Melt butter in large cast iron pan over med/high heat. Brown lamb on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Then place lamb in oven on second rack and continue cooking for 25 minutes; lamb will be medium to medium rare.

5. Take potatoes and smash them down (not mash). Heat bacon fat (or canola oil) in large pan over medium heat and place smashed potatoes in oil; make sure oil sizzles when you place the potatoes in there. Cook for about 7-8 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

6. Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, sriracha, garlic and salt & pepper in a bowl and use as dipping sauce for potatoes.

7. Cook balsamic vinegar over medium/low heat, just lightly bubbling. Add honey and figs and cook until reduced by half, then drizzle on lamb when ready to serve.