It’s still (technically) spring, and this seemed like a great spring-time menu. I was more than a little nervous about the rack of lamb, because I’ve somehow messed up other recipes for it before, and that’s not an inexpensive mistake. Also, the asparagus seemed a little over-the-top for a vegetable side dish – one pot to boil the asparagus, a bowl to blanche it, a pot for melting butter, and a sheet pan to put it all together in the oven – that’s a lot of dishes for one vegetable, especially one that does just fine on its own. So, I didn’t make these recipes (both from Make It Ahead) for guests. I wanted to try everything out first, before disappointing and alienating friends with it. I’ve heard Ina say in interviews that she never makes anything for the first time for guests – or even for her husband, Jeffrey. Who on earth eats all of her first tries, then? That’s a lot of practice rounds. I bet she has minions for that. I’m not afraid to try new recipes on guests, especially self-proclaimed adventurous eaters, but these two recipes seemed like too much of a gamble to try on friends, especially since most of these friends have known us for less than a year.
As it turns out, these recipes are both make-it-again-and-again-and-again-worthy. I started putting everything together (including the tzatziki) around 4:00 pm, and we were sitting down to eat around 5:30. That time included texting with babysitters about later plans, futzing around on my phone, and taking photos. (Yes, we eat early. We are basically senior citizens.)
I was inspired to make the tzatziki after my farmers’ market run this week – I bought lots of cucumbers and a beautiful big bunch of dill (along with beets, peaches, tomatoes, zucchini, two kinds of kale, and mushrooms).
We both cleaned our plates, and I wouldn’t hesitate to make the whole meal for guests in the future. Here’s to successful trial runs!