Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sheila Lukins

With last week's passing of Sheila Lukins, the world lost one of its original foodies. She had been diagnosed with brain cancer just 3 months ago.

Best known as one of the owners of the Silver Palate food shop in Manhattan, Ms. Lukins was an author of the cookbooks bearing the shop's name, as well as “The New Basics Cookbook” and “All Around the World Cookbook.” In all, her books have sold more than seven million copies.

In our home, she was the reason to extricate Parade Magazine, a publication not known for its literary merits, from the recycling bin. She served as food editor for Parade since 1986.

Ms. Lukins was one of my mentors in the kitchen. I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but I looked forward to reading her articles and recipes in Parade when they made their monthly appearance. One of the first meals I made for John - a pasta dish with tomatoes, brie (!), and basil - came from "The Silver Palate Cookbook." I didn't own the book at the time, and I recall scribbling the ingredients on a piece of notebook paper as she cooked the dish on TV.

Hundreds of lamb chops and far scarier cuts of meat later, this remains my "go to" lamb recipe. I've committed it to memory, but revisited the dog-eared paper copy in my files to ensure accuracy.

Thanks, Sheila.

Lamb Chops
from Parade Magazine, February 21, 1999

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 rib lamb chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Add the chops; toss well. Let sit for at least an hour.

Grill the chops over medium-hot heat, brushing with marinade, 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. Or cover a baking sheet with foil and broil chops on a rack 4 minutes per side. Allow to rest before serving.

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