Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Simple really is best

This afternoon I decided to visit a few of my favorites things.  Simple pleasures, really...

Brightly colored jelly beans.  They are so good, kind of sweet and tart in the same bite.  Very simple and so spring-like.  (I did not eat the whole bag all by myself... I had help!)
Cute little stretchy bracelets brought back from a spring break trip to Disney by the BFF for the 3 Lucys.  We started this tradition on our trip to Italy and it makes us feel like such girls.
Walking in Duke Gardens on Easter Sunday with the un-ex, looking at all the amazing flowers and trees, in full splendor on a glorious day.

A recent sunset seen from my front porch.  I just had to grab my camera and see if I could capture the colors.  What's not to love about that?  It just makes you happy to be alive.
Sliced onions, thrown into a pan with some olive oil and a few herbes de provence, the smell taking over the whole house as they caramelize.  Add a pastry, some crumbled goat cheese and bake for 30 minutes.  Voilà!  A glass of chilled rosé completes a simple dinner or appetizer.  Maybe a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing and a few cherry tomatoes?
Laughing on Friday mornings with my colleagues in the faculty room.  We have bagels or biscuits and spend 30 minutes catching up.  I try never to miss this.  These people have been in my life for 30 years.  They are simply the best!
A spring afternoon spent watching high school-age son play baseball.  Baseball is a rather simple game (until you try to explain it to a Frenchie... then it sounds really complicated!) and I love watching my son play centerfield.
A tiny little violet picked after finishing a walk on the Duke Trail with the BFF.  These simple little flowers remind me of my grandmother because she loved them so much.  She planted them around her house.
Anchovies and garlic getting ready to be stuffed into a leg of lamb for Easter lunch.  Two very simple ingredients but so flavorful.  My in-laws certainly appreciated it.  College-age son even tried it.  Bravo!  (And I think that Mr. Centerfield even had a bite...)

Chef Érick's Gigot d'Agneau aux Anchois-- Leg of Lamb with Anchovies
(for 6-8, with leftovers)

One boneless leg of lamb 5-6 pounds (2.5 kilos)
Anchovy filets
One head of garlic

Heat oven to 400F.
Trim excess fat from lamb.  Cut 3-4 cloves of garlic into slivers.  Cut slits in the lamb and insert a piece of anchovy and a sliver of garlic into each slit.  Do this as many times as you wish.
Lay the lamb in a baking dish and surround it with the remaining cloves of garlic, unpeeled or "in their shirts."  Drizzle olive oil over the lamb.  Pour a small amount of water in the baking dish.  Place sprigs of rosemary on top of the lamb.
Place lamb in preheated oven (be sure the temperature has risen to 400F first).  Immediately lower the temperature to 275F.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes per pound.  Lamb is medium rare when the inside temperature reaches 127F.  Use this as a guide and bake according to your taste.
Allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes before carving.

Bon appétit, Spring!

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