First off, I just discovered that I'd hit a setting on the blog that required comments to be verified, but I never received the notifications. So for all of you that have been posting comments over the past couple of months, you should now see them. I'll try to respond to any questions over the next week or so. Honestly, I thought people just stopped commenting!
And let this post serve as a reminder to send in your Combinations entry! Entries are due on the 24th. Due to the international readership, I'm not going to cut off entries at 0000 GMT. However, I'll publish the roundup sometime on the evening of the 25th. Once again, you can e-mail me or you can drop a comment in this or the original thread.
Here's what I did for my own Combinations challenege... I followed the recipes I laid out in the initial post, though I cooked the chops a little differently. I did use the grill, but banked all the coals on one side. I heavily seared both sides of each chop, and them moved them over to the cool part of the grill to allow indirect heat and smoke to finish them off. In order to provide aromatic smoke, I used an old stave from a red wine barrel. (These are pretty cool, but having them around the house makes it look like I'm awaiting a vampire invasion.)
For some bread, I decided to make johnnycakes. For those of you overseas, johnnycakes are essentially pancakes made with cornmeal. The name is a matter of some debate, but many believe the term to be a corruption of journey cakes, meaning that you'd make a batch before going on a long trip, which in the colonial period meant walking or riding a horse.
Johnnycake tends to be more of a Yankee term. Around here, we call them hoe cakes, as in you could cook them on the back of your hoe (a farming implement, not a woman of ill repute) while taking a break from working in the fields. Don't believe me? You can order the mix online, though they're dead simple to make from scratch.
For the wine, I chose the 2003 Rock Rabbit Syrah from the Central Coast region of California. First off, I felt an American wine was appropriate, though those from the South tend to be lacking. And I love Syrah with lamb--something about those black pepper and dark fruits seem to be a perfect fit for the aromatic flavor of grilled lamb. Rock Rabbit Syrah can generally be found for $10-13, and is one of my favorite bargain wines.
My dining companion and I polished off two lamb chops a piece, and they were delicious. The sauce worked out well, the beans were savory and amazing, and the johnnycakes were pure heaven with some soft butter and honey.
Remember, send me your entries by August 24th for inclusion in my final wrap-up!