Blackened Double Lamb Chops with Garlic and Potato Gratin from Russell's On Lake Ivanhoe

Russells double lamb chop

Russell’s on Lake Ivanhoe was recently voted 2021 Best New Restaurant in our Foodster Awards for Independent Restaurants. Much of the restaurant’s popularity is due to chef/partner Emmanuel Clement’s French-influenced menu. In the February issue of the Community Paper, he shares his recipe for Blackened Double Lamb Chops with Garlic and Potato Gratin for my monthly Local Flavor column.

You’ll notice in the photo that Clement frenches the bones of the chops. That is, he scrapes off the gristle on the “handle” of the chop. It makes for a prettier presentation but is totally unnecessary.

The recipe calls for eight double chops — ask your grocer’s butcher for them — but you could easily make it with four or even two. (Make all the potatoes, though, because you’re going to want extras.) Click here to see the recipe.

Try this salad from Shakers American cafe for a little Local Flavor

Chicken salad Shakers

I’m happy to announce a new collaboration with The Community Paper, the widely read publication covering College Park and Downtown Orlando. Each month in a column called Local Flavor, I’ll be offering a recipe from chefs and favorite restaurants for you to try at home.

For January, I have the popular Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad from Greg and Terry Granda of Shakers American Cafe in College Park. This is an easy one because it requires little cooking – no cooking at all if you use cooked chicken you already have on hand, such as from a rotisserie chicken.

Take a look at the recipe on The Community Paper’s website and give it a try. And if there’s a chef’s recipe you’d like me to try to get for future editions, let me know.

Compliments of the Chef: Pork Belly Benedict from K Restaurant

Pork Belly Benedict

I stopped in a few weeks ago to try K Restaurant's (now regularly scheduled) Sunday brunch. Previously, brunch was an every now and then thing, so it's nice to have a reliable standby.

It was also the first time I'd visited since the College Park restaurant got its full liquor license, so it was also nice to have a proper adult beverage with my brunch.

I sampled the Pork Belly Benedict, a take on the classic dish with pork belly instead of Canadian bacon and Southern style biscuits instead of English muffins. It was delicious.

And afterwards, I went into the kitchen and chef de cuisine Ryan McLaughlin showed me how he makes the yummy dish. He also agreed to share the recipe, which you'll find below.

Unfortunately, pastry chef Michelle Hulbert wouldn't part with her biscuit recipe, so you'll have to find one of your own (or see if you can buy a bag of them from the restaurant).

Take a look at the video, then give the recipe a try. For inspiration, stop by K and try the real deal.

K Restaurant is at 1710 Edgewater Drive, Orlando. Brunch is served Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The phone number is 407-872-2332.

Compliments of the Chef: Thirty Vegetable Soup from Circo

30 veg cup

Circo, the Italian restaurant from legendary New York restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, who also owns Le Cirque, is coming to Orlando later this year. I was in New York recently and dined at Circo’s original location on West 55th Street.

The food is solidly good, and it will be nice to have another upscale Italian restaurant in the area, especially one with a pedigree such as this one.

One of the restaurant’s signature items is its Thirty Vegetable Soup, one that it popular with regulars for good reason. True to its name, the soup indeed includes 30 distinct vegetables (we’ll not argue the classification of tomatoes here).

I managed to snag a photo of the recipe. (Don’t tell anyone where you got it.) If you’re feeling ambitious, give it a try.

On the House: Apple Pie Sangria from Tapa Toro

Apple Pie Sangria

Here’s a drink recipe that’s timely by two.

Wendy Lopez, executive chef at Tapa Toro, has come up with a special drink recipe that is fitting for this week’s double holidays. You’re already aware of one; the other is Christmas.

The big one, of course, is National Sangria Day, celebrated and observed on Dec. 20. Lopez’s recipe for Apple Pie Sangria will cover them both.

The key to this recipe’s success is the simple syrup. Simple simple syrup is made with equal parts water and sugar. For her Apple Pie Sangria, Lopez makes a more complex simple syrup using apple juice and other seasonings of the season.

Here’s the recipe:

Capt. Appleby's Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon rolls

Do you remember Capt. Appleby's? It was a popular Mount Dora restaurant until it wasn't anymore -- wasn't popular then wasn't there. If you don't remember that, then you probably won't remember that it was also the restaurant that occupied the space at Dubsdread Golf Course before the Tap Room moved in and started serving good food. (My first review of Capt. Appleby's in Orlando coined the term dubsdreadful.)

Even if you don't remember anything else about the restaurants, you'll remember the little cinnamon rolls that were served there. These sweet treats were served as a garnish on each plate at Capt. Appleby’s.

I was digging through some old files and came across this recipe and I thought you'd enjoy it. I'll be featuring chef recipes regularly. Let me know if there are any you'd like to see here.

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