The Simple Art Of Cooking: A Father’s Day Feast

My husband loves rice pudding. Whenever he’s within hearing distance of someone who loves to cook he will ask, “Do you make rice pudding?,” hoping they will give me the recipe. When we’ve had dinner at Molyvos, an upscale Greek restaurant in the shadow of Carnegie Hall, I knew that Chef Jim Botsacos recipe for rice pudding would be the answer.

Botsacos is the founding chef and partner of Molyvos and he’s the author of New Greek Cuisine, Broadway Books. Botsacos is an advocate for the freshest and finest ingredients, which is apparent in his inventive dishes. On an early Spring visit to Molyvos my husband chose the rack of lamb, with its delicious accompaniments of an inspired Greek potato keftede and a colorful roast eggplant salad with sweet peppers and mint chiffonade served with an herb-laden Ionian garlic sauce—memorable!

For Father’s Day I will duplicate the lamb, (my favorite meat) and of course Botsacos’ outstanding rice pudding. Chef Jim is a local by the way, enjoying his East End home on the weekends with his family. Check out for more of his savory recipes. Happy Fathers Day.

Paidakia skharas or grilled baby lamb chops are served with amazing accompaniments of potato keftede and roasted eggplant salad.
Lamb chop recipe is adapted to serve 4 to 5.

3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried Greek savory
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 racks of lamb, trimmed of excess fat

1. Combine the olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic, oregano, savory, and salt and pepper to taste in a small mixing bowl.
2. Place the lamb in a glass baking dish (Pyrex) and pour the marinade over the lamb, turning to coat all sides. Then lay each rack meat side down, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours.
3. Preheat a grill and oil the grill grates. Bring lamb to room temperature and, with your fingertips, remove excess marinade from the racks, allowing the mixture to drip back into the dish.
4. Season the racks with salt and pepper to taste and place them, meat side down, on the hot grill. Grill for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter and let rest a few minutes. Can do ahead to this point as the lamb will still be raw in the center. Cut the lamb into individual chops. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat each chop with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Return the grill to medium high heat. When hot add the chops, in batches of 4 to 5 and grill for about 2 minutes or just long enough to mark the meat on the grill. Turn slightly and grill for another 2 minutes or just long enough to burn a crosshatch into the meat. Continue to grill for another minute for rare or until the chops are nicely browned and cooked to your desired degree of doneness.

This delectably delicious rice pudding is worth
every step!
Makes 8 to10 servings

3 1/2 cups 1 or 2% milk
3 cups heavy cream
1 stick cinnamon
1 stick vanilla bean
1 cup sugar, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup water
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons Arborio rice
5 egg yolks

Fresh local strawberries for garnish, if desired

1. Combine the milk, heavy cream, cinnamon, vanilla bean, ½ cup sugar, and lemon zest in a 5 to 6 quart stainless steel saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a brisk simmer for 25 minutes. Watch this carefully, as the liquid comes to a boil it will rise to the top of the pan and may overflow—adjust heat as necessary to prevent this from happening.

2. Meanwhile in another stainless steel saucepan, about 3 1/2 quarts, bring the water to the boil. Stir the rice into the hot water and cover. Remove from heat and allow rice to stand in pan for 3 to 4 minutes, covered. Pour the rice into a colander to drain off any excess water. Run the rice in the colander under cold water. Shake off any excess water when cool. Sprinkle the rice into the saucepan with the hot cream mixture, whisking continuously. Allow rice to simmer on very low heat about 10 to 15 minutes whisking occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

3. Prepare a large container with ice cubes that will hold the cooked rice mixture, which will first be tempered with the egg yolks. Place egg yolks in a bowl with remaining 1/2-cup sugar and lightly whisk. Remove saucepan with rice from heat. Ladle some rice mixture into the egg yolks constantly whisking to temper the yolks. Continue to add a ladle full at a time into the egg yolks before returning to the saucepan. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring continuously until slightly thickened and creamy.

4. Pour the rice mixture into a large shallow container then into the larger pan of ice to create an ice bath for the rice. Allow to cool completely then remove cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Pudding is ready to serve (I recommend preparing the pudding a day or two before serving and refrigerate covered). If rice firms up nuke it for 40 to 50 seconds until creamy. Serve in attractive dessert bowls and top with fresh local strawberries if desired.

Visit Silvia’s website at to read her blogs and more recipes.

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