My parents don't look old. Not by a long shot! My folks came down to Memphis this past weekend to celebrate Dad's 60th birthday. It is hard to believe he's 60, referencing my previous statement. They are both very full of life & energy & have been & always will be the best parents in the history of the universe. Anyway, they got in Saturday early evening so we popped open a bottle of white wine (Lackner Tinnacher Gelber Muskateller 2003 Austria still some left at Joe's but not much) & caught up. The wine was crisp & bright & very fresh tasting given its 5 years of age. After that was through we headed up to Restaurant Iris for a couple cocktails & their fantastic Boudin. We capped the night off with a couple burgers & appetizers at Cafe 1912. Best burger in town by far. Juicy meat, Maytag blue, bacon & garlic aioli. Kelly had goat cheese ravioli & a Lyonnaise Salad with no bacon because he is avoiding meat. Going vegetarian isn't much a of a stretch for him given that he's not much of a meat eater to begin with. Dad & I capped the night off with a couple scotches (Balvenie Doublewood 12 yr old, oh so good) & some political discussion. On Sunday I had already planned out what I was going to cook for dinner & had it ready in the fridge. Rack of lamb, risotto, haricot verts & chocolate pots de creme. For Kelly a Naked Chicken soy chicken cutlet. I started by marinating the lamb & fake chicken with basil puree, garlic, wine, salt pepper & a dash of red wine vinegar & let that sit for about 2 hours. My sous chefs (Mom & Dad) diced the shallot & garlic for the risotto, which I sauteed in olive oil. I had Dad stir the arborio rice & slowly ladle in the warm stock until it became creamy & the rice had released its starch. Me being the "alpha cook" that I am I kept stepping in to stir or add stock. Dad kept saying to me "don't screw up my rice!" all while sipping from his wine. That wine was a Soter Vineyards Pinot Noir 2006 North Valley, Oregon. At first it seemed a little light & shut down. But after a bit of time it developed & fleshed out. It became rich, round, supple with dark cherry, a hint of tea & clove & just a bit of lavender. Lovely. Absolutely lovely. Even my Dad remarked on how delicious it was & he doesn't like pinot noir. He is more into big, bold, rich red wines. So of COURSE I had to open something like that. For wine, I thought the lamb needed something with earthiness, acidity & dark red fruit. I pulled out my last bottle of Neitea 1998 Tuscany, Italy, a blend of sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon. This dark Tuscan beauty is just now ready to drink, I can't imagine what this was like upon release. It was just perfect for the lamb with the perfect amount of tannin, dark fruit & acid to cut through the gaminess of the meat. But we weren't done yet. Its not a birthday without some dessert, right?? With the aide of my trusty, sous chefs I prepared a dark chocolate pots de creme. First, scaled some half & half & milk with a little organic sugar. In a heatproof bowl I whisked together 5 egg yolks & tempered them with the hot liquid. Then I added all that back to the sauce pan & stirred it on low heat until it became a custard. I poured that custard over chopped dark chocolate, let it sit for 2 minutes then whisked it together until fully melted. The trick to its smooth texture is to blend it. I used a stick blender or wand, but you could use a traditional blender. What better way to end a meal than chocolate? I think Dad liked it because his ramekin was empty before any of ours. I forgot to take a pic until AFTER I took the first bite, oops.