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  • Melissa Orquiza

Mozza's Lamb Chops Scottadito, Our Holiday Feast, The Yellow Submarine, Soul and Wonder Woman 1984

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Lamb Chops Scottadito with Insalata di Fregola Sarda, Mint, and Yogurt. If you only have time for one amazing meal between now and Valentine's Day, this is it.

I am grateful that this year, although trying, has managed to give me and my family glimmers of happiness. This holiday season, in between frantically trying to post the holiday cards (electronically, the day before Christmas), getting ready for Santa (I made sure to take care of her requests the day after Thanksgiving) and working, I was ready to sleep for a few days after the Christmas morning rush.

When I met my husband, we were both assistants to a composer, working long hours, trying to survive the sleepless nights and last minute changes. He asked me out a day after a bad breakup (he claims I was fair game) and I confused his intentions of taking me out to dinner as a friendly ear to talk to. I’ll skip the hilarity that ensued, but we’re still here, years later, with most people wondering how we ended up together in the first place.

I remember the later dates when we still had time to goof off in the gardens of UCLA, (I was doing my Master’s at the time), the freak out when his was at his first big session in Seattle when I realized the cue they were about to record was to the wrong video, (that’s when we realized we could work together), and at a subsequent dinner, realizing I didn’t have to act like an idiot anymore because the guy across the table was vested in deeper truths bathed in realism and fantasy (philosophical calculus), asking ME intellectual questions instead of the other way around. Women, there is only so much of your brain you can hide. Trust me. I became a prototypical idiot after “acting” like one for so long. Please save yourself the hassle.

Our younger personalities have mellowed into brassier hues, with each of us (hopefully) bringing out the best in each other. I’ve always been able to get along with more dominant personalities (I prefer to know what you want or at least, intuitively know what you like) while my husband has little patience for those who can’t intellectually keep up with him. I love watching his brain explode when he talks to our daughter. Over the years, there are certain things that have not changed.

I remember his thread bare apartment, where he punched a wall under a counter to act as a machine room (other side was a closet), eating cans of tuna (OMG! EWW!), with a keyboard and computer in the living room, staying up all night working on cues. My favorite anecdote was one day, I forgot my leash for my dog so he used a spare XLR cable. (Why did I go for the starving musician types instead of the older ones that seemed to want to take care of me?) I’d stay up to help him as long as I could and he’d still be up at 4:30AM, rewriting. The environments may have changed, but other things have not. Instead of calling him about the wrong video, we’re chasing wrong notes or audio, juggling last minute changes (just like when we were assistants) but with a daughter and no time.

After decades of this (as with most musicians), this year was a little different. Trained as a jazz musician (but gave it up to make a living), he received a jazz orchestration credit on “Soul”, a movie about what truly is important to you, your meaning and what your life is about (utterly profound, especially during the pandemic.) I grew up watching “Wonder Woman” and what better way to escape our awful social reality but to watch a superhero movie. I’m grateful to the office, our colleagues, and to have had the opportunity to work on both of these films, not on just an entertainment level, but also acknowledging that both Hollywood and Silicon Valley are on a precipice that may determine how we consume our content going forwards. I’ve always been thrilled, scared, and excited for the unknown (which included taking a leap of faith with the normally, aggressive, jazz guy). To my husband, "Happy birthday"!

Here’s to celebrating your unknown!

Since we’re at that strange time between Christmas and New Years, here’s some anecdotes as to how we’re all feeling.

Here’s what we ate this past holiday weekend. I hope it inspires you to with your upcoming New Year’s or Valentine’s Day feast! Happy eating!

Huckleberry's Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake. A lovely breakfast for a few days. I think I overdid it and now have to run...

Mozza's Steamed Mussels with Passata Di Pomodoro, Chiles, & Herbs. The prep is really easy and the garlic, tomato and white wine with herbs make you look like a food genius!

Sautéed Broccolini with Calabrian Chiles and Vinegar. Because we all need to eat our greens!

Mozza's Lamb Chops Scottadito with Insalata di Fregola Sarda, Mint, and Yogurt. I don't even like lamb chops and this is amazing. My husband's new favorite dish.

Ottolenghi's Soft Gingerbread Cookies with Rum Butter Glaze. It's as if a gingerbread cookie wore couture.

Because, social isolation during political repartee obviously engenders “Yellow Submarine” (the song, not the album).

Yellow Submarine (Song) History

Because animation, in all forms, is entertaining. I had no idea this was so political… what’s the quote? “If you spot it, you’ve got it?”

The Beatles - Yellow Submarine

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the official trailer for “Soul.” Here’s to embracing what is truly important to you.

Same here for “Wonder Woman 1984”. Besides the bad assery of Diana Prince, can we talk about how ferocious the 80’s fashion is in this movie? Her hair is making want to die.

Thank you for reading! I hope this made you laugh, smile, and forget about your troubles for a little while. Here’s to your unknown and making the most of it. Xo, Melissa

Mozza's Lamb Chops Scottadito with Insalata di Fregola Sarda, Mint, and Yogurt. If you only have time for one great meal this month, this could be it.

Lamb Chops Scottadito with Insalata di Fregola Sarda, Mint, and Yogurt

from “The Mozza Cookbook” by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño


For the Lamb

zested strips of 3 lemons (I went ahead an microplaned it all because I didn’t have a zester)

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

12 lamb rib chops (about 2 pounds)

For the Fregola Sarda Salad

Kosher salt

1/4 cup fregola sarda (I couldn’t find it so substituted pearl couscous)

extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup halved Sweet 100 tomatoes, cut through the stem ends, or cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber

2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves

2 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 teaspoon grated garlic

1 lemon, halved

1/2 cup Lemon Vinaigrette, plus more to taste

For the Yogurt Sauce

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons strained whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra- virgin olive oil

For serving the lamb

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 whole tiny fresh mint leaves

Finishing- quality extra virgin olive oil

Smoked Paprika


  1. To prepare the lamb, chop two- thirds of the lemon zest strips, reserving the remaining third for garnish, and place them in a bowl large enough to hold the lamb or in a nonreactive baking dish. Stir in the mint, sugar, salt, and pepper to combine. Add the lamb chops and turn to coat the meat on all sides with the seasonings. (You can prepare the chops to this point up to several hours in advance. Cover the bowl or dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to grill them. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before grilling.)

  2. To prepare the fregola, fill a medium saucepan with water, bring it to a bowl over high heat, and salt it to taste like the ocean, adding approximately 1 tablespoon of salt to each quart of water. Place a colander in the sink or have a wire strainer handy to lift out the pasta out of the water. Add the fregola, stir to prevent it from sticking together, and cook, using the time indicated on the package as a guide, until al dente. Drain the fregola, and transfer it to a large bowl. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, toss to coat it with the oil, and set it aside to cool to room temperature.

  3. Put the tomatoes in a small bowl and season them with salt. Add the onion, cucumber, mint, parsley, garlic, and the seasoned tomatoes to the bowl with the fregola. Squeeze the lemon and drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss to thoroughly combine the ingredients and coat them with the vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired.

  4. To prepare the yogurt sauce, stir the yogurt and olive oil together until combined.

  5. To grill the lamb chops, prepare a hot fire in a gas of charcoal grill or preheat a grill pan or heavy- bottomed skillet over the high heat.

  6. Remove the lamb chops from the rub and season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill the lamb chops for about 2 minutes per side for medium rare, turning them only once. Remove the lamb chops to a plate.

  7. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the yogurt sauce on each of four plates and spread it out to form a pool about 3 inches in diameter. (I obviously didn’t do that. I plated two different ones and just got creative because I started to get wild.) Spoon the fregola on top of the yogurt, leaving a rim of the yogurt visible. Place three lamb chops on each plate (I did 2) leaning one against the other like a fallen teepee. Top each serving with a tangle of reserved lemon zest and 3 of the mint leaves. (I used 1 large one for each). Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the finishing- quality olive oil over and around each serving of lamb, sprinkle a pinch of paprika on each plate around the lamb, and serve.

Lemon Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup


1/4 cup minced shallots

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste


  1. Combine the shallots, lemon juice, vinegar and salt in a small bowl. Set the bowl aside for 5 to 10 minutes to marinate the shallots. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly to combine.

  2. Stir in the pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper, if desired. Use the vinaigrette or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to three days. Bring the vinaigrette to room temperature and whisk to combine the ingredients before serving.

#lambchopsscattaditowithinsalatafregolasardamint&yogurt, @mozza, @nancysilverton, #yellowsubmarine, @thebeatles, #soul, @jonbatiste, @trentreznor, @atticusross, #wonderwoman1984, @hanszimmer

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