2nd November 2009

    Moussaka

    moussaka

    I’d been craving lamb, and Lisa was in a I-want-lasagna-but-we-just-had-lasagna mood, so moussaka seemed like the perfect bridge between our two wants. This recipe comes from the book Mediterranean Hot and Spicy; the moussaka was certainly hot (after being in a 400F oven for an hour…) but spicy? Not so much. Mouth-watering? Yes. Mouth-burning? No. Just a warning; this is not a recipe you can just whip up when you get home from work; it’s a multi-hour commitment!


    Lisa says:

    I can’t believe you’re just finishing up, I would have been frustrated hours ago.

    Chris says:

    Ha, I actually enjoy the occasional time-intensive recipe; besides, the last hour I haven’t been doing anything but getting hungry while I wait for it to finish baking.

    Lisa says:

    Well I’m glad it’s done now… I’m starvin’, Marvin.

    Chris says:

    This smells awesome… Mmm.. and there’s the lamb I’ve been craving.

    Lisa says:

    Oooh, I love the texture of the baked yogurt top. And the meat is good — not super-duper “lamby”.

    Chris says:

    All the veggies are great; I like the layer of green peppers.

    Lisa says:

    The potato layer is awesome. Whoa — looks like there’s a ton leftover.

    Chris says:

    There is — you could totally cut this recipe in half and just bake it in an 8″x8″ pan and you’d be set for 4 servings.

    Lisa says:

    I guess at some point we’ll be able to report back on how this freezes and reheats.

    Chris says:

    Indeed — we’ll have to whip this out midweek next week. It’ll be nice to not have to work nearly as hard for it next time. :)

    Spicy, Light Moussaka
    Sea salt
    2 large eggplants (about 1.5 lbs). sliced lengthwise, 1/4″ thick
    Olive oil
    1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
    3 large green bell peppers, quartered and cut into 1″ pieces
    1 lb lean ground lamb
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    2 or more pinches of cayenne
    1/3 cup dry red wine
    1/2 cup dried currants
    2 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes with juice
    fresh ground black pepper
    2 pinches freshly ground nutmeg
    1 pinch allspice
    1 lb (4 cups) nonfat Greek yogurt
    2 egg yolks

    Salt the eggplant slices, place them in a colander, and let them drain for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat about an inch deep of olive oil in a deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and fry the potato slices until browned but not cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and layer on the bottom of a 9×12″ glass ovenproof casserole dish. In the same oil, saute the peppers over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they start to color, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reserve the oil, measure out 1/4 cup, and return it to the pan. Saute the lamb in the oil, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, until no longer red. Add the chopped onion and continue to saute for another 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the cayenne and red wine. When boiling, add the currants and tomatoes. Lower and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cayenne if wanted. Add the nutmeg and allspice and add to the heat.
    Preheat the broiler.
    Wipe the eggplant slices with paper towels and place them on a baking sheet. Brush both sides with the reserved oil and broil about 4 inches from the heat until golden brown on both sides.
    Preheat the oven to 400F.
    Arrange the eggplant over the potatoes, overlapping if necessary. Layer the peppers over the eggplant and top with the lamb/tomato mixture. In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the egg yolks, stirring well. Pour the mixture over the lamb/tomato mixture. Bake for 1 hour, until the top starts to color and the moussaka is bubbly.

    6-8 Servings.

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    posted in Greek, Main Dishes, Mediterranean Hot and Spicy, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments

    4th September 2009

    Yogurtlu Kebab (Kofte with Tomato Sauce & Yogurt)

    yogurtlukebab

    Middle-Eastern Nachos indeed!  The meat-eaters (and a couple Sneaky Sams) at our party a few weeks ago all seemed to enjoy this one.  Sausage-shaped meat logs (okay, awesome phrase) are plated atop pita chips, tomato sauce, yogurt, and pinenuts fried in butter.   This worked out really well as party food as you could take as little or as much as you wanted.  The pita just starts to soften when you pour the tomato sauce over it, so you probably wouldn’t want this to sit for too long before serving.  This is similar to the fatta we made last year, but the meat is definitely front-and-center in this one. The recipe is adapted from Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon.


    (I don’t remember who said what [blame it on the sa-sa-sasa-sa-sangria] so here are some random quotes):
    Anonymous Party-Goer #1 says:

    Oooh, can I have some now? Mmm…. is this lamb?

    Chris says:

    Mix of lamb and beef… but yeah, good isn’t it?

    Anonymous Party-Goer #2 says:

    Wow, now that’s a plate of meat.

    Anonymous Party-Goer #3 says:

    What’s this called? Looks amazing.

    Chris says:

    Just think of them as Middle Eastern Nachos.

    Anonymous Party-Goer #4 says:

    You’re still cooking?

    Anonymous Party-Goer #5 says:

    I love when interesting food is delicious.

    Chris says:

    Well, those went fast… hope you got some!

    Yogurtlu Kebab (Kofte with Tomato Sauce & Yogurt)

    Tomato Sauce:
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 chili pepper, seeded and chopped
    1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped
    salt and pepper
    1-2 tsp sugar

    3/4 lb ground beef
    3/4 lb ground lamb
    1 medium onion, very finely chopped
    1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
    salt and pepper

    toasted pita chips (either store-bought or homemade)
    1 tsp sumac and a pinch more
    2 cups plain yogurt at room temperature
    2 tbsp butter or extra-virgin olive oil
    3 tbsp pine nuts

    Make the tomato sauce: Saute the onion in the oil until soft. Add the garlic and chili pepper, and stir for a moment or two. Put in the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and sugar, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until they soften.

    Season the ground beef and lamb with salt and pepper, and work into a soft dough with your hands. Add the onion and the parsley, and work them into the meat. Shape into sausages about 3/4″ thick and 2 3/4″ long. Arrange on a sheet of foil on a baking sheet and cook under a broiler for about 8 minutes, turning over once, until well browned outside but still pink and moist inside.

    Spread the pita at the bottom of a large serving dish and sprinkle with a pinch of sumac. Pour the tomato sauce all over, and top with a layer of yogurt. Heat the butter or oil with the pine nuts and stir in the remaining teaspoon of sumac. When the butter sizzles, sprinkle all over the yogurt. Arrange the meat on top.

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    posted in Main Dishes, Turkish | 5 Comments

    29th July 2009

    Almost Meatless Potluck: Ful Mudammas Gyros

    lamb-ful-gyros

    A few weeks ago, we were asked by Tara Mataraza Desmond and Joy Manning to participate in a virtual potluck in celebration of their recent cookbook, Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet. I like the book’s concept — use less meat in recipes and replace it with novel ingredients to make them healthier without having to completely eliminate meat altogether. We had previously made and enjoyed the Albondigas, so this time we decided to tackle a recipe we’d never made at home before: Gyros!  Rather than solely containing lamb shaved off a vertical broiler, this version uses a few slices of grilled leg of lamb steak, filled out with ful mudammas, a garlicky, zesty Middle-Eastern bean-spread. It’s then topped with cool tzatziki and tomatoes for a great combination of texture and flavor.

    Chris says:

    Hooray for gyros! I’m glad we finally made these at home, I love them.

    Lisa says:

    …and there’s ful in it? I’ve only ever had the stew-version, this should be interesting — it’s the same ingredients?

    Chris says:

    Yep, basically the same thing, but no broth, and the beans are mashed. How is it?

    Lisa says:

    Wow, it’s awesome. The flavors are exactly right.

    Chris says:

    Sweet — it’s really nice in there with the lamb. I like the combination.

    Lisa says:

    Yum, me too. These are great. The tzatziki rules.

    Chris says:

    Well I made it with Fage, your favorite.

    Lisa says:

    No wonder!

    Chris says:

    So — overall… great success?

    Lisa says:

    Great success!

    Ful Mudammas Gyros
    (Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press and the authors)
    Tzatziki:
    1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4″ dice (about 1/2 cup)
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    1 clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
    Salt

    Lamb:
    1 12-oz leg of lamb steak
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

    Ful Mudammas:
    1 15-oz can fava beans, drained and rinsed
    1 clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp kosher salt
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    Juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tbsp)
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    4 pitas or flatbreads
    Tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)

    Make the tzatziki: Combine the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, and mint in a small bowl and stir until combined. Taste, adding salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate.
    Marinate the lamb: Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and pepper in a large glass bowl. Add the lamb and flip the meat several times to coat in the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    Make the ful mudammas: While the lamb marinates, combine the beans, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Smash the beans with a pestle to form a textured paste. Season with more salt if desired.
    Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the lamb on the hot grill and discard the remaining marinade. Grill for about 4 minutes per side, until the meat reaches medium-rare (about 130F). Take the lamb off the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing very thinly across the grain.
    To assemble, spread about 1/4 cup of the fava bean mixture on each pita or flatbread. Add 3 or 4 slices of lamb, a dollop of tzatziki, and some of the chopped tomato to each. Wrap the pita around the filling, serve, and enjoy.

    4 Gyros

    Thanks again to Tara and Joy for asking us to participate in the virtual pot luck!

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    posted in Almost Meatless, Blogging Event, Greek, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 9 Comments

    19th March 2009

    “Almost Meatless” Albondigas, or, Oatmeal: It’s What’s For Dinner

    oatmealalbondigas

    This recipe was recently featured on Serious Eats; it comes from a cookbook titled Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet. I’m all for the occasional veggie burger, but make no mistake: these plump, juicy orbs of joy are NOT vegetarian. Rather, ground lamb is supplemented with steel-cut oatmeal to add bulk — the aim of Almost Meatless is not to eliminate meat all together, but to just use less of it. I haven’t yet tried any of the other recipes from this book, but unless this a one-off standout, I certainly look forward to it!


    Lisa says:

    What the — how are these “almost meatless”? Aren’t they made with lamb?

    Chris says:

    Yeah, but only 1/2 a pound in the entire recipe… certainly not “mostly meat”.

    Lisa says:

    Ah, okay. I get it.

    Chris says:

    These are so juicy! I would not have realized that they were made with oatmeal…

    Lisa says:

    Me neither — maybe rice or something, but definitely not oatmeal.

    Chris says:

    These would be awesome for a tapas party; just stick some toothpicks in them and you’re done.

    Lisa says:

    Ooooh, I think we should have one soon!

    “Almost Meatless” Albondigas
    1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal
    1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped plus more for garnish
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
    4 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 lb ground lamb
    2 tsp olive oil
    1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
    1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
    1 cup water
    Juice from 1 lime

    Mix together the oatmeal, cilantro, half the garlic, the chipotle, 2 teaspoons of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Use your hands to incorporate the lamb into the mixture, distributing it evenly. Form balls out of tablespoon-size scoops of the mixture and set aside.
    Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, cumin, and coriander, cooking for an additional 30 seconds. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and water and stir to combine.
    Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the meatballs. Simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.
    Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, squeeze the lime juice over top, and serve with extra chopped cilantro.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Almost Meatless, Appetizers, Main Dishes, Mexican, Spanish | 5 Comments

    18th January 2009

    Spicy Lamb Ravioli in Fumet

    lambravis

    Another bonus of Cathy and Chris visiting this weekend: they eat meat! I’ve been wanting to make this dish for a while, but a large portion of our friends are either vegetarian or only eat fish. This recipe comes from The Stinking Rose Restaurant Cookbook, and while it’s a bit time-consuming, the end result is well worth it. We served this with a big salad featuring cranberries, apples, and blue cheese. Yum!


    Chris says:

    So, unfortunately, I left everyone’s ravioli in the water while I took the picture for the blog, so yours may be a little overcooked.

    Cathy says:

    This is like really delicious Chef Boyardee!

    Chris says:

    Wow, I guess that confirms that yours were overcooked.

    Lisa says:

    I don’t think I would have noticed if you hadn’t said anything…

    Chris S says:

    This is another one that we’ll have to get the recipe for.

    Lisa says:

    Oooh… what makes it spicy?

    Chris says:

    There’s curry and cayenne in the filling, and some red pepper flakes in the fumet. I really like it.

    Chris S says:

    Same here, really good.

    Cathy says:

    For the record, I did say it was like really delicious Chef Boyardee…

    Chris says:

    What an endorsement!  :)  At least you didn’t say Franco-American Ravioli-Os…

    Spicy Lamb Ravioli in Fumet
    Ravioli:
    1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
    1 lb ground lamb
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 yellow onion, finely chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup ricotta cheese
    2 slices day-old bread (I used a wheat bun I found in the freezer)
    Leaves from sprig of rosemary, minced
    1 tsp curry powder
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    4 oz cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
    1 lb wonton wrappers

    Fumet:
    2 cups chicken broth
    3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup unsalted butter

    Grated Parmesan for garnish
    Julienned fresh basil leaves for garnish

    In a saute pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the lamb and cook for 8-10 minutes, breaking up with a spoon, until browned. Remove from the heat and drain, reserving the juices for the fumet.
    In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes, until browned. Remove from the heat and let cool, then add into a food processor with the Parmesan, ricotta, bread, rosemary, curry powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Blend on medium-high speed until crumbly — you want the mixture to still have texture. Transfer to a bowl and add the lamb and mushrooms. Stir to combine.
    Flour a couple baking sheets and get the wonton wrappers ready. Place one tbsp of the filling in the center of each wrapper and cover with another wrapper. Moisten the edges with a fingertip dipped in water and crimp the edges firmly with the tines of a fork to seal. Place each ravioli on the baking sheet, then place the sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
    Meanwhile, make the fumet. In a saucepan, combine the reserved lamb juices, broth, tomatoes, and pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the broth is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add the butter and stir until it is completely melted.
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. One by one, gently drop the ravioli in the water. Decrease the heat to medium and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the edges are tender and they float on the surface of the water. Gently drain and place into warmed soup bowls. Ladle the broth over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan and basil.

    4 Large Servings

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    posted in The Stinking Rose Cookbook | 3 Comments


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