Herbaceous Grilled Lamp Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Last weekend I visited a Persian market.  The market filled me with all sorts of food inspiration, but it mostly left me with a strong desire to eat lamb.  I guessing that desire came from the cooked foods section, which had fresh lamb kabobs and shawarma. The market also housed a rather large meat department, it had lamb in every form, hooves, hearts, livers, basically every part of the lamb that a better cook than I am could possibly want to cook. A far cry from the selection at my local Whole Foods! I feel like I hit the lottery if they have stewed lamb meat once every 4 months.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to walk into your local market and find, um..choices?  Like ramps in the spring time, in California–but I digress.  Let’s just say, I left the Persian market with market envy.   I shop at Whole Foods so often that when I go into a conventional grocery store, I’m always amazed at how inexpensive things are.  Haha..call it reverse sticker shock! Thank you Whole Foods!  Surprisingly, I did not leave the Persian market with lamb.  I did find some great spices, some pomegranate molasses, and a few other great items.  I left with my new finds and a mission to cook these lamb chops.

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Ingredients:

1 lb lamb chops

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon lemon powder, can sub with lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions: To a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and oil, mix well.

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Dry lamb chops, season generously with sea salt. Rub the lamb chops with the herbaceous garlic paste.

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Place lamb chops on a hot grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lamb chops are cooked to your liking.  Remove from grill, serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

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White Bean Salad with Lemon Cumin Vinaigrette

 

White Bean Salad With Lemon Cumin Dressing

White Bean Salad With Lemon Cumin Dressing

This salad represents all that this blog is about.  It’s lazy in every sense of the word lazy and it’s fresh and vibrantly flavorful.  I was talking to a girl friend  of mine the other day about food and little ones.  She was in need of some advice about healthy choices for her little one. We went through the list of what she currently feeds her little one.  On her list was a simple salad of canned white beans drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil.  I thought it sounded delish, and I set out to make my own version of that salad.  I make a lentil salad that is similar to this, but I think this one is much better.  Pair this salad with a crusty piece of sourdough rubbed with a little garlic and grass-fed butter and you’ve got a rustic and delicious meal,which didn’t require you to turn on the stove.  Lazy–yes, absolutely! But it tastes anything but lazy–that counts right?;-)

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Ingredients:

15 ounce can of Organic White beans (drained and rinsed)

1/2 cup of feta cheese crumbled

1/2 cup of organic rainbow radish diced

1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes quartered

1/2  cup persian cucumbers diced

1/2 cup of red bell pepper diced

1 Tablespoon of fresh organic Thyme leaves

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

 

Vinaigrette

5 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1 medium clove of garlic finely chopped

Sea salt to taste

Directions: Add all of the ingredients except for the sea salt to a large bowl and toss well.

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Add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette to a mason jar cover and shake until well combined.  If you don’t have a mason jar, just whisk together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl, and set aside. Salt the salad ingredients just before serving, this will prevent the tomatoes and cucumbers from becoming soggy, toss, then drizzle with a generous amount of the vinaigrette, toss  again to combine, serve and enjoy!

Za’atar Spiced Chicken

Za'atar Spiced Chicken

Za’atar Spiced Chicken

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, then you know that I’m enamored with Mediterranean spices, and food. One of my favorite things to have when I go out for dinner at a middle eastern restaurant is a naan bread with za’atar spices on it. What’s not to like? Piping hot crispy bread with a tangy spice, and hot olive oil…yum! I’m drooling at just the thought, it’s just so yummy. If you’re not familiar with za’atar you’ve been missing out. It’s simply a mixture of thyme, sesame seeds, marjoram, cumin, and sumac. With the exception of the sumac, you probably have all the ingredients to make it in your cabinet right now. You can’t make this without the sumac though, it’s tart and tangy flavor would be missed. The herbaceous smell of this spice is reason enough to use it. It pairs well with many meats, not just chicken, but on chicken it is amazing. I will share my recipe for my own homemade za’atar spice in a future blog, but for this, a store bought version will do. I got a packaged za’atar spice blend at Whole Foods in the spice aisle. While it’s not as good as my homemade version, it’s very close.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon of za’atar spice
Juice of half a large lemon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic grated
5-6 (1lb) boneless skinless chicken thighs
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Mix the za’atar, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil together in a medium bowl. Season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper, then toss in the bowl with the marinade and mix well. Line a baking sheet with foil, then add the chicken, and place in the oven, for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven, serve and enjoy!

Salmon Sorentina

Salmon Sorrentino

This week has been so hectic on the work front for me, so I apologize for not posting a recipe sooner, but sometimes life really does get in the way of me posting. One of my favorite types of restaurants are those hidden gems nestled within a quaint neighborhood. For some reason the city that I live in is scattered with exactly those types of restaurants. Literally there is a home lined street and at the end of that street is a restaurant. The locals here love these little gems and know exactly where they are. So there is little fear that any of these restaurants will actually ever go out of business. We have this amazing little Italian Cafe near our house, and one of my favorite things on the menu there is Salmon Sorentino. All the elements in the dish speak to me. I love the saltiness of the kalmata olives, and the brininess of the capers, they all work together perfectly in the cream sauce. This recipe is my version of the restaurant version.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
1lb of salmon
1 cup of heavy cream
1 clove of garlic chopped
3 tablespoons of capers drained
1/2 cup of kalmata olives
5 basil leaves chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions:  Add oil and garlic to a frying pan and cook until you can smell the garlic 15-20 seconds. Add in cream, salmon, olives, and capers, cook for 7-10 minutes or until salmon is cooked through. Add in basil, turn off fire and enjoy on a bed of pasta, or spinach, or with some steamed veggies.  If you love this, you will probably love my recipe for Chicken with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce

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Chicken with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce

I am always trying to come up with fresh ways to make chicken. Luckily for me there are 1001 ways to make chicken.  I Love a cream sauce, and if you follow my blog you know that I love Lemon too.  This recipe comes from a love of both.  If you love something why not marry the two?  Although this is a cream sauce, it’s not heavy on the palet at all.  The Lemon really lightens this dish.  Add in some capers and some kalmata olives, and the dish becomes even lighter.

Here’s what you need:

1 Cup of heavy cream
The juice of 1 Lemon,
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup of green capers liquid drained
1/4 cup of Kalmata Olives, pits removed
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 of boneless skinless chicken cubed and seasoned with sea salt

Directions:
Add oil to the pan, once hot brown the chicken on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside for later.

 Add in the sliced garlic, and let cook until you smell the garlic about 10 seconds:

Add in the cream stir, then add the olives, capers, tomatoes, lemon juice, and the chicken:

Cook stirring constantly you don’t want the cream to boil over.  Once the chicken is cooked through( about 7-9 minutes) turn off the fire and serve.  I serve over a bed of sauteed spinach, but I have also served this over pasta, if I do, I add the spinach for a green.  Enjoy! What is your favorite cream sauce?

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North African Lamb Stew with Kale

Lamb Stew

Lamb Stew

 

I have such fond memories of my mothers home made stews. She doesn’t make stews anymore so memories are all I have unfortunately. I’m not really a person who makes  a lot of stews at home. Let’s face it stews, good ones anyway, take time, usually hours, 2-3 hours, for them to develop a decent amount of flavor. This particular stew came out of an uncontrollable desire of mine to have lamb meat that was tender, moist, and with a gravy that was lick the pot worthy. I think I met that desire and some with this lamb stew. All of the components of this stew go together so perfectly that I’m surprised that I never though to put them together before this.  I used a pressure cooker to make this stew. Let me just say that by using a pressure cooker not only was I able to develop the flavors that make up a good stew, but I was able to do it in an hour. The beauty of pressure cookers is that they allow you to maximize the flavor of all of the ingredients you use without loosing vital nutrients. If you don’t own a pressure cooker, go buy one. They’re awesome!

Here’s what you need:
2 lamb shanks (2lbs)
5 teaspoons of Cumin
4 teaspoons of Paprika

1 teaspoon of Coriander powder

4 cloves of garlic sliced
2 medium onions chopped
Juice of half a lemon or more if you like
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 bushel of elephant kale julienned
1 10 oz can of garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
A handful of cilantro
1 28 oz can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
3-4 cups of water

Equipment:
Pressure cooker

Note: If you want to make this on the stove without a pressure cooker it can be done.  Just add all of your ingredients to the pot exactly as below.  Bring the pot to a full boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender and you can remove it from the bone.

Directions:
Over medium heat add oil, onions, lamb and garlic the pressure cooker.  Add in the coriander, cumin, and paprika, mix well, and let cook for 3 minutes

Add tomato sauce, and enough water to cover the lamb shanks, bring to a boil then close and seal your pressure cooker.

Cook for 45 minutes without disturbing, turn off the heat and follow the directions to depressurize your pressure cooker. Once your pressure cooker is safe to open, remove the cover and discard the fat lining and the bone on the lamb shanks. At this point that should be fairly easy to do, the meat literally falls off of the bone after being in the pressure cooker for 45 minutes.

Add in the kale and the garbanzo beans, cover and seal the pressure cooker again, and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat.

After 15 minutes turn off the fire, depressurize your pressure cooker, and remove the cover, add in a handful of fresh cilantro, the lemon juice and serve as is, or over a bed of brown rice…yum!

What is your favorite stew?

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Memorable Lamb Kabob’s with Rosemary and Garlic

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which probably means that most of us will be firing up the grill in preparation for a barbecue. I, for one, love to barbecue! Not just because it means that my husband will be doing most of the cooking, (although, it is a nice benefit.), but because it’s a great way to change up our diet with something smokey, and tangy! Who doesn’t love a nice grilled rib with tons of barbecue sauce on it?  Barbecuing is also a great way to spend time with friends and family. Some of my most sacred memories are housed around barbecue’s with family! At my house we like to mix it up a bit and grill lamb instead of beef, chicken, or pork. Beef, chicken, and pork have their place at our barbecue’s, ( Lemon, Garlic, & Thyme Chicken Kabobs), but every now and again, we love to grill lamb.  These lamb kabobs are perfect for a lazy barbecue, they don’t take a long time to marinate or cook on the grill, from start to finish these are done in 20 minutes!

Here’s what you need:
1.5-2 lbs of lamb loin chops, taken off the bone and cubed
3 cloves of garlic pasted
Sea salt
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon of Rosemary
1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Directions:
Season the lamb generously with sea salt:

Add the garlic, olive oil, rosemary,and lemon juice to the lamb, and mix well:
Add lamb to metal skewers, or to wooden skewers that have been soaked in water:

Grill for 2-3 minutes on a hot grill, and enjoy!  What is your favorite meat to grill?

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