Posts Tagged ‘lamb’

Spring in Jerusalem (#KidsCook Ottolenghi)

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

A confession: my dinner menu hits quite a rut in the last long, cold stretch of winter. Tired of heavy foods but without fresh spring produce, it’s a struggle to find inspiration in the kitchen. When the weather does finally turn warm (or jumps straight to 90 degrees, as it suddenly was this past week), the produce at the farmers markets still isn’t quite ready. Fortunately, I received some new cookbooks for Christmas that I finally cracked open to plan our recent holiday meals. I’m particularly smitten with Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. (I’m not the only one — the book was just named cookbook of the year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).)

sweet and sour fish ottolenghi

Between the pictures and the background stories I could spend many a evening curled up on the couch reading it — but it wouldn’t be long before I’d feel driven into the kitchen to try a recipe. Not content to try just one, I made two recipes for our Passover/Easter weekend: Saturday night’s seder featured the Marinated Sweet & Sour Fish (pictured above) and for Easter dinner the next day, Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Pine Nuts.

eggs and peppers on toast

The fish recipe starts with a flavorful red and yellow pepper, onion and coriander sauce — and there was far more sauce than needed for the amount of fish I used. (I used hake, which looked fresher than the cod at the supermarket that day. I’d probably try it with cod next time though.) So for lunch the next day, I reheated some of the pepper sauce, spooned it over toasted bread and topped it with sliced hard boiled eggs, olive oil and sea salt. It was so good I’m actually considering making just the pepper part again to keep on hand.

The lamb-stuffed eggplant gave me a new way to prepare lamb on Easter when it was just the family and I didn’t have an excuse to cook a whole leg of lamb. The recipe is definitely company-worthy, though, and not too labor-intensive. The eggplant is roasted first, then topped with ground lamb and pine nuts and baked some more, until it is tender and saturated with the paprika-infused sauce. Delicious.

eggplant stuffed with lamb and pine nuts

As an added endorsement, the colorful pictures also caught the eye of the littlest foodie tot — who likes to flip through the book with me and was eager to help mix the spices to season the eggplant dish.

kids cook ottolenghi

I will definitely be making the eggplant many more times, especially when local eggplant arrives at the markets later this year.

There are so many more recipes I’m eager to try. Do you have Jerusalem yet? Let us know what we should make next. (Or get your kids in the kitchen and let’s cook Jerusalem together! Need more inspiration? Mardi of Eat Live Travel Write recently made the book’s turkey and zucchini burgers — with her middle school boys’ cooking club. Love it!! And OMG! Yummy hosts a monthly “Tasting Jerusalem” cooking event, with a recipe contest going on right now.)

FRESHFARM Week: Me(a)t Smith Meadows Farm

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The capital’s own FRESHFARM Markets is celebrating their 15th anniversary this weekend. Led by co-founders Ann Yonkers and Bernadine Prince, the now 11-market network in the metro Washington area (DC, Maryland and Virginia) has been promoting “local food with a face, a place and a name” throughout the Chesapeake foodshed since July 4, 1997. Alice Waters herself shops the original Dupont Circle FRESHFARM market when she’s in town, and local chefs proudly feature FRESHFARM farmers on their menus all across town. There will be an official celebration Sunday, July 15, at Dupont. Leading up to the big day, we here at FoodieTots are going to introduce just a few of our favorite FRESHFARM producers — the farmers we know by name and whose products grace our table every week.

Up first is Smith Meadows of Berryville, Va. You see, I believe in meat. I support Meatless Monday not because I’m anti-meat, but because I believe we should think before we consume it. And when we do, it should be healthful meat raised with care by farmers who are dedicated to the environment. Grassfed meat is richer in nutrients, leaner, and free of GMO feed and other bad things that come from feedlot meat.

smith meadows short ribs

Smith Meadows is an eighth-generation family farm that converted from conventional farming to natural methods in 1989. Farmer Forrest Pritchard practices rotational grazing of the farm’s cows, lambs, pigs, turkeys and chickens on pasture that is never treated with chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

Nancy Pritchard makes fresh pasta each week from their free range eggs, organic flour and herbs, produce and cheese either from their own or other local farms {lemon verbena pasta pictured below}. Smith Meadows’ eggs are often the first to sell out at the market. We’ve enjoyed their brisket, pork, turkey, lamb and much more over the years.

smith meadows pasta

You can find Smith Meadows each week at FRESHFARM Dupont Circle — and at the Del Ray Farmers Market in Alexandria, Arlington and Falls Church markets.

(You can learn more about what it takes to run a farm like Smith Meadows on Farmer Forrest’s blog or find them on Facebook. You know we’re on Facebook, too, right? Get all our latest posts, and more, right in your news feed.)

Lemon-Mint Crusted Leg of Lamb with Spiced Fig Stuffing {DC Lamb Pro-Am}

Friday, February 10th, 2012

While lamb stew is a Foodie Tots favorite during the cold winter months, roast lamb is one of my favorite celebrations of spring. In my inter-faith household, lamb is one of the rare shared culinary traditions and is frequently served for our Easter supper. Easter has a tendency to fall during Passover, which can pose a menu planning challenge as leavened breads and such are forbidden. Fortunately, some investigation of Sephardic Jewish cooking traditions has led to delicious discoveries – like the spiced dried fruit charoset that I’ve used here as a stuffing for my leg of lamb. (Sephardic Jews typically eat rice and other grains during Passover, though since Israeli couscous is technically a pasta, it’s not exactly kosher. Close enough in our household, but you may want to check before serving to more observant Jewish guests.)

With the spring-like winter we’ve been having this year, I’ve been day-dreaming of planting my herb garden and had mint on the mind, so I added a lemon-mint pesto crust to the lamb. All we need are some daffodils in the garden and we’ll be set for spring.

foodietots roast leg of lamb recipe

I created this recipe as part of the DC Lamb Pro-Am – 13 local bloggers are competing for the best leg of lamb recipe, and a chance to cook our dish with DC chefs at the March 4 event. I’d be honored if you’d take a moment to vote for FoodieTots — thank you!

dc lamb pro-am

Let’s get started. First, take your leg of lamb out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the pesto and filling. Start with the pesto — fresh mint, parsley, lemon zest, half a shallot and pistachios are finely chopped, then add butter to form a thick paste.

lemon mint pesto

For the filling, we combine dried figs, apricots, shallot, and a Middle Eastern-inspired spice blend: coriander, cumin and cinnamon. A little red wine is the finishing touch. (I used a Coteaux du Languedoc, Cotes du Rhone or another medium-bodied red wine would be fine.)

spiced fig and apricot charoset

Next, press the stuffing into the lamb. Roll it up, press the pesto on top, and into the oven it goes… Voilà!

preparing a stuffed leg of lamb

Recipe: Lemon-Mint Crusted Leg of Lamb with Spiced Fig Stuffing
Lamb sustainably-raised on Border Springs Farm in Southwest Virginia

Ingredients:

1 (4.5-5.5 pound) boneless leg of lamb
kosher salt
lemon-mint pesto (below)
spiced fig filling (below)

Lemon-Mint Pesto

1/2 shallot
1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons butter, cold

Place all ingredients except butter in food processor and process till finely chopped. Add butter and grind to a thick paste. Remove from processor and set aside.

Spiced Fig Filling

1/2 shallot
6 ounces dried apricots
7 ounces dried figs
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup red wine

Place all ingredients except wine in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Remove to a bowl, pour wine over and toss to combine. Set aside.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Rinse lamb and pat dry. Trim of any excess fat. Unfold leg and make a cut into the thicker side so that lamb can open flat (or, ask your butcher to butterfly the leg for you). Press fruit mixture into lamb in an even layer. Roll back up and place seam side down on rack in roasting pan.

Season lamb with kosher salt. Press pesto mixture over top. Cover loosely with foil and roast for 1 hour 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 30 minutes (total cooking time 2 hours and 15 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 145 degrees for medium rare). Remove and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Note: I had a hard time slicing my lamb without the crust crumbling. I’d suggest slicing it part way, then transferring the remaining leg to the serving platter to display to your guests before slicing the rest. Serve with Israeli couscous, garnished with mint, and roasted carrots.

Moroccan Lamb Stew {and Del Ray & Dupont Winter Markets}

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

After an extended holiday absence, we finally made it back to the Del Ray Farmers Market this past weekend. The winter market is small, with ringleaders Tom the Cheese Guy and Smith Meadows meats holding down the fort. There’s a new vendor this year, The Dressed Up Nut, selling sweet spiced nuts and gluten-free biscotti. I had a hankering for stew and picked up the convenient pre-cubed lamb meat from Smith Meadows.

I was also craving some fresh produce, so it was off to Dupont Circle’s FreshFarm Market on rainy Sunday morning. It was the off week for Next Step Produce (who alternates weeks in the winter) so I missed out on my watermelon radishes. These pretty carrots were a welcome shot of color in the dreary weather, though, and made their way into my Sunday night stew as well. (I think they were from New Morning Farm, but I’m not positive.) I also picked up some ravioli from Copper Pot (newish to the Dupont Market, I reviewed Chef Frigerio’s pasta last spring) for a farmers-market-fast-food dinner later in the week.

When it came time to cook the stew, I wanted to keep it relatively light, so I went with Moroccan seasonings as found in an Epicurious recipe. I added fingerling potatoes and those carrots, and instead of using the orange zest called for in the original recipe, I just squeezed the juice from a clementine into the pot at the end. (The husband has a thing about citrus zest.) Served over cous cous, it was a flavorful, warming winter stew. Best of all, it elicited a hearty, “I LOVE it,” from the boy, who asked for seconds of both meat and carrots. (And ate the side salad, but that’s another post.)

Recipe: Moroccan-Spiced Lamb Stew
adapted from Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • juice of 1 clementine or mandarin orange
  • fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions: Combine salt and spices in a bowl, then add lamb cubes and toss to coat. Heat olive in dutch over over medium high heat. Brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove lamb to a bowl. Lower heat to medium and add onion and garlic to pot; cook until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and return lamb to pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover, reducing heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots and cook another 15-20 minutes, until lamb is tender. Remove from heat and stir in orange juice. Serve over cous cous and garnish with chopped parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza (and Curious Chef product review)

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I’ve written a lot about apples this fall, but I’d be remiss not to mention that other star of late autumn fruit stands: the pear. From crisp Asian pears, perfect for salads, to sweet Bartlett pears, poached for dessert, and the boy’s favorite, toddler-hand-sized Seckels, we’d be hard pressed to take sides in a pear-apple face-off. We always enjoy the samples offered by Papa’s Orchard at the West End Alexandria farmers market, and the boy has been known to devour a Seckel (or two) before finishing our stroll through the market.

These sweet and savory pizzas also feature two other of my local farmers market favorites, grassfed lamb sausage from Valentine’s Country Meats and fresh ricotta from Keswick Creamery. The pizza crust was made from frozen dough I picked up from the Italian Store for pizza-making emergencies. Of course you could make your own, if you prefer. There are few better ways to get kids into the kitchen than with make-your-own-pizza night. Thanks to the kid-sized tools from Curious Chef (see below), the boy was able to help with rolling out the dough, slicing the pears, and of course, decorating the pies.

Recipe: Pear Ricotta Sausage Pizza

Ingredients:

  • pizza crust for 2 pizzas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb sausage
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 sweet pears, thinly sliced
  • several fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • sea salt and black pepper

Instructions: In a skillet, crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat until browned. Drain excess drippings and set aside. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or pizza peel, if you have one. Spread several tablespoons of ricotta over the crusts, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, each. (If your ricotta is particularly moist, use less oil.) Spread pears and onions around, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper, and scatter sausage over the top. Drop a few more spoonfuls of ricotta over the pears. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crust is lightly browned. Makes 2 pizzas. Enjoy!

curious chef pizza kitCurious Chef Product Review: We received the Curious Chef pizza kit to try out, as seen in the photos above. The boy was beyond trilled to have “my very own!” knife and rolling pin. The knife is made of sturdy plastic that actually can cut through an apple or pear, without fear of slicing off finger tips. Ever since our pizza making fun, when he sees me slicing something he gets out his own knife from his kitchen drawer and demands to help. The easy-grip handles make the tools perfect for small hands, and it’s nice to be able to set him up with his own cutting board and knife to keep him busy while I’m prepping the rest of the meal. Needless to say, Curious Chef gets a big thumbs up from the Foodie Tot. (My only complaint is that the white plastic isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but it’s more kid-appropriate than stocking up on fancier, and more breakable, items from somewhere like Williams-Sonoma.) View the full product line (and safety information) at CuriousChef.com.

*Disclaimer: all reviews are the opinion solely of myself and my son, and are not financially compensated in any way.*