Archive for the ‘Mediterranean’ Category

Halloumi and Brussels Sprouts – yes, really!

October 30, 2018

It’s Tired Tuesday, y’all.  I managed to do a little meal planning and grocery shopping, but then I was almost too tired to do anything with it.  This is definitely a dish for one of those nights!  Very few ingredients.  Half of them roast in the oven while you deal with the other half.  Good stuff.  A big shout out to my Dinner: Changing the Game cookbook for introducing me to this combination.

Probably this is meant to be a side dish, and it could be.  Clearly I wasn’t going to manage anything else tonight and it did just fine as a main (read only) dish.  I only made one substitution, which is saying something.  My local Kroger didn’t have any Aleppo or Turkish red pepper.  A quick Google told me this is fairly mild red pepper so I didn’t want to use cayenne instead.  Hot Hungarian Paprika seemed like a good choice.

A couple of notes. If you’ve toasted spices, seeds or nuts before you know how quickly they go from toasted to burned.  Stay close to the stove when you’re toasting the cumin seeds.  They’re what make this dish really special.  If they get too dark, they’ll be bitter instead of nutty and fragrant.  If you burn them, toss them and start again.  Trust me on that.  No reason to ruin the whole dish because you don’t want to lose a teaspoon of cumin seeds.

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Also, I patted my halloumi dry before I put it in the oil, but there’s still a lot of water in it.  What does that mean?  It means the oil will sputter and pop so be careful putting the cheese in the pan.  Load the pan from the back and work your way forward to avoid getting burned.  You can also use tongs to put the cheese in, but I never do that.  It’s just faster to put the pieces in by hand.  Do use tongs to turn the cubes.  It doesn’t take long to get a nice brown sear on the halloumi.

Finally, you can go a little easy on the salt on the sprouts.  The halloumi is super salty.  You’re going to want that green flavor from the sprouts to balance it out.

Here’s what you need: (see not much!)

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  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 3/4-1 lb brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
  • 6 oz halloumi, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 t cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 t hot paprika
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 (high heat is important to get that lovely color on the sprouts)
  • Toss the sprouts with 2 T olive oil, salt and black pepper
  • Roast the sprouts in the oven 15-20 minutes, until they’re golden brown
  • When the sprouts have about 5 minutes to go, heat the other 2T of oil in a heavy pan
  • When the oil begins to shimmer, fry the halloumi on two or more sides

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  • Add the cheese cubes to a large bowl with the cumin seeds
  • Add the roasted brussels sprouts to the bowl and toss
  • Stir in the paprika
  • Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and toss

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When I combined all my ingredients and tossed them I found that the cumin seeds mostly stuck to the side of the bowl.   Be sure you use a spoon to serve this so you can scrape the cumin along with the rest.  The toasted cumin seeds add a really wonderful earthy element to this dish.  Honestly I think it’s the cumin seeds that make this special.  Without them it would lack depth.

To be completely honest, I only made about half as much as the original recipe calls for.  I wasn’t convinced going in that I was going to love this and I didn’t want to throw out a lot of food.  Well, I do love it!  However, I’m still not convinced that this will reheat well so it might be good that I only have 1 full meal left.  It would be best to reheat this in the oven and not the microwave.  We’ll see how inspired I feel about that tomorrow.  The amounts above make probably 4 portions as a side dish and 2 as an only dish.

This is a lovely Fall dish.  If you’re looking for a new side for your Thanksgiving table, I definitely recommend this one!

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Lamb and Bulghur Meatballs

May 1, 2018

It’s finally a warm Spring day in Central Virginia!  So, time for dinner that’s a little salad-y and still a little hearty.  I adapted these from a recipe in Nigella Fresh.  I’m not a huge fan of hers on TV, but the cookbook has some winners.

Meatballs take some time, but they’re super easy; super versatile; make ahead and/or freeze and user later.  They make sandwiches.  They top rice and pasta.  They add protein to a mezze plate.  That’s my choice for tonight.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2-2/3 C cooked bulghur wheat
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T chopped fresh mint
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

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Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Dump everything in a bowl
  • Mix with your hands until well combined
  • Form into balls, about 1 1/2 T each
  • Press to slightly flatten
  • Bake 12-15 minutes

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Here’s how it turned out:

I got 25 meatballs out of this.  That’s 5-6 servings.  The bulghur wheat helps stretch the lamb a little further.  It also lightens the slightly gamy flavor that some people object to in lamb.  Meatballs are prettier if you brown them on both sides before you put them in the oven.  They’re also a lot more trouble that way.  If you can live with the slightly gray/brown color you’ll save yourself some time.  You could also stuff these with a little feta cheese.  That will also add time to the whole process, but totally worth it.

These are really good.  Mine could have used a little more salt, but I’ll eat every single one!

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Catfish with Olive Relish

April 2, 2018

I love catfish.  Truly.  Most of the time it comes fried with slaw and hush puppies and that makes me a happy girl!  I don’t love frying fish at home.  It’s a mess.  And I don’t always want my fish to be fried.  I found the idea for this recipe in a giant cookbook of recipes from Gourmet magazine.  It turns humble (and cheap) catfish into something almost elegant.  I’d serve it to guests in a minute, which is about how long it takes to pull it together.

Here’s what you need:

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  • 2-4 catfish filets
  • 1 C mixed, pitted olives
  • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 t lemon zest
  • olive oil
  • salt

Here’s what you do:

  • Salt the catfish
  • Finely chop the olives and parsley
  • Mix the olives and parsley with the lemon zest and a little olive oil

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  • Wipe a little olive oil in the bottom of a pan with a tightly fitting lid
  • Place the fish, skin side down, in the cold, oiled pan, with the thin ends tucked under
  • Spread the olive relish on the fish

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  • Cover with a piece of parchment

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  • Cover with the lid
  • Turn the burner on to medium heat and cook, covered, 7-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets

What else?

That’s really it!  Seriously, it’s a 15 minute entree that you really can’t mess up.  That mini-chopper is a gift for small amounts of relishes like this.  I’ve had that since college, so 25 years or so.  Love it!  You can absolutely chop this with a knife, but it’s super fast with the tiny chopper.

If you’re reluctant to cook fish at home because you’re afraid of over or under cooking it, this is a great place to start. When the fish is done it will be opaque white and a fork will go through it easily.  It slices like butter with a hot knife.  Wonderfully soft, but not mushy.  The olive relish will warm, but keep it’s lovely color.

Here’s how it turned out:

So, so good.  I used a mixture of pimento stuffed green olives, kalamata olives and castelvetrano olives.  A nice combination of meaty, soft, salty, and briny.  The fish is buttery soft and mild.  I’m sure I’ll make this again and again.

Even if you’re not a fish person, I highly recommend this olive relish.  It’s a little chunkier and drier and not as salty as a store bought tapenade.  It would be fantastic on bread or crackers.

 

Greek Butternut Squash Salad

January 13, 2018

Hey vegetarian friends, and those looking for a Meatless Monday dish, and those looking for something to take to a picnic, party or potluck – this is for you!  After the Singapore Noodles debacle yesterday, I approached this with some trepidation.  I’m familiar with all of these ingredients though, so it seemed pretty low risk.

I had a butternut squash in the pantry that’s been here for a while.  Sometimes it takes me a while to work up the energy to cut one up.  But I’m really trying to eat a little better and butternut squash salad is as good a start (re-start) as anything.  And I had half a red onion left from yesterday.  And half a sweet onion left from some other day.  And the ends of a block of feta in brine.  I actually only had to buy a 99 cent bunch of parsley for this.  Everything else I already had in the house.

Roasting vegetables is easy.  Here are the things to remember.  Use high heat.  Cut everything roughly the same size so it will all be done at the same time.  Keep everything in a single layer so that every piece has contact with the pan.  Don’t stir more than once.  It’s the contact with the pan that gives you that yummy caramelization.  Salt the vegetables.

If you’re planning to use your squash (or potatoes or carrots) in cubed format, keep an eye on them.  If you let them roast too long they’ll be so soft that they won’t hold their shape when you stir them into whatever else you’re using.

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What we love about these kinds of salads is that they’re mostly dump and stir, and they can be served as a main dish.  I added some bulgur to this to give it some extra heft and left out the walnuts.  I hate walnuts.

Here’s what you need: (minus the olives, which I did use, but left out of this photo)

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  • 1 small butternut squash diced and roasted with olive oil and salt
  • 1/2 red onion and 1/2 sweet onion, diced and roasted with the squash
  • 1- 1 1/2 C cooked bulgur
    • 1/2 C bulgur and 1 C water or vegetable stock
    • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10-12 minutes
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 C pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 t red wine vinegar
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 t honey
  • 1/2 t dried dill weed
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
    • Whisk the above 5 ingredients (vinegar through oregano) together in a small bowl to make dressing
  • 1/2 C chopped or crumbled feta
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley

Here’s what you do:

Combine chickpeas and olives in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the dressing.  Add cooked bulgur and roasted vegetables.  Stir in feta and parsley.  Salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it!  Easy!

Here’s what I thought:

This is good stuff.  And good for you stuff.  It can be served at room temperature so would be great to take to a potluck or dinner party.  No worries about keeping it hot.  It’s got no mayo or yogurt so good for an outdoor event as well.  It’s good as a single dish meal or as a side for chicken or pork chops. It’s pretty.  It’s healthy.  It’s yummy.  What more could you ask?

Here’s the original recipe.

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I made this bowl cozy today.  This bowl wasn’t hot so I didn’t really need it, but it’s so cute I wanted to use it anyway.

Three Cheese and Spinach White Pizza

April 6, 2013

It’s been a crazy few weeks.  It’s not that I haven’t cooked at all, though it hasn’t been a lot, it’s that I haven’t made anything exciting enough to warrant taking the time to write about it.  You’ve really only missed Green Chicken Chili and Shrimp and Grits, both of which I’ve made before in some variety.  I don’t always post when I make pizza either, especially if I don’t make the dough, but I’m making an exception tonight.  This is one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten and certainly the best pizza I’ve ever made.  Sadly I managed to delete the photos after I’d already eaten the whole thing so you’ll just have to imagine it!

I haven’t done much meal planning lately so I have an odd, but wide, assortment of food stuffs in the kitchen.  I had a big clamshell of fresh spinach that really needed to find a use sooner rather than later.   I had some reduced-fat feta and a tub of mascarpone.  I had a package of naan.  Throw in some olive oil, garlic and mozzarella and you have yourself a pizza.  A really, really good pizza.  Mascarpone is essentially Italian cream cheese.  It’s softer and creamier than what we in the US call cream cheese.  It also has a much more neutral flavor.  That makes it a terrific base for a white pizza.  It doesn’t take much.  Just spread a thin layer on the naan and add some sliced garlic.  The feta adds a briny flavor that you really need.  Artichoke hearts or capers or hearts of palm would do the same.  The spinach adds a little bulk and a green flavor that’s great with the feta. Finally, the mozzarella makes in feel like pizza and it holds the spinach on.

A few tips.  It’s easiest to slice garlic cloves thinly if they’re slightly (or completely) frozen.  They’ll thaw and mellow in the baking process.  Julienne (cut into strips) the spinach leaves.  It doesn’t have to be super thin, but cutting the spinach allows you to really pile it on.  It also makes the pizza easier to eat.  If you use whole spinach leaves you’re apt to drag them off, along with all the cheese, as you take a bite. Cube the mozzarella.  It will melt more quickly and spread more evenly than slices and it will melt down into the spinach better than the shredded kind.  Besides, fresh mozzarella just tastes better.  Lastly, drizzle just a little olive oil over the top when your pizza is all assembled.  It will help wilt the spinach that’s not covered by cheese.

What you end up with is an airy dough with crispy edges thanks to the naan.  The mascarpone melts and mixes with the olive oil to make a creamy sauce.  The feta, spinach and mozzarella make a perfectly balanced pizza topping.  The only thing I might add is a few turns from the pepper grinder for a little sharpness.  My only other advice is to make plenty and don’t count on leftovers!

Good? So, so amazingly good.
Easy? Fantastically easy.
Good for company? Absolutely.
Special shopping? Nope. I bought everything at a regular grocery.

Three Cheese and Spinach White Pizza

Ingredients

1 round of plain naan
2 T good olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 T mascarpone cheese
2-3 T feta crumbles
1 C fresh julienned spinach leaves
1-2 oz fresh mozzarella, diced

Directions

Drizzle 1 T olive oil and spread mascarpone over naan. Distribute garlic slices evenly. SPrinkle feta around the pizza. Pile spinach in the middle leaving about 1 inch around the edges. Place mozzarella on top of the spinach, distributed evenly.
Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until the mozzarella is melted and beginning to brown.

Greek-Style Pork Chops

March 12, 2013

Busy day.  Not much time for cooking.  You know what that’s like.  I’m pretty proud of the fact that I remembered to take a couple of pork chops out of the freezer this morning so they’d be thawed in time for dinner.  Sadly I made no other plan for them.  Of course by the time I got home and walked the dog I was starving.  No patience for anything long or complicated.  This recipe seemed to fit the bill nicely.  A twenty minute marinade then five minutes on each side.  Heat up some collards from the freezer.  Dinner done.

Greek Pork Chops

This marinade is just oil, vinegar, garlic and herbs and not a lot of any of it.  It would have benefited from a little lemon juice.  Or maybe more than twenty minutes would have made a difference.  In any case I didn’t notice that this marinade added much flavor to the pork chops.    The garlic burned a little bit when I seared the pork so there was a touch of bitterness, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what they were going for.  Still, I started with really good pork chops so I enjoyed them very much.

Kudos to Ault’s Family Farm for the wonderful pork.  Let me stop here for a minute and bid the fondest of farewells to Ault’s Family Farm.  Those of you who shop at the South of the James Farmers’ market in Richmond, VA will know the Aults.  They’re wonderful, friendly people who tried to make a go of it as a small, chemical free, ecologically responsible farm.  I am sad to report that they were unable to make ends meet and have ceased their commercial farming.  I couldn’t have been more surprised to hear the news.  More than once I happily stood in line 15-20 minutes at the market to buy a few pork chops or a Boston butt from the Aults.  And my purchase always came with some lovely conversation and a smile.  So, thank you and best of luck to you Ault family!  I truly hope to see you at the market again.

Back to the recipe.  The recipe also includes a tomato, cucumber and onion salad as a side/garnish and a yogurt sauce.  I did make the yogurt sauce, but skipped the chopped salad in favor of the collards.  Not much to the yogurt sauce:  dill, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.  make this first so the flavors can blend while you marinate and cook the pork.  It’s yummy on the pork, but would be just as good on veggies, pita, crackers, etc.

In the end I had a lovely dinner.  I could probably have come up with this without a recipe, but on a busy day when reading is easier than thinking this will do just fine.

Good? Yes.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Not so much.
Special shopping? Not at all.

Greek-Style Pork Chops

Ingredients

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops
1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

Directions

Combine 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, oregano, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and garlic in a zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag, and seal. Marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature, turning after 10 minutes. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon oil, yogurt, 1 tablespoon dill, and 1/2 of the salt, stirring well with a whisk. Cover and chill.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove pork from bag, and discard marinade. Sprinkle both sides of pork evenly with remaining salt. Add pork to pan, and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan, and let stand for 2 minutes. Serve with yogurt.

Herbed Lamb Meatballs

March 10, 2013

The first day of Daylight Savings Time.  As much as I love having light a little later in the day I can’t get used to this happening in early March instead of in April.  I’m just not ready to lose an hour yet.  Seeing as how I’ve started the week an hour behind I’m trying to get ahead on the cooking for the week.  I’ve still got a freezer full of food in the basement so I started there and planned my meals for the week around the pound of ground lamb that I found.  I have 16 meatballs that will be popping up in various dishes this week.  Oddly enough I had leftover salad for dinner so I still don’t know whether or not these are good.  Stay tuned for the salads, pita sandwiches and pasta dishes to come.

Herbed Lamb Meatballs

I made a couple of adjustments to this recipe.  I added an egg, just because that’s what  do when I make meatballs.  The best part is that there was enough mint in the garden to use fresh instead of dried.  I have the most amazing spearmint in the herb garden.  People come from all over the neighborhood to pick it during the Summer.  There were jut a few springs big enough to clip, but that was enough.  One reminder, if a recipe calls for dried herbs and you use fresh you’ll need 2-3 times as much as the recipe calls for.  I made 2/3 of a recipe because I only had a pound of lamb and then I made the meatballs a touch larger than the recipe prescribes.  It was just easier.

For cooking the use of a broiler pan is good advice.  It’s nice to cook them so that the fat drips off.  I don’t have a broiler pan that fits in my countertop oven.  I’ve found that using a small roasting pan  or jellyroll pan with a cookie cooling rack in it works just great. 

I’ll reserve further evaluation of these until I’ve actually eaten a few.

Herbed Lamb Meatballs

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground lamb
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine all ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl, and stir well. Shape mixture into 16 meatballs. Place meatballs on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until meatballs are done.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs

August 7, 2012

I struggle with ways to cook meats like pork chops and chicken thighs with a little creativity.  My plan tonight was to put my Ault’s Family Farm chicken thighs in a baking dish with some of my homemade salsa and be done with it.  I had time to cook tonight so I figured I should be a little more adventurous.  And I still have a fridge full of farmers’ market produce that needs  to be used up so the salsa plan wasn’t going to address any of that.  On to plan B, a new recipe from Cooking Light.

This recipe allowed me to use up the chicken thighs, leeks and a red pepper.  Since I had a pepper in the fridge I used that instead of the bottled peppers in the recipe. I think that worked just fine.  My other alterations were completely out of necessity.  I didn’t have any sage (left it out).  I used smoked paprika (didn’t have the sweet kind).  I used vegetable broth (my chicken broth is soup quality so I didn’t want to waste it here).  And I’m embarrassed to admit that I used bottled lemon juice because I’m out of the real thing.  That’s a first.  Still, everything came together really nicely – not quickly – but nicely.  Oh, and I threw in 2 cloves of roasted garlilc because everything is better with roasted garlic.

My first piece of advice is that you shoudn’t start this unless you’re willing to wait 45 minutes to an hour to eat.  Braising chicken thighs takes a while.  Second, a reminder about dealing with leeks.  Slice them and swish them in a bowl of water to help get the grit off.  Then let them sit so the dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl.  Finally, pour the broth in carefully or you’ll wash the spices off of the chicken.  Alternatively you can add the spices to the top of the chicken thighs after you’ve added the broth.  Not much else in the way of advice.  That’s the nice thing about braising – the pot does most of the work.

The flavors in this are really nice.  I might have used a milder olive than the kalamatas.  The olives are so briny that the contrast is a little stark against the buttery leeks and very mellow red pepper.  The recipe calls for you to serve this with orzo.  I served mine plain to reduce the carbs and calories a little.  That was the wrong call.  It’s such a brothy dish, and the broth is so yummy, that you’ll want something to soak up the soupy goodness.  I recommend rice or crusty bread.  And I recommend serving this in a bowl.  I served mine on a plate with squash and onions on the side.  Squash and onions goes with everything so that was all good, but the plate was a runny mess.

This is a good dish.  Even very good.  I’m not positive it’s good enough for me to work my way through 6 servings this week though.  It almost seems more like a Winter dish and it’s too hot to eat a wintery dinner all week.  I’m guessing 3 servings and I’ll freeze the rest.  Or maybe I’ll take some to a neighbor.  It’s absolutely good enough to share.

Good? Definitely.
Easy? Yep, just takes a while.
Good for company? Sure, not fancy, but good.
Special shopping? Nope.

Mediterranean Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped leeks (about 3 large)
6 (4-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cloves roasted garlic
3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 T bottled lemon juice

Directions

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Arrange red pepper strips over leeks. Arrange chicken over pepper strips. Sprinkle chicken with thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and paprika. Add garlic. Gently pour the broth around chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Turn chicken over; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add olives and lemon juice to pan; stir to combine. Cook, uncovered, 8 minutes or until chicken is done.
Serve over rice or with crusty bread.

Arugula Tabbouli

July 1, 2012

Tabbouli (or tabbouleh) has been my go to summer salad for a couple of years.  I always keep it in the fridge and then pull out a little and add whatever I feel like to complete it for that meal.  This time I decided to try changing up the tabbouli.  Usually it’s made with a few cups of parsley  I had about 1/2 a bag of arugula left so I decided to use that.  Yum!  Peppery tabbouli.

 

I did use a little parsley because I had about 1/3 of a bunch left in the fridge.  It ended up being about 1 part parsley to 6 parts arugula.  And then the standard cucumbers, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  It’s really simple.  I’ll add a few chopped tomatoes when I get ready to eat it, but I try to avoid refrigerating fresh tomatoes.  I might add some chicken, shrimp or fish to make it a one dish meal.  Lots of possibilities.

The arugula gives it a nice peppery kick that’s a terrific balance to the bright citrus of the lemon juice and the sharp greenness of the green onions.  The olive oil adds the perfect buttery smoothness.  So, so good.  Let it sit in the fridge a few hours before serving it if you can. It just gets better as it sits.  And with no mayonnaise it’s a fantastic picnic salad!

If you want to see my last take on this yummy salad check the post from last Spring.

Good? One of my favorites.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Sure, a healthy side for lots of things.
Special shopping? Not really, though sometimes I have difficulty finding bulghur. Check the bulk foods and international sections of your grocery store.

Arugula Tabbouli

Ingredients

1/2 C uncooked bulghur
1 C vegetable stock

3 C chopped arugula
1/2 C chopped parsley
2 green onions, whites and greens, chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
juice of 1 large lemon, plus more to taste
1/8-1/4 C good quality olive oil
salt
black or red pepper to taste

Directions

Bring the stock to a boil. Add the bulghur to the stock. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit, covered 40-45 minutes.
Fluff bulghur with a fork and put in a large bowl. Toss with remaining ingredients.
Refigerate until ready to serve.

Lamb Meatballs with Tahini Sauce

June 22, 2012

I went a little overboard the other day thawing things from the basement freezer.  I pulled out a pound of ground Pair-A-Dice Farm lamb the same day I pulled out the package of Della Nonna sausage.  So, I actually made these meatballs that day too.  They’re cooked through so they can be frozen and thawed as I need them.  The sauce is so easy you can make it up as you need it too.  Throw in a little salad mix and a piece of flatbread and you’re done.  A pretty filling dinner without being too heavy.

I started with a recipe for Lamb Kofte.  That recipe called for a fair amount of paprika which I didn’t have.  I decided that changed the recipe enough that I’d change the name too.  Think of these as mini sliders more than meatballs.  Most meatballs have some sort of egg and/or breadcrumbs to hold them together.  This is just ground lamb, onions, spices and herbs so it’s more like a burger than a meatball.  Other than the absent paprika and a little added tumeric I followed the recipe for the meatballs portion of the meal.

Keep in mind that there’s no binding when you’re cooking the meatballs.  If you’re too rough with them they’ll fall apart.  Do them in the broiler if you prefer.  I made these kind of small – 1 ounce each.  I got 16 out of the pound, which is 4 servings.  Not bad.  Small ones also take less time to cook so that always helps.  The sauce is easy too.  Just tahini, lemon juice, salt and enough water to make the sauce drizzly.  Add a little cayenne if the meatballs don’t have enough kick for you.

If you’re making the meatballs up fresh this is probably a 30 minute meal.  If you did the meatballs earlier its 10 minutes tops!  If you want to pack it and take it for lunch I recommend packing everything separately and assembling it at lunchtime.  You’ll want to heat the meatballs.  And if you pack the salad mix and sauce in with the flatbread everything will be soggy and gross.  You can always leave the flatbread out and just serve it like a salad to make things easier for lunch.

These are just meatballs so serve them however you like!  I might try a few with white beans and tomatoes.

Good? Good.  Not outstanding, but good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Eh, I wouldn’t make a dinner party out of them.
Special shopping? Nope.

Lamb Meatballs with Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

Meatballs
1 pound ground lamb
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/8 cup coarsely grated onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Tahini Sauce:
3 teaspoons tahini
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon or more water
pinch of salt

Directions

Gently mix lamb and next 8 ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange on sheet.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to heavy skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Sauté meatballs until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.

Serve meatballs warm with tahini sauce.