Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lamb Kebabs, with Grilled Veggies and Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes

The theme of the week is Easter, and while roasted lamb is always a solid choice, I wanted to do something a little different, so I decided to head out to the grill for some kebabs. I tried to get boneless leg of lamb, but the butcher only had full size, big ass bone in whole legs, so I went shoulder instead. There was a lot of fat on there, and I was afraid it would be tough since I wasn’t braising it, but it actually worked out pretty darn well. Served with tzatziki, because why not. Serves 4-5, but you’ll want to throw more potatoes in the oven than I did if you expect to feed 4 to 5 at once.

3-4 lbs. cubed lamb leg or shoulder
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

Chop the lamb into 1” cubes. I actually used shoulder here – there was about 4 pounds or so of boneless shoulder, but there’s a lot of fat on there, so I’d imagine using boneless leg of lamb would have a lot less waste. I trimmed off the fat cap and a lot of the excess fat.

Real tough process here, stay with me guys: stick everything into a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least an hour before putting the meat on. Remove meat from marinade – I used my hands to remove excess herbs, but wanted to leave the oil on so I could chuck these right on the grill. Slide the meat onto your skewers, leaving a small gap between each piece.

Preheat a gas grill up to about 500°F (side note – this is what the built in thermometer on my Weber says, no idea if that wholly accurate. But yeah, get it hot). Add the meat and turn the heat down a bit – aim for 400 to 450°F for your grill temperature. Cook until medium rare, approximately 10 minutes, flipping a few times along the way.

2 russet potatoes
1 tablespoon duck fat
Salt and pepper

Clean off the potatoes and chop into large chunks. Toss with duck fat (really get in there with your hands and coat them) and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 50 minutes at 425°F, flipping halfway through.

12-15 crimini mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Wash everything off, and remove the stems from the mushrooms. Chop the peppers and the onion into rectangles large enough to put on skewers. I did 3 mushrooms on a skewer, with a piece of onion, red bell pepper and green bell pepper in between. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Throw these on the grill for 15 minutes at around 400-450°F.

1 clove garlic
¼ very large cucumber, peeled and seeded
1.5 cups greek yogurt
½ tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
½ tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place the garlic clove, still in its sleeve, onto a cast iron skillet and cook over medium for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally until blackened in spots. Remove and let cool.

Dice the cucumber and place in a strainer set on top of a bowl. Salt the cucumber and let sit for ½ an hour.
Remove the husk from the cooled garlic, dice it and add to a bowl, along with yogurt, dill, parsley and lemon juice. Once the cucumber has had its water drawn out, add it as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and refrigerate until ready to use.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Halal Cart Inspired Chicken and Rice

I love me some halal cart food, and while I’ve been meaning to try the Serious Eats recipe for a while, I’ve just never gotten around to it, because really isn’t it just easier to pay $5? I decided to take a slightly different approach to the tried and true cart version and use chicken legs and a marinade. The rice and sauce are taken directly from Serious Eats, but I added veggies to be sorta healthy. The chicken tastes pretty different from the cart version (expected), the rice tastes pretty dead on (expected), but the sauce tastes nothing like the carts (the ones in Philly at least). I was worried I would have a tough time finding harissa (I’m well situated for finding all things Asian/Mexican, but I can’t think of any middle eastern centric places nearby), but luckily Whole Foods has it right next to the mustard.

¾ cup greek yogurt
½ cup harissa
1 tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and pepper
Chicken (I used 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and a big breast)

Add all the ingredients of the marinade in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Mix, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add the chicken and marinate for 4 to 6 hours (I acutally like to chuck it in frozen the night before).

When it’s time to cook, place chicken in a roasting pan (leave on that delicious marinade) and roast at 400ºF for 40 minutes, or until you hit an internal temp of 165 ºF.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium carrots, diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin
1.5 cups long grain rice
2.5 cups chicken broth
¾ cup frozen peas
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a medium pot. Add the chopped carrots and sautee for 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Add in the turmeric and cumin and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add the rice, and stir to coat, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until toasted. Add the broth, season with salt and pepper, and cover, reducing to a simmer, for 15 minutes. Add in the peas with 3 minutes or so to go to warm through.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add everything to a bowl, and stir.


Tomato Slices

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Chocolate Chip and Nutella Cookie Bars

Operation power belly continues onward, as I decided I needed more sugary treats in my life.  I found this recipe for cookie bars, and made the drastic innovation of swapping out peanut butter for Nutella. I know, I know, I’m like the Ferran Adria of baking. Seriously though, simple is usually the way to go wwith baking, even though I’m always tempted to go over the top and do stuff like 5 layer smores bars, or cheesecake topped brownies.

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup Nutella
1 large egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (ghiradelli 60% cacao was used here) + extra on top

Preheat your oven to 350°F, and line an 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper. Give it a spritz of cooking spray as well.

Place the butter in a bowl, and put that bowl on top of a small pot of simmering water, whisk as the butter melts. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for a few minutes so it doesn’t cook your egg.

Add the cooled butter, egg, nutella, brown sugar, vanilla and salt to a bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Add in the flour, and fold until just combined – don’t mix more than you have to.

Fold in the 1 cup of chocolate chips. Transfer the batter into the baking pan, using a spatula to smooth out the top. Sprinkle some more chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bars comes out clean (or mostly clean). Allow bars to cool for 30 minutes before serving.