chezpei.com

Trying to eat something delicious, each and every day.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Lamb Stew and Whole Wheat Buns

I hate to brag (lies), but tonight's "let's clear out the fridge" dinner turned out better than usual.

I took a few pounds of lamb stew meat ($2/lb at Whole Foods on sale!) and seared them on all sides. Then I added carrots, onions, and bell peppers and sauteed everything with a big dollop of tomato paste before adding half a bulb of crushed garlic and a generous amount of dried oregano. Then I added enough water to cover the meat, and simmered everything for hours and hours. Then I added half cooked garbanzo beans, simmered until cooked through, and added chopped parsley and moringa leaves. The dish isn't difficult to make, but it's time consuming and requires some tinkering to get the thickness just right. The resulting stew is best served with a squeeze of lemon, pine nuts, and some more parsley.

We also had fresh whole wheat dinner rolls. So cute!

And finally, our last tomato.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lamb Blade Chops

Rachel Ray's got nothing for me. I made this meal in under 15 minutes, and nothing came out of a can or was purchased pre-cut.
First, salt and pepper a lamb blade chop. This is actually one chop that got separated during cooking. It was $2 and enough meat for both of us. That's right, Whole Food haters, $2 for what was essentially a lamb steak. Heat a skillet over high heat, then put the lamb in.

While the lamb is cooking, slice up a large heirloom tomato (or two. This one was the size of a large eggplant). Toss with sliced basil, parsley, a large pinch of salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and some fresh cracked pepper. At about the four minute mark, flip the lamb and turn the heat down to medium.

Then slice up some mint and toss it with large chunks of cantaloupe and watermelon. Add a very small dash of salt. Check on the lamb after about four minutes on the second side. Remove the lamb, and while it cools crack two eggs into the skillet and cook however you like. Tada! Dinner for two without even breaking a sweat. The key to not having to cook really is to just buy produce and fruit that tastes great un-altered.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cumin "Numbing" Lamb

There were a lot of different things for dinner again tonight. Sometimes I cook a lot of things in one pot; sometimes I'm in the mood for everything being on its own plate.


Blanched bittermelon with soy paste. This is Taiwanese cold dish. The bittermelon is sliced in half the long way, its seeds are scooped out (so it resembles a canoe), and then it's poached until it's just tender. The it's run under cold water or submerged in iced water to stop the cooking, then sliced into diagonal pieces about half an inch thick. The bittermelon is plated, put until the fridge until it's time to be served, and then drizzled with soy paste.

This cold "dish," on the other hand, is not at all Taiwanese. These are roasted banana peppers sprinkled with pico de gallo. It's often found at the salsa bar of Mexican restaurants, but I saw some nice looking ones at the farmers market this week and decided to get them.


And the star of the night, something I've been wanting to make for a long time: Szechuan cumin lamb! The making of this dish is long, involved, and not quite perfected, so I'll dedicate a post to it later. For now, let's just say it involves stir frying lamb slices in Szechuan peppercorn-infused oil, adding cumin, topping with toasted garlic and cilantro, and then topping off with more Szechuan peppercorns and cumin.

And just to get some more vegetables in our diets, I used the leftover oil from the lamb to cook some broccoli and carrots. Plus we had cherry tomatoes and grapes for dessert.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lamb Ragu

Dental work is never fun, but I'm making it better by treating myself to some homey soft food.

Tonight we're eating a simple slow-cooked lamb ragu on top of whole wheat pasta and topped with arugula, pepper, and pecorino. My recipe changes all the time, but here's what I did today:
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 very large onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 3 large stalks celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or chunky tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shallot salt (optional, I have some great shallot salt from Penzey's)
In a wide pot with a heavy bottom, warm three tablespoons of olive oil. Sautee the onions for a minute, then add the carrots, celery, and garlic. Stir occassionally for five minutes, or until the onions are translucent but not browning. Add the lamb, a lot of pepper, and a large pinch of salt, and sautee until browned. Add the tomato paste, then tomato sauce, then red wine and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the flame and cook for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. If you have the time, you can cook this for several hours so the meat really softens and the flavors truly meld. Add more salt and pepper to taste, and eat over your favorite pasta or use as a base for more complicated pasta creations. I'll probably be using this sauce in a very different recipe tomorrow night; stay tuned!

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