Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Mothers Day... and recipes from a Mediterranean-style lunch

Happy Mother's Day to all those Mom's among my blog fans ...  all 5 of you

We had a  nice Mother's day today.. we went to Tucson and did what has become somewhat of a tradition were I show up at a Mom's house and cook breakfast or lunch...   this year, we got together with my Mom for lunch at my brother's house, in their fabulous new kitchen (and I am jealous of their new induction cooktop... how did I miss this when I redid our kitchen?).  So we had two Mom's (my mom and my nieces mom), plus the puppy Chester (soooo cute).   Maybe next year I need to figure out how to do this with Mom in San Diego.. not a bad thought since it seems we are hitting 100+ for the last several days!

For lunch, I did a Mediterranean theme, starting with a Rosemary Bean Dip, then Grilled Lamb and 3 Salads... all the recipes follow.  To top if off, I did a Apricot Cobbler, which was quite wonderful due to a lucky find of fabulous Schnepf Farms organic apricots at AJ's.   Drop me a line if you would like the recipe... but get the good apricots first!

The Ingredient:  Christmas Tree Beans ... again.   I used both the bean dip and the Green Bean Salad instead of the canned white beans I normally use.  I do have to mention the color of the bean dip is a bit better with white beans, but I really do like these beans.  (I cooked the beans with just a bit of onion and no salt, you will need to salt the dishes a bit more than when using canned beans).

Rosemary White-Bean Puree

If you have the time and enthusiasm, cook the beans.  You can use any beans that you like, I did with Christmas Tree Beans for Mother’s Day Lunch, and it really came out extra yummy

¼ cup olive oil
2 3” rosemary sprigs
1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
One 15-oz can cannelloni or other white bean, rinsed and drained
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoons chopped rosemary
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste (~1/2 teaspoon)

Heat oil, rosemary sprigs, and garlic in small saucepan over medium heat until they start to sizzle and become fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.  Let cool some.  Pull out rosemary and garlic, discard
Place beans, oil, and remaining ingredients in food processor, puree until smooth.   Taste and adjust lemon juice and salt.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Keeps well for several days.
Serve with bread, pita, or crackers.

Grilled Herb-Crusted Leg of Lamp with Fresh Mint Sauce

The time and effort for this all goes to trimming the lamb of the fat.. which I think is the key to lamb that is not gamey or greasy.  But plan a good hour to get prep lamb and fix marinade.

1 6-7 lb leg of lamb (boneless roast)
Marinade:
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Dijon mustard (I like Trader Joes’)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
Sauce:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup water
1 cup chopped mint
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Untie and unfold lamb on a large cutting board.  Trim as much fat as possible.  A couple of notes:   The fat will run in between the mussels, you what to get this as much as possible, along with any silver skin (you will end up with quite a pile of fat).  Object is to end up with several large pieces (about 3 or 4).  Note:  the smaller pieces I just collect up, and freeze for later for stew or kabobs.  I did a 7 pound roast, ended up with a little over 1 lb of stew meat for the freezer, and 3 large pieces which fed 7 of us, with a nice amount of leftovers.    Once you have some nice pieces, place a piece between sheets of plastic wrap, and pound with meat mallet or heavy skillet to get a more uniform thickness… want ~ 1 – 2 inches with each piece as even as possible.

Mix all marinade ingredients together, and spear on the lamb.  Place in large zip-loc baggie, and refrigerate for a day or so.

Sauce: Whisk water with sugar, salt pepper, stir in remaining ingredients.  Best to do the same day as grilling.
To grill lamb:  Pull lamb out of the fridge when you start the grill (20 minutes or so before starting to cook).  Heat grill to hot, put lamb on and drop temp to low or medium low.  Flip after 5 minutes or so.  Total time will vary on thickness, expect 12 to 20 minutes.  Pull off pieces as they cook…  they will start to firm up (like steaks), or for medium rare, about 130F on an instant read thermometer.   Let sit for 10 minutes to rest, then slice across grain to serve.  Serve sauce separately to spoon over meat.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This salad goes great with chicken.  Salad keeps fairly well, and leftovers are great for lunch (mixed in left-over chicken is good). Don't worry about being exact on the vegetable quantities (adjust to taste). 

4 to 6 servings
45 minutes

2 cups chicken broth (I like the Pacific Free Range Organic…)
(or 1 14-oz can low salt chicken broth plus enough water to make 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking couscous
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped OR 1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 oz feta cheese, cut into 1/4" dice
1/4 cup minced parsley or watercress
1/2 cup minced green onion
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
Black olives
Lettuce leaves

Bring broth and water to boil in medium saucepan.  Mix in couscous.  Cover and remove from heat.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff couscous with fork.  Turn into large bowl.  Cool to room temperature.
Prepare vegetables.  When couscous is cool (or almost cool), mix in tomato, feta, parsley, and green onion.  Whisk together oil, lemon juice, and generous amount of pepper (1 teaspoon or more), mix into salad.  Refrigerate.

Just before serving, top with olives.  If being fancy, serve in bowl lined with lettuce leaves.

Grilled Red Onion and Bean Salad

SERVES 6 TO 8

1 pound fresh green beans
1 can (15 ounces) small white beans or flageolets
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or basil
Salt, pepper, to taste
1 large, flattish red onion, 8 to 10 ounces

Trim the ends off the green beans and cut them into 1 1/2 inch lengths.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 teaspoons salt per quart, and boil the green beans five minutes.  Drain them well and cool them quickly under running cold water.

Drain and rinse the canned beans well.  In a large bowl, combine the green beans and white beans.  Toss with 1/4 cup of the oil and the remaining ingredients, except the onion, and let them marinate at least one hour. 

Peel the onion and cut off the stem and flower ends.  Cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.  When the barbecue coals are just starting to ash over, brush the onion slices with some of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and brown them lightly on both sides, about five minutes per side.  Cut the slices in quarters and toss them with the beans.

Greek Salad
This was the first time I did this recipe..  don't worry about being too exact!

4 tomatoes, chopped (or can use 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved)
½ cup chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
½ teaspoon salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
6 oz Feta cheese
1 lemon zested (about 1 tablespoon) and juiced (about ½ cup)
1 English cucumber, lightly peeled and chopped into ½ inch dice
4 scallions, chopped (about ½ cup)
~ 1 cup Kalamata olives (pitted).
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix together, let sit for an hour at room temperature before serving.

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