Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lamb and Pine Nut Kebabs

These were made a little while ago, and I just realized I hadn't posted the recipe. It's actually been one of my favorite dishes made this summer (so far!). I've been using our newest purchase (a barbecue!) as much as possible while the warm(ish) weather lasts. The kebabs turned out well... although Oliver and I both forgot to soak the skewers we were using...which is definitely a must when placing wood on an open fire! Battling the small flames of the barbecue certainly played a part in making the experience of outdoor cooking that much more adventurous!


Recipe, adapted from Cooking Morrocan (serves 4)
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) of ground lamb
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
A handful of pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
8 skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes before using
Lemon wedges and salad leaves to serve

Put the onion, parsley and coriander in a food processor and process to a puree. Add the lamb, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Process to a paste, scrapping the side of the bowl occasionally.

Place a pan on medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast them, stirring them often. As soon as they start browning and become fragrant, remove them from the pan. Coarsely chop them and fold them in to the lamb mixture. Divide the mixture into 8 even portions. Form into about 9 cm long cylinders (3 1/2 inches) and leave to chill for an hour in the fridge.

Insert the soaked skewers through the center of each lamb sausage. Cook on hot oiled barbecue or indoor grill until cooked through (about 5 minutes on each side). Gently turn the kebabs often to insure that they don't stick to the grill. They will feel firm when lightly pressed with tongs once they are cooked.

Serve with lemon wedges and lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Eggplant Puree with Ricotta, Coppa and Chives

I've always liked presenting food in transparent glasses. This works particularly well when you are serving food with different textures and colors, and makes you want to dig in instantly! I made these a little while ago for my family during a vacation in the South of France, and they were pretty easy to put together for a crowd. I like these types of appetizers because they are so versatile. You can change the herbs or the cured ham depending on what you've got on hand.


Recipe, adapted from the Jose Marechal's book Verrines. (makes eight)

2 large eggplants
2 shallots
1/4 cup of plain yogurt
1 garlic clove
A handful of chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice
Salt and pepper
8 thin slices of coppa
400 grams of ricotta

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a aluminum-lined cookie sheet in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the eggplant in soft. Scoop out the flesh and place it in the bowl of a mixer. Add the garlic, half of the chives, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add a drizzle of olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Mix in the yogurt. Place in the fridge to cool.
Mix the ricotta with the lemon juice and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil
Cut each slice of coppa into small pieces.
Assemble the appetizer by placing a couple spoonfuls of eggplant puree, topped with a spoonful of ricotta, a few pieces of coppa. Garnish with the chopped chives and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prosciutto-wrapped Asparagus


Often times, the most simple recipes turn out to be the ones you want to make over and over again because they are so delicious. This recipe fits this category perfectly. Having recently purchased a barbecue, I have been grilling a lot and discovering the joys of outdoor cooking (on a balcony that is). Grilled asparagus is fast and delicious, and it took minutes to put this whole recipe together. Please feel free to share your favorite grilling recipes here, I would love to know what has been making your best-recipe list this summer!

Good quality thinly sliced prosciutto
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice

Turn on your barbecue (or indoor grill) to medium heat. Drizzle a little olive oil on the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Grill for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and wrap the prosciutto around the stems as soon as the asparagus is cold enough to handle. Wrap the prosciutto tightly to ensure that it will stick to the asparagus. Grill for an additional 2-4 minutes depending on how cooked you want the asparagus and how crispy you want the prosciutto. Drizzle with a little lemon juice, and serve warm or at room temperature.
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