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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Grilling in the Rain

On the table tonight: Balsamic marinated lamb kebabs, Tomato and mint orzo salad, Hummus.

I was planning to try a new recipe for dinner – North African Lamb Kebabs by Emeril Lagasse that has the following ingredients:

(Tip: Read quickly. No need to memorize the list. Just get the general idea. Point to come.)

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless leg or shoulder of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes with...

But as reality stroke… (IT is always doing that), the following had happened:
I took the lamb and cubed it.
Started with the easy ingredients: salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, olive oil. Then, I was going to wash and chop the herbs…. And then… I was looking at the baby.

She was playing in the family room and giving me that cute little baby innocent but scary look that says “stay in the kitchen and cook if you want, just know that I am going to poop any second now, and this one will end with a bath”.

So, I have found myself reaching frantically for the balsamic vinegar while thinking – “but I never saw a recipe that uses balsamic vinegar with lamb, especially not with paprika and cumin! Does this combination work?????” I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and gave the lamb a big splash of vinegar, and hoped for the best.

2 hours later.

Husband returned home from work. I was making the hummus and orzo salad, and it was time to grill the lamb. Now, I’m not a fool. It was dark and cold outside, so I asked my husband if he doesn’t mind grilling the lamb in our outdoor grill, outside. “Sure”, he said. But as reality hit AGAIN, he got busy helping one kid with homework while entertaining the other one, so I found myself having to do the grilling myself.

And then it rained.

So there you have it – Grilling in the rain balsamic marinated lamb.
Makes 4-6 servings

2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 2-bite-size cubes
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
Evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
Balsamic vinegar
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ red onion, diced big
Wooden*/metal skewers

Put cubed lamb in a bowl. Generously sprinkle with spices and drizzle evoo and balsamic vinegar. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and marinate 1-2 hours in the fridge.
* If using wooden skewers, soak them in water so they don’t burn on the grill.
Prepare the kebabs: thread the lamb cubes and diced onion onto the skewers and grill over medium-high heat, turning once, about 5 minutes for each side.

Tomato and mint orzo salad
Makes 4-6 servings

½ box orzo pasta
Black pepper, ground
Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)1 big flavorful tomato, diced
Feta cheese, crumbled/diced small1 handful pine nuts, toasted*
½ lemon, juiced
Mint leaves, chopped

Cook pasta according to the instructions on the box.
Drain and season with salt, black pepper, and a splash of a good fruity evoo. Add all the other ingredients, and combine gently.

* toast the pine nuts in a 350F oven for a few minutes or in a skillet over low heat. Don’t burn them! Use a timer.

Hummus recipes are to be found all over the place and everyone likes it differently, so no recipe for hummus. Just combine your favorite ingredients in your preferred amounts.

I finally got it right for my husband’s taste (I knew he’d like it), although I personally would have preferred to add more lemon, garlic, and cumin. Oh, well, life is all about compromises, isn’t it?!

More recipes for orzo and lamb:
Orzo salad

Lamb with chickpeas, yogurt and pan-roasted veg

Grilled potatoes, corn, and lamb with yogurt-mint sauce

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