Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hot Peppers on the Lamb

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Red Peppers

Ok, so I ripped off my title from an old episode of AMC's Dinner and a Movie. "Two Hot Peppers on the Lamb" was what they cooked when the featured film was "Thelma and Louise". I always thought that was brilliant. Now then...

These stuffed peppers have a little Middle Eastern influence, since the stuffing was inspired by the heavily spiced ground lamb kebabs known as kofta. I had tried this before and been disappointed; getting it right meant putting in more rice, more egg, more salt and more lime juice, and all of this translated into more delicious. I topped the roasted stuffed peppers with a little spicy tomato sauce, and served them with couscous and a spinach salad in strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette (see last summer's entries for the dressing recipe).

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Red Peppers

1 lb ground lamb
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup cooked rice
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sumac (available at Middle Eastern markets)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp oregano
2-3 bell peppers (depending on size), halved
2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub the peppers in some of the olive oil and grease a deep pan with the rest. Mix the ground lamb and other ingredients and seasonings well, then press the mix into the peppers, heaping about a 1/2 inch over the top of the pepper. Brush a little olive oil on top of the peppers and set in the oven for 45 minutes. Top with spiced tomato sauce and serve.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tsp aleppo pepper (available in Middle Eastern markets)
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp lime juice

In a small pan, sautee garlic in oil briefly, then mix ingredients together over low heat until fully blended, and simmer for 1-2 minutes before serving over the peppers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Swordfish is the Password

Swordfish Steaks, with Turnip Greens,
Harukei Turnips, Asparagus and Potatoes

The farmer's market has just started up and the pickings are still slim, but yesteday I came upon some very interesting little vegetables called harukei turnips. They taste like a cross between a radish and asparagus, and the farmer told me they would be excellent either raw or roasted alongside some actual asparagus. I had some asparagus at home, some swordfish in my freezer (an excellent deal at Trader Joe's), and the good fortune of a boyfriend who is exceedingly fond of both swordfish and asparagus. He likes potatoes, too, as do I, so I also roasted some of those. The greens from the turnips looked wonderfully fresh, so I sauteed them and served them as well. I don't care to dwell on it, but this must have been a damn healthy dinner.

I'm not even going to include a recipe for the roasted potatoes and vegetables, since all I did was set my oven to 350, rub a little olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice on everything, and cook it. The potatoes stayed in for about 45 minutes; I stuck the turnips and asparagus in a separate pan and cooked them for about 25 minutes.

Swordfish Steaks

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 swordfish steaks
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed basil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Northwoods seasoning (from Penzeys.com)

Rub the above mixture onto your swordfish steaks and cook on medium heat until brown on both sides, about 10-15 minutes if the steaks are about an inch thick. That's it.

Turnip Greens with Mushrooms

1 tbsp oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1 bunch turnip greens
2 tsp lemon juice
salt & pepper (to taste)

Sautee the garlic in oil, then add the shallots and mushrooms and cook until lightly browned. Add the wine, then toss in the greens. Lower heat to lowest setting and cover for 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally, and once greens are tender turn off the heat. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste before serving.