Tag Archives: lamb

Easter Dinner: Take One!

My sister and her family are joining us for Easter dinner this year. I broke down and bought a leg of lamb. Yum! We did a sample run on Thursday night to make sure this is what we wanted to do. We used the Harvest Lamb Roast recipe that I posted earlier (it works with a shoulder roast, but was definitely better with the leg of lamb). The sides will be different for the actual day, but here’s how it turned out:

On Thursday, Bryan wanted a more “traditional” dinner (aka meat, rice, and veggies), so we had the lamb with Creamed Corn, Collard Greens with Bacon, and Rice. For Easter, we will be having Roasted Purple Yams, Onion, and Carrots (roasted with the lamb), Sauteed Asparagus, and little cupcakes that we’re going to let the boys decorate to look like baby chickens! So much fun! Check out the concept from Martha Stewart Living here (picture below courtesy of Martha Stewart Living).

Recipe: Harvest Lamb Roast

I adapted this from two recipes in my Simply Organic cookbook tonight. I would say this recipe serves 6-8. If you used a leaner cut of meat, you could probably serve 8-10 people, thought I would double the vegetables for that many servings.

The Finished Product

The first recipe inspiration came from “Harvest Pot Roast” on page 143. The original recipe is meant to be cooked all day or overnight in a slow cooker. This is where I got the veggie and sauce idea. It recommends a 3 pound chuck roast, salt and pepper, 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 12 oz. mushrooms, 4 garlic cloves, 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, and for the sauce: 1 cup ketchup, 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce.

The second recipe inspiration came from “Boneless Leg of Lamb with Horseradish-Mint Yogurt and Dried Cranberries” on page 144. I have not made the yogurt sauce or cranberries yet, since I used a different sauce, but it does sound good. This recipe called for the juice of 1 lemon, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 5 garlic cloves, 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, a 5 to 6 lb. butterflied leg of lamb. For the sauce, it recommends 2/3 cup whole milk yogurt, 2 Tbsp. grated red onion, 3 Tbsp. finely grated fresh horseradish or 1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish, and 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint. Then it serves it with 2/3 c. dried cranberries that have been reconstituted in 1 cup ruby port and spiced with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar. It sounds like an interesting combination that I look forward to trying someday. I borrowed the rosemary and oil from this recipe and followed the roasting instructions.

Here’s what I did:

Preheated oven to 450F.

In a large, glazed, stoneware casserole dish, I placed the following ingredients:

  • 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1 can Muir Glen stewed tomatoes (I reserved the juice for the sauce)
  • 1 1/2 c. baby carrots
  • a drizzle of oil, so the veggies wouldn’t stick to the pan

Then I sprinkled my 3 lb. lamb shoulder with about 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper, making sure to get it on all sides. I placed the lamb on top of the veggies in the casserole dish.

For the sauce, I mixed the following ingredients:

  • juice reserved from can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 c. ketchup (I used Hunt’s All Natural and ran out after 1/2 c., but it turned out fine)
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (I used Emeril’s)
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire (it was all I had)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary

I rubbed this mixture over the lamb, and placed the whole dish in the 450F oven for 20 minutes.

Then I reduced the temperature to 350F and continued roasting for 2 hours, turning every 30 minutes. The recipe said to let the meat rest for 15 minutes after removing it from the oven before slicing, so I decided to do a little photo shoot. The shoulder is one of the fattier cuts of meat (and also one of the cheapest; I got this one at Whole Foods on sale for $5/lb.). I probably did not need to add oil to the veggies, but it was fine. I left the oily juice in the bottom of the dish, placed the meat in the center of my serving plate, and surrounded it with the gloriously roasted vegetables!

This was a delicious blend of flavors! I would definitely do this again. Bryan and I both really enjoyed taste-testing this tonight. It will make a great lunch tomorrow. He deserves it too: he’s been working some really long hours and I want to make sure he knows I appreciate that.

Date Night: Early Anniversary Dinner at Devereaux’s

Our 4th anniversary is next week, May 20th! Since I’m starting school on Monday, I’ll be in class on the evening of the 20th, instead of a celebratory dinner with my man. Also, we have a friend staying with us next weekend and dinner plans with friends tomorrow night, so tonight really was the best night to celebrate.

For Admin Day, I got a $50 gift certificate from my team for Table 301 (a chain of restaurants in Greenville). We decided to go to Devereaux’s, an upscale dinner restaurant. It was wonderful!! After my workout, I got cleaned up, put on my cute new summer dress and met Bryan. We walked down to the restaurant, arm in arm, and they let us take our table early. When I made the reservation online, I commented that it was our fourth anniversary and requested to sit at a quieter table away from the bar. When we arrived, it was like the whole staff knew it was our anniversary. They brought us complimentary little samples of various things and made sure to say “Happy Anniversary” on our way out the door. The waiter was fabulous too!

I started with the Baby Artichokes, served atop fresh chick pea hummus, with house made olive flat bread, roasted red pepper oil, and frisee. Wow! It was absolutely delicious! I ate it slowly and savored every bite. Then they brought us each a small wheat roll and a small cheddar chive biscuit with fresh butter.

For dinner, Bryan had the “Lamb: Old & New.” It was a stack of creamed potatoes, braised shank, house made pastry, lamb tenderloin, and plated with mire poix (celery, carrots, and onion) and roast garlic thyme sauce. Okay, I cheated for one tiny second and tried the lamb, and it was delicious. And I doubt 1/2 oz. of meat is going to make a difference in a whole month.

I had the “Hawaiian Tuna.” And it was to die for!  Medium rare tuna steak, served atop Yuzu-moromi trophie pasta (creamy deliciousness) plated with tempura fried zucchini and squash and decorated with a carrot-ginger sauce drizzle. It was the best meal I’ve had in ages! Totally worth every penny! (Note: yuzu is a Chinese citrus fruit, muromi is a stage of sake, and trophie pasta are hand rolled and twisted into a flat shape with tapered ends.)

For dessert, I had a cup of house coffee and we split the Vanilla Creme Brulee with macerated blueberries. The creme brulee had really vanilla beans in it! It was perfect! (Note: macerated means that they’ve been sprinkled with sugar and allowed to rest and release their natural juices, thus softening the fruit. It makes the fruit soft and easy to chew.)

After dinner, we took a nice long drive with the windows down, listening to sappy love songs, before coming home. Four years ago, I married my best friend. And today, I love him more than then. Happy Anniversary, babe! I love you!

Lamb Kebabs and Strawberry Sweetness

I wish I had taken pictures of our delicious dinner tonight. We had our friends Phil & Heather over (and their adorable boy Jake)! They brought this great salad with broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes. Yum! Bryan’s been wanting to try to do our own lamb since he had kebabs at The Pita House a few weeks ago. So, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz. boneless lamb shoulder roast (it was on sale at Whole Foods), cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 green pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 8 oz. mushrooms

For the marinade:

  • Caramelize 1/4 finely chopped onion in 2 Tbsp. butter, and set aside (basically, cook on medium low heat until golden brown…caramel colored).
  • Then, whisk together the following ingredients in this order:
  1. 1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
  2. 3 Tbsp. honey
  3. 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  4. 3/4 c. canola oil
  5. 100 ml Jack Daniel’s
  6. 2 minced garlic clove
  7. 1 green onion, chopped
  8. caramelized onion from above

Then, add the meat to the marinade and let sit for at least 30 minutes (I’m sure 4 hours would be even better, if you have the time). Reserve the leftover marinade and reduce over medium low heat for more sauce to serve with the meal, if you like. The goal was to get as close to T.G.I. Friday’s Jack Sauce as possible. Before we told our guests this was our goal, they said, “This reminds me of the sauce at T.G.I. Friday’s!” Mission Accomplished.

Bryan got the grill ready, while I set out an assembly line: skewers, meat, veggies, and plate to carry them to the grill. This way, everyone got exactly what they wanted on their skewer! Bryan grilled the meat on our charcoal grill for about 10-15 minutes, until the meat was done. It was so incredibly tender! I hope the lamb sale is still going on because I want this again! Looks like their sales run Wednesday through Tuesday, so I’m definitely going back this week!

The vegetables that didn’t fit on the skewers, I drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with Lawry’s seasoned salt in a pan on the stove while the kebabs were cooking. Just in case we touched the veggies while we were touching the meat, I wanted to make sure we cooked out any harmful bacteria. Again, delicious!

Now, for dessert…Strawberry Sweetness…because I can’t figure out what else to call it. (Warning: save your calories for this one, or just have a bowl of fresh strawberries or substitute the “sweetness” portion of this dessert with some cool whip. Mascarpone cheese has about 100 calories for every 2 Tbsp.!)

Everything I did today seemed to take twice as I long as I estimated, so I needed a quick dessert for tonight. I still had one can of whole wheat Pillsbury Grands biscuits left in the fridge, so I popped them out and smashed them together into one big rectangle on one of my baking sheets and cooked it according to package instructions (12-15 minutes).

Meanwhile, I mixed together the “sweetness”:

  • 1 container mascarpone cheese (8 oz.)
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. amaretto (almond extract would work)
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream (add slowly at end and beat on medium low for several minutes till thick and fluffy)

Then we sliced up a container of strawberries. All you have left to do is layer it. Let the biscuit base cool. Spread “sweetness” evenly over it, and top with rows of sliced strawberries. Wow! Worth saving the calories for! And, of course, we served it with a French Press of coffee. Wonderful meal with wonderful friends and wonderful conversation. What a lovely ending to this Saturday!