Friday, May 27, 2005

Lamb Burgers! Posted by Picasa

Memorial Day weekend is finally here! Summer is beginning. When I was young this meant we could begin wearing white shoes (although for many in my home town of Louisville, Derby Day was the signal for that).
We had red poppies in church on Sunday, as we remembered the real reason for the holiday: to commemorate those who had given their lives in war to protect our country and what we believe in.
And it was the start of the picnic and cook-out season for my family. Mostly, cookouts for us meant hamburgers or chicken on the grill. Now, however, there isn't much I won't cook on a grill.
Recently I was invited to a friend's house to cook out. After some thought, we decided to do something a little different: lamb-burgers. We thought a Greek twist would be tasty. With the same flavors one might use to marinate lamb kebabs, we made oval patties. The lamb we had was extremely lean, so we brushed them with a little olive oil so they wouldn't stick to the grill. We used pita flatbreads instead of a bun, and offered assorted accompaniments to heap on top. A blob of tzatziki sauce made a great finish.
As a side dish, I cut carrots in half lengthwise and then into good sized chunks on the diagonal. I tossed them with a little olive oil on a baking sheet and dusted them lightly with equal amounts of ground cardamom, ground coriander seed and kosher salt. About 20 minutes in a 350o oven was all it took for a cooked but still firm texture.
Now, I know there are lots of folks who think they don't like lamb. I don't understand it but I know it's true. So if you are one of those folks, do this with lean ground beef and you're still going to love it! Invite your friends for the first cookout of the season, grill some lamb-burgers and enjoy the lovely weather...before it gets too hot!


2 lb lean ground lamb
1 bunch green onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Olive oil
8 large pita breads

Mix all ingredients except olive oil and pitas together. Form 8 oblong patties. Brush them with olive oil and cook over hot coals until they reach the desired doneness. I like them just barely medium. Put on a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Brush the pitas lightly with a little more olive oil and warm them on the grill. Wrap the burgers in the pita and add shredded lettuce, diced tomato, slivered onion and the tzatziki sauce. You can also do these in your oven broiler, or on top of the stove on a ridged griddle or in a skillet. Serves 8.


1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 or two cloves garlic, pressed or VERY finely minced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to mellow. Best used within a few hours. You may substitute fresh or dried dill for the mint if you prefer the flavor, or don't have fresh mint.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Memphis BBQ In Massachusetts. Posted by Hello

Driving down the main drag highway near my son's home in Massachusetts, what did I see but Memphis BBQ. Well, sort of.

I went in and checked it out and decided no way could it be authentic Memphis BBQ. First, it was imaculately clean. 2) It had a full bar with a bartender and all. 3) All the servers were dressed alike and none of them had on jeans. 4) The cola served was Pepsi, not Coca-Cola (I gave them a lesson in saying "co-cola"). And finally, there was (GASP!) no sweet tea!

Friday, May 13, 2005

An easy dessert!

This week a friend called and invited me to an impromptu dinner. Of course I accepted and asked the polite question: "Is there something I could bring?" Do you know what he said? Dessert! He asked ME to bring a dessert. I mean how often do you hear me raving about some great dessert I had? Or made? Nope, I didn't think so. So I went looking around...the kitchen of a non-dessert eater doesn't yield much. I did find a carton of strawberries that had seen better times about two days earlier. In my cabinet was a bag of pfeffernuse (German spice cookies) left over from Christmas. I tossed the washed berries in the food processor with lemon juice, sugar and a touch of Grand Marnier, pured them and poured them into a take-along bowl. I gave the bag of cookies a good whack or two with the flat side of a cutting board, and found a carton of crème fraîche.

At his house, I scrounged up champagne flutes, although wine glasses would have worked as well, and layered the cookie crumbs with the strawberry stuff and stuck it in the fridge. When dessert time rolled around, I added a dollop of the crème fraîche. You know, it was REALLY good.

You probably don't have leftover pfeffernuse but I'm thinking gingersnaps would be as good. Leave them in kinda largish chunks, it was the cookies absorbing the strawberry juice without becoming a paste that made it all okay.

Next year I'm saving some pfeffernuse on purpose.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I am loving this. Where else but Bell Buckle, Tennesse would they have a RC Cola- Moon Pie 10 Mile Run? Note, that's NOT a 10K run, but a good ole American 10 MILE run!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A few weeks ago I wrote about an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that talked about Maldon salt, my favorite sea salt. Here's another, from by a fellow, Dan Crane, who did blind tasting of several kinds, including "pseudo-salt" (for those on low sodium diets), plain table salt, the hugely expensive fleur de sel, and, of course, Maldon salt. Interestingly, the Maldon won. See, I was right!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Berringer Blass Vineyards has come out with an interesting new wine, which is, as they say, created by women, for women. It has a kicky website. Lower in alcohol, and thus in calories, than most chardonnays, it will retail for around $10 per bottle. Whaddya think? Can guys drink it too, or will this be the new "real men don't eat quiche" thing?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I have had people fall gasping in the aisles of the shop when they saw the recent pricing of the REALLY good vanilla that we carry. Prices were so high (an 8-counce bottle got up to $22!) that I haven't reordered for a while. It's good to know that prices are getting a little more reasonable! Check this article in the Washington Post for all the reasons for the upsurge in pricing and the return to relatively more affordable pricing!