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Kofta Pocket with Tzatziki Sauce

Le 24 août 2015, 05:39 dans Humeurs 0

In this speedy version of kofta I substitute a pine nut meal for longer cooking bulger. Grilling the kofta infuses the lamb with a slightly charred flavor that is tempered with a cool and tangy tzatziki sauce. Don't worry if you don't have a grill; I have included alternative cooking methods.

 WHO: Food Blogga is a cookbook author and freelance food writer who lives in San Diego.
WHAT: Nutty, vibrant lamb meatballs and creamy-cool tzatziki -- eaten side by side or tucked into a pocket.
HOW: Mix ground lamb with onion, garlic, spices, and pine nuts, shape into balls, and grill. Load into pitas. Dollop with tzatziki.
WHY WE LOVE IT: These kofta -- which are bound with ground, toasted pine nuts -- have spice, heat, and texture. The tzatziki tames all that fiestiness. And when eaten smooshed into a pocket, with lettuce, carrots, and onions, you've got yourself an ideal lunch.

Serves 4

Tzatziki Sauce

1 cup plain Greek style yogurt, or regular yogurt, strained until thick
½ cup diced peeled and seeded cucumber
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup toasted pine nuts, ground into a meal in a food processor
4 pitas, sliced in half and warmed (for a total of 8)
optional garnishes include thinly sliced red onions, shredded carrots, and baby lettuce leaves

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients from lamb through pine nuts. Using your hands, mix well until smooth. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, form lamb mixture into 1 ½ - 2-inch balls. Makes about 14-16 balls.

Directions for grilling: Preheat grill to medium heat. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to using. Place 4 balls on each skewer. Grill for 8-10 minutes, rotating skewers, or until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through.

Slide meat off skewers. Place 2 balls inside each half pocket; top with a dollop of cucumber yogurt sauce and any garnishes you desire. Eat immediately.

If you don't have a grill, then you can broil, bake, or pan fry the kofta. Broil for 8-10 minutes, rotating skewers, or until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through. Bake on 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping once, or until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through. To pan fry, place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook kofta 7-10 minutes, flipping, until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through.

Shrimp Gumbo

Le 21 juillet 2015, 05:29 dans Humeurs 0

It was snowing this morning so I thought this would be a good night to make a hearty soup. I had some shrimp in the freezer so my thoughts turned to gumbo. In Louisiana, gumbo is practically religion. I wanted a lightened-up version of traditional seafood gumbo, and this is what I came up with. As with most soup, the seasonings can be adjusted according to your taste. (And as you all know by now The Beauty, I didn't put a bay leaf in because you-know-who hates bay, but bay leaf is great in gumbo, so go for it.)

This may be the perfect weeknight gumbo. Drbabs, a former New Orleansian herself, has streamlined and lightened the Cajun classic while still pulling in all the right flavors and kick from a smoky dark roux and well-chosen cocktail of spices. By design, this recipe could be made year-round from pantry staples, but you can always put a little Mardi Gras in it by adding andouille or tasso.

Serves 2-4

white or brown rice, cooked separately and kept warm
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined; shells rinsed and reserved
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 large onions, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, put through garlic press
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh is best but since it's winter, I used Pomi chopped tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste and as described in the recipe
Tabasco sauce to taste, and to be used as a condiment

First make a roux. In a large cast iron dutch oven The Beauty, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-low heat. Sprinkle flour over the oil and stir till it's completely blended. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium low heat, until the flour-oil mixture browns and is dark caramel-colored. (Be careful not to let it burn.)

Stir in the onions, celery, and garlic. Sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of freshly-ground pepper. Stir well. Cover dutch oven and let vegetables cook in roux until softened.

While vegetables are cooking, put shrimp shells into a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water and good pinch of salt. (Shrimp shells should be barely covered; add more water if they're not.) Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat so that it simmers. Continue to simmer until shells are bright pink.

To the vegetables in the dutch oven, add the tomatoes, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne The Beauty, lemon, and Worcestershire sauce. Strain the shrimp stock into the soup, stir, and let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp and let simmer in the soup till just firm and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes, depending on size. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Stir in chopped parsley, a couple of drops of Tabasco (a little goes a long way!) and serve in bowls with a large scoop of rice.