June 8, 2013

Yogurt and Garlic Lamb and Tabbouleh (without Onion)

Yogurt and Garlic Lamb with Tabbouleh (without Onion)

Lamb is probably my 'summertime meat,' something about the warmer weather makes me want to grill a lot of lamb!  In addition to these kebab meat pieces, there is also ground lamb in my refrigerator right now- I predict lamb burgers with a yogurt mint sauce in our near future!  When I crave lamb, I crave great sides- like a bright, lemon-y tabbouleh.  If you're unfamiliar with tabbouleh, you can learn a little about it here: Wikipedia on Tabbouleh 

I have a bit of a battle with regard to tabbouleh, I often find the onion overpowering.  So, I thought, can I make a good tabbouleh without onion?  Yes, yes you can!  This one has a tiny bit of that type of flavor from some chives- if you want to up that factor, why not add more chives?  In other news, did anyone else read the recent article in the New York Times about breeding the nutrition out of food?  Check that article out here:  NYTimes Breeding Nutrition out of Food This feels like one of the most important articles I have read in a long time- did it feel that way to you?  What it made me want to do was to a) grow my own vegetables and have them be very, very obscure varieties, b) eat wild arugula at every opportunity and c) try to grow corn that wasn't originally radiated...  But you know, I live in reality, and that reality includes a few things.  For one, we are currently renting the house we are living in, and the area outside is nicely landscaped.  I don't think they would let me have a mini cornfield.  The only plants I am growing this year are all in containers.  So I think maybe I can do b), the wild arugula a little more!  In any event, in honor of this article, there is wild arugula in this tabbouleh, so hooray!  (Another good article I read recently was in the NY Times magazine called 'The Secret Lives of Germs,' I can't link to it- by try a search on your own- it will make you want to get a dog.

My morning helper

In any event, let's make some good food, y'all!  I started both of these dishes in the morning of the day I wanted to eat them.  My 1 year old girl sat happily in her high chair while I did some of my prep work and my 3 year old son slept in late (not a typical occurrence!)  Let's begin!

Tabbouleh (without Onion)
1 pint cherry heirloom tomatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
pinch sea salt (generous)
freshly ground white pepper (generous)

2 cups bulgur wheat (I used Bob's Red Mill brand: Bob's Red Mill Bulgur Wheat)
2 cups boiling water

4 small cucumbers, peeled and chopped, roughly 1 1/2 cups
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
5 fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped finely
1/2 cup flat leaf (also called Italian) parsley, chopped finely (measured post chopping)
zest of 1 lemon using a microplane
juice of 2 lemons
1 handful wild arugula, chopped coarsely
3 Tbsp olive oil


Satur Farms brand pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
Each of the three groupings above are done apart and then combined.  Preheat your oven to 225 degrees fahrenheit.  First, rinse your heirloom cherry tomatoes and then toss them in a small bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper to coat.  Place the tomatoes and all the excess oil on a jelly roll baking sheet (has low sides) and roast at 225 for 1 1/2 hours.  You may do this ahead of time.  Refrigerate in a container until you are ready to assemble the tabbouleh.

We use a lot of olive oil!  This Whole Foods tin lasts a while...
Heirloom cherry tomatoes before roasting
Heirloom cherry tomatoes after roasting

This next step may blow your mind- how unbelievable easy this is- place your bulgur wheat in a wide bowl, and pour the boiling water over the bulgur wheat, stir, and let sit one hour.  Seriously, this is all you do to it!  Is is not your new favorite side dish?  It is mine!  If you're assembling the salad now, leave it out as you do the rest of the work, or store covered in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the tabbouleh.

Bulgur wheat before boiling water is added

Adding boiling water to bulgur wheat

I've given you also the amount of cucumbers these small 4 cucumbers yielded once peeled and chopped because you can use any type of cucumber.  If you're looking for a great cucumber to grow, I would wholeheartedly recommend Lemon Cucumbers from Botanical Interests, they are delicious!  I can't grow them right now, but the second I can, I will.  Ok- place the cucumbers in a small bowl, and now prepare and add the basil, mint, chives, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Add the salt and pepper and mix.

4 small cucumbers, peeled
Basil, Mint and Chives added, Flat leaf Parsley

Adding lemon juice

Now, you are ready to incorporate everything together, combine the tomatoes (and any excess oil from their process), bulgur wheat and the vegetable/herb mixture.  I just put everything in the wide bowl the bulgur wheat is in- it's easier to mix in a shallow, wide bowl.  Use a spatula and fold it together.  Add the olive oil.  I add the wild arugula now, because I don't want it to get too bruised from mixing.  I take a handful, rinse it, then coarsely chop it- it doesn't have to be as small as the herbs.

Handful wild arugula
Taste it to see if it needs more salt and pepper.  You can either chill it until it's time to eat or eat it right away!  Enjoy!  Enjoy it with this lamb!

Tabbouleh being mixed

Yogurt and Garlic Lamb
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt (I use Fage)
1 large garlic clove through a press- or finely minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 to 1.25 lb. lamb meat cut for kebabs (trimmed of fat and cut into cubes up to 2" across)

In a bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic and salt, mix together.

Whole milk Greek yogurt, garlic and salt

Add the lamb kebab cubes, and mix to coat.  Refrigerate.  I did this for 9 hours, but probably anything over a few hours will be just fine!  When I was ready to cook them, I heated up a Le Creuset grill pan (cast iron pan with raised 'grill' marks.  I heated it over medium to medium high heat and sprayed it with Pam grilling spray (for higher heat- don't use olive oil).  Try to remove as much of the yogurt marinade as possible, use either just your fingers or a paper towel, or wipe the meat cubes on the lip of the bowl.  Grill a few minutes on each side, I put 3 pieces of meat on a skewer and grilled 5 minutes on two sides and a few additional minutes on areas that hadn't yet gotten grill marks.  You want the outside to look grilled, browned, and with a few nice, crunchy areas.  When in doubt, cut a cube open and see how done they are- I like my lamb medium rare (pink inside, but not bloody).

Yogurt and garlic lamb grilled in a grill pan
Enjoy!  

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