Monday, February 21, 2011

Al's Marinated Leg of Lamb

Last week I tempted you with lamb left-overs, so this week I give you the lamb recipe that you'll need to try to end up with those leftovers. As promised, I give you my next "Guest Food Artist" my dear friend and co-worker, Al Laubenstein... it's only appropriate that it's President's Day, as Al was the former President of the company we worked for.

For our dinner party a several weeks ago, Al brought the main course - marinated butterflied leg of lamb, and THIS is American Idol... oh, I mean THIS, is how he made it....(in his own words)
Dinner at the Monson-Hogan’s
The menu for this gala evening is lamb, and here is how I do it. First, go to Costco and buy a boneless leg of lamb.

Take it out of the packaging and unfold it on your cutting board. One side will have a thick layer of fat called the “fell” that needs to be trimmed off, as it can impart an unpleasant taste to the meat.

It should look something like this when you finish trimming it.

Next, flip it over and take a knife and put slices through the thick parts of the meat to give the meat as uniform a thickness as possible.

Now it’s time to make the marinade:

Marinade recipe:

1 cup soy sauce
½ cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 good sized sprigs of fresh rosemary chopped (Surely someone in your neighborhood has a rosemary bush. I know my neighbors like me to prune it for them but just to be safe I get mine under cover of darkness)
½ tsp. Coarse ground black pepper

Put the meat in a zip-lock bag and toss in the marinade. Roll it around a bit, then put it in the fridge for a few hours. While you wait, have a few cocktails and see if you can trick Brian into cleaning the grill.
When it’s time to cook, put the meat on a piece of tin foil, fell side down, on a hot grill.

Cook for about 20 minutes without flipping the meat, and then start checking the temperature. You want the meat to be rare like a steak so take it off when the thickest part of the meat reads 125° F. Remember, it will continue to cook after you take it off the fire.

For the old school people at the table who can’t eat lamb without mint jelly, we compromised and served them a Buddha’s Eye.

Buddha’s Eye recipe (from Julia Child)

5 parts Gin

2 parts Rose’s Sweetened lime juice
2 parts Green Crème de Menthe

Make a big batch and put it in the freezer and hour before you serve it. Serve in a cordial glass. Pretty potent – one per customer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lamb and Brie Naan Melts

I, like all of you, wondered "what shall I do with this left-over lamb" that I had in my fridge (because, let's face it, doesn't EVERYONE have left-over lamb in the fridge?). Actually, we had a dinner party several weeks ago, and Al brought a wonderful marinated butterflied leg of lamb that we threw on the grill. Al has been promising to give the recipe and preparation pictures to me so I can feature him as a "Guest Food Artist" - but he's procrastinating, and I couldn't wait any longer to share the latest Gourmet Gibbs creation: Lamb and Brie Naan Melts.

PLEASE NOTE - I used the left over lamb within days of the original meal - I did not mean to imply that several weeks AFTER the dinner party I still had left-over lamb in the fridge and decided to make these tasty treats. The actual preparation of this meal occurred several weeks ago - it just took a while for me to post it... Just to be clear!

The ingredients are simple - or they were for me, because everything was left over from the dinner party! I had sliced and trimmed lamb, garlic naan (Indian Flat Bread) and a wonderful Brie with streaks of Bleu cheese layered through it.
Preparation is pretty simple, too. First, put your pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat to 500 degrees.
Carefully slice the naan (I cut the whole naan in half first, and then sliced open each half) - it's already a very thin bread, and I found myself slicing a few holes all the way through the one side or the other - but use another piece of naan, slice that in half, and cut or tear off pieces large enough cover any holes in your sandwich naan.

On a cutting board, lay out the naan slices for as many sandwiches as you are going to make. On one side, layer strips of lamb; on the other side, layer slices of Brie. Transfer these to the pizza stone (use oven mitts to take the pizza stone out of the oven, transfer the sandwich sides to the stone, and return to the oven). I lightly buttered the "extra" slices of Naan (that I used for hole repair) and put those on the pizza stone, buttered side up, too.

It only takes a few minutes for these puppies to heat right up.

When the Brie begins to bubble, remove the pizza stone from the oven and let the slices rest for a minute.

I added a thin layer of shredded lettuce and then put the Brie slice on top of the lamb slice.

VOILA - a delicious and somewhat exotic Lamb and Brie Naan Melt.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sausage and Sauerkraut

Rock 'n Roll Ralphs had Johsonville sausages on sale, so I decided to create a meal around the sausage. Never underestimate the value of buying what's on sale and making your meal around that. On the same note, DO NOT clip coupons for things that you will not use. Coupon shopping can save you money - but only if you EAT what you BUY. Okay, enough preaching,

Oddly, I came up with Spicey Italian Sausage and Sauerkraut served over noodles. Don't mock me until you've tried it - it's delicious.

I used the Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausages (on a great sale, and something I knew I would use) - found in the deli section of your grocer's meat department. I bought a bag of sauerkraut (you can get it in a bag or a jar - get what's on sale - or go wild and make your own... but don't expect to see that recipe on this blog anytime soon), and the other ingredients I had sitting around the house.
Prep Stuff:
Chop one yellow and one red onion.

Slice one package of Italian sausages into bite size slices.

Sqeeze all the liquid out of the sauerkraut - till it's dry-ish - you'll know what that means when you have finished sqeezing the liquid out of the 'kraut.

Pan fry the Italian sausage until it's brown and delicious looking. No need to add oil - the fat from the sausage will release itself within minutes of starting to cook it. But luckily, it's not enough fat to worry about straining it - so just throw in the onions the pan and cook those down until they are opaque-ish.

Next, toss/stir in the sauerkraut - already squeezed of liquid - and "stir fry" until its all good and mixed. VOILA - now spoon over pre-cooked noodles, or rice, or just enjoy it on its own....