grilled lamb with lemon and spring herbs

Nothing says Spring like lamb! When I was a kid we would have lamb once a year when my mom roasted a leg for Easter. Although I'm from a family of a bazillion kids, fortunately, several of my siblings didn't like lamb so there were always leftovers. Unlike chocolate chip cookies, it wasn't a race to wolf everything down before other people ate more. The week after Easter was a series of lamb sandwiches, which are delicious if you have never tried them. I suggest adding mango chutney.

Our meat share has been giving us a decent amount of lamb lately which makes me so so happy. And it has been warm enough to grill which also makes me so so happy. And even happier news - we have things in our garden!

 Huzzah for peaches!

Huzzah for peaches!

 Walking onions!

Walking onions!

It's still a month till we can safely plant summer veggies, but the kale, sprouts, and perennial herbs are in the garden. The walking onion I planted in the fall has shown up. The fruit trees we planted are beginning to blossom. It's a very exciting time of year.

So now that we have mint and rosemary in pots, I am going to begin taking full advantage of having fresh herbs around.

herbs, lemon, garlic
spring marinade

Which brings me to the recipe - this is a pretty simple, straightforward weeknight marinade for lamb with fresh, spring-y flavors. It would work well with beef too.

It's about five minutes of chopping and then you let the meat soak up the flavors for a bit. Another 6 minutes of cooking and you have dinner! You still have to make some decisions about sides though. I made some oven sweet potatoes with rosemary and I definitely recommend the pair.

Ingredients

Serves 2-4 depending on how much meat everyone wants

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig mint
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 4 lamb chops

Mix the olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl large enough to hold the lamb.

overhead_marinading_lamb.JPG

Chop herbs, mince garlic, zest lemon and add in. Throw in the lamb chops and make sure they all get coated on each side. Let them sit for an hour.

Turn on your grill to a high heat, or heat a pan on your stove to a medium-high heat and cook each side for 3 minutes.

Our chops caught on fire in our grill but they ended up getting cooked perfectly, so if that happens don't despair.

Enjoy grilling season and all that comes along with it!

 Lamb chops all charred and perfect.

Lamb chops all charred and perfect.

rutabaga hash with sausage and asparagus a.k.a. how to avoid a food coma

This has been the year of exploring root vegetables. The past few winters we would buy 10 lb bags of sweet potatoes and add them to everything because they are delicious and take a long time to go bad. A few months ago I brought home some parsnips, which I have generally used about once a year in some kind of root veg medley, and Jonathan sliced them up and threw them on the cast iron and they were so so good. And so we branched out from our sweet potato rut. My new obsession is the rutabaga. It has so much more flavor than a white potato but you can treat it much the same.

walden local meat

Anyhow, our meal planning process is very driven by our meat share. We've signed up for Walden Local Meat - they source all of their meat from small farms in New England and then deliver it straight to your door. (I highly recommend it if you live in the greater Boston area.) Every month you get a pound of ground beef and a pound of sausage and then the rest of it consists of fancier cuts. Jonathan likes slicing the sausages vertically and throwing them in a cast iron pan (can you sense a pattern yet?) but I find that a bit heavy. Do you know what is not super heavy? Rutabaga.

Okay, I'll shut up about rutabaga now.

So when you add up sausage, rutabaga, and cast iron what do you get?  A hash, that is what. Also known as the only 'breakfast for dinner' recipe I have ever convinced Jonathan we should make. Of course, we need to throw in a green vegetable because we are adults. Thus, asparagus.

I was pleasantly surprised that while this meal tasted like the kind of thing that would give me a food coma, it didn't put me in a food coma. I'll chalk that up to the rutabaga being far less starchy than a potato.

I have a new motto for the rutabaga - "tastes like a potato, doesn't put you in stasis."

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends chopped off
  • 1 lb sausage taken out of casing (hot Italian would work well)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan (optional)
rutabaga asparagus and onion

Peel the rutabaga, and chop up into a medium-ish dice. The larger the cubes, the longer you will be hanging around the stovetop. You've been warned.

Clean the asparagus and snap off the woody ends. (They all have a natural breaking point where they snap.) Chop into two-inch pieces.

Dice the onion.

Heat up the largest pan you own to a medium-high heat on the stovetop.

Cook the sausage until it is in done - it should be nicely crumbled. This will take 5-10 minutes depending on how small the pieces are. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl.

Next up, saute the asparagus in that delicious sausage fat until easily pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Remove the asparagus and put in another bowl.

Add the rutabaga to the pan. If there isn't enough sausage fat left to coat them all you'll need to add some olive oil. Toss and cook until mostly soft, stirring occasionally. This will take 25-30 minutes. (It's a great time to pour a glass of wine and call your mother.) After about 20 minutes, dump in the onions and keep cooking everything until it tastes like homefries.

When the rutabaga is done, throw the asparagus and sausage back in the pan, sprinkle in salt and thyme, and toss everything together until it has heated back up. You can serve it at this point, but if you are using a pan that can go in the oven, you can really kick it up a notch by sprinkling some shredded parmesan on top and broiling in the oven for 3-5 minutes (or until melted).

Serve immediately!

rutabaga hash