Ground Lamb with Potatoes, Garlic, and Rosemary

One of my mom's go-to dinners when I was growing up, was Hamburger and Potatoes. It was a great dish of fried potatoes, hamburger, onion, a splash or worcestershire and soy sauces, a bit of seasoned salt... Fairly simple - and a great way to stretch a pound of ground beef.

Fast-forward 60 years, and it's a dish I still make now and again. Total comfort food.

I was thawing a pound of ground lamb the other day, and wondering what sort of exotic meal I could make. While I was looking at ground lamb kabobs or lamb sausage patties, Victor focused on something closer to the hamburger and potatoes of my youth - Ground Lamb with Potatoes, Garlic, and Rosemary from a website called My Heart Beets. He showed me the recipe and dinner was in the making!

The recipe was pure simplicity.

The dish probably won't win any awards for presentation, but it definitely wins them for flavor!


Ground Lamb and Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

adapted from My Heart Beets

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 lb potato medley cut in half (or a pound of potatoes cubed in 1" pieces)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper minced
  • 5 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary fresh
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in large skillet. Add potatoes and cook for about five minutes, covered. Uncover, add onion, and cook until onion is wilted.

Add ground lamb and cook until lamb is almost cooked through.

Stir in garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika. Cook until lamb is fully cooked and potatoes are tender.

Don't skimp on the garlic or the rosemary. Use it all. It balances the lamb perfectly.

It's definitely something that will fit into the monthly rotation!



Lamb Kebabs

Lamb Kebabs

My impulse buy of the week - this week - was a small boneless leg of lamb. Right now, my tummy is rather glad I bought it!

The plan was to marinate it and throw it on the grill, but when I pulled it out of the 'fridge, this morning, kebabs made their entry into my culinary brain - and who am I to argue with myself?!?

The marinade was simple - pomegranate molasses, olive oil, garlic powder, and lots of fresh mint - with a bit of fresh rosemary and parsley.

I skewered them with dried figs and dates and onto the grill they went.

It was another OMG moment! Really tender, really flavorful, and I didn't even mind that I had to change propane tanks halfway through cooking. Yes, I always have a spare. The figs and dates were perfect from the grill.

We picked a few more purple-beans-that-turn-green and Victor made a quick bean and potato salad - olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Dinner was served.

Lamb Kebabs

Methinks I will have to pick up another one of those little roasts sometime soon.



Lamb Burgers

Lamb Burgers with Fennel Slaw

Ya know how sometimes you make something that is truly excellent?!? We did it, tonight. Lamb Burgers with all the trimmings!

We tend to get into a rut, now and again, with beef-chicken-pork because it's almost always in the freezer and easy to pull out and thaw, so last time I was at the grocers, I picked up a package of ground lamb. No real plan for it, but I thought it would help to get the creative juices flowing.

And it did!

Victor found a recipe for lamb burgers with a fennel slaw and aioli that had promise, so he went off to make his own version of the aioli. That left me with the fennel slaw and the lamb. We do good tag-team kitchen!

Lamb Burgers with Fennel Slaw


  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 2 oz Sambuca
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Salt and Pepper

Lemon-Caper Aioli:

  • 1/4 cup rinsed salt-packed capers
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt

Fennel Slaw:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


Lamb Burger:

Place lamb in bowl. Sprinkle with Sambuca and spices. Mix well and form into patties. Grill to desired doneness.

Lemon-Caper Aioli:

Whisk capers, mayonnaise, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, cayenne, and garlic in a medium bowl; taste and season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired.

Fennel Slaw:

If you have a mandoline, use it to thinly-slice the fennel, celery, and onion. If not, cut as thin as you can. Toss the fennel, celery, onion, and mint with the lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, as desired.

To Assemble:

Toast thick slices of bread or good rolls. Place aioli on bread, top with burger, top with more aioli, and then the slaw.

Lamb Burgers

This was definitely a hit! Lots of spice from the aioli, crunch from the slaw, and sweetness from the lamb. The flavors just worked. It was the perfect knife-and-fork burger.

The aioli recipe makes a lot, so the challenge will now be to see how I can incorporate it into something else.

I love a good challenge!




Spiced Lamb Pita

The End of Week Forty-Four

Another grueling week at the gym. On Wednesday - after burpees and Bosu balance squats and other sweat-producing stuff - our Trainer said the next 15 minutes are going to be a bit intense.

And he was serious.

It was literal non-stop movement from jumping jacks to mountain climbs to push-ups to lord knows what else. Constant up down floor jump squat floor jump down up... It was like being back in boot camp except I am 47 years older. These are the whole body exercises that use every muscle - including the ones you didn't know you had until they start screaming in pain. None of them are difficult on their own; it's the fast-paced combination that totally exhausts me. Surprisingly, I was able to breathe better and it didn't totally kill me... and it was an excellent cardio. It was also the first time in a while that I was sore coming home.

Today, before we started, Victor was talking to the Trainer about the cycles upstairs and what they're good for. He had been on one for the first time on Thursday and kinda liked it. Charles said he'd show us.


Speed Sprint Resistance Standing Sitting Increase Decrease... In less than ten minutes I felt like I was on Day Twenty-One of the Tour de France - and hadn't stopped to pee. Another great cardio - and jello legs. This time I was having trouble catching my breath; I was doing something totally different and just didn't have the rhythm down. He took pity on us and brought us back downstairs for arm work. My formerly non-existent biceps are just a tad sore, right now.

On the other hand, I feel pretty darn good and there's not much he can throw at us that we're not afraid to try. It really is rather amazing what we've accomplished. I really am amazed.

Not to mention that we're eating well and maintaining our weight.


And speaking of amazed, we were both pretty amazed at how good dinner was, tonight. We did something totally different - and it worked!

My impulse-buy the other day at the grocery store was a pound of ground lamb. We didn't really need any meats or poultry since I'm working on getting things out of the freezer, but... you know how it is... I had no plans for it, so I did a quick Chef Google search and found a recipe for a spiced lamb burger on What was fun, was the lamb is seasoned, stuffed into a pita, and then grilled! Even better was I had all of the ingredients - except the pita.

I went to my Shaya cookbook and Alon had a recipe for pita. What was interesting, is he uses the same dough for his pizza as he does his pita - and his dough is a 2-day rise similar to mine. And I just happened to have a pound of dough in the freezer.

I made pitas.

Fresh Pita

They're actually really easy to make, but they're also really easy to buy. If you want to make it, just do a google search for instructions.

The lamb filling was excellent! Super easy and really flavorful. And it cooked perfectly on the grill in less than ten minutes. You'll note that Blanche got her own lamb burger sans onions and spices. Yes, she's spoiled.

Spiced Lamb Pita

Spiced Lamb Pitas

  • 12 oz ground lamb
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp cup olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 2 large pita breads with pockets

Mix lamb, onion, parsley, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and oil in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Prepare grill for medium heat and oil grate. Working one at a time, open each pita pocket by cutting along seam, halfway around perimeter. Spoon filling into pitas, spreading to edges. Close, pressing on filling to seal.

Grill pitas until filling is cooked through and bread is crisp, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve with tzatziki sauce.

I made a quick tzatziki with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, green onion, dill, and lemon juice.

Spiced Lamb Pita

They were crispy, pleasantly greasy, bursting with flavor, and the tzatziki really worked well with it.

I think the possibilities, here, are endless... You could go any nationality or ethnic group and have a lot of fun playing with flavors. I'm thinking ground pork with Mexican spices topped with guacamole... Or an Italian-theme...

I took the rest of the dough and wrapped it around hot Italian sausages. They're in the 'fridge for dinner tomorrow night.

Fun summertime fare.


Moroccan Lamb

Moroccan-Spiced Lamb

If my mom ever cooked anything special for the new year, I really don't remember it. The first time I recall hearing about good luck New Year's foods was when I was in the Navy. Working with lots of guys from down south, Hoppin' John entered my vocabulary. As I got older and moved around the country, more traditions arrived.

When I lived at Lake Tahoe, working for the Hyatt, I worked with a lot of Mexicans. They made tamales and brought them in for everyone to share. Somewhere, I remember King Cake - that was probably Boston. Black-eyed peas and cornbread followed me around the USofA, and landing in Pennsylvania, it became Pork and Sauerkraut. Victor would divorce me if I ever made pork and sauerkraut - so much for good luck.

After years in the restaurant and hotel business, the very last day I want to be out is New Years Eve. It's even worse than Mother's Day. I don't know if you can even imagine the horror of delivering pizzas on such a night, or dealing with drunks throwing glasses in the general vicinity of a casino fireplace. We were still finding shards of glass for weeks after that one...

Other than a few small house parties, First Night in Boston was probably the most fun of the New Year festivities I've experienced. Definitely the most unique. Outdoors in a cold, snowy Boston with performances ranging from classical to contemporary in a score or more different venues. And the crowds were relatively well-behaved.

We had bullets raining down on us when we lived in San Leandro - why people think it's a good idea to shoot guns into the air boggles my mind. We flew across the country on New Year's Eve 1999 to bring in the year 2000 with Victor's family - on a near-empty flight in deserted airports. And being locked out of Times Square after seeing The Producers with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick less than a half-block away was pretty aggravating. We ended up heading back to our hotel and had a champagne toast with the bartender, the Beverage Manager, and a couple from Norway as the clock struck twelve.

Normally, I eschew crowds - especially the throngs out on a New Year's Eve - but I do think I'd like to ring in the new year in a European city, Rome, London, Paris, Florence, Barcelona... I dunno... Outdoors in a huge plaza, somewhere - and within walking distance of wherever we were staying. The biggest stipulation being within walking distance of where we would be staying. I wouldn't want to have to deal with any sort of transportation. And I could definitely envision a moonlit walk through Paris at 3am... Maybe next year... ::sigh::

Tonight, our idea of celebrating the New Year is a bit of bubbly and a lamb dish that was my take on a  Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish Moroccan recipe. My knowledge of Middle Eastern Jewish cuisine is pretty non-existent, but I can read a recipe and let the flavors speak to me as I go down the list.

The original recipe uses lamb shanks and is from New York Shuk. It includes a spiced chutney they call Moroccan Jewish Tanzeya. I added a lot of spices and used a boned leg of lamb I cut into cubes, marinating the meat overnight in the spices and some port.

Moroccan Jewish Tanzeya

adapted from New York Shuk

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup quartered dried figs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • Pinch of dried chile flakes
  • Pinch of salt

In a wide, shallow saucepan, combine cranberries, apricots, figs and raisins. Add 1 cup hot water and 1 cup port, and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Add sugar and remaining ingredients. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until water has almost completely evaporated, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Allow mixture to cool; if desired, it may be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Lamb with Caramelized Onions

adapted from New York Shuk

  • 2  lbs lamb leg, cut into cubes
  • 2 tsp Ras El Hanout
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 2 onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup tanzeya
  • toasted blanched almonds for garnish

Cut lamb into cubes. place in bowl with port, spices, and olive oil. Let marinate overnight.

In an oven-proof braising pan or casserole, brown lamb. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add sliced onions and slowly cooked until they begin to lightly brown. Add 1/2 cup port and 1/2 cup water to the pan, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 275°F.

Add lamb to onions, mix well, and cover. Place in oven for about 2 hours.

Remove from oven and stir in 1 cup tanzeya. Mix well.

Cover and return to oven for another 15 or so minutes.

Serve over saffron rice.

While I'm not sure what the original was supposed to taste like, my rendition seriously rocked the casbah! It was sweet, it was moderately spicy, the lamb was fork-tender. Everything about it was good.

We had it over a simple saffron rice - onion sautéed in butter, and then chicken broth and a pinch of saffron along with a cup of rice.

And later, some cookies and the rest of the champagne while watching That's Entertainment on Turner Classic Movies.

So... we leave you with Robert Burns and Auld Lang Syne. And if you scroll down to the end, there's a video of Guy Lombardo playing it. Sing along. All of the verses. And we'll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint-stoup!
and surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
sin' auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
sin' auld lang syne.


And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.


Happy Birthday, Cybil

September 9, 2003

10 years ago we brought home a puppy dog from the Chester County SPCA. "Sparkle" was curled up in a ball in the back of a cage shivering. We didn't even see her the first time we walked through - she was not a happy little girl. She had been picked up as a stray after living on the streets for a while. She was a skinny little thing in desperate need of a home. I think she was also ashamed of that silly name.

After talking to the folks for a few minutes, they put her on a leash and brought her out to a little outdoor pathway/patio area they have. Victor had her by the leash and sat down on a bench. I sat on a curb across from him. She-who-would-become-Cybil laid down and put her head in my lap. That was it. We walked back in and filled out the adoption papers.

10 years later, she's not a skinny little thing anymore. Neither am I, come to think of it.

We were both working outside the home when we first got her, so we needed to train her to be by herself in the house while we were gone. We're not fans of crates - we took her out of a cage we're not putting her back in one - so we would leave the house for a few minutes at a time and extend the times. Fortunately, we often worked opposite shifts, so the length of time she was alone wasn't great.

But when we would come home after a few hours away, we'd find a piece of clothing - a sweatshirt, pajamas, in the living room. She's bring them out of the bedroom and lay on them - waiting for us to come home. Her security blanket.

She hasn't done that in years, but she still goes crazy-happy when she sees us after a night out - or after a vacation. Running from one to the other and back - trying to figure out how she can be in both of our laps at the same time.

September 9, 2013

It's hard to believe she's been here for 10 years. It's difficult to remember a time without her. Spoiled rotten, neurotic, smart as a whip and obstinate as hell when she wants to be. She has us wrapped around her little paws.

So what's a puppy dog get for her 11th birthday?

Lamb Chops!


They were marinated in olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary, and then grilled to a perfect medium rare.

Cybil didn't get any mashed potatoes nor did she get any bones - but she did get her broccoli.

She's curled up in the hallway, right now - one eye on me in the office and one eye on Victor in the living room. She's still a herder and wants to know where her charges are at all times.

What a great 10 years it's been!

Lamb Chops



Once upon a time, I did not give a thought at all about dinner. I just made something. Victor is one of the easiest people in the world to cook for. We both have the philosophy of "If you're cooking, I'm eating," so dinner was often whatever inspiration came through that day - or what needed to be used up. For the past few months, however, I've had to make a conscious effort to make things that will appeal to an 87 year old. It's decidedly different. From winging it - which really is where my kitchen talents lay - to structure - not always my strong point.

I'm already finding myself getting into a rut.

So... yesterday when I saw some really nice lamb chops at the grocers, I brought them home. I chopped up several cloves of garlic and braved the rain for some fresh rosemary from the garden. Olive oil, salt, pepper, and a zip lock bag. I placed everything in the bag and let it set in the refrigerator overnight.

Tonight, it was merely a matter of taking them out of the bag and placing them on the grill. Simplicity.

The potatoes were thick-sliced, drizzled with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. I laid them out on a sheet pan and baked them in a 425° oven for about 25 minutes. Simple steamed broccoli.

It was a hit - and a miss. While the chops were extremely tender and had a great flavor, they were a bit difficult for Nonna to chew. And she does like her vegetables over-cooked-to-mush.

I've done separate vegetables in the past so that may become the wave of the future. I'm loathe to start cooking separate meals altogether because I don't want her to feel like we're making her different food while we bask in gastronomic luxury, so I may just start chopping the meats a little smaller. I certainly have the experience from my health care days.

It's all a learning curve. We're learning.



Lamb Chops and Apricots

Sometimes being a bit nontraditional can be fun.  And we do like fun around here!

I've been thinking up ways to use the Apricot Pepper Jam I made a few weeks ago and thought that a sauce for lamb chops might just fit the bill.  Rosemary and garlic seem to be my go-to flavors with lamb chops and every now and again, I need to get out of my rut.  I knew the flavors would be a natural for chicken or pork.  The lamb was a bit of a stretch - but a stretch that really ended up working well.

My inspiration for cooking was actually going out to dinner last night - a Saturday night - in Philadelphia.  A dear friend of ours was in town on business and it was just an automatic that we would go in to meet her for dinner. Of course, being stay-at-homes, we had no idea where to go, so Victor texted his niece who lives in the city.  She asked what we were looking for and he replied Something young and hip - everything that we're not.  She recommended Le Virtù on East Passyunk Ave - a couple of blocks from their home.  It was a stellar choice!

It was fun getting the creative juices flowing.

Lamb Chops with Apricots

  • 4 loin lamb chops
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Apricot Pepper Jelly (or apricot jam or preserves)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom

Cook lamb chops in skillet to desired doneness.  Add chopped shallots and lightly brown.  Add chicken broth and deglaze the pan.  Add chopped apricots and continue cooking until broth is reduced by half.  Add jam, vinegar, and cardamom powder and heat through.  Taste for seasoning and add S&P as required.

Serve over lamb chops or other meat of your choice.

And then we had the nontraditional Brussels sprouts.   A huge stalk of fresh brussels sprouts is just too much for two people.  i love them, but don't really want to eat them every night for a week.  I blanched and froze a bunch of them today.  The rest went into a bit of a stirfry.

Brussels Sprouts with Artichokes and Carrots

  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, blanched and sliced
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Add vegetables to skillet and saute until browned and tender.  Stir in walnuts.  Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

And, finally, some mahogany rice.  A lighter rice would have made for a better picture, but I went for flavor.

Dessert is going to be a Pumpkin Ricotta Pie.   It's a recipe I just came up with this afternoon, so we shall see how it came out in an hour or so...


Lamb Chops

This idea came from a really old Gourmet or Bon Appetit magazine.  I have a file folder full of recipes I've cut out of newspapers and magazines over the years.  Every now and again I go through it and throw out the ones I know I will never cook.  This one has been there for a while, so I thought I may as well make it!  And I'm rather glad I did!

The recipe itself is really simple - 1/3 cup rinsed capers, zest of 1 orange, and a couple cloves of garlic all chopped together, placed on top of the chop, and then cooked.

The original recipe called for making the topping, putting it on one side of the chop, and then frying it - topping down - in a non-stick skillet.   Since I don't own a non-stick skillet (other than my egg pan) I thought it might be better to top them, brown the bottom in the skillet, and then finish them off under the broiler.

It worked rather well.

As soon as they went into the oven, the house started smelling of orange.  It was great.  And the flavors went perfectly with the medium-rare lamb.

Two new recipes in two days!  I think I may have to grill tomorrow...  I cleaned the grill yesterday for the first time in far too long - take apart and completely clean the interior clean - and it's calling for something fun!

Stay tuned...

Lamb Chops

Lamb is one of those things I keep forgetting I like.

I don't seem to notice it at the store and I certainly don't go out of my way to buy it.  But I really do like it.

My Aunt Dolores (actually Great-Aunt Dolores) made the absolute best leg of lamb when I was a kid.  Bone-in, of course.  Back then "boneless" wasn't really an option.  And even if it had been, no one would have bought it because everyone knew that the flavor comes from roasting with the bone. Aunt D was born in 1898 in Pueblo, Colorado, the youngest of 7 children.  She lived in San Francisco and NYC but by the time I came along she was living with Uncle Tommy in Sacramento, CA.  Tommy was a Train Master for the Southern Pacific.  They had a really cool "modern" house that had things like a refrigerator and freezer that was built-in and looked like the upper cabinets in the kitchen.  They entertained and cooked all the time and I still have her Sunset BBQ Cook Books. (Here's one of them...)  She and Uncle Tommy even had matching aprons.  I've had Uncle Tommy's for years.  When he died in 1958, she moved back to San Francisco.

Sacramento was shish-ka-bobs on the barbecue.  San Francisco was leg of lamb with lamb gravy.

Auntie didn't do a lot to the lamb.  I remember the slivers of garlic she placed throughout the meat and maybe some rosemary.  But it was the good meat itself that was the centerpiece.  And her lamb gravy.  I watched her make it enough times that I know there really wasn't any secret tricks she performed, but that gravy was silken perfection every time.  I've tried replicating it in the past to no avail.  Auntie just knew what she was doing.

When I saw the lamb chops at the store I had to pick them up.  I marinated them in olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh mint and fresh rosemary.  They went onto the grill for just a few minutes.  Potatoes in the oven and broccoli rabe finished the plate.

Auntie led a full and interesting life, traveled all over the world, married twice (no children) and liked her martini's.  She died in 1994 at the ripe old age of 96.

They just don't make 'em like that anymore...




Sicilian Lamb Patties and Homemade Ricotta

Ever since Victor made that ricotta cheese at Easter, I've been looking for more. And today was the day!

It is just unbelievably good - and so easy to make!

Fresh Ricotta

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a heavy pot and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

Scoop curds into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and drain about 30 minutes.  Squeeze to remove as much whey as possible.

Cover and chill.

So...  with the fresh ricotta, I needed something to put under it.  I have had a pound of ground lamb in the freezer for too long - it was time to find a recipe and use it.

I found a lot of recipes but nothing was whetting the appetite - and then I found one for Sicilian lamb patties braised in what looked like an eggplant caponata.  That looked good enough to go for!

The recipe I started with comes from Bruce Aidells of Aidells sausage fame.  I met him years ago when I was working for California Sunshine and he was still making sausages by hand.  The recipe as written would have been good, I'm sure, but I really didn't want to serve it on polenta, and I wanted to grill the patties, not fry them.

Grilling the patties and then finishing them off in the sauce was a good compromise. And serving it atop fresh arugula and topping it with the fresh ricotta was perfection.

Sicilian Lamb Patties


Lamb patties:

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Eggplant mixture:

  • 1 large eggplant (1 to 1 1/4 pounds), unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 large red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram

For lamb patties:

Combine breadcrumbs and milk and soak 5 minutes. Add lamb and remaining ingredients; mix gently to combine. Shape into 8 patties.

For eggplant mixture:

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine cubed eggplant and 4 tablespoons oil in large bowl and toss to coat. Spread eggplant out on rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake about 25 minutes, stirring once.

Grill lamb patties and set aside.

In skillet, cook onions until wilted. Add red peppers, and garlic and cook for a few minutes and thenadd the wine. Cook until wine is reduced to glaze 7-10 minutes. Add eggplant, tomatoes, and marjoram. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add lamb patties and continue cooking another 10-15 minutes, or until patties are cooked thropugh.

Spoon caponata atop fresh arugula. Place lamb patties on top and top with fresh ricotta cheese.

It looks like a lot of stuff, but it really was quite easy.  You can make the parts ahead of time and throw it together at the last minute, too.

So onto the knee...

I had my follow-up appointment today and all is swell!  The healing is coming along just as it should, and I'll be back to work on Tuesday with no restrictions.

Not bad.  I actually got to see pictures of it, today.  Fortunately, there was no arthritis or anything other problem - just a nasty tear - so I shall be back to normal in no time.

And in other fun news...

Today is my sister's birthday!  Arlene Diane and Eileen Deane - The Twins - were children numbers four and five to join the clan.  All four of my sisters were born in May - and all four of them just got back from Maui yesterday.

Happy Birthday to you!




Lamb Chops and Lemon

During my Monday Shopping today, I saw some lamb chops that looked just too good to pass up.

I don't seem to buy a lot of lamb.  No particular reason - I really like it - but for whatever reason, it doesn't end up in the shopping cart all that often.  Tonight, I figured the chops would go on the grill but I wanted something to go with them.  I first thought of lemon and mint - the mint is already growing crazy outside - but in the end I opted for lemon, garlic, and rosemary.  Classic lamb accompaniments.  The rosemary hasn't reached mint proportions, but it's outdoors and fresh, nonetheless.

Lemon Rosemary Sauce

  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper

Place everything but olive oil in small food chopper and chop.  With processor running, add oil slowly to create a lovely emulsion.

Serve atop lamb chops.

It's one of those things that is just so easy, yet takes the meal from "good" to "WOW" with no effort, at all.

Served with the chops were Brussels sprouts - actually from Belgium  - and a whole-grain rice assortment.  Brussels sprouts are my most-favorite vegetable in the world.  I know, I'm weird, but I've always liked them.

The rice was a blend of different whole-grain rices in the cupboard... black, mahogany, red, and the end of a confetti rice blend.

And the chops...  Cooked to perfection.  I put them on the grill and then heard Victor speaking with our next door neighbor over the fence, so off I went to join them.  They flared up a bit and the fat got a bit charred, but they were g-o-o-o-o-d!

I'm going to have to pick them up a bit more often.  The mint-and-lemon sauce combination still sounds good!