Sunday, September 21, 2014

Avocado and Citrus Salad with Green Olives

The combination on grapefruit, avocado, and olives seemed like an odd choice, but I had faith and my faith was rewarded with a refreshing side salad. It was a little surprising how well the avocados and olives fit into everything. The full recipe below makes a lot of salad. Goin says you should aim for about 1/2 cup of citrus per person. For us, 1 grapefruit and 1 orange seemed the right amount for two people with about 1/2 of an avocado and other pieces scaled haphazardly. The original also calls for a mix of watercress and frisee, but I needed baby spinach for something else, so I decided to just keep things simple. I think it's fair to say this could work with any tender greens of your choice.

Two years ago: Bulgur Salad with Apricot, Radicchio, and Parsley
Three years ago: Dan Dan Noodles
Four years ago: Bolognese Meat Sauce

Avocado and Citrus Salad with Green Olives (adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques)

4 lbs mixed citrus fruit (grapefruit, oranges, clementines, tangerines, etc.)
2 tbsp finely chopped shallot
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1 bunch watercress, cleaned and tough stems removed
1 bunch frisee, cleaned

1. Zest citrus to get 1 tsp of zest.
2. Cut stem and blossom ends from fruit. Peel fruit and slice into segments, discarding seeds. Retain juice if possible. If not, that's okay too.
3. Combine shallots, 1/4 cup citrus juice from slicing (or just increase other acidic components), vinegar, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp salt in small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Whisk in olive oil and zest to shallot mixture.
5. Place citrus segments and olives in a large bowl. Spoon 3/4 of vinaigrette over top and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Toss in watercress and frisee [or other greens of your choice].
6. For plating, you can plate on a platter gently adding in the avocado slices in between a salad sandwich or you can just gently fold the avocado into your salad bowl and serve as I did.

Spiced Lamb Chops with a Fenugreek Sauce

One of the best parts about traveling to India was the opportunity to finally try authentic Indian food. It's long been a favourite of mine to cook (maybe you've noticed?), but having never traveled to India, it's always been a question in my mind of how close I was actually getting. I left India with a full and satisfied belly, a greater confidence in what I've been doing, and a craving for more Indian food. Unlike some of my colleagues, I know I can go for at least a month without tiring of the rich blend of spices.

As luck would have it, before I left, our meat CSA had given us 2 lbs of lamb loin chops. With all ingredients on hand, this seemed like the perfect recipe to highlight a welcome back from India. The rub on the lamb is full of rich smoky flavours and the fenugreek-cream sauce is rich and wonderful. This really is nothing like what I ate in India (I was in a mostly vegetarian region and the meat I did have was from long braises), but the flavours still capture the essence. Except for the marinade time, this is also a very quick meal. If you're using lamb loin chops and like your lamb a little less rare, you may want to cook longer.

One year ago: (Wedding hiatus!)
Two years ago: Puy lentils with sour cherries, bacon, and Gorgonzola
Three years ago: Sweet-and-sour red peppers
Four years ago: Tomato Galette

Spiced Lamb Chops with a Fenugreek Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp black cumin seeds, ground
seeds from 2 black cardamom pods, ground
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp coarse salt
1 lb rack of lamb, cut into chops (loin chops also work well)
2 tbsp mustard oil or canola oil
1 cup half-and half
1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen fenugreek leaves
1/2 tsp Kashmiri garam masala

1. Combine ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander, cumin, black cumin, cardamom, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt in small bowl. Coat lamb chops with rub and refrigerate covered for 30 minutes to overnight.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb chops (with rub) to oil and sear each side until browned (2 minutes per side). Transfer to serving platter.
3. Pour half-and-half into skillet and bring to a simmer. Add fenugreek leaves, garam masala, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer, stirring, until sauce thickens 2 - 4 minutes.
4. Pour sauce over chops and serve.