I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Lamb Patties with Yogurt Mint Sauce

Again, necessity drives invention. The only way MZ will eat meat is if it is ground. And when she slept too long for me to get to the store to buy ingredients for our planned Indian meal, I went with what we had on hand. It was good enough to make again. That is if my sister will make more of her delicious pita.

MZ gobbled this up, she loved the crumbled patties as well as the pita dipped in hummus and yogurt sauce.

Lamb patties (recipe below)
Minted Yogurt sauce (recipe below)
2-3 pita

1/2 c crumbled feta cheese

Lamb Patties
1 lb
ground lamb
3 chopped green onions
1 T.
Persian spice blend, or 1/2 t. each cumin, allspice, finely ground black pepper
1 t. salt
1 egg
1/3 cup matzo meal or breadcrumbs
Heat broiler. Mix ingredients lightly till just combined. Place in refrigerator ~20 minutes while preparing the yogurt sauce. Then form into patties about 2" in diameter and 1/2" thick, and broil, about 4 minutes on one side and two minutes on the other. Serve hot.

Yogurt Sauce
3/4 cup
Greek yogurt
1 T lemon juice
1 chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Pepper and salt to taste
Combine ingredients and allow flavors to meld while heating pita and forming lamb patties.

Wrap pita in foil and heat in a toaster oven. Rub lightly with water if the pita are stale.

To Serve: Place patties, pita, hummus, yogurt sauce and feta on the table and let everyone make their own pita sandwiches. I made a salad of boston lettuce and cucumbers that was also good tucked into the pita.

Enjoy this with a lightly chilled dry rosé.

Riff references: Minted lamb patties; Minted lamb burgers with Feta and Hummus; Lamb Burgers with Mint Yogurt Sauce

Egede Szegede Gulyas

This dish evolved out of my desire to try out my new slow cooker and my need to clear the refrigerator. I had saved a recipe for a pork and sauerkraut stew that on second look needed doctoring -- and was just a step away from a Hungarian pork and sauerkraut stew my mom makes, but for which I have no recipe. And in addition to the required pork and sauerkraut, I had a few links of andouille left over from New Year's Hoppin' John and some white beans that I had made for MZ, which she mainly hucked from the highchair.

So, I made up this stew, which came together quickly during MZ's morning nap. The beauty of this strategy was that dinner was done by noon (although I missed my shower window), and the flavors got to meld over the course of the day. With its kick of spice from the andouille, it was perfectly warming yet comforting on a winter evening. I used turkey andouille from TJ's, which makes this marginally healthier, but would not quibble with the genuine article.

I didn't end up using the slow cooker, but I'm sure it could be done that way, too -- still staging the addition of the beans and sausage. And although this was pretty spicy, MZ did eat a few white beans. As usual, she declined any meat.

It's named for a toast we were taught in Eger, ancestral home of the Egris, which if said wrong might not be very nice. The spelling is a riff of its own. Oh, and I served this over egg noodles.

2 lbs. pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1.5" pieces
2 T. flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, diced
2 T. butter
2 T. Hungarian paprika
1 jar Bubbe's sauerkraut, rinsed
1 -2 cups water
2 Bay leaves
2-3 links andouille sausage, cut in half and sliced on diagonal
1 can white beans or equivalent home-cooked
Sour cream

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic zip lock Shake the pork pieces in the mixture and brown in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat, in batches if necessary. Remove pork to a bowl and drain all but 1 T. of the fat. Add the onion and saute till translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, and butter as necessary to keep the mixture lubricated. Stir till the paprika is dark and fragrant, then add the pork and any accumulated juices, the sauerkraut, bay leaves and enough water to come about half-way up the mixture. Bring to a simmer, then turn to low, cover and braise for one hour. Meanwhile, brown the sausage and drain off any fat.

After one hour, add the sausage and beans. Bring to simmer and cook another 30 minutes, till the pork is almost falling apart tender. Serve in bowls with a generous dallop of sour cream.

This dish has its roots in Eastern Europe, and it packs some spice to boot, so enjoy with beer, maybe Pilsner Urquell or something Belgian.

Riff references: Pilot Guides.com

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Introducing Pickyfingers

I've been thinking about doing something with food and blogging for a while. It hasn't fit into Casa Robmaliam, although parenting has changed my cooking and eating more than anything else since a stint in the kitchen just after college. I was a disaster there, the slowest prepcook in recorded history.

But I left that kitchen with new skills and a new appreciation for well-prepared food, which I've maintained, and when I stumbled on
CityMama and her other blog, FamilyFood, a lightbulb went off -- just start another blog!

I'm not a
foodie, nor a dedicated chowhound. We hardly eat out anymore, and then the choices are based more on proximity, the opportunity to catch up with friends, and whether MZ can handle the place, and visa versa. Fortunately, in SF, we never need visit a chain, "ethnic" mom'n'pop restaurants are almost always happy to see a baby. So restaurants will get a mention, I'm sure.

But mostly this is a place to jot down what I'm cooking these days, mostly stuff made up on a whim, riffed off a recipe or two and what's available in the pantry and on the clock. Previously a leisurely cook, I'm learning to make it happen within the time confines of a budding toddler. And rather than combing the neighborhoods for new food adventures, I comb the aisles for things she might consider eating -- things that have flavor and food value, things that aren't just chicken nuggets and mac'n'cheese.

So, without further ado, I introduce pickyfingers... bon appétit!