Delectable BBQ Sliced Rosemary Lamb

I am away for a little bit to frolic in the country…..enjoy this scheduled post and I look forward to posting upon my return.

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Have you learned to love a certain food over time…a food you really disliked at first that now you enjoy? I like best the descriptive Acquired Taste expression to explain this phenomena.  I know I have my fair share of such foods I rejected on firts bite as a child and now adore. My part list includes blue cheese, oysters, anchovies, eggplant and lamb by a long shot.

Oh that repulsive wooly gamey taste in my youth, I hated it. Now I know that lamb only tastes like that when the lamb is slaughtered past the 1 year mark. That is when the taste gets stronger and the meat tougher. I clearly remember the day I was courageous and ordered the first piece of lamb I loved. It was at a restaurant specializing in cuisine from Brittany. The Lamb came from l’Ile Verte, an island in the Saint- Laurence river, where the lambs fed in a salted march. It was also served like a filet mignon. It was divine and I have eating lamb without fear ever since.

I was preparing a very simple dinner with lamb,  a meat I do not buy often but it was 30% off. It turned out to be one of the best lamb dishes I have ever tasted in my life. It was a Foodgasm! The incredibly easy  and quick to prepare marinade knocked my socks of and paired with lamb perfectly. Let the meat marinate for one hour and them cook 3 min on each side on the BBQ.

Ξ BBQ Sliced Rosemary Lamb Ξ

4 slices of lamb leg butt
2 clove of garlic cut in 2 lengthwise
4tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut excess fat around the slice, rub each side of the steaks with the halved garlic
  2. Mix well remaining ingredients in a bowl. Marinate the meat in the sauce for 2 hours
  3. Pre-heat your BBQ to 400F.
  4. Cook for 3 minutes on each side – this timing will give you a medium rare meat.

I bought this weekend some zucchini flowers for the first time ever. Now I realize they were maybe not bloomed enough beauty wise and since they may not be good upon my return I decided to do a quick grill with them since I could only find fried or stuffed recipes online which was not going to happen at 9 pm at night!

All I did was mix a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar together, with a touch of garlic salt and pepper and them dipped the blooms in like a paint brush to coat the flowers. After 3min on the BBQ they are done. They were very tasty and I look forward to experimenting more with this flower. how pretty are they with red currants lazying about the dish.

East meets West Arancini

Arancini is an Italian specialty, from Sicily to be precise, dating back to around the 10th century. The word Arancini actually means “little orange” as the traditional fried rice ball are very round and resemble small oranges. You will find many recipes online giving you the supposed original version but as any Italian family can attest, every Italian mother or grandmother has her own secret recipe.

I have taken the Arancini concept and ran with it to create a very modern, fusion style rice ball. Instead of an Arborio rice I used short grain brown rice which has a mild nutty flavor. The Parmesan was replaced by a stronger, full bodied sheep’s milk hard cheese called Pecorino Crotonese. And finally we find in my recipe a seemingly odd herb combination, rosemary and lemon grass, which actually marry very well in small doses.

I shaped my Arancini smaller then normal. I made patties about 2 inches wide making them the perfect size for an hors d’oeuvres or a snack. Once they are prepared you can refrigerate leftovers and bring them for lunch at work or on a picnic. In other words they are completely portable, hence this recipe is my entry for the the USA Rice Federation Brown Rice Blogger Challenge with the theme of best portable recipe made with brown rice.

Ξ East meets West Arancini Ξ

1 1/3 short grain brown rice
3 1/4 cups water
1 cup Pecorino Crotonese cheese, grated
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
lemongrass, chopped fresh or dried

In a pot bring the water to boil. Add rice to pot, bring to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes covered. Once the rice is ready spread it out on a large plate to cool. It is important to break up the rice clumps with a fork or shamoji (flat rice paddle) once in a while, as it cools enough to handle with your hands.

In the mean time combine in a bowl the brown rice, cheese, rosemary, egg, salt and pepper. Mix everything well with a wooden spoon. Shape into rice balls about 2 inches wide, in your hands or with a small mold. Put them on a plate and in the fridge for about 30mins to firm up.

Take out rice balls from the fridge and pour flour into a bowl. Heat oil and butter in a skillet to 350F (180C). Coat lightly each rice balls with the flour and gently shake off any excess.  Fry rice balls in small batches, about on 4 minutes each side, turning them only once, until they are golden brown. Place the fried rice balls paper towels to drain the excess oil.

Serve with a sprinkle of lemongrass to give a zesty, lemony zing.

Makes 14 Arancinis

I hope you will enjoy my entry for the contest. If I may be so bold to pass judgment on the rice balls, I have to say they were out of this world, melt in your mouth, all cheesy and buttery happy explosions with just a delicate hint of the rosemary and lemongrass. For centuries we argued whether tomatoes and pasta actually came from Asia or Italy. In this recipe the East meets the West perfectly in agreement.

To learn more about rice and its nutritional facts please visit the USA Rice Federation website.

Rosemary Walnut Ice Cream

As a rule I usually do my ice creams without eggs not because of the taste but more out of laziness. You see ice cream with eggs is richer tasting because you have to cook it on the stove first and make you ice cream base a custard. Yummy indeed but you have to let the mixture cool down in the fridge completely before you can put it in you ice cream machine. If I have an ice cream craving I do not have such great patience lol.

To convert you egg ice cream recipes into egg-less ones you can leave out the egg, skip the heating part and toss it all in the ice cream machine right away. Some say that ice cream made without eggs is not likely to store as well and for as long…but why would one not eat up their ice cream ???

Yes I pearched it on my balcony...18th floors

Delicate flavored ice creams, like with fresh fruits or herbs like lavender, do better in a no egg recipe as the custard can mask the fine aromas. In this case I chose to make a Rosemary Walnut Ice Cream that can be found on the California Walnuts Comission Recipes page but with a few adjustments. I removed the eggs but kept the heating process as you need to infuse the natural oils out of the rosemary.

≡ Rosemary Walnut Ice Cream ≡

1/2 cup of palm sugar (or 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tbsp packed brown sugar)
2 cups 35% cream
2 cups milk
1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup California Walnuts chopped, toasted
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, over medium low heat, bring sugar, cream, milk and rosemary to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in California Walnuts. Let sit 15 minutes and sieve out rosemary. Stir in vanilla and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold, about 2 to 4 hours.

Use ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturer’s instructions.

OR

Spoon chilled custard into shallow metal pan, freeze until almost firm, about 3 hours. Break into chunks; purée in food processor. Pack into airtight container and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Transfer to refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Sprinkled with Bee Pollen

Thank you t0 the California Walnut Commission and Faye Clack for sending me these delicious walnuts to test in my kitchen.