Lamb Tagine with Potatoes and Chickpeas

Lamb with Potatoes and Chickpeas
One of the hardest parts about giving up six main food groups and items for baby A (she has protein digestion issues so I’m not eating dairy, wheat, eggs, fish, soy or peanuts) is finding quick, easy weeknight meals. Through a lot of trial and error, J and I have learned that some meals that look easy aren’t and some that look time-consuming are actually simple. This is a simple one. We’d put off making Lamb Tagine with Potatoes and Chickpeas from Williams Sonoma because it looked complicated. We were throughly surprised to learn it was easy and perfect for a busy weeknight.

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Lamb Tagine with Potatoes and Chickpeas
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Ingredients
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a small fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the cumin and coriander seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a spice grinder, add the peppercorns, paprika, ginger and the 2 tsp. salt and grind until well combined. Set aside. If using ground, skip the grinding step and just combine in a small bowl. Mix with a fork.
  3. In a tagine over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the lamb on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. If you don't have a tagine, we used our most favorite pasta pot.
  4. Add the remaining oil and the onion to the tagine or pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and the spice mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized, about 2 more minutes.
  6. Add the lamb, water, potatoes and the 1/4 cup cilantro and bring to a simmer.
  7. Cover the tagine or pot and adjust the heat so the mixture gently simmers.
  8. Cook for 45 minutes, then add the chickpeas and lemon juice.
  9. Continue cooking until the lamb is tender, about 45 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
  10. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Accompany with couscous or rice.

My opinion:
I LOVE this dish. It’s flavorful and warming and just delicious. It’s as good cold as it is right from the stove.

Oyster shucking at home and chargrilled oyster recipe

Oysters are amazingly delicious, but not easy to get in to. It can be intimidating to open an oyster, particularly after seeing the professionals use special chain-mail oyster-shucking glove and knife. After our jaunt to New Orleans in March, we decided not to be intimidated by oyster opening anymore. Plus, we really wanted to recreate the chargrilled oyster recipe from Acme Oyster house.

What you’ll need: An oven mitt, a flat-head screwdriver and a pairing knife serve as a low-cost alternative to the traditional tools.

First set the Oyster  flat side up.  Second, near the hinge, insert the flathead screwdriver between the shells. Then twist to pop the oyster open.How to easily shuck an oyster aurorameyer.com

It might take a few tries. How to shuck an oyster aurorameyer.com

Use the screwdriver to twist and pry the oyster all the way around if it doesn’t just pop open. How to shuck an oyster aurorameyer.com Shucking an oyster aurorameyer.com How to use a screwdriver to shuck an oyster at home

Eventually, you’ll see the oyster flesh. Using a screw driver to shuck an oyster at home aurorameyer.com

Scrape the oyster from the top shell. Then lift the top completely off. Take the paring knife and release the oyster from the bottom shell. Now, you’re ready to move on to the recipe.

For the Chargrilled oysters, we adapted this recipe from Food.com to mimic the dish we had at Acme Oyster house.

Oysters shucked at home final product aurorameyer.com

When the oyster liquor starts to bubble, spoon 1 tablespoon of sauce on top of each, then top with 1 tablespoon of Romano cheese. Let the cheese melt. When oysters begin to slightly brown at the edges, remove from grill and place on a heat proof plate or tray.  Top each oyster with an additional tablespoon of the butter sauce and serve immediately with slices of French bread for dipping. Garnish with minced Parsley. Serve while still sizzling with Lemon wedges and fresh bread.

Note: It stormed the day we made this and there was no way we were going to grill, so we just made use of the broiler on high in our oven. It worked perfectly. Just make sure to keep an eye on the dish while it is under the broiler, you can go from perfect to burnt pretty quickly.

Homemade Chargrilled Oysters by aurorameyer.com

My opinion:
The only thing missing was the family-style tables and neon signs.

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Oyster shucking at home and chargrilled oyster recipe
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Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place in a baking dish (we used a pie pan) filled with ice cream salt (to keep the oysters steady) with the meat up.
  2. Melt half the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add your lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, green onions, and all herbs and seasonings.
  4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, and then stir in the wine.
  5. Keep stirring and remove from heat as soon as the green onions wilt. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of the butter and stir until completely incorporated.  
  7. Heat grill to 350 degrees and place oysters without the sauce on the grill.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma at Home by aurorameyer.com
J recently found the most amazing chicken shawarma recipe originally from David Bonom, Cooking Light July 2008. It’s perfect with our homemade pitas.

Ingredients:
about 1 pound chicken breast (we used boneless, skinless) cut into 16 (3-inch) strips
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons olive oil for the skillet
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced (or more)
2-3 tablespoons Greek yogurt

Sauce:
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:
We made the sauce first so we could use the left over Greek yogurt in the chicken marinade. Combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk.  To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a a zip top bag. Add chicken. Toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature or at least 20 minutes. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Dump the chicken strips into the skillet. Cook about 10 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately on a homemade pita with lettuce, tomato slices, red onion and sauce.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma by aurorameyer.com

My opinion:
Two of these sandwiches is more than enough for an adult. It’s filling and tasty and I always wish there were even more leftovers for lunch the next day.

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Homemade Chicken Shawarma
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. We made the sauce first so we could use the left over Greek yogurt in the chicken marinade. Combine yogurt and next 4 sauce ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk.
  2. To prepare chicken, combine the first 6 ingredients in a zip-top bag.
  3. Add chicken.
  4. Toss well to coat.
  5. Let stand at room temperature or at least 20 minutes.
  6. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat.
  7. Remove the chicken strips and add them to the skillet.
  8. Cook about 10 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately on a homemade pita and lettuce, tomato slices, red onion and sauce.