Tag Archives: grilling

ORGANS FOR EASTER

Easter Sunday supper

Richard Olney’s caul-wrapped lamb heart, liver and kidney brochettes, strung onto rosemary branches // Spring vegetable pilaf with Swiss chard ribs, new carrots, fresh peas, scallions, mint, and parsley

Red leaf lettuce and roasted red beets dressed with minted-lemon vinaigrette // Tomato, red onion, parsley and mint salad // Cardoons poached in lemon water

Grilled endives, scallions, and tomatoes // Grilled toasts, rubbed with tomato and cloves of garlic

Lulu’s Walnut Gâteaux

The sunny Easter morning began with potent coffee and S-shaped cookies in Little Italy, followed by a gluttonous feast of dim sum, and then a predictably rad shopping excursion to our favorite butcher shop in Montreal, Abu Elias. Because we don’t make it over there that frequently, we always stock up on staples like hummus, pita, whole roast chickens, soujouk.

But because it was Easter Sunday, Abu Elias had a few special items lounging around. Knowing our deep love of offal, the butcher mysteriously gestured to a pile of organs that they kept out of the display case. As he dangled them in the air for us to inspect — an attached system of the heart, kidneys, liver, and bloodied lungs from a baby lamb that was freshly slaughtered for the day’s Easter celebrations — I knew we couldn’t turn it down. For about $12, it was a bargain.

Then came the awesome task of wondering just what we were going to do with it all. Adam, knowing that I desperately wanted to fire up our grill, immediately remembered an Richard Olney recipe that called for lamb liver and heart, diced into small bits, wrapped up in translucent caul, and strung onto skewers of rosemary. It’s a classic Provencal dish, meant to be eaten with Domaine Tempier Bandol and a fluffy spring vegetable pilaf. It was the perfect idea.

But I was more reluctant to embrace the lungs, which honestly freaked me out. A moment of validation came when, after a bit of research, we realized that the lungs aren’t really meant to be eaten. They’re basically dog food. I felt apprehensive about the extensive cleaning the bloodied lungs required, and couldn’t imagine how I could possibly grill them. (In a particularly grotesque moment, we imagined the lungs filling with air and ballooning up on the grill to gigantic proportions, eventually exploding in our faces and splattering the walls with tiny lung bits). So we threw them in a bowl, poked at the narrow esophagus for good measure, and decided to skip them. (But if anyone has a good lamb lung recipe, I would love to see it!)

With the concept firmly in place, we rang up a few friends, and held an impromptu Easter celebration. As the early spring breezes licked at the flames and in the final seconds of grilling the lamb, we threw handfuls of fresh sage and rosemary leaves directly onto the glowing coals. Fragrant, intoxicating smoke billowed around the skewers. It was a moment of indisputable magic.

Because the flavor of lamb offal can be quite strong, it can handle equally pungent herbs and wines. We marinated the liver and heart in mint, scallions, lemons, olive oil, parsley, diced red onion and raw garlic, and drank powerful Mourvèdre all night. It’s worth noting that the caul — which added much-needed fat, juiciness, and a porky counterpoint to the tiny morsels of lamb offal — is an essential ingredient. I also made sure to serve plenty of vegetables to offset the richness of the meal, and it was our first truly springlike meal, charred with flavor and bursting with life.

Our lovely set of organs.

Though we decided to nix the lungs.

Defrosted caul, ready to wrap stuff.

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APPEAL FROM HEAVEN

Ahh, Ithaca. Ithaca!! Brief trip peppered with both spontaneous and planned BBQs, shotgunning beers (ouch), tiny beef sliders, eating cake, late evening gardening, poor attempts at badminton, Gimme! coffee, concerts with friends, art openings with garlic bread, Macro Mamas and debating its true macro-ness (conclusion: decidedly not), living room dance parties to ABBA, old time and whiskey at Felicia’s, and fantasizing about opening the best restaurant ever, just as soon as I win the lottery.

My latest grilling obsession: Yukon potatoes. The big kind, the cheap kind. The cheaper the better. Parboil thick discs in salted water on the stove for 15 minutes. Drain, and toss with marinade: I used smoked paprika, olive oil and sprigs of rosemary. They went on a piping hot grill, flipping frequently, until golden brown and crispy. Perfect plates for toppings and/or condiments: sour cream, ketchup, mustard, bacon, cheese.

get to the table on time

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the weather was typically fickle this weekend — rainy friday, sunny saturday and sunday, rainy sunday night. luckily i took advantage of the sun while it was around to enjoy a relaxed dinner outside. the verdant thicket of weeds and shrub formed a natural wall behind the grill – frances hodgson burnett’s secret garden for steaks?

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despite the hostess being adamantly vegetarian, she graciously allowed for a couple of wicked steaks to sizzle away on the grill.

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but the obvious highlights of this early summer feast was the grilled corn that tasted so sweet it could have been served as dessert. vegan burgers cobbled together from legumes , onion and red peppers were incredible on a baguette with goat cheese, arugula, and tomato. not to mention the grilled zucchini spears and eggplant disks, or the raw broccoli salad with cranberries, sunflower seeds and red cabbage that was lightly dressed with my new favorite salad dressing: vegan poppyseed. served on simple paper plates and bookended by nibblings of locally grown strawberries, it was the archetypical summer banquet.

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i wish i could dine al fresco in MY backyard every night. alas, i can’t even figure out how to get on my roof. good thing i have so many wonderful friends with a little outdoor sprawl. ;)

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the good life

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i adore cooking. whether it’s the first bbq of the summer at a dear friend’s backyard

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(yes, these were as good as they looked)

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whether it’s making fresh pico de gallo from a friend’s enormous garden bounty (yes, i’m aware it’s early for tomato season; this photo is from last august),

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or whether it’s simply dinner for one (i cooked myself spicy salmon with navy beans & whole wheat penne).

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but i equally love eating out (this was a particularly epic chocolate cake – it’s the best thing wegman’s sells. trust.)

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especially when it’s chicken teriyaki at a cheap hawaiian diner in lanai,

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or a divine cheese plate and bottle of mellow bordeaux at my favorite french bistro on the lower east side. i still have dreams about their brie and frisee salad.

:stomach grumble:

it is lunch time yet?