Showing posts with label carrots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carrots. Show all posts

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Grilled Lamb Skewers with Roasted Carrots

These grilled lamb skewers are made with tender marinated leg of lamb chunks, cooked over high heat in a grill pan, then left to rest on sweet roasted young spring carrots. A sprinkle of feta and mint lend even more flavor and just the right touch of saltiness to this flavorful dish.

A number of years ago, when we were living in Kuala Lumpur, I had a friend who would buy the organic new baby carrots, greens still attached, that would turn up on occasion in one of our grocery stores. They weren’t cheap but she said that they were worth the splurge. As much as I like carrots, I didn’t imagine that she could be correct. Who would pay that much – don’t remember the exact amount except that it seemed like a lot – for carrots? Not me. After all, how special could they be?

Last week I decided that a simple spring vegetable minestrone would be the perfect recipe to share on the Sunday Supper Movement website for today’s Welcome Spring event, and since it was for the website and not just this little blog, I did splurge. I bought freshly hulled peas, fine French beans, baby zucchini, baby leeks and tiny corn on the cob along with a large bunch of spring carrots, greens still attached. Such a pot of sweet wonderfulness.

I used just a couple of the carrots in the soup so I started looking for another recipe to show off the rest. My original plan for this post was simply spring lamb but when I came across a recipe on Bon Appétit for lamb skewers with carrots, it seemed like kismet. (Which comes from the Arabic word for fate, by the way.)

Of course, Bon Appétit being Bon Appétit, the dish was complicated with two marinades and then a dressing, so I simplified it down to one marinade for the lamb and a mere sprinkling of feta and mint for the finished dish. Ain’t nobody got time for all that. I can’t imagine how this could be improved upon. It was perfect in every way and the carrots were fabulous. Sweet, tender and with such wonderful flavor. Now I know what my friend was talking about! Next time I make this, I will double the carrots so I suggest you do too. I’ve already been back to the store and bought another bunch.

Ingredients to serve 2-3
For the spring lamb skewers:
1 lb 3oz or 540g leg lamb chunks

For the lamb marinade:
2 large garlic cloves
1 small red chili pepper
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup or 60ml dry white wine
1 teaspoon large grain sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil

For the oven roasted spring carrots:
9 1/3 oz or 265g spring carrots
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (a good drizzle to coat)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
8-10 fresh mint leaves
2 oz or 57g crumbled feta
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut the lamb into bite-sized pieces and put them in a Ziploc bag.

Mince your garlic and red chili pepper. Strip the rosemary leaves off of the stems and chop them finely.

Add all the marinade ingredients into a mixing bowl up to and including the black pepper, then whisk in the olive oil until well blended.

Pour the marinade into the bag with the lamb. Mix it around until the lamb is well coated, then press all of the air out and seal. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but you can also make this early in the day and leave it marinating till you are ready to cook dinner. Mine marinated about three hours.

To roast the carrots, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Scrub the carrots well and cut the long tops of the greens off. You can leave on a little bit for color, if desired. If some of the carrots are thicker than the others, cut them in half lengthwise.

Pile the carrots on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then spread them out so they aren't touching each other.

Roast in the preheated oven until lovely and golden and caramelized, turning once in the middle of roasting time of about 20-25 minutes.

Thread your lamb onto wooden skewers cut to fit snugly in your grill pan. Discard the bag with the marinade.

Heat the pan over high heat. You’ll need to turn your extractor fan on or perhaps even open a window because this is going to smoke. But it’s going to be fast and worth it, I promise.

Once your pan is scorching hot, lay four of the lamb skewers in it, quickly searing one side. You don’t want to crowd the grill pan so don’t try to cook them all at once.

Cook for 2-3 minutes on that side, then turn and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes.

This will leave your small bites of lamb still pink inside. If you want them done more, cook for another minute or two on each side. I encourage you to leave them pink inside though, because they will be more tender.

As you remove the cooked lamb from the grill pan, rest the skewers on the roasted carrots.

Continue until all of your lamb skewers are done and are resting on the carrots. Give the whole pan another few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Crumble the feta and rip the mint leaves onto the lamb and carrots.


Who is ready to welcome spring with me? My Sunday Supper family sure is. Check out all the lovely spring recipes they are sharing today!

Main Dishes:
Side Dishes:


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder with Roasted Vegetables

You can’t beat lamb shoulder, slow roasted with loads of vegetables, rosemary and garlic. It practically falls off the bone, the succulent lamb is so tender. I promise you won't even need a knife.

This week my Sunday Supper group is joyously celebrating a wedding we wish we could really attend, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the sequel to one of our favorite movies. It’s been a long time coming! When the theme for this week was first announced, all I could think about was the quote from Aunt Voula, and one of my favorite scenes from the first movie.
Aunt Voula: What do you mean he don't eat no meat?
[the entire room stops, in shock]
Aunt Voula: Oh, that's okay. I make lamb.
So I had to make lamb. We eat lamb a minimum of three to four times a month at our house, either roasted leg or shoulder, lamb steaks, lamb patties with mashed potatoes and gravy, not to mention grilled lamb chops. This dish is one of our favorites and would make a great main course for Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday which will be celebrated on May 1st this year.

Make sure you scroll down and check out the link list of all the other My Big Fat Greek Wedding-inspired dishes we are sharing today, along with our talented host, Nichole from Casa de Crews. What a fabulous Greek wedding feast this would be!

Adapted from

2 purple onions (approx. weight 9 oz or 255g)
3 carrots (approx. weight 9 oz or 255g)
2- 3 stalks celery (approx. weight 3 3/4 oz or 105g)
Few sprigs fresh thyme
5-6 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus 1 for garnish, if desired
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 lb 10 oz or 2.55kg lamb shoulder, bone in
2 1/3 oz or 65g cloves garlic (about 15)
2 red chili peppers (optional but we love the hint of spice that infuses the whole dish)
4 ripe tomatoes (approx. weight 11 oz or 312g)
2 cans – 14oz or 400g – whole plum tomatoes
1 2/3 cups or 375ml drinkable red wine (half a bottle)
2 bay leaves
1 large leek (approx. weight 14 oz or 400g, before trimming)

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and make sure the shelves are positioned so that you put a pan with a big lamb shoulder in it. I use my large Le Creuset roaster so I put the shelf almost at the bottom to leave room for the cover and its round handle.

Peel the onions and carrots. Quarter the onions. Cut the carrots and celery into bite-sized pieces.

Strip the leaves off of your thyme and sprinkle half of them into the bottom of a large roasting pan, along with a good drizzle of olive oil, a couple of sprigs of rosemary and a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Season the bottom of your lamb shoulder with more salt and pepper and lay it on the herb bed.

Use a sharp paring knife to poke holes in the top of the lamb shoulder, then stuff these holes with a quarter or half a clove of garlic (depending on the size of your clove) and a few rosemary leaves.

Give the whole thing a good sprinkle of salt, fresh ground black pepper. Add on the other half of the thyme leaves and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Add the onions, celery and chili peppers around the lamb shoulder.

Chop your tomatoes in large pieces and add them to the pot along with the carrots.

Pour in the canned tomatoes, along with half a can of water and the rest of the garlic cloves.

Pour in the wine and then tuck the bay leaves down in between the vegetables.

Thoroughly clean the leek, cut off and discard the hard green end, and then chop the white part into small cylinders. Add these to the pot.

Cover the roasting pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil or its tight fitting cover and put it into the oven. Turn down the oven temperature to 325°F or 170°C and cook for about three hours.

Remove the cover or the foil, baste the lamb shoulder with the juice in the pan or drizzle with a little more olive oil.  Cook for another 30 minutes or until the lamb is nicely browned and falling off the bone.

You can gently remove some of the bones before putting it on the table for folks to help themselves or pull it apart for them in the kitchen.

Either way, serve it with some crusty bread to sop up all the juices. Or over the top of some mashed potatoes.


Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 yet? It just opened in the cinemas here in Dubai but I haven’t had a chance go yet so I am going to have to just console myself with some movie-inspired dishes instead. Won’t you join me?

Greek Appetizers:
Greek Soups:
Greek Breakfast:
Greek Main Dishes:
Greek Side Dishes:
Greek Desserts:
Greek Beverages:


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Honey Balsamic Carrots #BloggerCLUE

Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in carrots, which is complemented by a beautiful balsamic honey glaze. 

This whole year is already going by in a flash, a sensation that is further emphasized by how early Easter is. The liturgical calendar starts with the four weeks before Christmas with Advent as the first season. But as Easter must follow Passover - when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper - and Passover is determined by the first full moon after the vernal equinox, Easter moves around according to the lunar calendar. So there are logical reasons but that doesn't help me get over that rushed feeling. One the plus side, since it’s almost Easter and it's also Blogger C.L.U.E. Society time again, our clue this month is to look for recipes in our assigned blogs for the upcoming celebration.

Sew You Think You Can Cook is written by Lauren, who is one smart cookie and one fabulous wife and mother. She’s put her aerospace engineering career on hold to stay home with two button-cute boys and support her husband as he has been studying for his Masters. I am really not sure how, but she also finds the time to cook delicious dishes and share them on her blog. When I plugged Easter into her search bar quite a few things came up. It was hard to decide between the soft carrot cake cookies, her Easter Bundt Cake and her Citrus Roast Chicken with four different citrus fruits! That chicken was closely rivaled by her Strawberry Pork Roast. I finally settled on Lauren’s Honey Balsamic Carrots because I needed a delicious, flavorful side dish to go with the fish I was making for dinner - for yet another group blogging event. I can assure you they were an excellent choice.

6-7 carrots (Mine weighed about 1 lb 2.5oz or 525g) 1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon olive oil
Black pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup or 60ml balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and line large baking pan with foil.

Peel your carrots, trim the ends and cut them into 1 in or 2 1/2cm pieces.

Pile up the cut carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle on the olive oil. Stir them around to coat.

Spread the carrots out so they aren't touching and sprinkle them with some salt and black pepper.

Roast carrots in your preheated oven for 40 minutes. Give them a stir halfway through.

When there are 10 minutes left on the timer, combine the honey and vinegar in a small pan.

Cook over a medium heat until the sauce is thick and getting really sticky. Keep stirring because you don’t want it to burn. A spoon dragged through the middle should leave a space that closes back up again slowly.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted.

Pour the carrots in and then stir well to coat them with the glaze.


Check out the other Easter dishes from the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society this month.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Carrot-Cumin Soup #EatRightforYourSight

This thick aromatic carrot soup, finished with creamy yogurt, will not only satisfy your hunger, but will also provide a substantial dose of vitamin A, minerals and antioxidants, all essential for healthy eyes.

When I was asked if I’d like to a receive and review a copy of Eat Right for Your Sight*, I jumped at the chance. Not just because it is a cookbook with tasty recipes from the likes of Jacques Pépin, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Ina Garten and Alice Waters, but because it would give me the chance to raise awareness about macular degeneration and to reminisce about my grandfather, a member of the Great Generation, a self-made man who worked hard, relaxed by gardening – which looked like a whole different kind of hard work to me – and who suffered from the disease the recipes in this book aim to prevent. He loved to grow and pick fresh vegetables as much as he loved to eat them so I am pretty sure Paw would have been a fan of this book. And if, by writing this, I can make even one person follow a link and learn something about preventing macular degeneration, or how to live well even following that diagnosis, then I will sleep well tonight.

My grandfather grew up on a farm, out “in the country” as we called it, in southern Louisiana. One day, many years ago, I was chatting with him on the phone and he began to speak about his first job, working for a furrier, after he left school. It was Paw’s responsibility to collect pelts from hunters and trappers that the furrier would use to make coats and hats. If I remember correctly, he earned $1 for every pelt, which was a substantial (if sporadic) payment in a time when a chuck roast could be bought for 15 cents a pound and the big can of Heinz beans was only 13 cents. He went on to discuss how he and my grandmother had started their major appliance business and how he built their shop himself, welding together large steel beams that would become the framework for the building. And how he had learned to weld when workers were needed to build supply ships at a new shipyard in New Orleans during World War II. He was rightfully proud of his contribution to the war effort and he gained a skill in the process. Everyone thought he was crazy since steel was an expensive building material but it meant that he could do most of the work himself, saving on labor costs and a steel frame building would last forever. This was key to my grandfather’s philosophy that a person should choose carefully when he or she buys something, making sure that it is worth the expense, and then should care for that something so that it might never have to be replaced. As owner-operator of the first Maytag appliance center in their town, he would have preferred to repair a customer’s old machine and keep it working rather than sell them a new one. Perhaps it was not the most lucrative business model but he lived a life of integrity and his customers appreciated that, always returning to buy the next appliance out of loyalty, knowing they’d be treated fairly. My grandfather’s handshake was better than a written contract and if he told you he’d do something, you could damn well bet he would.

I realized part way into the conversation that if I didn’t write all this down, I would never remember it so I began to take notes, as fast as I could. Later I transcribed the notes and saved them to my computer. Unfortunately, that computer became obsolete and I didn’t remember to print or save the file to the new one. So we are back to my faulty memory again, trying to recall what my grandfather shared with impressive accuracy, despite the half century between the living and the telling.

His memory for details was phenomenal and he was an avid reader, reading anything and everything to educate himself, making up for his early departure from formal education. The ever-growing stack of reading material next to his chair was a testament to all he'd like to accomplish, given the time. My whole childhood I remember both he and my grandmother reading two newspapers a day, cover to cover, The Times Picayune, published in New Orleans and The Daily Iberian, an afternoon paper from their hometown. As they both aged, he became a regular subscriber to Prevention magazine and each issue was covered in his scrawling almost illegible handwriting, with passages of particular interest underlined, as he tried to figure out how to live the healthiest life. My grandfather’s mailbox was regularly filled with packages of vitamins that he ordered in bulk from catalogs and swallowed faithfully, especially once he had been diagnosed with macular degeneration, that eye disease that steals one’s sight, from a central point of the retina, leaving only peripheral vision near the end.

For a man who loved to read, who was used to being independent and doing for himself, the diagnosis was nothing sort of devastating. A broken magnet on the old brown double-wide refrigerator held a grid that he was supposed to check to gauge the progression of the disease. (Check your own eyes on the grid here.) To prolong the inevitable, my mom bought him two large lighted magnifying lenses that could be c-clamped to both his kitchen table and his comfy chair, allowing him to continue reading, until he just couldn’t really much anymore. And the loss of his driver's license was a huge blow.

My grandfather with his passel of great grandchildren, on the occasion of his 91st birthday.

While there still isn’t a cure for macular degeneration, we know much more about its risk factors which include exposure to UV rays from the sun and welder’s flash(!), so the proper protective lenses are key. And smoking is a big no-no. We also know much more about how to prevent it through diet and supplementary vitamins. The eventual goal of the American Macular Degeneration Foundation is, of course, finding a cure. But meanwhile, get your eyes checked regularly and let's eat right for our sight as well.

Carrot-Cumin Soup - from Eat Right For Your Sight: Simple Tasty Recipes That Help Reduce the Risk of Vision Loss from Macular Degeneration*,  © American Macular Degeneration Foundation, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. *Amazon affiliate link

Ingredients for four 1 cup or 240ml servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound or 450g carrots
2 1/2 cups or 590ml vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup or 125g plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or as needed

For garnish:
2 tablespoons toasted cumin seeds (I used way less.)
I also added a little more yogurt and some green onions.

Peel your onion, garlic and carrots. Chop the onions, mince the garlic and, after cutting the ends off of the carrots, cut them into 1 inch or 2 cm pieces.

In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the chopped onion for two minutes, then add the garlic and sauté an additional minute.

Add the carrots, broth, cumin, coriander and a few good grinds of black pepper. (The recipe says to add the salt here as well but I suggest you wait till the end of cooking to see how much salt is needed after the soup cooks down. Vegetable broths come in varying degrees of saltiness.)

Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Purée the soup with an immersion blender or, working in batches, purée in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot, if necessary, and stir in the yogurt and lemon juice. Add salt and and more black pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the toasted cumin seeds. (And a small dollop of yogurt and a few chopped green onions, if desired.)

Enjoy! If you’d like to learn more about how to prevent macular degeneration, please visit the American Macular Degeneration Foundation website.  If you'd like to buy the cookbook or read further reviews, check out or any of the major booksellers.

And since it was provided in the book, as it is for all of the recipes, I'll share the nutritional information for the soup:
Nutritional Profile for Carrot-Cumin Soup.
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 178
Protein: 4 g
Fiber: 4 g
Fat: 11 g
Saturated fat: 3 g
Sodium: 1,031 mg
Vitamin A: 19,312 IU
Vitamin C: 10 mg
Vitamin E: 3 IU
Beta-carotene: 9,420 μg
Lutein and zeaxanthin: 307 μg
Lycopene: 1 μg

I received a copy of Eat Right for Your Sight free of charge from the non-profit American Macular Degeneration Foundation. It seems ridiculous to have to say it, here goes: As with every post I write, all opinions contained herein are my own alone.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze #MuffinMonday

These delicious carrot muffins have all the flavor of tender carrot cake but are made with the two-bowl method traditional for muffins and are topped with generous lashing of sweetened cream cheese. 

Food Lust People Love: hese delicious carrot muffins have all the flavor of tender carrot cake but are made with the two-bowl method traditional for muffins and are topped with generous lashing of sweetened cream cheese.

A great Easter breakfast or brunch idea
With Easter Sunday less than a week away, you might be looking for a great breakfast or brunch recipe so I thought I’d share my muffin take on carrot cake since carrot muffins are perfect for the occasion. These little guys could also serve as dessert, although they are less sweet than actual carrot cake - a plus for those who have been eating their fair share of Easter candy.

Food Lust People Love: hese delicious carrot muffins have all the flavor of tender carrot cake but are made with the two-bowl method traditional for muffins and are topped with generous lashing of sweetened cream cheese.

How to make your family happy first thing in the morning
The night before I want to serve muffins for breakfast, I like to mix all my wet ingredients together, cover the bowl with cling film and pop it in the refrigerator. Then I mix all of my dry ingredients in a bigger bowl, cover with cling film and leave at the ready near the oven. When I get up in the morning, I turn the oven on to preheat and prepare my muffin pan. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix and bake. The glaze can be made ahead of time as well and refrigerated. This prep ahead method particularly handy on holidays or even on busy school mornings when everyone is trying to get out of the house on time. After all, muffins are fabulously portable.

Or mix and bake them right away. If you've been craving carrot cake, that might be the best plan.

For the muffins:
8 oz or 225g carrots – weight before peeling and cutting off stem ends
2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 115g butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup or 160ml milk

For the cream cheese glaze:
1/4 cup or 65g cream cheese spread, at room temperature
1/4 cup or about 30g powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons milk

Peel your carrots and cut them into short lengths. Discard the green stem ends if any. Boil until tender then drain. Mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 350°f or 180°C and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it or lining it with paper muffin cups.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, melted butter, cooled mashed carrots and milk.  Mix thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed.

Divide the thick batter between the muffin cups in your prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Food Lust People Love: hese delicious carrot muffins have all the flavor of tender carrot cake but are made with the two-bowl method traditional for muffins and are topped with generous lashing of sweetened cream cheese.

To make the glaze, mix the cream cheese spread with the powdered sugar, vanilla and one teaspoon of milk. Stir well. Add the second teaspoon of milk if necessary to get a good drizzling or piping consistency, depending on how you want to apply it. Make it thinner for drizzling, thicker for piping.

When your muffins are cool, drizzle or pipe on the cream cheese glaze. I used a plastic bag with the corner cut off.

Food Lust People Love: hese delicious carrot muffins have all the flavor of tender carrot cake but are made with the two-bowl method traditional for muffins and are topped with generous lashing of sweetened cream cheese.


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Food Lust People Love: hese delicious carrot muffins have all the flavor of tender carrot cake but are made with the two-bowl method traditional for muffins and are topped with generous lashing of sweetened cream cheese.