Friday, March 27, 2015

LAMB LEG STEAKS WITH LEMON, WALNUT, AND FETA ISRAELI COUSCOUS

Lamb Leg Steaks with Veggie-Packed Israeli Cous Cous

You guys, I can't even believe March is almost over--I have been slogging through a crazy project at work that is finally coming to an end so I feel like I didn't even get to experience March at all! Luckily, the project will wrap just in time for April and spring's true arrival in Michigan.

Because I've been so swamped, I haven't had much time to putter in the kitchen and can't wait to dive back in. I have so many things I want to try. But today I want to share one of my favorite ways to cook lamb--pan fried with tons of veggies and served over a bed of lemony Israeli couscous. It's basically a dream team combination, and perfect for a smaller Easter dinner (especially if you don't want to buy a whole ham or leg o' lamb).

Lamb Leg Steaks with Veggie-Packed Israeli Cous Cous

Oh, how I adore fresh produce! Spring makes me giddy for tons of reasons (the one good thing about long, heinous winters is how seriously rapturous spring feels), especially the first fresh spears of asparagus. You can pretty much use any veggie in this dish--it's a perfect kitchen sink/night before trash day meal--so I threw some grape tomatoes, a lone zucchini, and a handful of mushrooms in.

Lamb Leg Steaks with Veggie-Packed Israeli Cous Cous

Do you cook lamb very much? Before moving to Michigan, I never did. But we live near an abundance of Middle Eastern markets so it's so much easier to come by. And while I still get a little Lisa Simpson-y when I eat it, I also have Ron Swanson carnivorous tendencies. Plus, lamb is just So Good. 

Especially if you keep things simple--kosher salt, pepper, lemon zest, and your favorite herbs. Obviously rosemary and thyme are great contenders but I was craving fresh mint so that's what these steaks got.

Lamb Leg Steaks with Veggie-Packed Israeli Cous Cous

And let's not even get started on my love affair with all things couscous. When we visited Morocco, we ate couscous for pretty much every meal and it was always amazing, especially heaped with freshly grilled veggies. I love how ridiculously fast couscous cooks. 

While any grain will go well with lamb steaks, I love using Israeli couscous, which has larger pearls that sop up flavors in a crazy good way. Boil the couscous with chicken stock and fold in your favorite nuts and cheese (walnuts and feta here), then douse all that with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and you have a very fine vegetarian meal in front of you.

Lamb Leg Steaks with Veggie-Packed Israeli Cous Cous

But if you want to have that lovely couscous cozy up to a delicious lamb steak, I would totally understand. Either way, you'll definitely want to heap that couscous with all those gorgeous vegetables.

Lamb Leg Steaks with Veggie-Packed Israeli Cous Cous

I love pan frying all steaks because they cook quickly, get a deliciously browned crust, and you can cook it as rare or well-done as you like!

Oh., and if you've never cooked steaks on the stove before, let me point you to the most comprehensive and accurate Pan Fried Steak guide courtesy the brilliant J. Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats. Reading this article dispelled a lot of steak-cooking myths (particularly concerning flipping) and also produced the juiciest steaks with the most divine crust on earth. You will not be sorry.

I can't wait to get back into the kitchen this weekend to try out some of the fun spring recipes that have been spinning around my head! Wishing you the loveliest of weekends!

Lamb Leg Steaks with Veggie-Packed Israeli Cous Cous


Lamb Leg Steaks with Lemon, Walnut, and Feta Israeli Couscous


For the lamb steaks and vegetables

2 (1-inch) lamb leg steaks
olive oil, for brushing on steaks
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
2-3 mint leaves, sliced thinly
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for sauteing veggies
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup button mushrooms, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Brush lamb steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and mint. Let marinate on a plate at room temperature for at least one hour before pan frying. After the lamb is done marinating, put olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and saute for 5-7 minutes, until veggies are soft. Remove to a plate.

Sear lamb steaks for 2 minutes per side (until golden brown). Lower heat to medium and cover pan. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, depending on how you like your meat. 5 minutes will give you somewhere in the ballpark of medium-rare. Transfer lamb to a plate and let steaks rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

For the Lemon, Walnut, and Feta Israeli Couscous

1 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups chicken stock
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup feta
1 tablespoon finely minced mint leaves

While steaks rest, prepare the couscous by bringing chicken stock to a boil. Add couscous and cover for 5 minutes until it absorbs the water. Fluff with a fork and fold lemon zest, lemon juice, walnuts, feta, and mint leaves.

Serve lamb steaks on a bed of couscous and vegetables and sprinkle with additional walnuts and mint leaves if you would like. 


PS: Here are some of our favorite spring recipes:

 

Rack of Lamb with White Beans

Rack of Lamb with White Beans

 

Angel Food Bunny Cakes

Angel Food Bunny Cakes


Lemon Biscotti Ice Cream

Lemon Biscotti Ice Cream






Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE MAKERS NO. 58

 
 
I can't believe that March is almost over--how is 2015 flying by so quickly!? This entire month I have been up to my eyeballs in a crazy project at work and am only now just coming up for some air. I'm so excited that this mini break lets me find inspiration in all the projects you post. I know I say this each and every week, but I am honestly blown away by the immense talent you bring to The Makers!

All of us co-hosts find it nearly impossible to pick the features each week and we love that you guys make the decision such a challenge--that means you're bringing your best to the table. As we have discussed how much we adore hosting The Makers, we also have agreed that life is pulling us all in different directions right now (for me, it's that pesky, incubating baby boy!). 

So, we have some very bittersweet news: this week will be our last official link up for The Makers (I know, I'm weeping over here, too). BUT! Next week we will share the features from this week's link party and the following week, for our big 6-0, we have put our heads together for a fabulous celebration of all 60 weeks here at The Makers. Also, there just might be a lovely giveaway in store for you.

Thank you all for partying your hearts out with us--we can't wait to show you what we've got in store for you all the next two weeks so be sure to tune back in!

Follow Your Hosts

Corey @ TinySidekick
Alexis @ Persia Lou
Katie @ Upcycled Treasures
Ursula @ Homemade by Carmona
Amy @ Club Narwhal
Anu @ Nalle's House
 
makers 58
The Makers 58 - Home Made by Carmona
upcycledtreasures-the-makers-link-party-58
The-Makers-Collage-58-Club-Narwhal
persialouprojectsweek58
tinysidekick week 58
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featured at the makers 58


Thursday, March 19, 2015

ELVIS SWEET ROLLS | PEANUT BUTTER, BANANA, BACON NO YEAST TREATS!

Elvis Sweet Rolls | Banana, Peanut Butter, and Bacon No Yeast Rolls!

Okay, let's get your thoughts on adding bacon to sweet goods. Because I'm fully on board but Warren just can't get past what he feels to be the inherent wrongness of such a combination. But you know me and my salty/sweet combo love (Peanut Butter Kettle Corn, anyone?), plus my bacon love rivals on that of Ron Swanson's. 

So when I dreamed up a sweet roll that would combine all my favorite things into one easy recipe, Elvis came to mind. Specifically, his adoration of peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwiches. 

No Yeast Banana Peanut Butter Sweet Rolls

Even for me, that combination sounded a little strange. But as I thought about it more, it started to feel really, really right. 

Sorry, Warren.

No Yeast Banana Peanut Butter Sweet Rolls

I'm pretty sure Elvis would rejoice is my not-so-subtle co-opting of his favorite meal. Because when that peanut butter filling bakes with fresh sliced bananas, a caramelization happens that is just too good to resist. 

But I obviously can't leave well enough alone because I had to--like compulsively had to--add streusel topping (from my favorite Pumpkin Bread with Streusel Topping) to everything before baking. I tried to negotiate with the streusel topping, giving all sorts of weak excuses like "You're not needed here" and "I can't be bothered with making you" but the streusel topping refused to be silenced.

So I heeded its siren call and it was the best idea yet. 

Elvis Sweet Rolls | Banana, Peanut Butter, and Bacon No Yeast Rolls!

And top that bad boy with a luxuriant glaze and a generous sprinkle of crumbled bacon and, my friends, you have paradise.

Bedazzled jumpsuit not included. 

Elvis Sweet Rolls | Banana, Peanut Butter, and Bacon No Yeast Rolls!

Hop on over to The Collaboreat to check out this easy-peasy recipe for Elvis Sweet Rolls!