Greek Lamb and Orzo ~

I went to D.C., recently and had a wonderful time.  Full with friends, woderful sights and delightful food.

One of the things I did was go on a "walking tour" of the Capitol area and it included small meals at three restaurants.  We walked for four hours and stopped in between some great sights.  If you get the chance, take a walking tour of any place you visit, it's a great way to see some of the out of the way places.  And one of the restaurants was Greek, we had a version of this dish there.  It was wonderful, so I wanted to create it when I came home.

First of all, this dish is traditionally baked in the oven along with a leg of lamb, fresh tomatoes and orzo thrown in at the end.  What a fabulous combination too, so yummy.

I don't make huge meals any longer, the kids are all grown and on their own.  So I googled some recipes and I found one that uses ground lamb and done on the stove top. 

Here is the recipe I found, although I adapted it a bit.  It's from The Daily Meal.

1 pound ground lamb
  • Two 14 ½-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, juices reserved (I used diced)
  • 1 cup water (I used the reserved juice from the diced tomatoes)
  • 3 cups uncooked orzo pasta (I used 1&1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2/3 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne (this was too hot, please use 1/2 tsp.)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano (I used 1 tsp.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 3)

    Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the lamb, breaking it up into crumbles, and cook until browned (with no visible pink).  (I removed the lamb to a bowl and set aside)
    In the same pan, stir in the tomatoes and their juice, water, orzo, celery, onion, allspice, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, oregano, and garlic. Bring the mix to a boil. (I sauteed the onion, celery and garlic for 5 minutes first)
    Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is tender and has absorbed the liquid from the tomatoes and extra water — about 15 minutes. Combine with the cooked lamb and serve. (After 5 minutes on medium low, I stirred it and it was getting dry on the bottom of the pan, so I shut the stove off and just let it finish, stirring a couple of times.) 
    Add lamb back into pan and stir.  Serve with feta or grated cheese.

    Recipe Details

    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cooking time: 20 minutes
    Total time: 25 minutes
    Serves four (plus some very delicious leftovers).
    We also went to a great Thai restaurant for lunch one day and one of the dishes we had was Basil Fried Rice.  It was so, so good....
    I think I'll google this one next to try....



    Mario Batali's tweet on Potato Gnocchi ~


    "Starchy russets 1lb per 100gms flour/1 egg- boil spuds, rice, then barely mix. RT. : Hi Chef, any tips for making gnocchi?"  Great advice Mario...
    you should know, you must have made thousands, if not millions of gnocchi.  So, I tried your version.  Perfect, thank you ~

    And just when the dough comes together, roll into a ball.  Divide into fourths and roll each forth into logs.  Cut the dough into one inch pieces and roll over the top of a fork, pressing gently.

    Place each gnocchi on a sheet pan, sprinkled with a little cornmeal.

    Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil, add a heaping tablespoon of salt.  Add gnocchi while gently stirring (they will sink).  When the float to the top, scoop out with a slotted spoon.  

    Toss with 1/2 cup of prepared pesto, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve. 

    Nigella Lawson really is a Domestic Goddess ~

    If you haven't had her Chocolate Cloud Cake, please add it to your list.  It's heavenly, decadent and most of all very easy to make.  Your guests will ooh and aah over this one and you haven't even slaved in the kitchen over it!  Nigella rocks with this one.  She really is a domestic goddess, really.....

    Be forewarned, serve in thin slices.  You can always go back for seconds.

    When you take the cake out of the oven, it will sink.  But don't despair, this is the space to add all of the luscious whipped cream "cloud" on.  And don't forget to give it a good dusting of cocoa powder.  Yum is all I am going to say.

    Nigella's Chocolate Cloud Cake ~

    For the cake

    • 9 oz (ounce) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
    • 4 oz (ounce) unsalted butter (softened)
    • 6 medium egg(s) (4 separated)
    • 6 oz (ounce) caster sugar
    • 2 tablespoon(s) Cointreau (optional)
    • 1 zest of Oranges (optional)

    For the cream topping

    • 17.55 fl oz (fluid ounces) double cream
    • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon(s) Cointreau (optional)
    • ½ teaspoon(s) cocoa powder (unsweetened) for sprinkling