Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lamb Chops and Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

When I was home with my family over Christmas I went to the grocery store a lot. Not because I was hungry all the time but more so because I missed gallivanting through endless aisles of food at cheap prices. You don't see that in New York!

One of my trips included my parents, who were on their weekly food run. When we walked through the meat department we started thinking of what we could have for dinner that night. From pork loins to short ribs, relatively inexpensive meant (for NY standards) lined the shelves. We came across lamb and all agreed that we haven't had lamb in the longest time so our decision was made. The loin chops looked delicious so we picked them up and were on our way. 

Since my mom loves that I cool so well she left dinner prep up to me and watched from the kitchen island. When dinner was served we dug right in hands first - these babies were so tender and juicy. The cucumber dipping sauce added a delightful light flavor to the meat. It was perfect! (And apparently I did such a good job cooking that my parents are sill bragging to their friends about the meal.) ;) 

Chop Recipe:
5 - 6 1/4 inch-thick lamb loin chops
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, lightly crushed 
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed 
2 tsp salt 
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 

1) Mix garlic, rosemary, thyme salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl. Add lamb then turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.  
2) Heat remaining oil, or more if needed, in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the chops and cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. 
3) Transfer to platter and cover with foil to allow the chops to rest. 

Cucumber Yogurt Dipping Sauce Recipe:

3       3 Cups plain Greek yogurt
4       3 tbsp lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
5       1 garlic clove, minced
6       1 large cucumber, peeled and diced small
8       1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
9        salt and pepper to taste 
In a medium-sized bowl, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, and a dash of black pepper. Stir until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving so flavors can blend.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gluten Free Lasagna Soup

When I think of the ultimate comfort food, Italian cuisine always comes first to mind. I am constantly craving pasta, pizza, caprese, meatballs and so on. Toward the top of that list is lasagna! Having Celiac does not allow me the opportunity to pop over to my favorite trattoria to get a slice of the delicious cheesy, meaty saucy Jenga-like pasta. In fact, I haven't had lasagna at all since begin diagnosed. :(

When I saw this recipe for lasagna soup I could not wait to get in the kitchen and adapt it to my gluten free needs.  It so deliciously creamy and cheesy. The perfect comfort soup for yet another Polar Vortex this winter.

This recipe makes about 8 servings so I was able to set some aside in the freezer to enjoy later. I can't wait!

8 oz pasta of choice, I used gluten free small seashell
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups chicken broth
1 28-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

For the ricotta mixture
8 oz ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and black pepper, to taste

1) Cook pasta according to package instructions.
2) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
3) Once the ricotta mixture is complete, heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat. Add garlic, onion, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until well combined, about 1 minute.
4) Stir in chicken broth, diced tomatoes and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in pasta.
5) Serve with a heaping spoonful of the ricotta mixture then with mozzarella and basil as you please.