Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Great Monday Munch

On Monday (yes, I'm that slow to post) I made this meal for my friend Vinitha and me. Everything was excellent, so I suggest you give either of the two a try: Carrot-Orange Salad or Swiss Chard Lamb Rolls. The latter is more hands-on and fun to make, the former comes together quicker. Take your pick, or be a champ and try both!

Carrot-Orange Salad (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites)
yield: 4 appetizer plates

*Note: two handy tricks are introduced here. First, the carrots. To produce beautiful ribbons of carrot, simply peel off the skin, discard, and continue going down the carrot in long strokes with the peeler until you've milked that carrot for all its worth (I really shouldn't mix food metaphors, should I?). For the oranges, slice off the top and bottom ends, and sit the orange down square on the cutting board, on the flat-cut bottom side. With curved strokes from top to bottom, cut off the peel and all the pith of the orange, leaving a neat orange globe (you'll be surprised how small it is now). Then, carefully slide your knife between the flesh and the membrane on one side of a section, then on the other, and slide the section, free of all membrane, out. Continue a
ll around, for each section. You'll be left with a bunch of membrane and some beautiful supremed orange pieces.

- 3 carrots, peeled of skin and peeled into ribbons (see Note)
-2 oranges, supremed (see Note)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup

- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- dash cayenne
- salt to taste

Mix carrot ribbons and orange sections in a medium bowl. In a separate dish, whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup and spices. Pour over the carrot/orange and toss to incorporate. Let marinate about 30 minutes before seasoning with salt to taste and serving, chilled or at room temperature.

Swiss Chard Lamb Rolls
Yield: Twelve 2" x 1"rolls

- 12 Swiss chard leaves, trimmed of stem and blanched for just 30 seconds till soft

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. each ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chili
- 1 lb. ground lamb
- 1 bunch dill, destemmed and chopped
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt to taste

- 1 cup uncooked bulgur
- 1/3 cup raisins

- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup umeboshi vinegar
- 1/4 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a baking dish. Clean, trim, and blanch the swiss chard leaves and set aside to dry.
2. Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, add the bulgur, remove from heat, and let sit about 20 minutes, till all liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a bowl, mix in the raisins, and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook while stirring, until soft and fragrant. Add the spices and stir to incorporate. When very fragrant, add the lamb, breaking up clumps as it cooks. Cook a few minutes more, till lamb is cooked through and the liquid has released and cooked off. Remove from heat and mix in the dill, lemon juice, and salt. Incorporate into bulgur.
4. Once the lamb-bulgur mixture has cooled, lay out a swiss chard leaf vertically on a cutting board, with the bottom of the leaf facing you. Put about 2 tablespoons of lamb mixture onto the bottom of the leaf and start rolling tightly from the bottom. When halfway up the leave, fold in the two sides and finish rolling to the top. Place the roll seam-side down in the baking dish. Continue with all remaining leaves.
5. Mix together the mirin, umeboshi vinegar, and water and pour over the rolls. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake about 30 minutes, then remove foil and finish baking uncovered 10 minutes more. Serve hot or room temperature.

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