It’s All Greek to Me

There are certain puns that I literally cannot resist. 1) Just for the halibut. I think I say it every time I have halibut. 2) When in Rome. When I was in Rome, I got a lot of use out of that guy. 3) It’s all Greek to me. When I was in Greece, same as #2. This post is not about my humor, which you obviously know is much better than that. I had my first mini dinner party in my new digs on Friday night with my friends Nelle and Alyson, the same 2 lovely ladies I had dinner with for my Friday Night Plans post. Choosing a menu was the first step, the pressure was on for an outstanding meal (Nelle has her own food blog and is an amazing cook). For inspiration, I headed on over to the Barefoot Contessa’s website, which actually has a whole bunch of suggested dinner menus. Of course it does, Ina is a pro. I thought her Greek menu sounded springy and perfect and I love me some lamb. Sold.

The menu:  Roasted Leg of Lamb, Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, Tzatziki and pita and baklava for dessert. The pita and baklava I bought at this fantastic little Greek restaurant in Magnolia, Niko’s Gyros.

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Roasted Leg of Lamb

Note – Ina grills her lamb in this recipe. I am not a confident griller, I did mine in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 2 pints plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil,
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup fresh whole rosemary leaves (2 large bunches)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (5-pound) butterflied leg of lamb – Note – I used a 3lb butterflied leg for the 3 of us and was able to send them home with leftovers, plus had some for myself

Directions

  1. Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large non-reactive bowl. Add the lamb, making sure it is covered with marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator, covered, overnight or for up to 3 days. Note – I marinated on Wednesday for dinner on Friday.
  2. Bring the lamb to room temperature, about one hour. Preheat oven to 425º. Scrape the marinade off the lamb, wipe the meat with paper towels, and season it generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the temperature is 120 to 125 degrees for rare.
  3. Remove the lamb to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Then slice and serve.

An amazingly fortuitous event occurred with the lamb. I couldn’t find my meat thermometer, it got lost somewhere in the move. The girls alerted me to the sweetest feature of my new Wolf oven, temp probe. The oven comes with a thermometer that plugs into the inside of the oven and you can cook your meat and set the oven to let you know when the meat gets to the desired internal temperature. Um, this was like Christmas. And I’m Jewish. Amazingness.

The lamb came out perfectly.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
  4. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Tzatziki

Ingredients

  • 1 pint plain yogurt (whole milk or low fat)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.

Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature with warmed pita.

This was a perfect Friday night. Great company, great food (if I do say so myself) and some wine was partaken as well. To all of you celebrating Easter, this would be a lovely menu for your dinner.

I Love You Sonos Much

I am not the most technically savvy person out there, by any means, but I’m no dummy either. You may disagree after I let you in on a little secret. I own no Apple or Android products. Seriously. I had like 2 iPods in the past, but that’s it. In my defense, I have worked at Microsoft for 8 years and it’s all I’ve ever really known. I have a PC. I have a Windows Phone. I have an Xbox. That said, I don’t get to experience many of the new apps that you normal people take for granted. Like Instagram, until recently. Or Tinder. Still no Tinder for me. But maybe that’s a good thing. And on that note, I need to do a post on my online dating experiences, which has been horrifying and would mostly be me telling you about the most ridiculous emails I get from these guys out there, I just don’t get it. Like, for example, I had this 26 year old guy email me and ask if I liked younger guys because he’d always wanted to sleep with a MILF. Um, no.

Sonos Logo

But I digress. The topic at hand is Sonos. Sonos lets you wirelessly stream music from tons of places, including your library, tons of music services and radio stations. One of my must-haves in the new house was built in ceiling speakers in the kitchen and living room. I did a little research to figure out what I needed to buy in order to get my Sonos sitch up and running and ended up with the Sonos Connect Amp ($499.99) and Bridge ($49.99). I can control via my laptop and phone, although the phone app isn’t even the real deal, it’s called “Phonos”. Sonos doesn’t have an app for Windows Phone. Lame and par for the course. So far, I have been using Songza or Spotify since most of my collection doesn’t come through due to my Xbox Music Pass. I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s a subscription service, I don’t own the songs, they’re protected, blah blah blah.

Bottom line, Sonos fucking rules. Yep, just dropped my first f bomb. That’s how much I love it. So pleasant to be cooking dinner and have the music playing. Working from home, sitting in my beautiful white kitchen with the music playing. I am chopping to Katy Perry and typing to Vampire Weekend. Sold.

 

Spring Fixes – Printed Denim & Peep-Toe Booties

Yesterday was one of those unexpected 70 degree Seattle days. In April, no less. It was just lovely. I’m so ready to transition away from boots and sweaters and I appreciate that the weather is cooperating. Don’t think for one second that my house focus has taken my attention away from a few new essentials for spring. I found a few pieces recently that are helping my wardrobe make the transition. Duh, printed denim and shoes.

The peep-toe bootie is just about everywhere right now and I found 2 pairs that I am loving.

Louise et Cie ‘Olivia 2’ at Nordstrom ($138.95) – I love the cutout detailing. They look great with jeans and I will definitely be wearing them with dresses when the weather gets a little warmer.

Louise et Cie 'Olivia 2'

I am also obsessed with the Vince ‘Addie’ ($395) which I purchased at Singer22, no shipping, no tax, 20% coupon, so I got them for $320, thank you very much. Love the chunky wood heel, love the taupe leather.

Vince 'Addie'

I am a total sucker for colored/printed denim and when I saw the IRO.jeans Graffiti Letter Skinny ($149) at Intermix, I thought they were so fun and different than anything in my closet.  There’s a little bit of color in them too, I totally dig the print.

iro.jeans graffiti letter skinny  iro.jeans close up

Next on my list is some good white denim, I haven’t figured out what. Other than that, I am feeling pretty good about my closet (for the moment) and love how a few new pieces make such a difference!

Devirginizing the Kitchen – Skillet Rosemary Chicken

Yesterday was the first Sunday in a while that felt normal. Oliver and I woke up, snuggled on the couch for a movie, had my friend Courtney and her little guy Luca over, and did our Sunday grocery shopping. For dinner, I decided on one of my old faves, Skillet Rosemary Chicken and served with roasted kale.

One of the best additions in my new house is speakers in the kitchen and living room. I got the Sonos hooked up and had a little dance party while cooking. Oliver has some sweet moves, just sayin. I cannot even describe how much I love my new kitchen. It is so functional and beautiful and spacious, I feel like the luckiest lady ever. Cooking is a dream.

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Skillet Rosemary Chicken (courtesy of Food Network Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tablespoon leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1lb cremini mushrooms, halved

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.
  2. Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
  3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon. Stir things around so mushrooms and potatoes get coated by the sauce.
  4. Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

I can’t wait to see some of the search terms that come through after adding “devirginizing” to the post. Actually, I’m scared. You have no idea how many “best bloe job” (yeah, people who are searching for porn aren’t the best spellers) terms I see.