A high school friend of mine and his girlfriend are on the raw food diet and are also vegetarian. A while back over drinks, they told me about the wonders of the spiral slicer that can create beautiful spirals of vegetables — a perfect gadget for raw foodists, who, with it, could make raw vegetable “pastas” from carrots, zucchinis and the like. The idea of the spiral slicer stayed on my mind, and so I finally purchased one recently. There are a few types of spiral slicers out there, but I went with the Gefu Spirelli — and I LOVE it!
I recently bought a rack of lamb because it was on sale, without thinking deeply on how I wanted to cook it. All I thought was that I could cook it on the weekend. In the past, I’ve made rosemary/garlic/lemon-crusted rack of lamb, but this time, since I had purchased the rack of lamb as an impulse purchase rather than for a concrete cooking plan, I forgot to buy along with the lamb rosemary, parsley, or any other kind of fresh herb. When the weekend arrived, all I had on hand in way of a herb was some herbes de provence, and I was too lazy to go out shopping. And so I just made up a simple mustard marinade with ingredients I had lying around in my kitchen. The result was a very tangy and flavorful marinade that worked very nicely with the rich, gamey lamb. The mustard and lemon cut the fattiness of the lamb, while the red onions added some texture as well as a faint sweetness. I’m not so sure if the herbes de provence made much difference in terms of flavor, but it did add a kind of rustic quality to the appearance of the mustard crust. David was a fan of this simple marinade, and so I think I might make it again in the future!
Roasted parsnips are a new vegetable dish in our home. I’d never cooked parsnips before, but turns out they are quite easy to roast. A little sweeter and nuttier than carrots, parsnips pair very nicely with slow-roasted lamb — and together, they make a great Sunday dinner! My favorite recipe for a slow-roasted lamb is Jamie Oliver’s “Incredible Roasted Shoulder of Lamb” — although the recipe calls for the shoulder, you could also apply the roasting method on a leg, which is what I did.
As for the parsnips, here’s how I cooked them:
Preheat the oven to 400F (or about 200C). Peel the parsnips and cut them into approx. 1/2 inch slices; lay them out in a baking dish. Chop up a red onion (or 2, if you like red onions); peel and halve 6 or so cloves of garlic. Add some sprigs of thyme or rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix. Add about 3 tablespoons of water.
Cover tightly with foil, and put in the oven. After about 20 minutes, take off the foil. Toss the parsnips/onions/garlic, and continue to roast for another 20 minutes or so, until tender. I like to keep moving the vegetables, so that they brown evenly. If you want to crisp up the edges, broil for 5 minutes at the end.
The turnips keep for several days and make for a delicious sweet-ish veggie snack!
When we first arrived in Stockholm, I came across several online discussion forums in which British, American and Canadian expats lamented about the difficulty of finding organic produce in Stockholm. Quite a few people complained about the quality of meats relative to pricing. One British person even shared that s/he brings back lamb every time s/he visits the UK, because s/he can’t stand the taste of lamb available in Stockholm! (I am not sure how this transportation of lamb meat was achieved…) Initially, these discussions scared and worried me; thankfully, however, I find our grocery-shopping experience in Stockholm to be just fine so far. I don’t know how much the quality of produce varies from one neighborhood to another, but we quite love our local Daglivs. We can find most everything there. Although we sometimes opt to indulge in fancier meats from the butcher in the Östermalmsaluhall (we LOVE M Seger Eftr. Kött & Ost) or Taylors & Jones, we are happy with our local supermarket, where we can even find Krav (organic) ground lamb.
Back in New York, I never buy ground lamb — in great part because, when I do see ground lamb, I know it’s not grass-fed or organic. We opt to roast grass-fed lamb shoulders than to buy ground lamb. When I found Krav ground lamb at our local supermarket, I knew what we’d have for dinner: lamb meatballs. I make my paleo-version of meatballs a lot at home, but with ground turkey or, occasionally, veal — never lamb. For my first lamb meatball attempt, I was inclined to also purchase this jar of marinated tomatoes — it seemed it would go well with lamb.
Normally, I put carrots, onions, and mushrooms in my meatballs. When we got home, I realized I only had 1 carrot in the fridge — but I had a lot of asparagus, so I decided to add them in the meatballs, too. The result was fantastic! The asparagus pairs nicely with lamb, and gives it a fresh vegetable crunch. I will definitely make this again and again while in Stockholm.
PALEO LAMB MEATBALLS
For lamb meatballs:
- Ground lamb (about 2 lbs.)
- Asparagus (1 bunch), chopped
- 2 onions, minced
- 1 carrot, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 stalks scallions, finely chopped
- 10 cremini mushrooms (approx.), finely diced
- 7 slices of marinated tomatoes
- 3 eggs
For the tomato sauce:
- About a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 can of plain tomato sauce (chunky, no sugar)
Preheat the oven to 375F.
First, to make the meatballs: mince, chop, and dice all the vegetables as indicated above, as well as the marinated tomatoes. Put them in a large bowl.
Add ground lamb into the bowl. Mix the lamb and all the vegetables (I use my hands) evenly. Crack 3 eggs into the bowl (I have David crack them for me, so I don’t have to wash my hands), and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle some olive oil in a large baking dish. Roll the lamb/veg mixture into a ball — I make them a little smaller than the size of a tennis ball. Place them in the baking dish. Put them in the oven for about 25 minutes.
While the meatballs bake in the oven, you can make the tomato sauce. Heat a saute pan with some olive oil in it. When the pan is hot, add the sliced garlic. Let the garlic sizzle for about a minute or two, and then add the cherry tomatoes. Bring the heat down to a simmer.
The cherry tomatoes will release a lot of juice. When the tomatoes have softened, add the can of tomatoes, season with salt and pepper.
After baking for about 25 minutes, the meatballs should be cooked through. A lot of fat will have rendered out. Let it rest for about 5 minutes.
When rested, put the meatballs in a bowl and top with the tomato sauce. Enjoy!
P.S. I served the meatballs with a side of roasted beets, a combination that proved a major hit with David! x