Lamb kabobs

When we moved to California, one of the things we had to leave behind for space was our barbecue grill. We still haven’t replaced it, but we do have a nifty cast-iron grill pan. So we used it to make some lamb and veggie kabobs with a little bit of Moroccan seasoning.

Considering our faux-grill setup I thought they turned out pretty well. The only thing I would do differently (because of cooking these indoors) would be to leave out the garlic, or brush it off before I put the kabobs on. It started to burn up and smoke, a lot, which was not a good thing in our tiny kitchen.

I took the seasoning combination from a Clean recipe, and I thought it worked perfectly. We served the kabobs over brown rice for a pretty healthy dinner.

Lamb kabobs

1 to 1 1/2 pounds lamb, cut into cubes
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch rounds

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 garlic gloves, minced (optional)
olive oil to drizzle on top

To make the kabobs I separated the meat and veggies, putting 3-4 chunks of meat on each wooden skewer. If you don’t want the skewers to burn, soak them in water beforehand. Then I alternated pepper, zucchini and onion chunks for the rest of the skewers.

For the seasoning, combine all the spices in a small bowl, add in the garlic, and the sprinkle it all over the meat kabobs. If you have any extra left you can sprinkle it over the veggies, too. Then drizzle a little olive oil over all the kabobs.

Heat the grill pan over medium-high heat, and then arrange the kabobs on top. Grill them, turning every 2 minutes or so, until there are grill marks on each side and the meat is done to your liking. We like ours around medium, which took about 10 minutes.

Loving: Biscoff spread

For those of you who don’t know, when I was in 9th grade, my best friend Erin moved to Alaska, and I ended up visiting her there three times. I think my love of travel was cemented at the point that we had to travel 3,000 miles to see each other. And not only did we shuttle between Alaska and Kansas, but we also went to Arizona to stay with her grandmother, Florida for our post-graduation vacation, Portland, Vegas, and numerous other places over the years. And most of that time, in order to accumulate frequent flyer miles and free tickets, we flew Delta.

And if you fly Delta, you know about the deliciousness that is a Biscoff cookie, which they give you as a snack on flights. I really came to love those cookies over the years, so I couldn’t resist temptation when I saw a jar of Biscoff spread at the grocery store.

I’d already heard about Trader Joe’s cookie butter, and I imagine this is pretty much the same thing. It spreads like peanut butter, but is obviously sweeter — more like Nutella, I would say. It is truly evil stuff, and I’m so in love with it.

Leek tart

This recipe actually comes from Mike, who made it last week after searching for something to make with leeks. All I could think of was potato soup, but this French tart is much better suited for spring, and so delicious.

Leek tart
from the Organic Cookbook

4 tablespoons butter
4 leeks, finely sliced (make sure they are well-rinsed!)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup creme fraiche (or you could use heavy cream)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pastry shell:
1 1/3 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons cold water

Start by making the pastry crust — put the flour, salt and butter in a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor you could do this by hand with a pastry cutter). Pulse until you get fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk. Pulse until the pastry comes together, adding water a little bit at a time. Dump out the pastry on a floured surface and knead it into a round.

Roll out the pastry to 1/8-inch thickness and then press it into a tart pan. The closest thing we have is a springform pan, which works fine, or you could even use a pie pan. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the tart shell with parchment paper and then fill it with dry beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, then bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat. While that’s adjusting, you can make the filling. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook them until they’re soft and wilted, 20-30 minutes. Set them aside to cool. Mike says it seems like you will have way too many leeks for the tart, but they end up cooking down and fitting.

Beat the eggs, creme fraiche, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl. Add the leeks to the mixture. Pour this into the baked pastry shell. Place the tart on the preheated baking sheet and bake until the tart is golden, 30 minutes. If you jiggle it a little you should be able to tell if the filling has firmed up.

The great thing about these quiche-like tarts is that you can eat them hot or cold. A slice of this served with a salad reminds me so much of La Mie lunches in Des Moines, which reminds me of pretty pastries sitting in the window. Good times!