Lamb Meat Sauce

I’ve been so busy lately I’ve not really had much time for cooking. Mostly it’s been delivery, or carry out, or something quick thrown together. I really miss real cooking. It’s also so late by the time I get home that I have been coming home every night and haven’t been seeing the guys except maybe on Friday nights. And I have missed hanging out with them, and really missed spending time with Mark. So Saturday Mark and I went to Haji’s, a Persian market I had gotten lots of recommendations for from the Iranians I know. For some reason I was thinking it was the big market. No, it’s tiny. Packed and tiny. I got tons of spices and things, although they didn’t have a lot of what I wanted.

Anyway, we ended up going to three stores Saturday night to collect ingredients, including 10 lbs of lean ground lamb and some Greek cheese (kefalotyri). Yum!! I vacuum sealed and froze most of the lamb. I have various things in mind for it. Lately I have been craving a good moussaka, and the Greek restaurant that makes the best one around here is rather spendy. So last night I brined and roasted the eggplant (so much nicer and healthier than frying in oil!), cooked up a couple potatoes (which I think I’ll leave out next time), and made the lamb meat sauce. Sooooo good! That lamb meat sauce was da bomb! 🙂

Tonight I assembled and baked the moussaka and that was our main course tonight. The flavor is DELICIOUS. The appearance needs work. Texture was a bit off as well. But I have lots of leftovers. YAY!!!

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. I have been drooling over Ottolenghi's cookbooks. Beautiful photography, fascinating stories and history, and mouth-watering recipes! So that’s also what prompted the shopping trip Saturday. I wanted to get stuff together. Barberries, and kashk and some good tomato paste, and homemade torshi, and those lovely green lentils, and more sumac and za’atar and a few other things. I picked up some of the tiny long thin Persian cucumbers from Haji’s. Soooo good! And I had some beautiful ripe tomatoes from Market Street, as well as radishes, and lots of herbs, so I made a version of this:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/12/spiced-chickpea-salad-vegetarian-recipe

(there’s a measurement converter in the middle of the page)

I had 3 of the tiny persian cukes, 3 med tomatoes, about 3 or 4 walnut-sized radishes. I forgot the lemon zest in the dressing, and apparently forgot to buy a red bell pepper. I used a bit more parsley and cilantro, and used only about 2/3 of the called-for amount of allspice on the chickpeas. Oh, and I cheated and used a can of Sadaf chickpeas, drained and rinsed well. CBA cooking from dried, and who has the time? I didn’t bother with the Greek yogurt or the pita. Oh, I used less olive oil as well. That salad was awesome. Even Michael loved it. The dressing would be delicious on any salad. My garlic clove was nice and fat, and I only used about 2 or 3 tb of red onion cause it can quickly take over a dish.

So tasty! Takes minutes to throw together. The spiced chickpeas are done in under 5 minutes from start to finish. Meanwhile my dressing “marinated". Then I tossed it ith the salad and served bowls of it which chickpeas on top.

I have tons of parsley and mint, and a few cukes and tomatoes left, so tomorrow night I think is going to be tabbouleh, and some kind of salad, and hummus. And Mark and I are going to make spanakopita. Yes, it contains phyllo so isn’t beachy unless you can source out some whole wheat one, but *shrug* we’re OK with eating a few bites of deliciousness now and then. 🙂 I have two beautiful globe eggplant left of the ones I got at Central Markup, so I think a batch of baba ghanouj is in order as well. With pomegranate seeds – an Ottolenghi twist I want to try.

Sunday the company my cousin works for had their family day at the Dallas zoo. I hadn’t been to the one in Dallas in about 13 or 14 years, and Mark had never been. I had been once or twice and found it depressing, so we always went to the one over in Ft. Worth, which is one of the best in the country. Anyway, since I was last there, they have improved it and seriously expanded it, although I still much prefer the one in FTW. But we spent all day walking around the zoo. Lots of hills and inclines. I got a serious workout! So yesterday morning I woke up a bit sore. By last night, I could barely move. Today, my calves are all tight, and it feels like the muscles running up the front of my leg on either side of my shin bones have been shredded. Things refuse to bend or flex. I walk funny, and it hurts a lot. But you know, the exercise was good for me! 🙂 I should do that more often. lol

On another positive note, I am getting a couple days off the beginning of November to go back to ‘bama for a long weekend and see Mom (my grandmother). It was part of the conditions of my accepting the job, but then I didn’t think that I was going to be able to afford to go. Thankfully, Southwest had a fare sale yesterday. Still going to cost me about $700 between flight, car and hotel, but it will be good to see Mom.

OK, I am completely wiped out. This week has been killer at work and it’s only Tuesday. Three more days to go. Project deadlines keep getting moved up, leaving us scrambling. On the positive side, lots of my ideas and suggestions are being implemented. It’s a slow, formal process (they’re really big on processes!), but at least I’m not being ignored and made to feel I’m useless. I am so glad I made this change. The commute is still a bitch. Not much I can do about that at this point.

Oh, I had to laugh. This morning a cop pulled me over on the way to work. I couldn’t figure out why because I certainly wasn’t speeding. We were only going about 25 if we were lucky on the turnpike. I thought maybe a brake light had gone out or something. No, it was for “disregarding a traffic control device”. Huh? It’s not like there are stop signs or traffic lights on the turnpike. I finally had to ask “I’m sorry, sir, but what traffic control device?” … “That solid white line back there. Your rear tires did not completely clear the end of the line before you changed lanes.” REALLY?! It’s where an entrance ramp comes into the turnpike to form another lane, and no one was coming so I moved over into that lane in preparation to take my exit which was coming up next. So my rear tire crossed over maybe 6″ before the solid white line ended and became a dashed line. That was really worth pulling me over and delaying me for 20 minutes. Must’ve been a slow morning! Oh well, at least he let me off with a warning.

The funniest part though was that he had his head in my passenger window and kept sniffing deep. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what he was sniffing for. I took a shower this morning and brushed my teeth and put on my deodorant. He says “Have you been drinking in here?” I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. “Uhm, no, I’m on my way to work. I haven’t had anything to drink this morning but a sip of water after I brushed my teeth.” He’s still breathing deep. So I turned down the A/C which was blowing in his fac…e My guess is that’s what it was… although when I got to work, I realized I had forgotten my sweaty socks from last night on the passenger floorboard. They’re in the laundry basket now. 😀

Cheers!

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