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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Taverna......

I don't know exactly how I've managed to get behind on blogging except that the holidays, were, well, holidays. Busy, busy, busy!

But Saturday night my husband and I went on our first date night in six months or so. We had a gift card to Taverna Plaka that was due to expire the 25th of this month. We had been putting off going because they have waiters dancing on tables, belly dancers, plate throwing, etc., etc. and wanted to have time for that. But we went anyway, and forget the spectacle-- the food alone was worth the 20+ mile trek into the city over icy streets! I don't know how I manage to forget that I love Greek food... and so, inspiration hit me. Unfortunately, I couldn't begin to duplicate Taverna Plaka's expertise, but I did a bit of my own Greekish-style cuisine last night and the family was supremely happy.

Greek Style Lemon Lamb
3 lb. Lamb Stew Meat
1/2 onion, diced
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup spinach
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 large can black olives
1 whole lemon
2-3 cups of water
1 tbsp. capers

Throw the lamb meat, onion, spinach, and tomato sauce into a crock pot. Add the can of olives, juices and all, along with the salt, garlic, black pepper, capers, and water. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the lemon as much as you can into the crock pot. Cook in the crock pot on low for about 5 1/2 hours. Keep on warm until ready to serve.

The lemon juice tenderized the meat tons, and made it very flavorful. Serve with pita bread. I didn't have any, so I served with wheat tortillas, and also a side green salad with feta cheese and cucumbers.

Lemon Vinagrette Couscous
I wanted a couscous recipe to stand up the the flavorful lamb, and I am not always the best at imparting a great flavor. I found a great recipe from Bobby Flay and changed it up a bit to suit my purpose.

I started with Trader Joe's whole wheat couscous, so I just boiled water, salt, and olive oil, then added a cup of couscous and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Once this was done, I fluffed ( just stir it up with a fork) and added diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onions. I then stirred in a homemade lemon vinagrette (my changes to the recipe are starred):

Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1/4 small onion, minced*

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar*

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk onion, juice, zest, vinegars, and salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified.

The verdict on the couscous?? Everyone from the 11 month-old boy to the 30 year-old boy liked it. Tehe...

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